Afternoon Alert   -   Friday, May 24, 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

NTV and TV Asahi reported that 15 Japanese suspects in a Thailand-based phone scam are being returned to Japan today. Three of them have already been arrested aboard flights scheduled to arrive in Tokyo later this afternoon. NHK, TBS, and Fuji TV led with reports on the unusually warm weather nationwide tod


President Trump comments on visit to Japan

Sankei reported online on remarks made to the press at the White House on Thursday by President Trump, in which he mentioned his planned trip to Japan by saying: "It's a very big thing going on with the Emperor, something that hasn't happened in over 200 years". I am the guest, meaning the United States is the guest". I represent the country. Of all the countries in the world, I'm the guest of honor at the biggest event they've had in over 200 years."

PM Abe meets with Bolton to discuss North Korea, other issues

NHK reported today that ahead of President Trump's visit to Japan from tomorrow, Prime Minister Abe met with National Security Adviser Bolton at the Kantei earlier today. The two officials reportedly agreed to further strengthen the bilateral security alliance. They also confirmed that UN sanctions resolutions against North Korea, including preventing ship-to-ship transfers of illegal cargo, should be fully implemented to achieve the DPRK's complete denuclearization, and that the abduction issue needs to be resolved at an early date. Abe and Bolton also exchanged views on the Iran situation and closer cooperation for a free and open Indo-Pacific.

PM Abe to sound out President Trump on possibility of visiting Iran next month

Fuji TV reported at noon that it has learned that at his summit meeting with President Trump on May 27, Prime Minister Abe plans to take up the tense situation between the U.S. and Iran over the Iranian nuclear deal. Since Japan has good relations with both countries, Abe plans to discuss the issue with the President and sound him out on the possibility of visiting Iran next month to mediate. Abe will reportedly make a final decision on whether to visit Iran based on the President's response. NTV later filed a report citing several Japanese government sources as saying that Abe's trip is being planned for June 12-14. NHK carried a similar report this afternoon.

Russian official criticizes Japanese lawmaker's remark on going to war, hails GOJ response

NHK and TV Asahi reported today that at a news conference yesterday, Russian Foreign Ministry spokesperson Zakharova criticized the "provocative and absurd" behavior of Lower House member Hodaka Maruyama, who made a remark earlier this month about going to war with Russia over the Northern Territories. At the same time, Zakharova hailed the Japanese government for condemning Maruyama's remarks as contrary to Japan's position and the submission of motions in the Lower House to censure Maruyama and urge him to resign, saying these actions "bring hope" for rectifying the situation.

Trump speaks about coming trip to Japan (NHK WORLD)

Shanahan to visit Japan, S. Korea in early June (Kyodo News)

Kono: G20 to discuss liberal international order (NHK WORLD)

Suga: Japan seeks panel on wartime labor issue (NHK WORLD)

Kono blames WTO dispute settlement system as dysfunctional (Jiji Press)

Japan, China launch talks on post-ODA cooperation scheme (Jiji Press)

S. Korea appoints Japan expert as 1st vice minister (NHK WORLD)

Editorial: Celebration of Emperor's enthronement a chance to deepen bonds of Japan-U.S. alliance (Sankei)

Ex-residents leave for visa-free visit to Russian-held isle (Jiji Press)


U.S. Commerce Department to impose higher tariffs on currency manipulating countries

NHK reported today that the U.S. Department of Commerce announced yesterday that it is studying a system for imposing higher tariffs on countries that engage in willful currency manipulation to promote exports. Based on an order from President Trump, the Commerce Department said it will introduce a rigorous system for imposing high tariffs on countries undertaking currency manipulation to make their exports cheaper, on the grounds that such actions constitute unfair virtual subsidies, which can be penalized with higher tariffs under international rules. NHK said that this is seen as a means to demonstrate to China a new way to slap higher tariffs on its products in an effort to put more pressure on it in the ongoing trade talks. The network also noted that Japan, along with China and South Korea, are among the six countries on the U.S.'s currency manipulator watch list. TV Asahi aired a similar report.

Japanese-run company in U.S. receives presidential award for export promotion

NHK reported this morning that Quality Electrodynamics, an Ohio-based medical equipment manufacturer that is run by Japanese businessman Hiroyuki Fujita, was one of the 48 recipients of a prestigious President's E Star Award presented to companies and organizations in recognition of their significant contributions to the promotion of U.S. exports. The awards were presented by Commerce Secretary Ross at a ceremony in Washington yesterday. Fujita was recognized not only for promoting exports but also for creating jobs. He was once invited to attend President Obama's State of the Union address and served as a policy adviser to the Department of Commerce.

Japan, U.S., EU agree on WTO talks on subsidy rules (Jiji Press)

OECD fails to agree on free trade statement (NHK WORLD)

Japan firms act as Huawei ban spreads worldwide (The Japan News)

Low-cost mobile providers delay Huawei smartphone launch (Jiji Press)

Toshiba resumes shipments to Huawei after brief suspension (Nikkei Asian Review)

Exclusive: Sharp eyes moving printer output from China to Thailand (Nikkei Asian Review)

MGM promises local companies a stake in Osaka casino plan (Nikkei Asian Review)


Prime minister's schedule on May 23, 2019 (Sankei)

Young generation supports Abe cabinet because "it is better than others" (Asahi)

Muneo Suzuki diagnosed with esophageal cancer (Nikkei)

Editorial: Diet should be venue for political parties to vie over their policies (The Japan News)

Double Japanese general election looks more realistic as unpopular tax hike approaches (The Japan Times)


U.S. court adds 2 experts to immunotherapy patents (NHK WORLD)

Japan's new supercomputer Fugaku to begin operations around 2021 (Kyodo News)


27 rescued from human trafficking in Japan in 2018 (Kyodo News)

Olympics: Organizers to decide format of urban sports in July (Kyodo News)


Iwaya plans to deploy US Osprey aircraft in Chiba (NHK WORLD)

Japan's plan to remodel Izumo-class carriers: Needed upgrade or mere show of force? (The Japan Times)

Police on alert as Tokyo becomes 'Trump town' this weekend (The Asahi Shimbun)


Okinawa to seek Kadena base access to check for water contamination

Ryukyu Shimpo gave top coverage to press remarks made on Thursday by a senior Okinawa prefectural government official regarding the detection of toxic chemical agents in water stored at a water purification plant in Chatan. While acknowledging that the levels of perfluorooctane sulfonate (PFOS) and perfluorooctanoic acid (PFOA) in the reservoir that provides tap water for seven local municipalities in the neighborhood are not high enough to adversely affect human health, the official reportedly asserted that the source of contamination must be Kadena AB and the prefectural government needs to gain access to the installation quickly to conduct a fact-finding survey.

U.S. serviceman arrested in Chatan on suspicion of DUI (Okinawa Times)

U.S. Army in Okinawa bans drone flights (Ryukyu Shimpo)

U.S. Embassy Tokyo Media Analysis and Translation Team