Afternoon Alert   -   Thursday, September 13, 2018
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Noon news

NHK, TBS, and TV Asahi led with reports on updates on the massive earthquake that struck Hokkaido last week, saying that about 1,600 people are still living in shelters. NTV and Fuji TV led with reports on a news conference held by U.S. Open tennis champion Naomi Osaka after arriving in Japan early this morning. All broadcasters also reported on the start today of the official campaign for the Sept. 30 Okinawa gubernatorial election.


Suga comments on Putin's proposal to conclude peace treaty without preconditions

NHK reported online that concerning President Putin's proposal on concluding a peace treaty with Japan without any preconditions by the end of this year, Chief Cabinet Secretary Suga told reporters this morning that the remarks reflect President Putin's strong desire to develop the Japan-Russia relationship and that Russia is aware of Japan's position. Suga reportedly said: "We are in constant communication with Russia, but I would like to refrain from commenting on the details of our discussions. I think President Putin's remarks reflect his strong desire to conclude a peace treaty and to accelerate the development of the Japan-Russia relationship." When asked whether President Putin's proposal is aimed at shelving the territorial issue, Suga reportedly said: "Japan's basic position is to conclude a peace treaty after resolving the territorial issue. The Russian side is well aware of our position."

President Trump signs executive order to punish election interference

NHK reported this morning that President Trump signed an executive order on Wednesday meant to punish foreign entities for interfering in U.S. elections ahead of the midterm elections in November. The network said there are growing concerns in the U.S. about possible foreign interference in the midterm elections following the "Russiagate" scandal during the presidential election of 2016.

The network said that according to National Security Advisor Bolton, foreign interference includes hacking into the electoral system and manipulating public opinion through the use of social media, adding that the targets include foreign individuals, companies, and governments. In addition, Director of National Intelligence Coats reportedly stressed that Russia is not the only nation that could influence U.S. elections and that the U.S. will keep a close eye on China, Iran, and North Korea as well.

Gist of remarks by Abe, Putin at Eastern Economic Forum (Yomiuri)

Gist of Japan-China Summit (Mainichi)

Gist of PM Abe's remarks after summit with Xi (Sankei)

Editorial: Japan, Russia should speed up talks on Northern Territories (The Mainichi)

Editorial: Joint economic activities with Russia must be steadily advanced in N. isles (The Japan News)


Kono expresses hope to increase TPP membership, expand free trade system

NHK reported online that amid what the network described as the Trump administration's increasingly "protectionist" moves, Foreign Minister Kono expressed the view that the free trade system should be expanded by increasing the membership of the TPP and urged the U.S. to return to it. Kono is currently visiting Vietnam to attend the World Economic Forum on ASEAN. "The TPP remains the best option," he reportedly said. "It will go into effect at the end of this year and its membership will expand further. If we have a bigger free trade system, it will be beneficial to U.S. industry." Kono also reportedly sought understanding for Prime Minister Abe's "Free and Open Indo-Pacific Strategy" by saying: "The safety of maritime transport is the key to global economic development. We need a maritime order based on rules and high-quality infrastructure."

China takes conciliatory approach with Japan in area of economy as well (Mainichi)

Chinese PM, Japan business execs agree to deepen cooperation (Kyodo News)

Casino control commission to be launched next summer (Nikkei)

Japan's machine tool exports fall for first time in 21 months (Nikkei)


Prime minister's schedule on Sept. 12, 2018 (Sankei)

DPFP values relations with Rengo (Nikkei)

Cartoon: Constitutional amendment (Akahata)

Cartoon: LDP Presidential election (Asahi)


Launch of Kounotori cargo transporter to ISS postponed to Sept. 15 (Mainichi)


Tokyo police arrest Nigerian for fraud through joint investigation with FBI

NHK reported this afternoon that on Wednesday the Tokyo Metropolitan Police Department arrested a Nigerian national on fraud charges and suspicion of violating the Act on Punishment of Organized Crimes and Control of Crime Procedures. According to the police, the suspect defrauded an American company of money during its transfer to Japan by hacking into the email account of one of the company's accountants. The suspect had the money sent to the bank account of an acquaintance of his. According to the police, the suspect has been denying the allegations.

TBS aired a similar story in its noon news, adding that the suspect claims he is an Osaka-based trader. The network said that the American company remitted about 108 million yen to a bank in Sendai in April 2017 and that the Tokyo police are investigating the case together with the FBI.

Olympics: 2020 Tokyo Games flame to arrive in Japan on March 20, 2020 (Kyodo News)

Tokyo 2020 Olympic Village to be made into high-rise residential area after Games (Asahi, Evening edition)

With eye on Olympics, Yokohama holds joint drill (Kanagawa Shimbun)

Organizers to start accepting applications from prospective Tokyo Games volunteers this month (The Japan Times)

This Tokyo Scout's been there, done that, got all the merit badges — and more (The Japan Times)


LDP defense panel chief says "Aegis Ashore" needed (Mainichi)

Australian victim of sexual assault by U.S. serviceman calls for SOFA revision (Kanagawa Shimbun)


GOJ to delay response to revocation of Henoko landfill permit

Ryukyu Shimpo and Okinawa Times ran front-page reports saying that they have learned from several GOJ sources that the central government is planning to delay its response to the Okinawa prefectural government's revocation on Aug. 31 of its landfill permit for the FRF construction at Henoko until after the Sept. 30 gubernatorial election. The papers speculated that the GOJ is considering putting off taking action against the revocation out of concern that the Okinawa public would react strongly if Tokyo took legal measures.

Royal New Zealand Air Force transport plane arrives at Kadena Air Base (Okinawa Times)

Okinawa Times, Hosei Univ. launch a joint project to identify fake news on gubernatorial race (Okinawa Times)

Ishiba acknowledges political factor behind high concentration of U.S. bases in Okinawa (Okinawa Times)

U.S. Embassy Tokyo Media Analysis and Translation Team