Afternoon Alert   -   Monday, September 24, 2018
The following information reflects the reporting of the cited news media and does not reflect the opinions of the U.S. Embassy in Tokyo. Japan Media Highlights is intended for USG use only and should not be forwarded. Visit the website here. For more information, contact TokyoMATT@state.gov.


Noon news

All networks led with reports that Prime Minister Abe and President Trump ate dinner together at the Trump Tower in New York on Sunday evening ahead of their planned summit meeting on Sept. 27.


President Trump, PM Abe talk about North Korea, trade over dinner in New York

All networks reported at noon that President Trump and Prime Minister Abe ate dinner together at the Trump Tower in New York on Sunday. PM Abe told reporters afterwards: "On North Korea we agreed to accelerate the momentum created at the historic U.S.-DPRK summit in June and to continue to work together toward the denuclearization of the Korean Peninsula." Regarding the abduction issue, the premier reportedly said he delivered messages to the President from the families of the abductees whom he met before his departure for the U.S. and that he is determined to confront Chairman Kim and take every opportunity to work on the issue. He was also quoted as saying: "We had a very constructive discussion on the issues of commerce, investment, and trade, as well as 'FFR.' In any case, Minister Motegi will meet with USTR Lighthizer on these issues, and we will talk about them again at the upcoming summit."

Meanwhile, Fuji TV reported that Japan is planning to reach an agreement with the U.S. on launching a new venue for trade talks by hinting at the possibility of lowering tariffs on U.S. agricultural products to the levels of the TPP, adding that attention will be focused on whether this will allow Japan to skirt President Trump's hardline policies.

President Trump tweets on trade with Japan

NHK reported this morning that before having dinner with visiting Prime Minister Abe, President Trump put Japan on notice by tweeting that the U.S. has "done much to help Japan and would like to see more of a reciprocal relationship." The network said the President is expected to call for concrete results in talks with Japan in order to reduce the U.S. trade deficit ahead of the midterm elections in November.

• Japan's Abe, Trump to continue close coordination on N. Korea (KyodoNews)

• Japan wary of declaration on end of Korean War eclipsing DPRK denuclearization (Tokyo Shimbun)

• China-Japan maritime crisis threatens “Silk Road” project: report (KyodoNews)

• Japan, China plan to launch 'innovation dialogue' with focus on self-driving vehicles, AI (The Japan Times)

• Abe annoyed with MOFA about its response to potential agreements with Russia (Shukan Bunshun)

• Comfort women statue in San Francisco marks first anniversary (Sankei)

• Japan seeks stronger cooperation with Estonia in cybersecurity (TheMainichi)


Experts discuss U.S.-Japan trade, DPRK

On NHK's “Nichiyo Toron” Sunday debate show, six scholars discussed U.S.-Japan trade and the DPRK. Concerning U.S.-Japan trade, Chubu University Professor Masahiko Hosokawa speculated that the Trump administration is hoping to set quantitative restrictions on auto imports from Japan and urge Japan to lower tariffs on American farm imports. The METI bureaucrat-turned scholar expressed the view that it will be impossible for Japan to accept quantitative restrictions on auto imports, but may be possible to discuss tariffs as a reciprocal issue. He added that as a final “exit,” it may be difficult for Washington and Tokyo to implement tariff cuts unless they choose the form of an FTA.

Former Vice Foreign Minister and Ritsumeikan University Visiting Professor Mitoji Yabunaka expressed the view that direct talks between President Trump and Prime Minister Abe will be important for trade negotiations between the United States and Japan and that it will probably be necessary for Japan to broadly discuss bilateral trade by explaining Japan's procurement of defense equipment and energy from the United States.

Keio University Professor Yasushi Watanabe conjectured that the United States will probably urge Japan to make concessions on agricultural trade because President Trump is hoping to justify his decision to withdraw from the TPP by saying that the deal he makes on farm trade with Japan is better than the TPP.

Tokyo University Professor Masahiro Kohara, Waseda University Professor Lee Jong Won, and Japan Institute of International Affairs Visiting Scholar Toshiya Tsugami participated in discussions on the DPRK. Lee and other discussants welcomed the recent inter-Korean summit by saying it has boosted momentum toward the possible resumption of U.S.-DPRK talks. Yabunaka emphasized that it is important to verify the DPRK's steps to denuclearize.

• Japan eyes bilateral US talks as a way to avert car tariffs (NikkeiAsian Review)

• Japan may be pressed to make concessions beyond TPP in trade talks with the U.S. (Tokyo Shimbun)

• Japan mulls possibility of tariff talks with U.S. (The Japan News)


• Tight contest seen in Okinawa governor race, Asahi poll (The Asahi Shimbun)

• Koizumi campaigning forLDP-backed candidate in Okinawa (Sankei)

• Tokyo Gov. Koike stumps for LDP-backed candidate in Okinawa gubernatorial race (Tokyo Shimbun)

• “Seiron” column: Japan must not give tacit approval to Russia's military intimidation (Sankei)

• MOD to develop hypersonic cruise missile (Tokyo Shimbun, Evening edition)


• Prime minister's schedule on Sept. 21, 2018 (Sankei)

• Prime minister's schedule on Sept. 22, 2018 (Sankei)

• Prime minister's schedule on Sept. 23, 2018 (Sankei)

• Abe to retain key ministers in Cabinet reshuffle: official (Kyodo News)

• Abe likely to retain Kishida as LDP policy chief (The Japan News)

• With Abe re-elected, local governments now look for him to deliver on campaign promises (The Japan Times)

• Editorial: Abe must seek steady results on long-term challenges / Humbly make efforts to restore public's trust (The Japan News)

• LDP election exposes huge gap between Diet members, frustrated rank and file (The Japan Times)

• U.S. experts cautious on Abe seeking constitutional revision (Kyodo News)

• Editorial: LDP election results should be wake-up call for high-handed Abe (The Asahi Shimbun)

• Komeito chief denies ruling party talks on constitutional revision (Yomiuri)

• LDP factions vie for appointments in Abe's new cabinet (Yomiuri)

• Cartoon: Abe's victory (Asahi)


• Cabinet support rate unchanged at 50%, Yomiuri poll (Yomiuri)

• Opinion poll & results from Yomiuri Shimbun (Yomiuri)

• Abe regains momentum in first post-election poll, Nikkei poll (Nikkei Asian Review)

• Opinion poll & results from Nikkei Digital (Nikkei, Online)

• Support rate for Abe cabinet up, constitutional reform unpopular, Kyodo News spot poll (KyodoNews)

• Kyodo News [spot] opinion poll & results from Tokyo Shimbun (Tokyo Shimbun)


• Japanese probe makes historic landing on asteroid (Kyodo News)

• Kounotori launched with record payload (The Japan News)

• Fuji film plans iPS-based trials to treat complications from bone marrow transplants (The Japan Times)


• Growing number of foreigners being detained for longer terms (The Asahi Shimbun)

• Immigration center sets up security cameras in changing rooms (Tokyo Shimbun)

U.S. Embassy Tokyo Media Analysis and Translation Team