Afternoon Alert   -   Thursday, May 9, 2019
The following information reflects the reporting of the cited news media and does not reflect the opinions of the U.S. Embassy in Tokyo. Japan Media Highlights is intended for USG use only and should not be forwarded. Visit the website here. For more information, contact TokyoMATT@state.gov.


Noon news

Fuji TV aired an exclusive interview with Doan Thi Huong, the Vietnamese woman who together with a Thai woman was accused of killing DPRK leader Kim Jong Un's half-brother Kim Jong Nam at the Kuala Lumpur Airport in 2017. NHK, NTV, TBS, and TV Asahi led with follow-up reports on the traffic accident in Otsu, Shiga Prefecture, yesterday that killed 2 preschoolers and injured 13 others.


FM Kono comments on PM Abe's proposal on "unconditional" talks with Kim Jong Un

NHK reported today that Foreign Minister Kono told the Upper House Committee on Foreign Affairs and Defense this morning that with regard to Prime Minister Abe's recent proposal to hold an "unconditional" summit with the DPRK's Kim Jong Un, the government's policy of resolving the abduction issue through dialogue remains unchanged. He said Abe's proposal simply means that Japan will not "say this and that" about the issue even before the talks begin, but went on to say that if the talks are held, they should contribute to a solution to the issue. Kono was quoted as saying "nothing has been decided about the talks," including whether there will several sessions or just one, and that Japan continues to be in contact with North Korea through various channels and the abduction issue is certainly being raised as part of the coordination process.

Senior Chinese official expresses intention to help realize Japan-DPRK summit

NHK reported online that China's Vice Foreign Minister Kong Xuanyou, who has been tapped as the next ambassador to Japan, told a group of Japanese parliamentarians in Beijing on May 5 that China is hoping that the level of dialogue between Japan and the DPRK will be elevated and that Beijing is willing to give support to Tokyo in this regard. The broadcaster interpreted this remark as an expression of China's intention to help realize a summit between Prime Minister Abe and DPRK leader Kim Jong Un.

The network said that Kong also commented on the DPRK's firing of projectiles on May 4 by saying that Pyongyang is probably becoming impatient.

U.S. suspends effort to retrieve service members' remains from DPRK

NHK reported online that the Department of Defense announced on Wednesday that it has decided not to resume its effort to retrieve the remains of U.S. troops from North Korea by the end of fiscal 2019 because the DPRK has not communicated with it on the matter since President Trump and Chairman Kim held their second summit in Hanoi in February. The network noted that the President and the DPRK leader agreed on the retrieval effort during their first summit in Singapore in June 2018.

Japanese foreign minister opposes giving food aid to N. Korea (Kyodo News)

'Comfort women' case hearings may begin (NHK WORLD)

Commentary: The drama of the 'Kurillian knot' (The Japan Times)

Editorial: Abe's welcome reversal on talks with Kim (The Japan Times)

Editorial: North Korea steps up provocations in bid to get U.S. to compromise (The Japan News)

Editorial: Prospects dim despite Abe's desire to hold summit with N. Korea (The Mainichi)

Cartoon: U.S., Chinese leaders trade punches (Asahi)

Japan supports Taiwan's World Health Assembly bid (Kyodo News)


Commentary: U.S.-Japan trade realities: Unconventional multilateralism (The Japan Times)

Toyota expects profit jump through strengthened cost management (Kyodo News)

Gov't to reject an ROK application to join TPP (FACTA)

Opinion poll & results from Yomiuri survey on foreign workers (Yomiuri)

Infographic from Yomiuri survey on foreign workers (Yomiuri)


Transit passengers from U.S. to be exempted from additional security checks at Narita

NHK reported online that the Ministry of Transport has decided to begin in mid-May operating a new system under which passengers arriving at Narita Airport from the United States will in principle no longer need to go through additional security checks before boarding planes departing for other destinations based on the judgment that sufficient security checks are conducted for passengers from the United States. According to the network, the ministry has decided to begin operating the new system after testing it last month on passengers arriving on selected flights from the United States and experiencing no major problems. The network said that the airport operator is hoping that the new system will help relief congestion at Narita.

Coordination is underway for Japan-ROK defense ministers' talks (Sankei)

Japan eyes extension of SDF dispatch to U.N. mission in S. Sudan (Kyodo News)

Editorial: NRA, power utilities should promote in-depth dialogue for nuclear safety (The Japan News)

Japan-U.S. friendship day event held at Iwakuni base (Kanagawa Shimbun)


Prime minister's schedule on May 8, 2019 (Sankei)

Schedule of major political events (Mainichi)

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

Editorial: Action on Diet reform should start with party head debates (The Asahi Shimbun)

Interview with JCP Chairman Shii on the Constitution (Yomiuri)

Cartoon: No way forward on constitutional amendment (Mainichi)

Cartoon: Suga's slush fund (Akahata)


Low expectations for Abe, but don't want change, Asahi survey (The Asahi Shimbun)

Majority say no impetus for constitutional revision, Asahi survey (The Asahi Shimbun)


Ticket lottery to open for Tokyo Olympics (The Japan News)

Olympics: Coe tells Tokyo 2020 organizers to listen to community (Kyodo News)

U.S. Embassy Tokyo Media Analysis and Translation Team