JAPAN MEDIA HIGHLIGHTS
Morning Alert   -   Wednesday, September 5, 2018
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HEADLINES

Morning news

All networks gave top play to reports on the aftermath of Typhoon Jebi, saying that Kansai International Airport will be shut down for the day because of flooding. According to NHK, the typhoon claimed nine lives in Osaka, Shiga, and Mie prefectures.

Major front-page items in national dailies included the severe damage Typhoon Jebi caused at Kansai International Airport and other locations in the Kansai region, and the results of an Education Ministry survey showing that many of the nation's medical schools have admitted more male applicants than female ones over the past six years.

INTERNATIONAL

DPRK negative about improving ties with Japan

Asahi took up the disclosure by an ROK diplomatic source that DPRK representatives who attended an international conference in Shenyang, China, in late August told South Korean participants that the Kim regime has little interest in improving relations with Tokyo. The DPRK officials reportedly underscored that Japan must first come to terms with the history of its wartime actions on the Korean Peninsula.

President Trump holds teleconference with ROK leader

Yomiuri, Mainichi, and Sankei wrote that President Trump and South Korean President Moon spoke by phone on Tuesday and confirmed close communication and cooperation to achieve the complete denuclearization of North Korea. According to the papers, the teleconference was held in preparation for a planned trip to Pyongyang today by Moon's special envoy. The President reportedly expressed hope that the ROK diplomatic mission will produce positive results with regard to denuclearization.

Chinese leader to skip DPRK national foundation ceremony

All papers reported that Chinese President Xi will not attend a ceremony to be hosted in Pyongyang on Sept. 9 by the Kim regime to celebrate the 70th anniversary of the foundation of the DPRK, saying that the Chinese Communist Party's No. 3 official is expected to participate on his behalf. Yomiuri conjectured that Xi decided not to visit North Korea in view of what the paper described as President Trump's escalated criticism of China's behavior with regard to DPRK denuclearization.

President Trump reportedly invited Abe to play golf

Sankei and Mainichi wrote that Deputy Prime Minister Aso disclosed during a speech in Fukuoka on Tuesday that President Trump invited Prime Minister Abe to play golf with him when they hold a summit in New York in late September. According to Aso, President Trump told the prime minister he would not have to go to Florida because they could play at his course in New Jersey.

Japanese firms to suspend imports of Iranian oil

Yomiuri reported that major Japanese oil companies, including Showa Shell, have decided to stop importing Iranian petroleum ahead of the planned reinstatement of U.S. economic sanctions in November, projecting that they will notify the Iranian side as early as today in order to avoid shipments beyond November. The GOJ is expected to continue negotiating with the USG to try to obtain an exemption from the secondary sanctions irrespective of the companies' decisions to suspend imports.

GOJ protests ceremony in Northern Territories

Yomiuri and Nikkei reported on the disclosure by Chief Cabinet Secretary Suga yesterday that the GOJ has filed a protest with the Russian government over a ceremony that was held on Etorofu Island on Sunday to commemorate Russia's victory over Japan in WWII.

In a related development, Yomiuri wrote that the Russian armed forces informed residents on Kunashiri that military exercises would be held on the island starting Tuesday. The paper projected that the drills could affect a planned summit between President Putin and Prime Minister Abe on the margins of an international economic forum to be held in Vladivostok next week.

SECURITY

U.S. military may conduct Osprey test flight at SDF Camp Kisarazu later this month

NHK reported online this morning that pre-flight inspections will be conducted for U.S. military Ospreys at the SDF's Camp Kisarazu in Chiba Prefecture sometime after Sept. 5, saying that the Kisarazu city projects that the first test flight may be carried out as early as the end of this month. The network, noting the recent spate of incidents involving the Osprey at home and abroad, said Kisarazu is hoping that the U.S. military will conduct the test flights safely in order to ease the concerns of its citizens.

ECONOMY

Launch of new nuclear power plant in Aomori to be delayed

Mainichi and Sankei highlighted an announcement made by the Electric Power Development Company (J-POWER) on Tuesday that the start of operations of its nuclear power plant currently under construction in Oma, Aomori, will be put off by about two years until 2026 due to a delay in work to enhance nuclear reactor safety. The papers projected that the postponement will hamper the course of Japan's nuclear fuel recycling policy intended to reduce its plutonium stockpile since the Oma facility is set to use only mixed-oxide (MOX) fuel consisting of plutonium and uranium. The GOJ and the utility industry view the use of MOX fuel as a key tool for decreasing the plutonium stockpile.

POLITICS

Second largest opposition party selects new leader

All papers reported that Lower House member Yuichiro Tamaki was elected the leader of the Democratic Party for the People in its presidential race held on Tuesday, noting that his leadership will be tested in rebuilding ties with the Constitutional Democratic Party of Japan, the largest opposition party, prior to the Upper House election next summer.

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