JAPAN MEDIA HIGHLIGHTS
Morning Alert   -   Tuesday, October 1, 2019
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HEADLINES

Morning news

All TV networks and national dailies led with reports on the increase in the consumption tax from 8% to 10% that took effect at 12:00 a.m. today, with broadcasters reporting extensively on consumers' reactions to the tax hike.

SECURITY

DM Kono holds talks with top Marine in Okinawa

Yomiuri, Mainichi, and Sankei wrote that Defense Minister Kono held talks with Okinawa Area Coordinator Clardy at Camp Zukeran on Monday. Yomiuri and Sankei wrote that Kono stressed to the top U.S. military officer in Okinawa that the GOJ will steadily move forward with relocating the Futenma functions to Henoko. Yomiuri and Mainichi wrote that the foreign minister called on the U.S. military to ensure the safety of its operations and reduce the base-hosting burden on local communities. According to the papers, Lt. Gen. Clardy responded by saying that the U.S. military will continue to make efforts to minimize the impact on local communities.

Defense Ministry studying measures to deal with drone attacks

Nikkei wrote that the Ministry of Defense is expediting a study on how to deal with drone attacks. The paper wrote that in response to the recent drone attacks on oil facilities in Saudi Arabia, the ministry intends to enhance its ability to cope with small drones that are difficult to detect. According to the paper, the ministry is developing technologies for shooting down drones with a high-power laser and neutralizing them using jamming signals.

POLITICS

Extraordinary Diet session to be held from Oct. 4 through Dec. 9

All national dailies wrote that LDP Secretary General Nikai told reporters on Monday that the GOJ and the ruling coalition have decided to convene an extraordinary Diet session for 67 days from Oct. 4 through Dec. 9. They intend to officially present the plan to the opposition parties today. According to the papers, Prime Minister Abe will deliver a policy speech on Oct. 4 at both houses, and party representatives will conduct interpellations on Oct. 7-9. The papers wrote that the GOJ will seek Diet approval for the new U.S.-Japan trade agreement in the hope that the relevant legislation can be enacted during the upcoming session. Nikkei wrote that the GOJ and the ruling coalition will give priority to approving the trade accord with Washington that was agreed upon between President Trump and Prime Minister Abe last month.

Four opposition parties join forces in Diet

Yomiuri and Nikkei wrote that the Constitutional Democratic Party of Japan (CDPJ), the Democratic Party for the People, the Social Democratic Party, and the Reviewing Group on Social Security Policy notified both houses of the Diet on Monday of their formation of a multipartisan legislative caucus in each house. The group has 120 seats in the Lower House and 61 in the Upper House. CDPJ leader Edano stressed at a party congress on Monday that the party will join forces with other opposition parties to counter the Abe administration and seek to capture the reins of government. Yomiuri speculated that the opposition group is planning to grill the GOJ over the new trade agreement with the United States and the consumption tax hike. However, the paper wrote that it remains to be seen whether the group will be able to act in unison because there are differences between the four parties over such issues as constitutional revision and the use of nuclear power.

INTERNATIONAL

Former NSA Bolton comments on DPRK

NHK took up a speech on North Korea delivered by former National Security Advisor Bolton at the Center for Strategic and International Studies on Monday. He reportedly emphasized that the DPRK will never give up its nuclear programs and has recently refrained from conducting nuclear tests or launching long-range ballistic missiles since it has already "finished testing." While stopping short of criticizing President Trump's conciliatory approach toward the Kim regime, Bolton appeared to differ from his former boss as he was shown saying: "The more time that goes by almost inevitably benefits the proliferant." Bolton also reportedly commented on the growing schism between Japan and South Korea by saying it is wrong for Washington to ignore the dispute between its two allies. Kyodo News filed a similar report.

JAPAN MEDIA HIGHLIGHTS
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U.S. Embassy Tokyo Media Analysis and Translation Team