Morning Alert   -   Wednesday, October 10, 2018
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Morning news

NHK gave top play to a report on the announcement by U.S. Ambassador to UN Haley that she will step down at the end of this year. NTV, Fuji TV, and TV Asahi led with follow-up reports on the death of former sumo grand champion Wajima. TBS gave top play to a report on the arrest of a man who fled after being accused of secretly filming a woman on the train.

All national dailies other than Mainichi gave top play to a decision by Keidanren to do away with its decades-old recruitment guidelines in 2021. Mainichi led with a report on a GOJ plan to limit entry by foreign workers from nations not complying with Japan's immigration rules.


Secretary Pompeo says inspectors will be sent to DPRK

Yomiuri wrote that Secretary Pompeo reportedly stated in Seoul on Monday that inspectors will be sent to the DPRK in the near future to examine North Korea's dismantling of its nuclear and missile facilities following Chairman Kim's agreement at their talks in Pyongyang on Sunday to accept inspectors. The paper wrote that the Secretary also said he raised the abduction issue at his talks with Kim, quoting him as saying that Chairman Kim completely understands that he needs to address many issues, including the abductions. Sankei ran a similar report.

Meanwhile, Asahi claimed that it has learned from a source connected to U.S.-DPRK relations that North Korean leader Kim Jong Un expressed in his meeting with Secretary Pompeo on Sunday his readiness to allow U.S. inspectors to visit the Punggye-ri nuclear test site and shut down all of the facilities in the Yongbyon nuclear complex, including those for plutonium production and uranium enrichment, to underscore his efforts to denuclearize. Kim reportedly added that he will not call for a withdrawal of U.S. forces in Korea or disbandment of the UN Command in Korea even if an end to the Korean War is declared. However, the source added that the DPRK leader also said that he will not submit a list of nuclear facilities in order to obtain such a declaration. According to the source, the U.S. side expressed the view that denuclearization measures taken so far by Pyongyang are not sufficient to issue a declaration of the end of the Korean War.

Abe expresses opposition to any possible reduction of U.S. forces from Korean Peninsula

Tuesday evening's Nikkei wrote that in an interview with the Financial Times that was published on Monday, Prime Minister Abe was quoted as expressing Japan's opposition to any withdrawal or reduction of U.S. forces from the Korean Peninsula in exchange for the denuclearization of the DPRK. "It is my understanding that there is no such idea in the minds of the U.S. side nor in the mind of President Trump," he reportedly said. Abe described his recent trade talks with President Trump as productive, adding that he doesn't feel there are excessive tariffs in many sectors when it comes to trade between Japan and the United States. In addition, Abe welcomed the UK's reported desire to participate in the TPP.

Ambassador to UN Haley to step down

All national dailies wrote that President Trump announced on Tuesday that Ambassador to the United Nations Nikki Haley will step down at the end of this year. Yomiuri speculated that the departure of Ambassador Haley, who has been a leader of U.S. diplomatic efforts since the launch of the Trump administration, will likely deal a blow to the administration. Nikkei conjectured that her departure may have an impact on Washington's denuclearization talks with Pyongyang.

Poll: Majority think Japan-DPRK summit should be held ASAP

NHK reported this morning on the results of its opinion survey conducted from Oct. 6-8, which found that 55% of respondents said Prime Minister Abe should hold a summit with the North Korean leader as soon as possible, 19% said the premier should not rush to do so, and 18% were undecided. On PM Abe's agreement with President Trump to launch new bilateral trade talks and that tariffs on Japanese auto imports will not be raised during the negotiations, 56% welcomed the development, while 32% did not. On the GOJ's policy to move forward with the Futenma relocation plan as planned despite new Okinawa Governor Tamaki's opposition, 23% expressed support, 32% expressed opposition, and 36% were undecided.

Abe expresses hope for forward-looking relations with South Korea

Asahi, Mainichi, Yomiuri, and Nikkei wrote that Prime Minister Abe said on Tuesday at an event held in Tokyo on Tuesday to mark the 20th anniversary of the 1998 Japan-ROK Partnership Declaration that he would like to make efforts with President Moon Jae-in to develop the bilateral ties between Japan and South Korea. Abe was quoted as saying: "Although difficult issues arise because we are neighbors, it is necessary for political leaders to make major decisions to overcome problems."

MSDF chief to visit South Korea

Asahi, Yomiuri, Mainichi, and Nikkei wrote that MSDF Chief of Staff Murakawa told a press briefing on Tuesday that he will attend a symposium of the navies of the Western Pacific to be held on Jeju Island in South Korea on Friday. Asahi wrote that although the MSDF has decided not to take part in an international naval review to be held in Jeju due to a dispute over Japan's rising sun flag, Japan will express through Murakawa's visit to south Korea its intention to continue maritime exchanges with the nation. The MSDF chief said that defense exchanges with South Korea are critically important for the peace and stability of the Indo-Pacific region and that Japan hopes to further strengthen its cooperation with the ROK.

Japan, Mekong nations agree on enhanced cooperation

All national dallies wrote that the leaders of Japan and five nations in the Mekong River region held a meeting in Tokyo on Tuesday and adopted the "Tokyo Strategy 2018," an agreement on strengthened cooperation between their nations. The papers wrote that describing relations between Japan and the Mekong River region as a "strategic partnership," the document stipulates their goals of strengthening their connections and cooperation in developing human resources and protecting the environment. The nations also confirmed that they will work together to implement a "free and open Indo-Pacific strategy." Nikkei wrote that while refraining from referring to China by name, the document expressed concern over reclamation and other activities in the South China Sea and included the goal of achieving the complete, verifiable, and irreversible denuclearization of North Korea. Asahi quoted Prime Minister Abe as saying at a post-meeting joint press conference that the Mekong region has potential for growth and prosperity and that the members adopted the strategy to realize a prosperous future together.

In a related development, the papers wrote that Prime Minister Abe held a separate bilateral meeting with Myanmar (Burma) State Counsellor Aung San Suu Kyi on Tuesday and expressed Japan's continued support for the democratization of Myanmar and its handling of Rohingya refugees.

Russia forgoes military drills on Northern Territories out of deference to Japan

Mainichi wrote that Russian Defense Minister Shoigu told SDF's Joint Staff Chief Kawano on Monday in Moscow that Russia excluded the Northern Territories as a venue for the Vostok 2018 military drills held in September in response to a request from Japan. Shoigu reportedly told Kawano that although Russia had invited Japan to participate in the drills as an observer, Tokyo declined the invitation and Russia chose not to conduct exercises on the Kuril Islands in response to a Japanese request. Kawano reportedly welcomed Moscow's response.

U.S. Embassy Tokyo Media Analysis and Translation Team