Afternoon Alert   -   Tuesday, May 14, 2019
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Noon news

NHK, NTV, and TBS led with reports on the start of the rainy season in Kagoshima. TV Asahi's and Fuji TV's top story was about the Los Angeles Angels' Shohei Ohtani hitting his first home run yesterday after recovering from arm surgery.


PM Abe confirms President Trump to meet with abductees' families

NHK reported online today that Prime Minister Abe stated during a government-ruling parties liaison meeting at the Kantei that President Trump will meet with the families of Japanese nationals abducted by North Korea when he visits Japan later this month. He added that Japan and the U.S. will work together to achieve a solution to the abduction issue. The President also met with the abductees' families in November 2017.

DM Iwaya: Japan, U.S. "on same page" regarding DPRK's missile launches

NHK reported today that after a cabinet meeting this morning, Defense Minister Iwaya commented on President Trump's remark on Friday that he did not regard North Korea's recent launch of short-range ballistic missiles as a breach of trust by Kim Jong Un. Iwaya said that this remark was probably based on the relationship of trust between the U.S. and North Korean leaders and that Japan and the U.S. remain on the same page with regard to their assessment that the projectiles launched by the DPRK were ballistic missiles. He indicated that even launching short-range missiles violates UN Security Council resolutions and that Japan will continue to closely cooperate with the U.S. to work toward North Korea's complete denuclearization and relinquishment of ballistic missiles.

ROK lawmakers to visit Japan to help mend strained bilateral ties

TBS reported on Monday evening that a nine-member supra-partisan delegation of the ROK National Assembly is due to visit Japan from May 19 to 22 for meetings with senior LDP officials to discuss ways to improve the strained Japan-ROK relationship. The group is led by ruling party lawmaker Park Byeong-seog, who chairs the ROK parliament's "forum for the Korean Peninsula's peace and prosperity." This forum, which advocates parliamentary diplomacy with neighboring countries, was founded by Park and his colleagues last November. Japan is the first country they are visiting. The ROK lawmakers are slated to meet with former Finance Minister Nukaga, chair of the Japan-ROK parliamentary union, LDP General Council chair Kato, and other officials to discuss bilateral issues.

Trump says to meet Xi, Putin at G-20 summit in Osaka (Kyodo News)

Japan struggles as Trump shifts stance on N. Korea (Jiji Press)

Suga declines to clarify whether regret over N. Korea missiles shared with Pence (Jiji Press)

China's top diplomat Yang Jiechi to visit Japan from Thurs. (Kyodo News)

New S. Korean ambassador to Japan wants "future-oriented" relations (Kyodo News)

Japanese, Russian governors hold 1st meeting in 9 years (Jiji Press)

Editorial: Multi-tiered Japan-U.S. cooperation vital for resolving abduction issue (The Japan News)

Cartoon: JCPOA down for the count (Asahi)

Cartoon: The pieing of Abe (Mainichi)

Cartoon: Regional acrobats (Kanagawa Shimbun)

Japan-ASEAN technical cooperation agreement concluded (Jiji Press)

Japan to continue active participation in NPT talks: Suga (Jiji Press)


INTERVIEW: U.S. farm secretary calls for early trade deal with Japan (Jiji Press)

Japan eyes new stimulus as economy logs first slump in 6 years (Nikkei Asian Review)

Editorial: The U.S. and China play a dangerous game (The Japan Times)

U.S.-China trade talks as seen from Tokyo (The Japan Times)

Argentine minister calls on Japan to lift ban on imports of beef (Nikkei, Evening edition)

Editorial: Can China dispel criticism of BRI as form of 'debt trap diplomacy'? (The Japan News)

Auto industry chair: Lifetime employment difficult (NHK WORLD)


Simultaneous Lower, Upper House elections becoming increasingly likely

NHK reported on Monday evening that in light of the Abe cabinet's stable support ratings, the view is spreading in the ruling and opposition parties that Prime Minister Abe may dissolve the Lower House for a general election to take place along with the Upper House election scheduled for July. Opposition party officials reportedly also reckon that Abe may take this step to exploit the opposition's lack of preparedness. LDP Secretary General Nikai said the party will give full support to Abe if he decides to go ahead with the idea, while Komeito Secretary General Saito voiced reservations, saying the ruling parties might risk being swept from power. Constitutional Democratic Party of Japan deputy leader Nagatsuma pointed to the business coincident index for March showing an economic downturn and said that a double election may be called in order to put off the consumption tax increase planned for October. Democratic Party for the People leader Tamaki noted that Abe may take advantage of the opposition parties' failure to expand their support, while Japanese Communist Party General Secretary also said the opposition needs to be ready at all times to face double elections.

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

Lawmaker to leave party over remarks about possible war with Russia (Kyodo News)

Highlights of Japan-related events scheduled for May 13-19 (Kyodo News)

Editorial: Abe's about-face on N. Korea talks risks responsible foreign policy (The Asahi Shimbun)


Abe cabinet support at 48%, nonsupport at 32%, NHK public opinion poll (NHK)

58% "following" Upper House election, NHK public opinion poll (NHK)

Cabinet and political party support rates, NHK public opinion poll (NHK)

64% approve of female emperors and female branch families, Sankei-FNN poll (Sankei)

Opinion poll & results from Sankei Shimbun (Sankei)


Editorial: Plastic waste pact should help toss out culture of disposability (The Asahi Shimbun)


Okinawa-based U.S. Marines may start moving to Guam in Oct. 2024 (Kyodo News)

Tokyo police hold meeting to discuss preparations for President Trump's visit (Yomiuri)

Tokyo police form harbor squad for Olympics (NHK WORLD)

Japan to deploy 100 personnel at new satellite monitoring unit (Kyodo News)

Editorial: Japan, world must be on alert against renewed N. Korean brinkmanship (The Mainichi)

USAF plans to construct drone parking aprons at Yokota base (Akahata)


Okinawa assembly lodges protest with U.S. over alleged murder in Chatan involving U.S. sailor

Okinawa Times and Ryukyu Shimpo wrote that concerning the incident in which a U.S. Navy sailor attached to the Marine Corps allegedly killed a local woman and committed suicide in Chatan in April, a group of Okinawa Prefectural Assembly members delivered a letter of protest to Deputy Chief of Mission Joseph Young at the U.S. Embassy in Tokyo on Monday.

Ryukyu Shimpo wrote that the group called on the U.S. side to apologize to the people of Okinawa, provide full compensation to the family of the victim, take fundamental steps to prevent a recurrence, drastically review the SOFA, and substantially reduce and consolidate the U.S. bases on Okinawa. The paper wrote that assembly member Nakasone, who chairs the assembly's special committee on U.S. bases and led the group of visitors, told reporters that the deputy chief of mission responded by offering his condolences to the people of Okinawa and the family and friends of the victim and saying that the U.S. will do everything possible to prevent similar incidents from happening again and make efforts to be a good neighbor. The paper added that he made no response to the assembly members' call for imposing a curfew on U.S. service members. Okinawa Times wrote that Nakasone also told reporters afterward that the deputy chief of mission said he feels the incident was very regrettable because it caused anxiety among the people of Okinawa.

U.S. servicemen in Okinawa involved in successive alcohol-related incidents (Okinawa Times)

U.S. Embassy Tokyo Media Analysis and Translation Team