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POLITICS

Short takes from the monthlies

  • 2015-01-08 15:00:00
  • , Asahi
  • Translation

“Abe’s roadmap to constitutional reform”

[Sentaku, January 2015 issue, pp. 46-47]

 

o The question is how to secure a concurring vote of two-thirds or more of all the members of the House of Representatives and the House of Councillors to initiate amendments to the Constitution.

 

o In the Diet’s lower chamber, the ruling Liberal Democratic Party of Japan and its coalition partner, the Komeito party, hold a total of 326 seats, so this requirement has been cleared.

 

o In the Diet’s 242-seat upper chamber, however, the LDP-Komeito coalition only has 135 in total. Even if the Party for Future Generations and the Japan Innovation Party join them, they will still need more seats.

 

o Given this, Prime Minister Shinzo Abe will need to split up the leading opposition Democratic Party of Japan in the upper chamber. However, many of the DPJ’s lawmakers in the upper chamber are leftist or affiliated with labor unions, like Azuma Koshiishi, who is from the Japan Teachers’ Union and currently presides over the Diet’s upper chamber. These lawmakers are negative about amending Japan’s postwar constitution.

 

o If the LDP successfully brings a majority of the votes over to its side in the House of Councillors as a result of its maneuvering, the LDP is expected to carry out a national referendum along with the House of Councillors election set for the summer of 2016. Even so, if the DPJ eventually stands in the LDP’s way to constitutional reform, what will Prime Minister Abe do? What’s now being whispered within the LDP is the following scenario: “Along with the Upper House election, Prime Minister Abe might dissolve the House of Representatives for simultaneous elections [to secure two-thirds in both houses],” (according to a middle-ranking lawmaker).

 

“Secret plan” for SSN basing at Henoko

[Sentaku, January 2015 issue, p. 98]

 

o The government will start conducting landfill work off the Henoko district of Okinawa Prefecture’s Nago city in January 2015 for the planned reconstruction of Futenma airfield. Meanwhile, there is another move going on behind the scenes related to the Futenma replacement facility. According to several sources on Japan-U.S. relations, the government is now working out a blueprint to build a base for nuclear-powered submarines at the Henoko relocation site.

 

Tokyo first-class hotel ranking

[Facta, January 2015 issue, pp. 40-42]

 

“Revenue Per Available Room (RevPAR)” Ranking for

First-class Hotels in Tokyo

(As of October 2014)

Hotel

Guest rooms

Occupancy rate (%)

RevPAR (yen)

1

Shangri-La Hotel Tokyo

200

92.9

(r10.0)

52,100

(r13,300)

2

Palace Hotel Tokyo

290

90.2

(r9.7)

38,400

(r6,200)

3

Imperial Hotel

931

90.4

(p1.4)

28,800

(r2,500)

4

Cerulean Tower Tokyu Hotel

411

94.3

(r2.6)

26,400

(r2,400)

5

Hotel Okura

796

85.1

(p2.3)

21,100

(r2,900)

6

InterContinental Tokyo Bay

328

90.3

(r0.2)

21,100

(r2,400)

7

Dai-Ichi Hotel Tokyo

278

93.3

(r2.6)

20,500

(r1,400)

8

The Prince Park Tower Tokyo

603

89.2

(r5.2)

19,600

(r3,000)

9

Royal Park Hotel

414

95.8

(p1.5)

19,200

(r300)

10

Hotel Nikko Tokyo

453

88.4

(r0.8)

19,200

(r1,500)

11

The Shiodome Tokyo Royal Park Hotel

487

96.9

(r2.2)

18,700

(r2,800)

12

Hyatt Regency Tokyo

744

93.5

(p0.7)

18,300

(r1,500)

13

Keio Plaza Hotel

1,438

88.9

(p0.8)

16,900

(r2,100)

14

Park Hotel Tokyo

273

86.2

(p0.2)

16,200

(r1,200)

15

Sheraton Miyako Hotel Tokyo

495

91.3

(r1.1)

15,900

(r1,000)

16

Hotel Chinzanso Tokyo

259

66.5

(p15.6)

15,400

(p2,100)

17

Hotel New Otani

1,479

72.8

(p2.8)

14,900

(r1,100)

18

Grand Pacific Le Daiba

884

90.6

(r2.2)

14,300

(r1,400)

(Note) Figures in parentheses denote year-on-year rate. “r” indicates increase over the corresponding month of the preceding year, and “p” shows decrease over the corresponding month of the preceding year.

 

“Japan-vs.-China dogfight – A dangerous game”

[Facta, January 2015 issue, pp. 46-48]

 

o “China is very conscious of the Japan-U.S. alliance’s air capabilities, and is preparing two countermeasures to turn the tables.” (Soichi Takimura, military journalist)

 

o “One of these two ways is to carry out shuttle attacks, as well as wave bombing, with its massive troop strength, including outdated aircraft (some planes unmanned). China has been preparing conventional fighter planes and bombers for unmanned operational use. When they are readied for warfare, Japan and the U.S. will be thrown into serious confusion. There’s no doubt that Japan and the U.S. will lose their interoperability.” (Takimura)

 

o “The other means is to launch conventional-tipped missiles. This is intended to strike Japanese and U.S. military bases that are on the front for attack operations. These are not nuclear-tipped missiles, so they won’t be able to bring the other side’s airbases to total destruction. However, this could be an effective means to damage not only facilities but also standby aircraft and crew on the ground and prevent Japan and the U.S. from launching air raids.” (Takimura)

 

Drop in Circulation for both Asahi and Yomiuri

[Themis, January 2015 issue, pp. 18-29]

 

o The Asahi Shimbun has corrected its past erroneous articles over the “comfort women” issue, and offered its apologies. However, the paper is now facing an even more serious problem: a massive drop in circulation from 7,250,000 to 7,020,000, or approximately 230,000 copies, during the three-month period from August 2014 through October 2014.

 

o However, the Yomiuri Shimbun, another major daily vying with the Asahi Shimbun, has not increased its circulation at all, either. According to the results of a fact-finding survey conducted by the Japan Audit Bureau of Circulations (ABC) for the month of November in 2014, the Yomiuri Shimbun’s circulation was 9,345,155, showing a decrease of 25,948 over the preceding month and a decrease of 662,285 over the preceding year. Surprisingly, the Yomiuri’s year-on-year decrease was larger than Asahi’s.

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