Afternoon Alert   -   Monday, April 15, 2019
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Noon news

NHK and Fuji TV led with reports that TEPCO began removing nuclear fuel from the storage pool inside the No. 3 reactor building at the Fukushima Daiichi Nuclear Power Plant today. TBS reported that coordination is underway for the new Emperor Naruhito and Empress Masako to call on the Emperor Emeritus and Empress Emerita on the morning of May 1 to report the new Emperor's enthronement immediately after the ceremonies for his accession are over. NTV and TV Asahi gave top coverage to reports that Tiger Woods won the 2019 Masters Golf Tournament.


Japan-Russia subcabinet-level talks on peace treaty to take place in Tokyo in April

Fuji TV reported at noon that it has learned that Russian Deputy Foreign Minister Morgulov will come to Tokyo on April 22 to hold the next round of subcabinet-level talks on the conclusion of a peace treaty with Deputy Foreign Minister Mori. The two officials last met in Moscow in March. Meanwhile, Japan is also holding bilateral talks on joint economic activities in the Northern Territories in Tokyo today in the hope that this will contribute to resolving the territorial issue. A government source was quoted as saying that "no major progress in the territorial issue is likely at present," so Fuji TV said that the question is whether the meeting on April 22 will help to narrow the gap between the two countries.

DPRK source: Cadre meetings being held to spread message that DPRK will not relinquish nukes

In an exclusive report this morning, TV Asahi cited an unnamed journalist who is a defector from North Korea as saying that he was informed by a source inside the DPRK that meetings of cadres at the provincial, city, and county levels have been held since the beginning of April to convey Kim Jong Un's message that North Korea will never give up its nuclear arsenal and will further beef up its nuclear capabilities and obtain more nuclear weapons. This is despite the fact that Kim indicated at the Supreme People's Assembly last week that he is willing to hold a third summit with President Trump this year to discuss denuclearization. The above journalist was quoted as saying that Kim's remark that he will await a "bold decision" from Washington before year-end to change its approach on the denuclearization talks actually mean that he is buying time to preclude an attack by the U.S. before the end of this year because the DPRK will be able to complete its development of retaliatory attack capabilities by then. He also pointed out that although Kim visited a construction site and a starch factory in Samjiyon recently, a new military command center is also being built nearby and is slated for completion this year. He indicated that North Korea is confident that it will be able to survive any U.S. military attack after this facility is completed.

Japan's Kono, Chinese premier discuss ways to deepen ties (Kyodo News)

Japanese, Chinese ministers discuss key economic issues (Kyodo News)

Japan Sumo Association lays groundwork for Trump visit (The Japan Times, Kyodo News)

Aso predicts that President Trump will be reelected (Nikkei)

Editorial: South Korea should keep in step with U.S. for North's denuclearization (The Japan News)

LDP Secretary-General to visit China on April 24-29 (Jiji Press)

Abe calls on U.K. to minimize Brexit impact on firms, world economy (Kyodo News)

Wartime laborer statue removed from near Japanese consulate in Busan (Kyodo News)

"Seiron" column: Russia has no intention to return islands to Japan (Sankei)

Egypt seeks greater cooperation with Japan to aid Africa: ambassador (Kyodo News)


Treasury chief calls for currency provision in trade deal with Japan (Kyodo News)

EXCLUSIVE: Japan not to negotiate first farm trade with U.S. (Jiji Press)

Tokyo and Washington finally set to kick off trade talks as American farmers fume over poor Japan access (The Japan Times)

Editorial: Japan needs to do more to convince people overseas about safety of its food (The Mainichi)

Japan warns against bilateral trade measures (Jiji Press)

Editorial: Japan should start by clarifying scope of target fields in trade talks with U.S. (Kanagawa Shimbun)

TEPCO begins fuel removal at Fukushima plant No. 3 unit pool (Kyodo News)


Prime minister's schedule on April 12, 2019 (Sankei)

Prime minister's schedule on April 13, 2019 (Sankei)

Strength of in-house groups in House of Councillors (Yomiuri)

Editorial: LDP increasingly lax amid its long dominance over political scene (The Japan News)

Editorial: Questions over Abe's appointment of Olympics minister linger after sacking (The Mainichi)

Women win record 237 seats in prefectural assembly elections (Asahi)

Highlights of Japan-related events scheduled for April 15-21 (Kyodo News)


Over 80 pct positive about new era name Reiwa, Jiji Press poll (Jiji Press)

70 pct in Japan OK female emperors, female-line succession, Jiji Press poll (Jiji Press)

40 pct of Japanese unhappy with 10-day holiday, Jiji Press poll (Jiji Press)


Police knew woman had problems with U.S. serviceman before death (Kyodo News)

U.S. serviceman, Japanese woman found dead at Okinawa apartment (Kyodo News)

Japan's working population drops further, foreigners increasing (Kyodo News)

Paralympics: Sport pictograms for 2020 Tokyo Paralympics unveiled (Kyodo News)

Paralympics: IPC says Tokyo Games organizers must finish strong and deliver (Kyodo News)

Foreign Olympic officials can stay up to 6 months for preparations (The Japan News)


New primary school textbook excludes Hokkaido and areas farther north from Japan's territory (Sankei)


U.S. scrambles to keep F-35's secrets safe from Russia and China (Nikkei Asian Review)

Okinawa calls for a SOFA giving priority to Japanese laws (The Asahi Shimbun)

Japan's news outlets toe the line over Aegis Ashore anti-missile system (The Japan Times)

American man and woman rearrested for smuggling marijuana (Yomiuri)

LDP falls behind in lower house by-elections in Okinawa, Osaka, Kyodo News poll (Kyodo News)

FM Kono says Japan-U.S. SOFA for SDF personnel "should be examined" (Asahi)


Okinawa governor expresses strong anger at U.S. sailor's alleged killing of Okinawa woman

Ryukyu Shimpo and Okinawa Times reported extensively in their front- and inside pages on Sunday and Monday on an incident in which a U.S. Navy sailor allegedly stabbed to death a Japanese woman and then committed suicide in Chatan, Okinawa, on Saturday morning. The papers wrote that Okinawa Governor Tamaki told reporters on Sunday that he has lodged a protest with Okinawa Area Coordinator Smith by saying that he feels deep sorrow and strong indignation about the loss of the life of an Okinawan citizen. The papers also wrote that the Okinawa police were aware that the woman needed protection because they were informed by the U.S. military police in late January that the woman and the sailor were having relationship problems. However, although she told the police that she was experiencing problems, including sexual assault, the woman had reportedly rejected police advice three times in the past three months to seek protection or file a complaint by saying that she did not need help from the Japanese police because she had already requested it from the U.S. military police.

U.S. Embassy Tokyo Media Analysis and Translation Team