Afternoon Alert   -   Tuesday, March 19, 2019
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Noon news

NHK, NTV, TBS, and Fuji TV led with reports on the Supreme Court's order to retry a case in which an assistant nurse was charged with killing a patient by disconnecting his respirator in Shiga Prefecture 16 years ago and served a 12-year prison term, noting that the accused is likely to be acquitted. TV Asahi aired a follow-up report on the tram shooting incident in Utrecht, Netherlands, yesterday.


CCS Suga says counterterrorism to be on agenda for G20 Summit in light of New Zealand shootings

TBS reported this afternoon that Chief Cabinet Secretary Suga stated at a news conference today that in light of the New Zealand mosque shootings last week, Japan, as the host of the G20 Osaka Summit, is determined to cooperate closely with the other G20 nations in fighting terrorism and hold discussions on counterterrorism at the summit. He also revealed that Prime Minister Abe received a letter from Australian Prime Minister Morrison asking for discussions to be held at the summit on regulating social media, asserting that it must not be used by terrorists or for hate speech. Suga refrained from taking a stand on this issue.

Russian envoy indicates displeasure over Japan's participation in sanctions against Russia

TV Asahi reported on Monday on a news conference by Russian Ambassador to Japan Galuzin earlier in the day in which he hailed Russia's annexation of Ukraine's Crimean Peninsula five years ago, saying the Crimean people's dream of reunification with the Russian motherland came true. He criticized the sanctions imposed on Russia by Western countries over the annexation as "illegal," indicating his displeasure with Japan for taking part in them. However, he refrained from commenting on reports that President Putin recently stated that "Japan should withdraw from its alliance with the U.S."

In a related development, Kyodo News reported yesterday that Chief Cabinet Secretary told a news conference yesterday that Japan "will not change its position" and will keep in step with its G7 peers in maintaining economic sanctions against Russia.

Pompeo calls for right "sequencing" in nuclear talks with N. Korea (Kyodo News)

Japan to invite guests from 195 nations for enthronement events (Kyodo News)

S. Korea used 'Japan Sea' in maps after raising naming issue at U.N. (The Japan News)

INSIGHTS into the WORLD / Summit had elements of game and show (The Japan News)

Japan names new ambassador to Croatia (Kyodo News)


Okinawa governor requests one-month suspension of Henoko reclamation work

NHK, NTV, TBS, and Fuji TV reported that Okinawa Governor Tamaki met with Prime Minister Abe this morning and reiterated the Okinawan people's opposition to Henoko relocation that was reflected in the results of the Feb. 24 referendum. The governor requested that the reclamation work in waters off Henoko be suspended for about a month in order for the Tokyo and Okinawa governments to engage in discussions. Although Abe agreed to hold talks, he asked for Tamaki's understanding for the Futenma relocation plan. Tamaki told reporters after the meeting that he did not receive a clear answer from Abe to his request. He was quoted as saying: "We hope that they will stop the construction work in Henoko, which could end up resulting in the Futenma base remaining in its current location, and set a timeframe for dialogue. I would like to hear the government's response as soon as possible."

DM Iwaya says Japan to develop long-range cruise missiles for F-2 successor

NHK reported this afternoon that Defense Minister Iwaya said at a news conference today that Japan is developing domestically-made mid- and long-range cruise missiles for deployment on the planes that will replace the Air Self-Defense Force's F-2 fighters. Iwaya was quoted as saying that foreign ships are now using long-range anti-aircraft firearms, so Japan plans to develop longer range missiles for deployment on its fighters "for the safety of SDF members." He added, "You could say that we are developing cruise missiles." He indicated that the plan is to deploy the new cruise missiles on the planes that will replace the F-2 fighters, which the ASDF will begin decommissioning in the 2030s. NHK reported that while the Defense Ministry has been considering deploying foreign-made long-range cruise missiles on ASDF fighters, it will now also work on extending the range of domestically-produced missiles in order to strengthen the defense of the Nansei Islands and enhance defense capabilities in Pacific waters around Japan.

Longest-serving SDF chief of staff to step down by end of March

NHK reported this morning that Self Defense Forces Chief of Staff Katsutoshi Kawano, who has served for four years and five months since October 2014, will step down by the end of this month. He will be replaced by current Ground SDF Chief of Staff Koji Yamazaki, while Lt. Gen. Goro Yuasa, commanding general of the GSDF Western Army, will replace Yamazaki. Both appointments will take effect on April 1.

Japan to send SDF members for peace operations in Egypt in April (Kyodo News)

Editorial: Build defenses against cyber-attacks through public-private cooperation (The Japan News)


Thailand delays application to join trans-Pacific FTA (Kyodo News)

Mitsubishi Heavy says MRJ passenger plane set for mid-2020 delivery (The Japan News)


Prime minister's schedule on March 18, 2019 (Sankei)

Gist of interpellations at Upper House Budget Committee, March 18 (Yomiuri)

Gist of interpellations at Upper House Budget Committee, March 18 (Tokyo Shimbun)


Hayabusa2 probe set to fire explosive at asteroid to make crater to collect samples (The Mainichi)

Japan to develop habitation unit for Gateway lunar station (The Asahi Shimbun)


Education ministry urges local governments to promote school enrollment of foreign students (The Japan Times)


Tokyo Olympics knock hundreds of conventions off track (Nikkei Asian Review)

Japan Olympic chief Takeda to announce resignation: sources (Kyodo News)


59% opposed to fourth term for Abe as LDP president, Sankei-FNN poll (Sankei)

Opinion poll & results from Sankei Shimbun (Sankei)


Scidmore cherry tree a symbol of Japan-U.S. friendship, planted at U.S. Japanese language center (Mainichi, Kanagawa edition)

U.S. envoy plants Scidmore cherry tree at Japanese language center (Kanagawa Shimbun)

U.S. Embassy Tokyo Media Analysis and Translation Team