Morning Alert   -   Friday, September 6, 2019
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Morning news

All TV networks led with stories on the accident in which a train struck a truck at a crossing on the Keikyu Line in Yokohama yesterday, killing the truck driver.

Top stories in national dailies included the approval by Britain's House of Commons of a bill to delay Brexit (Asahi, Mainichi), a GOJ plan to grant pardons on the occasion of the enthronement ceremony of Emperor Naruhito in October (Yomiuri), a plan by Softbank to abolish two-year mobile contracts (Nikkei), and the fatal collision between a train and a truck in Yokohama (Sankei).


No progress made in Abe-Putin talks on peace treaty discussions

All national dailies reported on bilateral talks between Prime Minister Abe and Russian President Putin in Vladivostok on Thursday. The papers wrote that although the two leaders agreed to move forward with discussions on the Northern Territories and a peace treaty in a "forward-looking" manner, they failed to produce tangible progress but agreed to meet again on the sidelines of an APEC leaders' meeting in Chile in November. According to the papers, Abe and Putin spoke one-on-one for 20 minutes and later held an expanded meeting with their foreign ministers and other officials for one hour.

Asahi speculated that Putin is taking a tough position on the Northern Territories for domestic political reasons because anti-Putin sentiment is growing in Russia ahead of the municipal and regional parliamentary elections to be held on Sept. 8. Yomiuri expressed a similar view, noting the frequent anti-government rallies. The paper wrote that there is no sign of Russia making concessions on the Northern Territories, as Russian Prime Minister Medvedev visited Etorofu, the largest of the four islands, in August. Mainichi asserted that there are limits to Abe's strategy to resolve the Northern Territories issue based on his personal relationship of trust with Putin and it will be difficult for him to achieve his goal of concluding a peace treaty with Russia before his term as LDP president expires in September 2021.

Putin expresses opposition to Japan's deployment of Aegis Ashore

All national dailies wrote that following their bilateral talks in Vladivostok on Thursday, Prime Minister Abe and Russian President Putin spoke at a plenary meeting of the Eastern Economic Forum held there on the same day. According to the papers, Putin expressed opposition to Japan's plan to deploy the Aegis Ashore system by warning that the deployment will affect peace treaty negotiations between Tokyo and Moscow. He also expressed concern over the possibility of the United States deploying mid-range missiles in Japan and South Korea. Prime Minister Abe reportedly stressed that Japan will only use the Aegis Ashore system for the purpose of intercepting missiles and not for launching attacks and that Tokyo has heard nothing about missile deployment from Washington. Sankei wrote that Putin expressed the view that there are many challenges to signing a peace treaty with Japan, including Japan's security treaty with the United States. The paper wrote although Abe stressed progress in Japan's economic cooperation with Russia at the forum, there is concern that the Northern Territories issue will be put on hold.

South Korea conveys concerns over Fukushima wastewater to IAEA

Sankei wrote that the South Korean government announced on Thursday that it sent to the International Atomic Energy Agency a letter conveying its concerns about Japan's possible plan to release treated radioactive water from the Fukushima Daiichi Nuclear Power Plant into the sea. The ROK government said it will raise the issue at a general meeting of the IAEA slated to begin on Sept. 16 and ask the international nuclear watchdog to play an active role in addressing the issue. Nikkei ran a similar Kyodo story.


Defense minister, Okinawa governor at odds over FRF construction at Henoko

Mainichi reported on a meeting between Defense Minister Iwaya and Okinawa Governor Tamaki at the prefectural government office on Thursday. The paper wrote that the two officials remained at odds over the FRF construction at Henoko. The defense minister reiterated the GOJ plan to proceed with the construction by saying that deterrence should not be reduced, while the Okinawa governor insisted that the construction should be halted and a path toward resolution should be sought through dialogue.

SDF chief expresses "regret" over ROK's decision to terminate GSOMIA

Asahi wrote that General Yamazaki, Chief of Staff of the SDF Joint Staff, stated at a news conference on Thursday that South Korea's decision to terminate the GSOMIA with Japan is very regrettable. The paper wrote that this was the first time for the SDF chief to comment on the ROK decision in an official setting.

U.S. Embassy Tokyo Media Analysis and Translation Team