Afternoon Alert   -   Thursday, December 13, 2018
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Noon news

NHK led with a report that in relation to the question of the extradition of Huawei CFO Meng Wanzhou to the U.S., Canadian Foreign Minister Freeland stated that "our legal system is independent and free from political interference." Commenting on President Trump's earlier statement that he would consider intervening in the case if it would help the U.S.-China trade talks, Freeland said that "if Meng takes issue with this statement, the Canadian court would gauge the impact of the remarks in the extradition hearings." NHK also reported on the possible detention of a second Canadian citizen by the Chinese authorities in addition to former diplomat Kovrig.

TV Asahi and TBS led with Freeland's disclosure at a news conference that the whereabouts of the second Canadian have become unknown after he was reportedly interrogated by the Chinese authorities. Freeland reportedly said the Canadian government has raised this issue with the Chinese government. While Freeland did not reveal the identity of the second Canadian, the Canadian media said he is business executive Michael Spavor.

NTV reported that British Prime Minister May survived a vote of no confidence from her party, while Fuji TV gave top coverage to the arrest of a missing Vietnamese technical intern who fled after attacking his Vietnamese coworker with a hammer.


CCS Suga says GOJ "has no plans" to ask private companies to consider security risks

NHK reported this afternoon that Chief Cabinet Secretary Suga indicated at a news conference this morning that while government offices are being asked to take security risks into consideration in IT equipment procurement from next fiscal year in order to prevent information leakage through cyberattacks, the GOJ has no plans to ask private companies involved in the construction of important infrastructure to do the same. NHK noted that while the government has not cited any particular company for exclusion, Chinese companies like Huawei will effectively be barred in light of the Trump administration's ban on the use of Huawei products in the U.S. government.

Okinawa governor meets with DM Iwaya over earth pouring operation at Henoko landfill site

Fuji TV reported online that today Okinawa Governor Tamaki met with Defense Minister Iwaya at the Defense Ministry to call on the government not to start pouring earth into the Henoko reclamation site tomorrow as scheduled. Iwaya reiterated the government's position that Henoko relocation is the only way to remove the danger posed by MCAS Futenma and that earth pouring operations will start as planned. Tamaki will meet with Chief Cabinet Secretary Suga later today.

There remains a wide gap between Okinawa, Tokyo on Henoko relocation

NHK's "Close-up Gendai+" on Wednesday carried a report on the Henoko relocation issue. The network pointed out that many Okinawans feel that the central government and mainlanders do not listen to them or care about the pain and fear they experience living amidst U.S. bases. However, the central government is now moving ahead with the construction of the FRF in Henoko despite Okinawa's opposition since it regards this as the only way to remove the danger posed by the Futenma base.

Okinawa is slated to hold a referendum on Henoko relocation on Feb. 24, with the municipal governments tasked with its administration. However, public opinion is divided on this referendum, with the legislatures of some municipalities, Ginowan, Ishigaki, and Miyakojima among them, passing resolutions in opposition to the plebiscite. While the referendum results are not legally binding, the government is concerned about the impact on the construction work.

While the GOJ-USG agreement calls for the return of the Futenma base by 2022, the Okinawa government claims the relocation will take until 2032 and require enormous additional funding. Okinawa plans to employ all available means to stop the construction work. It is claiming that the soft seabed in certain parts of the reclamation site will require changes to construction plans, and this will require its approval, which it will refuse. However, the central government is poised to use all available means, including legal measures, to thwart Okinawa's attempts to delay the relocation.

The program ended with an NHK Okinawa reporter stating that while Okinawans may have different opinions on Henoko relocation, the one thing they share in common is that due to their experiences during World War II and 27 years of U.S. occupation, they don't want to host any U.S. bases. On the other hand, an NHK political reporter said the central government thinks that returning the Futenma base, which will make life safer for local residents and make a large tract of land available for development, and dispersing the drills held at MCAS Futenma to elsewhere in the country will be tangible ways of reducing Okinawa's base-hosting burden. The program anchor concluded that the Japanese should regard the conflict between Okinawa and Tokyo as a national security issue that affects all of them.

S. Korea begins 2-day military drill near disputed islets (Kyodo News)

Gov't eyes 25 trillion yen defense spending over next 5 years (Asahi)

Outline draft for gov't proposed Mid-Term Defense Program (Tokyo Shimbun)

Japan, U.S. successfully test missile interceptor (Jiji Press)

Cartoon: Article 9 under attack (Akahata)

Cartoon: Full speed ahead! (Asahi)

Chinese telecom equipment presents security concerns for Japan, world (The Japan News)


Gov't remains tight-lipped about Northern Territories (Tokyo Shimbun)

Territorial issue will be settled through political decision in the end: ex-foreign minister (Yomiuri)


U.S. firm pitches plan to build casino resort in Osaka (Kyodo News)

Japan's plutonium stockpile may increase by 1.3 tons (Tokyo Shimbun)

Public interest in U.S. fading with Heisei era drawing to an end (NIKKEI Business Daily)


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


Cabinet support rate drops to 43%, Sankei-FNN poll (Sankei)


Law banning ticket scalping to take effect on June 14, 2019

Fuji TV reported this morning that Diet members who sponsored a law banning ticket scalping that was enacted recently met at the Diet yesterday and announced that the law is expected to take effect on June 14, 2019. This law was passed to prevent the resale of Tokyo Olympics and Paralympics tickets for a profit.

Detecting child prostitution increasingly difficult in Japan: survey (Kyodo News)


"Nara judgment" and "#MeToo," "Men in love" and "eSports" among top buzzwords (All newspapers and TV networks)

Tattoos are unfading, but not the taboo against them in Japan (Asahi)

In an about-face, museums welcome shutter-bugs and conversationalists (Asahi Mainichi Nikkei Sankei, NTV)


U.S. military admits involvement in "stray bullet" incident in Nago in June

Ryukyu Shimpo led with a report claiming that concerning the incident in which a bullet was found inside a farm shed near Camp Schwab in Nago on June 21, the U.S. military has admitted to the Okinawa Prefectural Police that the bullet was fired from Range 10 on the camp during drills. According to the paper, the U.S. military provided this information in writing on Wednesday, five months after the incident. The paper wrote that the police plan to seek the U.S. military's cooperation in investigating the incident for the purpose of pressing criminal charges. The paper also noted that the local police conducted an onsite investigation at Range 10 in mid-July. Okinawa Times ran a similar front-page story.

Miyakojima city assembly adopts written opinion opposing referendum on Futenma relocation (Okinawa Times Ryukyu Shimpo)

U.S. Embassy Tokyo Media Analysis and Translation Team