Morning Alert   -   Wednesday, October 30, 2019
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Morning news

NHK led with the aftermath of recent typhoons and heavy rains in Chiba and other prefectures, highlighting the serious damage to crops and shortage of volunteers to help clean up the wreckage. TBS and TV Asahi gave top play to the planned start today of a meeting between the IOC and the Tokyo Olympics Organizing Committee regarding the planned transfer of the marathon event to Sapporo. Fuji TV's top item was the arrest of a mother in Kanagawa Prefecture for child abuse.

Top stories in national dailies included the GOJ's designation of the damage caused by Typhoon Hagibis as a "severe natural disaster" (Asahi), several municipalities' failure to install watertight doors at nine water purification plants that were flooded by Typhoon Hagibis (Mainichi), Sony's plan to build a new factory in Nagasaki Prefecture as part of its investment in image sensor production in preparation for 5G technology (Nikkei), a plan by Hitachi and Honda to merge four of their auto parts manufacturers (Yomiuri), and a plan by the EU to ease its restrictions on Japanese food imports that have been in place since the Fukushima nuclear accident in 2011 (Sankei).


Suga refrains from commenting on foreign ministerial of "coalition of the willing" against ISIS

Sankei front-paged a report on an announcement by the Department of State on Monday that it will host a meeting of foreign ministers from nations participating in the "coalition of the willing" against ISIS in Washington on Nov. 14 in response to the death of ISIS leader Abu Bakr al-Baghdadi. The paper wrote that Chief Cabinet Secretary Suga told reporters on Tuesday that at this stage, he would like to refrain from commenting on the possibility of Japan's participation. The paper noted that although Japan is not participating in the coalition's military operations, as a coalition member it has provided humanitarian assistance to Syrian refugees and the Japanese Embassy in Washington has participated in coalition meetings.

Suga says he is unable to comment on possibility of sending SDF assets to Strait of Hormuz

Nikkei wrote that in response to a question from a reporter on whether the Strait of Hormuz will be included in the scope of Japan's deployment of SDF assets to the Middle East, Chief Cabinet Secretary Suga reportedly said on Tuesday that he cannot give an answer because the GOJ has only just begun studying the possibility of SDF deployment to the region.

Japanese, ROK leaders will likely not meet in November

Yomiuri front-paged a report saying that the GOJ has decided to forgo arranging a meeting between Prime Minister Abe and South Korean President Moon at least in November in order to see whether the ROK government will take action to rectify its violation of international law concerning the issue of compensation for former Korean requisitioned workers. The paper wrote that although attention has been focused on whether the Japanese and ROK leaders will hold bilateral talks on the sidelines of the ASEAN leaders' meeting in Bangkok in early November or the APEC summit in Chile in late November, Tokyo has decided not to arrange a summit on either occasion and to regard the Japan-China-ROK trilateral summit slated for late December in Beijing as another opportunity for holding a bilateral meeting with South Korea.


Kono comments on U.S. parachute drop drills at Kadena

All national dailies wrote that the U.S. military conducted night-time parachute drop training on Tuesday at Kadena Air Base. Asahi wrote that Defense Minister Kono reportedly told the press that the training runs counter to efforts to maintain and strengthen the U.S.-Japan alliance. The paper wrote that although the United States and Japan agreed at their 1996 Special Action Committee on Okinawa (SACO) final agreement that parachute drop training would be conducted at the Ie Jima Auxiliary Airfield, it has been conducted 11 times at Kadena since 2000 and this was the fourth time for it to take place there this year. According to the paper, Kono said at a news conference on Tuesday morning that the training is unacceptable because it violates the SACO agreement. He also reportedly disclosed that he has asked the U.S. government to stop conducting such training at Kadena.

Yomiuri wrote that on Monday the Ministry of Defense asked the USFJ not to conduct the training and that Kono reportedly told the press that it was regrettable because it could affect the U.S.-Japan alliance. Mainichi wrote that according to the ministry, it was notified by the U.S. military on Monday of its plan to conduct parachute drop training at Kadena on Tuesday. The paper wrote that although the GOJ asked the USFJ through the U.S. Embassy to suspend the training, it conducted the drill starting at around 6:40 p.m.

All broadcasters aired similar reports yesterday and this morning, with TBS adding that Kono is set to urge the U.S. side not to conduct such training again at Kadena when he meets with Defense Secretary Esper next month.

Defense ministry to set up advisory panel on Aegis Ashore deployment

According to Asahi, Defense Minister Kono announced on Tuesday that his ministry will set up a panel of experts to provide technical advice for new surveys at candidate sites for the deployment of the Aegis Ashore land-based missile defense system. The panel will reportedly be launched today. Yomiuri and Mainichi ran similar reports.


Lower House committee to begin deliberating bill on U.S.-Japan trade agreements

Yomiuri wrote that the Lower House Foreign Affairs Committee agreed at an executive meeting yesterday that it will begin deliberations on legislation to approve the new U.S.-Japan trade agreements on Wednesday. The paper wrote that the ruling coalition proposed having the committee vote on the bill on Nov. 6, but a vote on that date is in doubt because the opposition camp did not respond to the proposal.

EU to ease restrictions on Japanese food imports

Yomiuri wrote that the Ministry of Agriculture, Forestry and Fisheries announced yesterday that on Nov. 14 the EU will ease its restrictions on Japanese food imports that have been in place since the Fukushima nuclear accident in 2011.

U.S. Embassy Tokyo Media Analysis and Translation Team