Morning Alert   -   Tuesday, August 20, 2019
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Morning news

NTV and TBS led with reports that a man arrested for theft escaped from a police hospital where he was receiving treatment in Nakano, Tokyo, on Sunday. NHK and TV Asahi aired follow-up reports on the arrest of a man on Sunday for alleged involvement in multiple road rage incidents. Fuji TV gave top coverage to another road rage incident in Ichinomiya, Aichi Prefecture, on Aug. 13.

Top stories in national dailies included a plan by the Defense Ministry to deploy a GSDF electronic warfare unit in Kumamoto in preparation for China's possible advancement into Japan's remote islands (Sankei), China's growing GPS coverage (Nikkei), documents showing that Emperor Hirohito wanted to express his regret and remorse over World War II in a 1952 statement (Mainichi), the impact of a shift in the path of the Kuroshio (Black Current) on fisheries (Asahi), and a plan by the Education Ministry to survey students who have stopped attending school by directly contacting them (Yomiuri).


U.S., Japanese officials discuss DPRK issues

Yomiuri, Mainichi, and Sankei wrote that Special Representative for North Korea Stephen Biegun and MOFA Asian and Oceanian Affairs Bureau Director-General Kanasugi held talks in Tokyo on Monday. Mainichi and Sankei wrote that the two officials exchanged views on the situation in North Korea, speculating that they discussed coordination on DPRK denuclearization. The papers added that the U.S. and Japanese officials confirmed trilateral coordination between the United States, Japan, and South Korea. Yomiuri speculated that the two officials discussed North Korea's provocations, including recent launches of short-range ballistic missiles.

China stepping up food and other assistance to DPRK

Asahi wrote that it has learned from ROK government officials and sources involved in China-DPRK trade that the Chinese government is stepping up its assistance to the DPRK by sending it rice, corn, and other products as humanitarian aid and promoting visits there by Chinese tourists. The paper speculated that China is providing assistance to expand its influence in the DPRK in an attempt to push back against the United States.

Komeito chief holds talks with senior Chinese Communist Party official

Asahi and Yomiuri wrote that Komeito Chief Representative Yamaguchi held talks with Song Tao, the head of the International Liaison Department of the Communist Party of China, at the Diaoyutai State Guesthouse in Beijing on Monday. Yamaguchi reportedly said he hopes that the current civil unrest in Hong Kong will be settled peacefully. Song reportedly responded that Hong Kong will be stabilized in accordance with the law based on the "one country, two systems" formula. Asahi wrote that the two officials agreed to make efforts to lay the groundwork for President Xi's planned visit to Japan next spring as a state guest.

South Korea demands explanation from Japan on Fukushima water treatment

Yomiuri and Sankei wrote that on Monday South Korea's Foreign Ministry summoned the minister for economic affairs of the Japanese Embassy in Seoul to provide a detailed explanation on Japan's treatment of water discharged from the Fukushima Daiichi Nuclear Power Plant. According to the papers, the ROK government handed the Japanese official a statement saying that South Korea is concerned about the impact of Japan's treatment of contaminated water.


Yokohama plans to join bidding race to host casino resort

Asahi, Mainichi, and Sankei wrote that according to sources connected to the Yokohama municipal government, the city plans to bid to host an integrated resort including a casino. According to the sources, the port city is considering building such a resort at Yamashita Pier and the city government is making final arrangements to submit to a regular session of the local assembly in September a draft extra budget of 300 million yen ($2.8 million) to be spent for the bidding. The papers speculated that Yokohama Mayor Hayashi may make an official announcement on the city's stance on the matter in the near future, noting that in 2017 the mayor expressed a cautious view about the city's participation in the bidding.


GSDF plans to deploy electronic warfare unit in Kumamoto

Sankei led with a report claiming that it has learned from an informed source that the Ministry of Defense is planning to establish a new electronic warfare unit in the GSDF that will use electromagnetic waves in preparation for China's possible advancement into Japan's Nansei Islands that stretch southwest from Kyushu to Taiwan. According to the source, the ministry plans to deploy an 80-member electronic warfare unit to a GSDF base in Kumamoto by the end of next fiscal year.

U.S. Embassy Tokyo Media Analysis and Translation Team