Afternoon Alert   -   Thursday, December 6, 2018
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Noon news

NHK, NTV, TV Asahi, TBS, and Fuji TV led with reports that an FA-18 fighter carrying two crew members and a KC-130 air tanker carrying five crew members from MCAS Iwakuni collided in mid-air and crashed while conducting routine training over waters off Cape Muroto in Kochi Prefecture at around 1:40 this morning.


U.S. military fighter, air tanker collide, two crew members rescued

All TV networks reported in their noon news programs on the collision between an Iwakuni-based FA-18 fighter and KC-130 air tanker this morning. The reports said that one crew member of the FA-18 was rescued by an MSDF helicopter and taken to the hospital on the Iwakuni base and his condition is reportedly "stable," while search and rescue operations are still underway for the remaining U.S. service members. NHK followed up with an online report saying a second crew member has been rescued but no details of his/her condition are immediately available.

NHK, Fuji TV, TV Asahi, and TBS all reported on Defense Minister Iwaya's remarks this morning that no damage to civilian vessels was reported, SDF aircraft and ships are making utmost efforts to locate the remaining crew members, and the U.S. Forces have been asked to provide information to the local governments promptly. NHK and NTV also reported that Iwakuni Mayor Fukuda said in a statement that he has asked that "the suspension of aircraft operations be considered until the cause of this incident becomes clear and that thorough measures be taken to investigate the cause of the accident and prevent a recurrence." All networks noted that a number of mishaps involving aircraft from MCAS Iwakuni have occurred recently.

Meanwhile Jiji Press reported online that at a symposium in Tokyo this morning Ambassador Hagerty commented on the collision. He reportedly said: "It is encouraging that Japan and the U.S. are cooperating in their response and the Self-Defense Forces immediately participated in the search and rescue operation." He expressed his gratitude to the Japanese side.

Court rejects Okinawa's demand that U.S. base relocation be halted (The Japan Times)

Main points of draft National Defense Program Guidelines (Tokyo Shimbun)

Editorial: Start of Okinawa landfill work for U.S. base totally unacceptable (The Asahi Shimbun)

Cartoon: Denny Tamaki (Akahata)


U.S. military conducts freedom of navigation operation in Sea of Japan to challenge Russia

Asahi reported online on an announcement made by the U.S. Pacific Fleet on Wednesday that one of its guided-missile destroyers passed through waters claimed by Russia in the Sea of Japan. The warship reportedly transited Peter the Great Bay off Vladivostok in what a fleet spokesperson referred to as a "freedom of navigation operation" intended to "challenge Russia's excessive maritime claims." The official reportedly added: "These operations demonstrate that the United States will fly, sail, and operate wherever international law allows. That is true in the Sea of Japan, as in other places around the globe."

ROK premier says talks with Japan on forced labor rulings going on behind the scenes

Asahi reported online from Seoul on press remarks made on Wednesday by Prime Minister Lee, who disclosed that he has been communicating with Japanese political leaders to defuse the bilateral tension over the recent rulings by the South Korean Supreme Court ordering Japanese firms to pay compensation to Koreans requisitioned to work in their plants during WWII. Lee reportedly said: "We have been providing informal explanations to the Japanese side. Some Japanese politicians have been calling my cell phone."

Russian envoy: Interpretation of "handover" should be discussed (Yomiuri)

Expert: Japan should not give up on the return of four islands (Yomiuri)

Editorial: The perils of territorial negotiations driven by a political calendar (The Mainichi)

Editorial: Government as a whole must prepare for treaty negotiations with Russia (The Japan News)

Cartoon: Abe trapped in a snowglobe (Sankei)

Lawyers give Nippon Steel deadline for wartime labor ruling (Nikkei Asian Review)

Mongolian prime minister to visit Japan next week (Kyodo News)

CIA secretly investigating SoftBank on semiconductor tech leak to China through subsidiary (THEMIS)


Japan must 'respond' when US-China trade truce ends, Abe says (Nikkei Asian Review)

A new immigration policy for Japan (The Japan Times)

Editorial: With fast reactor plan, ministry refuses to admit failure of Monju (The Asahi Shimbun)

Japan risks losing nuclear prowess with Turkey project abort (Nikkei Asian Review)

Editorial: Abolish problem-laden technical trainee program (The Mainichi)

Opinion poll & results from Asahi Shimbun survey of 100 leading companies (Asahi)


Prime minister's schedule on Dec. 5, 2018 (Sankei)

Prime minister's schedule on Dec. 4, 2018 (Sankei)

Lower House OKs bill banning ticket scalping ahead of Tokyo Olympics (The Japan Times)

Lower House passes bill to ban ticket resale at higher prices (Sankei)

Editorial: Opposition's rejection of constitutional commission debates incomprehensible (The Japan News)


Highlights of November 2018 Jiji Press Public Opinion Poll (Jiji Press Public Opinion Poll Bulletin)


German ambassador believes in face-to-face diplomacy (Asahi)


FM Kono says "information provided by U.S. side" regarding access to U.S. bases (Okinawa Times)

U.S. Embassy Tokyo Media Analysis and Translation Team