Afternoon Alert   -   Wednesday, September 26, 2018
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Noon news

NHK led with a report that tomorrow will mark the fourth anniversary of the eruption of Mount Ontake on the border of Nagano and Gifu. TBS and TV Asahi gave top play to reports on the summit between Prime Minister Abe and President Moon in New York on Tuesday. Fuji TV led with a report on the announcement that Japanese baseball player Shohei Ohtani of the Los Angeles Angels will undergo elbow surgery next month. NTV gave top play to updates on the resignation of sumo stablemaster Takanohana.


DPRK leader expresses interest in meeting with Japanese leader in the future

All Wednesday evening papers reported on Prime Minister Abe's meeting in New York on Tuesday with South Korean President Moon, who briefed the premier on the results of the inter-Korean summit held in Pyongyang last week. Moon told Abe that he conveyed to DPRK leader Kim Jong Un the prime minister's desire to hold a summit. In reply, Chairman Kim reportedly said: "I am ready to hold dialogue with Japan at an appropriate time to improve bilateral relations." Asahi wrote that Abe had asked Moon to convey to Kim his message that they should meet directly to resolve the abduction issue and North Korea's nuclear and missile development. According to Yomiuri, the South Korean president concurred with Abe's opinion that economic sanctions must be maintained in order to urge Pyongyang to take concrete steps toward denuclearization.

In a related development, NHK reported on Japan's reaction to Chairman Kim's alleged interest in beginning dialogue with Japan, quoting Chief Cabinet Secretary Suga as telling the press this morning: "In the New York summit with the prime minister, President Moon explained that as requested by the premier, he conveyed to Chairman Kim the importance of resolving the abduction issue and Tokyo's view on relations with Pyongyang. However, I would prefer not to comment on the details of this diplomatic exchange, including Kim's response.....No decision has been made on holding a summit between Japan and North Korea at this moment. Prime Minister Abe will hold talks with Chairman Kim in the end, but such a session must be conducive to settling the abduction issue."

PM Abe delivers speech at UNGA, vows to strengthen free trade system

NHK reported this morning that Prime Minister Abe addressed the UN General Assembly and expressed his resolve to strengthen the free trade system over the course of the next three years of his term in office. The premier reportedly said: "In the three years to come, I will do my very best to strengthen the free trade system. I will likewise do everything in my power to clear the postwar structure from Northeast Asia." Abe also reportedly expressed resolve to make all-out efforts in the RCEP negotiations by saying: "I have at times risen above intense debates domestically, waving the flag of free trade... I must drive my efforts up a notch, aiming still farther into the distance." In addition, the premier reportedly expressed his intention to place emphasis on the FFR talks with the U.S. by saying: "For many years, the United States and Japan have led the free trade system forward internationally.... I intend for Japan and the U.S. to continue to maintain a win-win relationship."

Meanwhile, on North Korea, the premier reportedly said: "Japan's policy seeking to settle the unfortunate past and normalize relations with North Korea once the abduction, nuclear, and missile issues are resolved will not change. However, I must reiterate one thing time and time again: We will bring about the return of all Japanese abductees. I am determined to make this a reality." He went on to say: "I am also ready to break the shell of mutual distrust with North Korea, get off to a new start, and meet face-to-face with Chairman Kim Jong Un.... If we are going to hold a summit, then I am determined it must be a meeting that contributes to a resolution of the abduction issue," he added.

Gist of Japan PM Abe's address at U.N. General Assembly (Kyodo News)

Editorial: President Trump should urge DPRK to make steady progress toward denuclearization (Nikkei)

Japan wary of U.S. rushing ahead in dialogue with North Korea (Mainichi)

FM Kono hints at possible contact with DPRK counterpart at UN General Assembly (Tokyo Shimbun, Evening edition)

Abe, Guterres agree on need for U.N. reform (Kyodo News)

FM Kono calls for Security Council reform in UN speech (Yomiuri)

Japan, China work out details of Abe's planned visit to China (Kyodo News)

China and Japan kick off joint effort on foreign infrastructure (Nikkei Asian Review)

China's Vice President expresses hope for better Japan-Sino relations (Nikkei)

Nikai to visit Vietnam (Nikkei)


Japan, U.S. agree to promote trade, details hinge on Abe-Trump summit (Kyodo News)

Tariff hike on autos under consideration by U.S. is "outrageous," says Japan Business Federation chairman (NHK)

BOJ Governor Kuroda: "We mustn't turn a blind eye to U.S.-China friction" (Tokyo Shimbun)

Japan, U.S., EU to co-sponsor proposal to reform WTO, China in sight (Kyodo News)


Prime minister's schedule on Sept. 25, 2018 (Sankei)

Editorial: Abe, fulfill your obligations to future generations (Nikkei Asian Review)

DPFP, CDPJ in intense rivalry for dominance in Upper House (Yomiuri)

LDP's Upper House caucus approves Yoshida's reappointment as secretary general (Mainichi)

Strength of parliamentary groups in Lower House (Asahi)


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


University of Tokyo to leave use of private English tests up to applicants (Yomiuri)


Volunteer recruitment begins for 2020 Tokyo Games (Kyodo News)

Commentary: Social media falls in love with Naomi Osaka as tennis star sparks debate (The Japan Times)


Even gov't-backed candidate in Okinawa gubernatorial race calling for SOFA revision (Asahi)

DM Onodera to call on USFJ for Osprey flight safety measures (Yomiuri)

Local governments ask defense minister to provide information on Ospreys on Yokota base (Mainichi)

Commentary: Aegis Ashore not for Japan's defense, meant to protect Hawaii, Guam (AERA)

Ginowan mayoral election, Asahi Shimbun-Okinawa Times-QAB joint opinion poll of Ginowan voters (Asahi)


U.S. higher court to examine FRF project from standpoint of protecting dugongs

Okinawa Times and Ryukyu Shimpo reported that on Tuesday a group of American and Japanese environmental NGOs filed with the U.S. Court of Appeals in San Francisco a suit asking it to review a Federal district court ruling allowing the Defense Department to move forward with the FRF project off Camp Schwab. In August the lower court dismissed the plaintiff's request for the suspension of the construction initiative on the grounds that it does not infringe upon the National Historic Preservation Act designed to protect America's heritage from rampant federal development. The plaintiff is reportedly seeking a higher court judgment of its claim that the statute be invoked to suspend the construction with the aim of preventing the extinction of dugongs in the vicinity.

Unverified information on Okinawa gubernatorial candidate goes viral on the Internet (Ryukyu Shimpo)

Japan's steel lobby head opposes Japan entering bilateral trade talks with U.S. (Ryukyu Shimpo)

U.S. Embassy Tokyo Media Analysis and Translation Team