Morning Alert   -   Wednesday, September 25, 2019
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Morning news

NHK led with a report on the start of debate at the UN General Assembly yesterday, focusing on President Trump's speech criticizing Iran and China and urging North Korea to denuclearize. TBS reported on the speech delivered on Monday by 16-year-old Swedish activist Greta Thunberg to world leaders at the UN special summit on climate change. TV Asahi filed a follow-up report on the murder of a couple in Sakaemachi, Ibaraki Prefecture. NTV aired a dash cam video of a taxi driving on the wrong side of the road with passengers onboard in Saga Prefecture. Fuji TV showed a dash cam recording of a road rage incident in Kagoshima.

Top stories in national dailies included President Trump's remarks at the UN General Assembly (Yomiuri), an agreement by the U.S. and Japanese governments to conclude a new trade deal (Sankei), a session of the UN Climate Action Summit and Greta Thunberg's speech (Asahi, Mainichi), and foreign funds' increasing investment in Japanese companies (Nikkei).


Motegi says trade negotiations with U.S. have "completely finished"

All national dailies reported on remarks made to the press by Foreign Minister Motegi after a meeting with USTR Lighthizer in New York on Monday. According to the papers, Motegi said: "Today, our negotiations completely finished. We're going to have a good ceremony on Wednesday when our leaders meet." Yomiuri wrote that President Trump and Prime Minister Abe are expected to sign a document confirming the final agreement at their bilateral talks scheduled for Wednesday and that the GOJ is planning to announce the details of the deal after the summit meeting. Mainichi wrote that a formal document will probably not be ready for signing by the President and the prime minister because the language must be finalized and the text must be reviewed from a legal standpoint.

The papers wrote that under the envisaged agreement, Japan will cut tariffs on U.S. produce including beef and pork. Nikkei wrote that it has learned arrangements are being made to include in the agreement a plan to remove U.S. tariffs on Japanese vehicle and auto parts, but that a time frame will not be mentioned and the two governments will continue to negotiate on the issue. The daily wrote that Japan is hoping to use the plan to win the tariffs' removal in the future.


Abe holds talks with Iranian president

All national dailies reported on Prime Minister Abe's bilateral talks with Iranian President Rouhani in New York on Tuesday. The papers wrote that at the outset of the meeting Abe told Rouhani he welcomes the president's willingness to achieve peace through dialogue as he expressed during their talks in Tehran in June.

Kyodo News reported updates on the Abe-Rouhani meeting, saying that Abe told Rouhani that Japan expects Iran to play a constructive role in stabilizing the Middle East in the wake of attacks on Saudi Arabia's oil facilities. Abe reportedly also urged Iran to fulfill its responsibility as a nation along the Persian Gulf to ensure the safe passage of shipping, a critical issue for Japan as it depends on the Middle East for oil. Abe expressed "strong concern" over the worsening Middle East situation following the Sept. 14 attacks, acknowledging there are doubts that Houthi rebels in neighboring Yemen were to blame. The Iranian president was quoted as telling Abe that he hopes to cooperate with Japan as regional security is important.

Japanese, ROK foreign ministers to hold talks in New York

All national dailies reported on a MOFA announcement on Tuesday that Foreign Minister Motegi will hold bilateral talks with his South Korean counterpart Kang on the sidelines of the UN General Assembly in New York on Thursday. The papers wrote that this will be their first meeting after Motegi assumed his current post, speculating that the two officials will discuss such issues as compensation for former Korean requisitioned workers, Japan's tightened export controls on semiconductor-related products bound for South Korea, and Seoul's decision to terminate the GSOMIA with Japan.


NASA chief expresses hope for Japan's participation in Gateway project

Nikkei ran an interview with NASA Administrator Bridenstine that was conducted in Tokyo on Tuesday. The paper wrote that the NASA chief reportedly expressed hope for Japan's cooperation with the Lunar Platform Orbiting Gateway, a U.S.-led international effort for manned space missions, in the areas of transporting goods to the space station and developing habitat modules. The paper wrote that Japan is expected to formally announce its participation in the project by the year end. The paper also wrote that the administrator said it is "highly likely" that Japanese astronauts will stay at the Gateway station or participate in the lunar exploration mission. He added that Japan is a very reliable partner with great technology. Yomiuri also carried an interview with NASA Administrator Bridenstine.

NHK reported last night on a speech Bridenstine gave to students at the University of Tokyo. He reportedly explained the Gateway project, remarking that Japan has a major role to play in it. He spoke of plans to send manned missions to Mars and called for Japanese youth's cooperation with NASA in space exploration. NHK said the NASA administrator will hold a news conference today on plans for future cooperation between NASA and its partners.


Japan will not invite South Korea to fleet review

All national dailies reported on Japan's decision not to invite South Korea to participate in an international naval review to be held on Oct. 14. Chief Cabinet Secretary Suga told the press on Tuesday that relations between Japan and South Korea remain tense and that an environment in which South Korea could participate in the event has not yet been created. MSDF Chief of Staff Yamamura expressed a similar view at a separate press briefing on Tuesday. The MSDF chief told the press that Japan has invited seven countries – the United States, Britain, Canada, Singapore Australia, China, and India. China will join the triennial review for the first time. A spokesperson for South Korea's Ministry of National Defense said on Tuesday that Seoul has not received a letter of invitation to the event.

U.S. Embassy Tokyo Media Analysis and Translation Team