JAPAN MEDIA HIGHLIGHTS
Morning Alert   -   Friday, September 7, 2018
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HEADLINES

Morning news

All broadcasters and national dailies continued to give extensive coverage to the powerful earthquake that struck southern Hokkaido early Thursday morning, saying that the maximum intensity of the quake was 7 on the Japanese scale of 0 to 7. NHK said while the electricity supply has been restored in one-third of the area that experienced a power outage yesterday, many places are still without power. According to NHK, eight people have died, six are in a state of cardiac arrest, and 26 remain missing in the aftermath of the quake. The network also said 4,885 people had evacuated to 738 shelters across the prefecture as of 5 a.m. this morning.

AMBASSADOR

Ambassador Hagerty releases video message on anniversary of his first year in office

TV Asahi reported online that Ambassador Hagerty released a video message on the first anniversary of his becoming the U.S. envoy to Japan. The network said the Ambassador stressed that the U.S. will urge North Korea to allow all of the Japanese abductees to return home. The network showed the Ambassador saying: "Our partnership is contributing to progress in confronting the challenge of North Korea's nuclear capabilities. We could not have a better partner than Japan to help realize this critical goal. As the President and I have assured the prime minister, the United States will continue to press for the return of all of Japan's citizens abducted by North Korea." The network added that the Ambassador mentioned his meeting with the abductees' families and stressed the need to continue to apply pressure on North Korea. Meanwhile, the network said the Ambassador also called for U.S.-Japan economic cooperation, quoting him as saying: "By working together to expand trade and investment, we can strengthen economic growth and job creation in both the United States and Japan, ensuring prosperity for our citizens."

INTERNATIONAL

North, South Korean leaders to meet again in Pyongyang on Sept. 18

All national dailies wrote in their Thursday evening editions that South Korean President Moon's top security adviser Chung Eui-yong briefed the press on Thursday about the results of his delegation's meeting with North Korean leader Kim Jong Un in Pyongyang on Wednesday, including the agreement reached between the two Koreas to hold another summit meeting on Sept. 18-20 in Pyongyang. This will be the third meeting between President Moon and Chairman Kim following their talks on April 27 and May 26.

The papers wrote that according to Chung, Chairman Kim told the ROK delegation that he is committed to completely denuclearizing the Korean Peninsula and is ready to cooperate closely with the United States. Kim reportedly added that his confidence in President Trump is unchanged and expressed his readiness to improve ties with the United States during President Trump's first term. However, he also reportedly expressed his dissatisfaction with what he called the lack of appreciation in the international community for his denuclearization measures, including the dismantlement of the Punggye-ri nuclear test site. On the idea of issuing an official declaration of the end of the Korean War, Kim reportedly said that such a declaration would be unrelated to a scaling back of the U.S.-ROK alliance or withdrawal of U.S. forces from South Korea.

All national dailies ran follow-up stories on Friday. Asahi and Nikkei wrote that Kim Jong Un did not refer to any additional denuclearization measures at his meeting with the ROK delegation. Asahi wrote that it remains to be seen whether the planned inter-Korean summit will produce results because the sanctions on Pyongyang are unlikely to be relaxed unless the DPRK takes additional steps to denuclearize. Nikkei wrote that attention will be focused on whether Chairman Kim will present concrete measures. Mainichi wrote that attention will be focused on whether the upcoming summit will contribute to progress in talks between the United States and the DPRK, which have different views on issuing a declaration of the end of the Korean War. Yomiuri conjectured that the GOJ is hoping that the inter-Korean summit will lead to a breakthrough in the U.S.-DPRK denuclearization talks, quoting Chief Cabinet Secretary Suga as telling reporters on Thursday that Tokyo hopes that efforts by the two Koreas will lead to concrete actions to implement the agreements reached between the United States and the DPRK.

ROK gives up on envisaged trilateral summit between U.S, ROK, DPRK in New York

Yomiuri wrote that South Korea's national security chief Chung Eui-yong told reporters on Thursday that the ROK government has given up on the idea of holding a trilateral summit between President Trump, President Moon, and Chairman Kim on the sidelines of the UN General Assembly sessions starting on Sept. 18 in New York because the DPRK leader is unlikely to visit the United States to attend the UN meetings. Nikkei ran a similar story, adding that the Department of State announced on Thursday that Special Representative for North Korea Biegun will visit Japan, China, and South Korea on Sept. 10-15 to discuss ways to urge Pyongyang to denuclearize.

Foreign Minister Kono holds talks with German Chancellor Merkel

Sankei wrote that Foreign Minister Kono held talks with German Chancellor Merkel in Berlin on Thursday. Kono reportedly told the press afterward that in view of Germany's becoming a non-permanent member of the UN Security Council next year, he and the German leader confirmed the importance of their nations working closely in dealing with the DPRK.

Komeito chief Yamaguchi delivers letter from Abe to senior Chinese official

All national dailies wrote that Komeito chief representative Yamaguchi held talks with a senior official of the Chinese Communist Party on Thursday in Beijing and handed him a letter from Prime Minister Abe to President Xi. The papers wrote that the meeting was intended to lay the groundwork for Abe's envisaged trip to Beijing in October. Asahi wrote that the Komeito leader reportedly conveyed to the Chinese official Abe's willingness to visit Beijing in October, adding that the premier is looking forward to meeting with Xi in Vladivostok next week. Asahi and Yomiuri added that although Yamaguchi had hoped to personally deliver the letter to Xi, he was not able to meet with him.

SECURITY

SDF cancels planned drills in Hokkaido, including joint exercises with U.S., Australia

Asahi wrote that the SDF has canceled its planned exercises in Hokkaido this month on account of its recovery operations in response to the major earthquake that hit the prefecture on Thursday. The canceled exercises include joint drills between the ASDF and Australia that were planned for Sept. 5-30 at Chitose Air Base, and joint exercises between the GSDF and the United States slated for Sept. 10-29 in training areas in Hokkaido.

ECONOMY

Power outages in Hokkaido have serious impact on local economy and beyond

All national dailies ran extensive reports saying that the powerful earthquake that struck Hokkaido is interrupting banking services and commodity distribution to retail outlets and has brought to a halt the production of dairy goods, vegetables, electrical appliances, and auto and electronic parts. The quake caused an island-wide blackout, and power shortages are expected to continue for at least a week. Asahi and Sankei speculated that the power outages may cause nationwide problems if restoration is delayed.

JAPAN MEDIA HIGHLIGHTS
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U.S. Embassy Tokyo Media Analysis and Translation Team