Afternoon Alert   -   Thursday, March 28, 2019
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Noon news

NHK, NTV, and TBS led with reports on a man being acquitted of a murder in Kumamoto Prefecture 34 years ago after a retrial. TV Asahi gave top coverage to a fishing boat that capsized in waters off Wakayama Prefecture this morning, resulting in the death of one crew member. Fuji TV reported on the Emperor and Empress's return today to Tokyo from a visit to Kyoto.


Senior USG officials comment on DPRK, Japan

Asahi and Nikkei highlighted remarks made at the House Armed Services Committee on Wednesday by Assistant Secretary of Defense Schriver, who reportedly said there has been no noteworthy progress in North Korea's denuclearization. Former Air Force Brig. Gen. Stillwell, who has been nominated as assistant secretary of state for East Asia, also commented on the DPRK during his testimony at the Senate Foreign Relations Committee on the same day. He reportedly said the Kim regime's nuclear and missile programs are one of the most pressing issues and that pressure on Pyongyang will be kept in place.

According to Asahi, A/S Schriver also commented on a view expressed by a Republican senator, who reportedly said Japan needs to revise the Constitution's Article 9 so as to further advance bilateral defense cooperation. A/S Schriver reportedly noted that constitutional revision is a matter for the Japanese government and people to decide, adding: "We have been given enormous flexibility and scope as a result of changes to the interpretation of Article 9. We've gained benefits." According to NHK website, He reportedly dismissed the "Cost plus 50" formula for host nation support for the U.S. military by Japan and other allies that the Trump administration is allegedly looking into by saying: "We have not been given such instructions." But he reportedly underscored the USG's policy of asking its security partners to assume appropriate defense costs by saying: "The burden should be borne equally. There is no question that we will be looking for a deal that is good for America."

U.S.: N. Korea action 'inconsistent' with disarmament (NHK WORLD)

Japan decorates ex-U.S. Vice President Cheney for boosting alliance (Kyodo News)

Russian envoy: Japan should distance from West if it wants two islands (AERA)

Russian envoy to Japan: No barter trading for disputed islands (The Asahi Shimbun)


Trade talks with Japan should focus more on services: U.S. industry rep (Nikkei Asian Review)

U.S. merchandise trade deficit with Japan shrinks 8% in January (Kyodo News)

Japan approves $18bn in stimulus measures ahead of tax hike (Nikkei Asian Review)

Editorial: European Union shaken by China's 'Belt and Road' investment offensive (The Japan News)

Start-ups enter the fray as base stations are opened to multiple vendors (NIKKEI Business Daily)

5G joint-use antennae to be installed on utility poles (NIKKEI Business Daily)

Companies still reluctant to relocate from Tokyo despite tax breaks, Kyodo News poll (Kyodo News)


Prime minister's schedule on March 27, 2019 (Sankei)

Support for Abe administration notably strong among young generation (Nikkei)

Gist of interpellations at Upper House Budget Committee, March 27 (Asahi)

Schedule of major political events (Mainichi)

Sasaki to head new Immigration Agency (Jiji Press)


Japan-Europe project to challenge China for post-5G supremacy (Nikkei Asian Review)

CO2 density in Japan rises again in 2018 (NHK WORLD)

Waste plastic exports squeezed by Chinese ban (Nikkei Asian Review)


Kyoto University remains top of Japanese university rankings in 2019 (Kyodo News)


Sharp increase in foreigners refused entry to Japan in 2018

NHK reported online on Wednesday that according to the Justice Ministry, 9,179 foreigners were refused entry to Japan in 2018, marking an increase of 1,998, or 28%, over the previous year and a rise for six consecutive years. Of the total, 7,243, or 79%, were rejected on suspicion of seeking to work illegally with a tourist visa, and 2,092 of them were Chinese, 1,307 were Thai, and 990 were Indonesian. Nationals from these three countries made up 48% of those refused entry.

Asylum-seeker No. falls in Japan, 1st time in 8 yrs, on tougher rules (Kyodo News)

Japan broadcasters propose end to AM radio (Jiji Press)

Olympics: IOC looking for Japanese member to replace Takeda (Kyodo News)


As virtual horizons expand, face-to-face interactions shrink (Asahi, Mainichi)

Workers weaponize chicken and raw fish to terrorize employers (Yomiuri, NHK)

Night schools offer young foreigners hope, but discourage Japanese (Yomiuri, Nikkei, Shukan Toyo Keizai)


Okinawa assembly adopts resolution asking GOJ, USG to respect Henoko referendum results

TBS reported this morning that during a plenary session yesterday the Okinawa Prefectural Assembly adopted a resolution calling on the Japanese and U.S. governments to respect the results of last month's referendum on Henoko relocation, in which over 70% of those who voted cast ballots against the relocation plan, and suspend the reclamation work in Henoko and terminate operations at MCAS Futenma immediately. The assembly also adopted a resolution seeking the understanding of the United Nations and other Japanese prefectures for Okinawa's position that the relocation plan should be abandoned.

Wife of marine in Okinawa works to support survivors of sexual assault by U.S. military personnel (The Japan Times)


Defense chief to visit Henoko to observe FRF construction

Okinawa Times took up remarks made at the parliament on Wednesday by Defense Minister Iwaya, who expressed hope to tour the FRF construction site off Camp Schwab in the near future for a first-hand look at the progress of the ongoing landfill operation. The daily predicted that the cabinet minister may visit the Henoko area before or after April 7 when he plans to travel to Miyakojima for a ceremony commemorating the recent establishment of a GSDF camp on the island.

Opinion: Alternative plan needed for Henoko solution (Okinawa Times)

U.S. Embassy Tokyo Media Analysis and Translation Team