Afternoon Alert   -   Wednesday, January 30, 2019
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Noon news

NHK led with a report on the U.S. government's formal request for the extradition of Huawei CFO Meng from Canada to the U.S. NTV and Fuji TV aired follow-up reports on issues relating to the Labor Ministry's release of faulty jobs data. NTV said the opposition is aiming to demand the dismissal of Labor Minister Nemoto. TV Asahi's top story was a report on the British parliament's voting for renegotiation of the Brexit deal with the EU. TBS gave top coverage to the Toyama Prefectural Police's indictment of four LDP members and the speaker of the Toyama City Assembly for misappropriating their stipends three years ago.


UN Security Council panel concludes DPRK is still developing nuclear arms, missiles

TV Asahi reported this morning that it has learned that a panel of experts at the UN Security Council has concluded that North Korea is continuing with its development of nuclear arms and missiles based on satellite images showing new construction activities at the Yongbyon nuclear facility between February and November last year, water drainage taking place around the time of the U.S.-DPRK summit last June, and signs of uranium mining in Pyongsan in the south. In addition, according to the UN panel's final report, suspected illegal ship-to-ship transfers involving "at least 50 ships and 160 companies" were detected even after the U.S.-DPRK summit last year. The panel report was quoted as stating: "The ROK has been delivering substantial amounts of petroleum products to North Korea's Kaesong Industrial Complex in violation of UN sanctions."

LDP members call for retaliatory measures against ROK

NHK reported at noon that at a meeting with LDP members this morning, Japanese Ambassador to the ROK Nagamine explained that in light of the comfort women and requisitioned worker issues, the bilateral relationship is in a "very serious state" due to the ROK's "actions that run counter to the ideal of a future-oriented relationship." Several Diet members reportedly demanded at the meeting that the Japanese government take retaliatory measures, including recalling the ambassador and international messaging on the ROK's failure to abide by its commitments. However, an unnamed MOFA official was quoted as saying that it would be better for the ambassador to stay in the ROK to support Japanese companies there.

LDP members concerned about Japan-Russia negotiations (Mainichi)

PM Abe: Nuclear ban treaty "not based on reality" (Mainichi)


Finance Ministry survey shows 18% of companies affected by U.S.-China trade war

NHK reported this afternoon that according to a survey of 1,000 companies nationwide conducted by the Finance Ministry from December to mid-January, 18% of the 500 companies that responded said they have been affected by increased export costs due to the additional tariffs imposed on Chinese products by the U.S. and a decline in orders received due to Japanese companies' reluctance to invest in China. However, 56% of the companies that have been affected said they have not taken any steps to deal with this situation, reflecting the difficulty of addressing the issue.

Haneda slots to be increased with U.S. approval of passage through Yokota airspace (Nikkei)

Japan's economy likely in longest postwar expansion phase: gov't (Kyodo News)

Bluefin tuna catches off Japan sluggish this season (Jiji Press)


Prime minister's schedule on January 29, 2019 (Sankei)

Gist of interpellations at Upper Hose plenary session, Jan. 29 (Tokyo Shimbun)

Editorial: Govt must boost economic growth, secure resources for social security (The Japan News)

Editorial: Abe's policy speech fails on all counts to address concerns (The Asahi Shimbun)

Editorial: PM's policy speech praises 'Abenomics,' lacks long-term vision for new era (The Mainichi)

Cartoon: The evolution of Abenomics (Akahata)


Japan local gov'ts worry over new foreign worker policy, ask for help (Kyodo News)

Gov't to bolster steps for foreigners in event of massive Tokyo quake (Kyodo News)

Naomi Osaka's victory proves to be a boon for her sponsors (The Japan Times)

Arashi's hiatus spurs heartbreak, but hopes for a 2020 Olympic farewell (The Japan Times)


Inspections start on island proposed as site for USFJ landing practice

NHK and TBS reported online today that more than 20 Defense Ministry officials and contractors started this morning inspections on the island of Mageshima in Nishinoomote, Kagoshima Prefecture, which has been selected as the site of landing exercises for the U.S. Forces' carrier-based aircraft. The ministry said the purpose of the inspections is to prepare for "concrete discussions" with the USFJ and for price negotiations with the island's owner. NHK reported that a small number of opponents to the island's use for U.S. military drills held a protest there.

Local residents sue state over U.S. base relocation to Henoko (Jiji Press)

SOFA: Are airliners not free to fly in Tokyo skies? (Asahi)

Japan to survey 200 million devices in cybersecurity push ahead of Tokyo 2020 Olympics (The Japan Times, AFP-Jiji)

Expert: Civilian space cooperation between U.S. and China making little progress (Asahi)

U.S. OKs planned $2.15 bil. sale of 2 Aegis Ashore systems to Japan (Kyodo News)


U.S. military, Consulate Naha decline meetings with local politicians

Ryukyu Shimpo wrote that Kadena AB authorities and U.S. Consulate General Naha have turned down a request filed by the Okinawa prefectural assembly for meetings so that its representatives could deliver a letter of protest over an incident in December involving a Kadena airman who went AWOL with a handgun in his possession. According to the paper, the U.S. diplomatic mission rejected the request due to the "government shutdown," while the 18th Wing did not give a reason for its refusal. Last month the legislature adopted a unanimous resolution calling for the U.S. military to tighten discipline.

U.S. Embassy Tokyo Media Analysis and Translation Team