Morning Alert   -   Friday, September 13, 2019
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Morning news

Top TV news items included Yahoo Japan's decision to buy out the nation's largest online fashion retailer Zozo Inc. and the prolonged electricity outage in the southern part of Chiba Prefecture. Power supply to some 200,000 households has been disrupted since Typhoon Faxai hit the region on Monday.

Top stories in national dailies included a report that a DPRK boat threatened a Fisheries Agency patrol vessel in Japan's EEZ (Yomiuri), Yahoo Japan's decision to purchase Zozo Inc. (Mainichi), the prolonged power outage in Chiba Prefecture (Sankei), increasing global investment in startups in Southeast Asia (Nikkei), and municipalities' provision of subsidies to cancer patients (Asahi).


U.S., Japan reach draft agreement on rules on digital trade

Nikkei wrote that it has learned the details of a draft U.S.-Japan agreement on digital trade, claiming that the United States and Japan will not require technology companies to disclose their algorithms or other tech secrets except in cases of possible antitrust law violations. The paper wrote that the U.S. and Japanese governments are making preparations for President Trump and Prime Minister Abe to sign the draft agreement on the sidelines of the UN General Assembly in New York later this month. The paper also noted that the two governments forged a basic agreement on farm and industrial good tariffs on Aug. 25 and are still working out the details.


DPRK boat threatens Japanese Fisheries Agency vessel in Japan's EEZ

Yomiuri led with a report saying that it has learned from multiple GOJ sources that a high-speed DPRK boat with an armed crew came close to a Japanese Fisheries Agency patrol ship in Japan's exclusive economic zone in the Sea of Japan off the Noto Peninsula in Ishikawa Prefecture on Aug. 23. According to the sources, several Japanese and North Korean fishing boats were operating in the area and the Japanese patrol ship instructed Japanese fishing boats to leave the area to avoid any risk. The Fisheries Agency vessel was operating in the region to crack down on illegal fishing by North Korean and other foreign fishing boats.

New Zealand prime minister to visit to Japan

Yomiuri and Nikkei wrote that MOFA announced on Thursday that New Zealand Prime Minister Ardern will visit Japan on Sept. 18-22 and hold talks with Prime Minister Abe on Sept. 19. Yomiuri speculated that the two leaders will discuss efforts to achieve a "free and open Indo-Pacific" and support Pacific island nations. Yomiuri wrote that Ardern plans to attend the opening ceremony of the Rugby World Cup Japan on Sept. 20 and watch a game between New Zealand and South Africa on Sept. 21.

International Paralympic Committee chief dismisses ROK criticism of medal design

Yomiuri wrote that Andrew Parson, the president of the International Paralympic Committee (IPC), responded on Thursday to South Korean concern about the design of the medals for the Tokyo Paralympics by saying he finds it unproblematic. According to the paper, Parson disclosed at an IPC meeting held in Tokyo on Thursday that the South Korean delegation expressed concern about the medal by saying it resembles the Rising Sun flag. The IPC chief was quoted as saying that he does not find the design problematic because it reflects Japanese culture with a motif of an open Japanese fan and does not plan to instruct the Tokyo Organizing Committee of the Olympic and Paralympic Games to change the design.


Cabinet support rises after reshuffle

Sankei and Mainichi reported on the results of a Kyodo poll conducted on Sept. 11-12 in which 55.4%, up 5.1 percentage points from the August poll, supported the Abe cabinet. Nonsupport stood at 25.7%. Some 47.1% opposed amending the Constitution during the Abe administration, while 38.8% approved of it.

Nikkei front-paged the results of the latest Nikkei-TV Tokyo survey conducted on Sept. 11-12, which showed that 45% of the respondents approved of the launch of a new cabinet and LDP leadership, while 30% disapproved. Concerning Prime Minister Abe's desire to hold a national referendum on constitutional revision by September 2021 when his term as LDP president ends, 58% expressed support and 32% expressed opposition.

Regarding who they think is the most appropriate choice for the next prime minister, Environment Minister Koizumi received the highest rating among the 10 choices offered at 20%, followed by Abe at 16%, former Defense Minister Ishiba at 15%, Defense Minister Kono at 8%, LDP policy chief Kishida at 7%, and Chief Cabinet Secretary Suga at 7%.

Yachi's departure may signal Abe administration's shift to emphasis on economy

Mainichi ran an analytical report on the recent change in the lineup of advisors to Prime Minister Abe. Shotaro Yachi will step down on Sept. 13 from his post as the head of the National Security Secretariat (NSS) and Shigeru Kitamura, the chief of the Cabinet Intelligence and Research Office, will replace him. The paper wrote that there is speculation that MOFA's influence within the cabinet may decline as a result of the departure of Yachi, a veteran MOFA official, and that the Abe administration may put more emphasis on "economic diplomacy."

U.S. Embassy Tokyo Media Analysis and Translation Team