Afternoon Alert   -   Thursday, January 10, 2019
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Noon news

NHK led with a report on Chief Cabinet Secretary Suga's remarks at a regular press briefing this morning on the ROK court's approval of the seizure of the assets of Nippon Steel & Sumitomo Metal Corp. in response to a request from Korean requisitioned workers. Regarding the GOJ's request to the ROK government to begin talks with Japan on the matter, Suga said Seoul has made no response yet. TBS and TV Asahi gave top coverage to a New Year's news conference by ROK President Moon this morning, during which he expressed hope that a second summit between President Trump and DPRK leader Kim Jong Un will be held in the near future. NTV and Fuji-TV led with reports on the talks held between Chinese President Xi and Kim Jong Un in Beijing on Tuesday and Wednesday, during which the DPRK leader reportedly reiterated his goal of denuclearizing the Korean Peninsula.


Moon says Japan and ROK need wisdom to resolve compensation issue

NHK reported on South Korean President Moon Jae In's New Year's press conference on Thursday morning. The network said that Moon did not give a direct answer to a question from an NHK reporter about his response to the GOJ's request to hold talks on a South Korea court's approval of the seizure of Nippon Steel & Sumitomo Metal Corp.'s assets. However, the ROK President reportedly said: "This is not an issue the ROK government has created. This is a problem that results from the unfortunate history [of relations between our nations]. The Japanese government should not politicize this. Both sides should use their wisdom to resolve the issue." Moon added: "Both South Korea and Japan respect the separation of the three branches of government. It is necessary for the ROK government to respect the judicial decision. The Japanese government may be dissatisfied with the court decision, but it needs to understand that we have no control [over it]. It is not desirable to damage our forward-looking relations by politicizing the issue." Concerning the plaintiffs' claim that a new foundation should be established with funding by the Japanese and ROK governments and private companies to pay compensation to the requisitioned workers, Mooon commented: "We will see how the idea develops."

Japan paying close attention to planned U.S. regulations on high-tech exports

Yomiuri reported in a front-page article on the Trump administration's decision to adopt tougher regulations on the export of cutting-edge technology such as artificial intelligence and genome engineering, noting that as Japanese companies, universities, and research institutions may need to deal with more stringent U.S. export rules, the Japanese government is paying close attention to new regulatory guidelines that Washington plans to make public in April. The daily explained that the USG is concerned about China's having taken advantage of America's "tolerance" of foreign students and researchers in order to bring back key U.S. technologies with the result this could challenge U.S. military and scientific supremacy.

Russian foreign ministry criticizes Abe's remarks on peace treaty talks

NHK reported that Russia's ministry of foreign affairs released a statement saying that Deputy Foreign Minister Morgulov met with Japanese Ambassador to Moscow Kozuki on Wednesday to discuss Prime Minister Abe's recent remarks on peace treaty talks between Tokyo and Moscow. Abe reportedly said that it is necessary for Russian residents of the Northern Territories to understand that the sovereignty of the islands on which they live may change. Morgulov reportedly criticized Abe's remarks by saying that such remarks could cause confusion among both the Japanese and Russian peoples and upset the atmosphere of the bilateral talks by pushing a unilateral scenario for settling the dispute. The broadcaster speculated that the move by the Russian foreign ministry was intended to send a warning to Japan and stress to the Russian people that nothing has yet been decided on the handover of the disputed islands.

German Chancellor Merkel to visit Japan in early February

NHK reported that arrangements are being made for German Chancellor Merkel to visit Japan on Feb. 2-3, saying this will be her first visit to Japan since her participation in the 2016 Ise-Shima G7 Summit. The network said the German leader is planning to hold talks with Prime Minister Abe and pay a courtesy call on the Emperor in Tokyo.

Japan, Britain to collaborate on cutting-edge technologies (Jiji Press)

Moon accuses Japan of politicizing wartime labor issue (Kyodo News)

Editorial: Greater efforts needed to avoid new Cold War between US, China (The Mainichi)

Japan, U.S., EU vow to curb industrial subsidies with China in mind (Kyodo News)

Editorial: Japan must take on a leadership role to rebuild international cooperation (The Japan News)

Japan lends its vision to 'Five Eyes' intelligence alliance: Deepening ties focus on sharing information as China's presence grows (Nikkei Asian Review)

FM Kono attends the launch of India-Japan friendship organization to promote exchanges (Kanagawa Shimbun)

Expert sees removing Russia's security concern the key in Japan-Russia talks (Mainichi)

Japan-S. Korea relations cooling rapidly (Yomiuri)

Abe, Rutte vow to make success of Osaka G-20 Summit (Jiji Press)

Cartoon: Xi appeals to Kim (Asahi)


Interview: Hard Rock eyeing casino-featuring integrated resort in Hokkaido (Jiji Press)

UK interested in both TPP and Japan FTA after Brexit, says Hunt (Nikkei Asian Review)

SoftBank's investment in WeWork to total $10.4 billion (NIKKEI Business Daily)

Japanese firms pick Vietnam as Asia's top investment spot (Kyodo News)

Japan's economic sentiment hits lowest point in Abenomics era, BOJ survey (Nikkei Asian Review)

Infographic: General public's outlook for economic conditions in one year's time, BOJ survey (Yomiuri)

Japan edges in on Belt and Road with $643m for Angolan port (Nikkei Asian Review)

Cartoon: No to nuke power (Akahata)


Prime minister's schedule on January 9, 2019 (Sankei)

Editorial: Push to revise Constitution led by top leaders is unacceptable (The Asahi Shimbun)

Cartoon: Article 9 in the maw of Abe (Kanagawa Shimbun)


Opinion poll & results for 2018 Survey of Public Opinion in Japan (Mainichi)


Abe's plan to battle Japan's regional brain drain draws mixed reviews (The Japan Times)

Gov't to specify for the first time Ainu are indigenous people (Sankei)

Cartoon: Bidding bon voyage to Their Imperial Majesties (Asahi)


USFJ population numbers 104,000: commander (Akahata)


Miyakojima mayor dismisses governor's request to participate in Henoko referendum

Okinawa Times ran a front-page report on Okinawa Governor Tamaki's meeting with Miyakojima Mayor Shimoji on Wednesday at the mayor's office. The governor reportedly asked the mayor to rethink his decision not to participate in the prefecture-wide referendum on the FRF construction at Henoko to be held on Feb. 24. However, the mayor told reporters afterward that he will not change his decision. The paper wrote that although the prefectural government is apparently trying to find ways to realize the vote in several municipalities that have decided not to perform administrative work for the plebiscite, Tamaki dismissed an early press report that the prefectural government may revise the relevant ordinance in order to be able to perform the administrative work in place of these municipalities. Ryukyu Shimpo ran a similar inside-page report saying that it is becoming increasingly difficult to have the vote take place in all municipalities in Okinawa following the mayor's clear indication that he will not change his mind.

U.S. Embassy Tokyo Media Analysis and Translation Team