Morning Alert   -   Thursday, September 5, 2019
The following information reflects the reporting of the cited news media and does not reflect the opinions of the U.S. Embassy in Tokyo. Japan Media Highlights is intended for USG use only and should not be forwarded. Visit the website here. For more information, contact TokyoMATT@state.gov.


Morning news

NHK gave top play to the passage at the British House of Commons of a bill to delay Brexit. TV-Asahi and Fuji TV led with reports on torrential rains in Mie Prefecture early this morning. NTV and TBS gave top coverage to a ceremony commemorating the late entertainment business tycoon Johnny Kitagawa.

Asahi, Mainichi, and Sankei gave top play to Hong Kong Chief Executive Carrie Lam's televised announcement yesterday that her government will officially rescind the extradition bill. Yomiuri led with a report on a plan by Prime Minister Abe to keep LDP Secretary General Nikai and Policy Research Council Chairman Kishida in their current posts. Nikkei gave top coverage to moves by listed companies in Japan to step up their disposal of cross-held shares, applying the proceeds to new research and debt repayment.


GOJ says setting new deadline for ending Futenma operations "difficult"

Asahi wrote that the GOJ and the Okinawa Prefectural Government held working-level talks to discuss how to reduce the base-hosting burden on Okinawa at the prefectural government office on Wednesday. The paper wrote that although the Okinawa government asked the central government to set a new deadline for ending operations at MCAS Futenma, the GOJ reportedly replied that it would be difficult to set a target date because the work to relocate the Futenma functions has not been proceeding as scheduled. The paper noted that the GOJ agreed with then-Okinawa Governor Nakaima in February 2014 that operations at Futenma would end in five years and that this goal was not achieved. Referring to the repeated incidents and accidents involving the U.S. military, Okinawa Vice Governor Jahana, who attended the meeting, told reporters afterward that Okinawa wants the GOJ to end operations at Futenma as soon as possible regardless of the progress in the construction of the replacement facility. An unnamed GOJ official was quoted as telling Asahi that Tokyo agreed to set a deadline five years ago because there was an understanding between Prime Minister Abe and Governor Nakaima that the GOJ and the Okinawa Prefecture would work together to move forward with Futenma relocation, adding that the situation today is different from five years ago.

Nikkei and Sankei also reported on the consultations between the GOJ and Okinawa. Sankei wrote that the two sides failed to narrow their differences, as the central government is growing increasingly displeased with the prefectural government's continued actions to file lawsuits over the FRF construction at Henoko.


Putin attends opening ceremony for factory on Shikotan

Asahi wrote that Russian President Putin attended a ceremony in Vladivostok early Thursday morning to mark the start of operations at a new seafood processing factory on Shikotan in the Northern Territories. Noting that Putin is scheduled to hold talks with Prime Minister Abe on Thursday afternoon in Vladivostok, the paper speculated that the move by the Russia leader was intended to demonstrate Russia's intention to continue unilateral development of the Northern Territories.

Japan, Russia to hold vice-ministerial security talks

Yomiuri wrote that Japan and Russia have decided to hold security talks at the vice foreign minister level on Sept. 9 or later in Tokyo. The paper wrote that Senior Deputy Minister Mori and Russian Deputy Foreign Minister Morgulov are expected to participate. The daily speculated that at the talks Japan will probably express its concern over the Russian military's increased activities around the Northern Territories and Russia may bring up Tokyo's planned deployment of the Aegis Ashore system.


Abe plans to keep Nikai, Kishida in LDP leadership posts

Yomiuri led with a report saying that Prime Minister Abe has decided to retain LDP Secretary General Nikai and Policy Research Council Chairman Kishida in their current posts in a planned reshuffle of party executives based on the judgment that they are indispensable for the stable management of his administration. All other national dailies ran similar reports, with Asahi adding that Abe is also planning to keep Deputy Secretary General Hagiuda in his current post.


Japanese car sales plummet in South Korea

Asahi, Nikkei, and Mainichi wrote that according to data released by the Korea Automobile Importers & Distributors Association on Wednesday, sales of Japanese cars in South Korea in August fell by 57% from a year earlier. Nikkei wrote that Yonhap News Agency attributed the drop to the boycott of Japanese goods in response to Tokyo's tightening controls on exports to South Korea in July.

GOJ holds briefing on contaminated water at Fukushima nuclear plant

Asahi, Yomiuri, Mainichi, and Sankei wrote that at the Foreign Ministry on Wednesday the GOJ briefed foreign missions in Tokyo on the handling of contaminated water at the Fukushima Daiichi Nuclear Power Plant. According to the ministry, 27 diplomats from 22 countries, including the United States, South Korea, and Germany, attended the briefing.

U.S. Embassy Tokyo Media Analysis and Translation Team