Afternoon Alert   -   Thursday, September 20, 2018
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Noon news

Most networks led with reports on the LDP presidential election. TV Asahi gave top play to a report that North Korean leader Kim and South Korean President Moon climbed to the summit of Mt. Paektu, the highest mountain on the Korean Peninsula, speculating that the two leaders exchanged views on denuclearization.


Prime Minister Abe reelected LDP leader

NHK reported this afternoon that Prime Minister Abe was reelected leader of the LDP and secured his third consecutive term, defeating his sole challenger, Shigeru Ishiba. The network said PM Abe will serve for another three years, giving him a chance to become Japan's longest-serving prime minister. According to the network, Abe garnered 553 votes out of a total of 807, with 329 valid ballots being cast by LDP Diet members and 224 by party members at LDP branches in each prefecture. The network said the premier is expected to hold a press conference this evening and give his views on LDP leadership appointments, a cabinet reshuffle, and the future management of his administration.

PM Abe to appoint party leaders, reshuffle cabinet after returning from U.S. next week

NHK reported on its website that Prime Minister Abe told LDP executives today that he will appoint party leaders and reshuffle his cabinet after he comes back from his trip to the U.S. that is scheduled to begin next week. Abe reportedly said: "I will attend the UN General Assembly to be held from the beginning of next week in New York and a U.S.-Japan summit. As soon as I return, I will make the party leadership appointments and reshuffle the cabinet."

Prime minister's schedule on Sept. 19, 2018 (Sankei)

Abe re-elected to head Japan's ruling party for three more years (Nikkei Asian Review)

Komeito chief Yamaguchi says "constitutional reform has a low priority" (Tokyo Shimbun)

Chronology of major events of Prime Minister Abe's government (Kyodo News)


U.S. accelerating moves to hold dialogue with North Korea

TV Asahi reported at noon that following the results of the inter-Korean summit, the U.S. government appears to be accelerating its efforts to hold dialogue with North Korea. The network said Secretary of State Pompeo disclosed that he is sounding out his North Korean counterpart Ri on holding talks on the sidelines of the UN General Assembly scheduled for next week in New York and said that "this will mark the beginning of negotiations to transform U.S.-DPRK relations through the process of rapid denuclearization of North Korea, to be completed by January 2021, as per the commitment made by Chairman Kim." All other networks carried similar stories, saying that the Secretary also disclosed that the U.S. side proposed holding a meeting between Special Representative for North Korea Policy Biegun and a North Korean representative in Vienna at the earliest opportunity.

GOJ analysis: "No concrete progress" made on denuclearization at North-South summit (Tokyo Shimbun)

FOCUS: N. Korea's denuclearization far away even after Pyongyang summit (Kyodo News)

DPRK taking piecemeal approach to get greatest returns (Yomiuri)

Expert comments on outcome of North-South summit (Yomiuri)

Expert: Japan should call on U.S., China to protect free trade (Nikkei)

Editorial: U.S.-North Korea talks needed to keep momentum toward peace (The Asahi Shimbun)

Abe: There's also a "positive side" to Putin's proposal (Mainichi)

Signing of Russia-Japan peace treaty not difficult: ex-envoy (Jiji Press)

Japan's Kono airs hopes for Cambodia's continued democratization (Kyodo News)


Expert: Japan needs to make efforts to maintain the free trade system (Nikkei)

Expert: "China will not give in of its own accord" (Mainichi)

Japanese firms relocate production bases in China to avoid U.S. high tariffs (Tokyo Shimbun)

Editorial: U.S.-China tariff fight increases uncertainty in the world economy (The Japan News)

Infographic: Vehicles exported to U.S. from Japan and vehicles manufactured in U.S. by Japanese automakers (Tokyo Shimbun)


Pentagon releases new cyber strategy, expresses vigilance against China and Russia

NHK reported this morning that the Department of Defense expressed a strong degree of vigilance against cyberattacks by China and Russia in a new cyber strategy it released on Wednesday. According to the network, the new strategy points out that China is extracting classified information from the U.S. through cyberattacks and undermining the U.S.'s economic vitality and military superiority. It also reportedly points out that Russia is influencing the U.S. public and attacking democracy through information manipulation. The strategy reportedly says the U.S. will enhance capabilities against cyberattacks, including sharing information with allies.

Mayor opposes deployment of land-based Aegis missile defense battery (Kyodo News)

Okinawa pref. submits bill on U.S. base transfer referendum (Kyodo News)


49% back Abe for next LDP president, while 39% back Ishiba, Sankei-FNN poll (Sankei)

Opinion poll & results from Sankei Shimbun (Sankei


Virtual currency theft cases triple in Japan in Jan.-June (Jiji Press)

6.7 bil yen in digital currencies stolen from Japanese exchange (Kyodo News)

Foreign residents in Japan rise to record 2.6m (Nikkei Asian Review)

5 foreign chambers of commerce in Japan call for marriage equality (Kyodo News)

U.S. Embassy Tokyo Media Analysis and Translation Team