Afternoon Alert   -   Wednesday, May 29, 2019
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Noon news

All TV networks led with follow-up reports on the mass stabbing incident in Kawasaki yesterday.


Japan proposes 2+2 with China

Kyodo reported on Tuesday that the GOJ has proposed to China the idea of launching a dialogue mechanism between the two nations' foreign and defense ministers in a bid to deepen mutual trust in the security arena. According to several sources involved in bilateral relations, Foreign Minister Kono made the proposal when he met with senior Chinese officials in April and May. The Japanese side is reportedly hoping that the launch of a standing, high-level 2+2 forum modeled after the U.S.-China "diplomatic and security dialogue" (D&SD) will help defuse tensions over Chinese advances into the South and East China Seas. As the Chinese side has allegedly been noncommittal in its response to the Japanese proposal, the article projected that Prime Minister Abe may take it up when he meets with President Xi on the sidelines of the G20 summit in Osaka next month.

LDP lawmakers: No summit with ROK without requisitioned workers issue arbitration panel

NHK reported today that many participants in a LDP meeting of divisions concerned with foreign affairs this morning expressed the view that Prime Minister Abe should not hold a summit meeting with ROK President Moon on the sidelines of the G20 next month unless South Korea agrees to submit the wartime requisitioned workers issue to an arbitration panel. The ROK has not responded to Japan's proposal on convening the panel. Former Foreign Minister Nakasone was shown stating at the meeting that the ROK is shifting the blame to Japan, not acting in good faith, and "treating Japan with contempt," so no bilateral summit should take place unless the ROK agrees to submit the issue to an arbitration panel. Other participants said Japan should tell the ROK that no summit is possible with the bilateral relations in their current state. A MOFA official who attended the meeting said the ministry is still considering whether or not to hold a summit.

Editorial: Create Japan-U.S. alliance that is unshakable regardless of who national leaders are (Nikkei)

Editorial: Japan should show its presence by easing tensions in Middle East (Sankei)

Abe keen to gain diplomatic clout brokering U.S.-Iran talks (The Japan News)

Japan, U.S. First Ladies deepen friendship through ikebana and shakuhachi performances (Kanagawa Shimbun)

Sparks fly at Tokyo summit as Trump vents over China and beef (Nikkei Asian Review)

Trump and Abe's rapport follows old pattern for US, Japan leaders (Nikkei Asian Review)

Editorial: Japan-U.S. alliance should lead multilateral cooperation / Avoid needless confusion over trade issue (The Japan News)

Editorial: Abe must base diplomacy on principles, not following U.S. (The Asahi Shimbun)

Editorial: Will Japan's special treatment of President Trump serve its interests? (The Mainichi)

China's new ambassador to Japan to start working on Thursday (Kyodo News)

Japan the new 'leader of the liberal order in Asia,' top Australian think tank says (The Japan Times)


Defense experts comment on significance of President Trump, PM Abe's Kaga visit

Former Defense Minister Gen Nakatani stated during an NTV program on Tuesday evening that by visiting the Kaga together President Trump and Prime Minister Abe were able not only to demonstrate the strength of the U.S.-Japan alliance, but also to showcase to the world the power of the upcoming deployment of cutting-edge F-35B stealth fighters on the Kaga. He said this is very important for Japan's security and defense and served to project the strong presence of the bilateral security alliance. Sasakawa Peace Foundation Senior Fellow Bonji Ohara also noted that the Japanese government scored an achievement in that Abe was able to demonstrate to President Trump the efforts that Japan is making to reinforce its defense capabilities so he will understand that Japan is an important security partner.

Trump hails Japan for acquiring 'largest F-35 fleet' of any ally (Nikkei Asian Review)


Mitsubishi's idea to produce jets in U.S. shocks Japanese parts suppliers

Nikkei reported online that the Mitsubishi Aircraft Corp. is considering developing a new variant of its signature Mitsubishi Regional Jet (MRJ), Japan's first domestically produced passenger jet, saying that the new model may be produced in the U.S. using locally produced components. According to the daily, the subsidiary of Mitsubishi Heavy Industries (MHI) is planning to develop a 70-seat version of the aircraft as opposed to the 90-seat prototype, in view of a "scope clause" in the contract between major U.S. airlines and their trade unions intended to limit the aircraft that may be flown by the airlines' regional affiliates to 76 seats. As the proposed reduction in seating capacity is intended to promote MRJs in the U.S., which is the world's largest aviation market, the company is reportedly mulling producing the new model in the U.S. in view of President Trump's strong calls for greater Japanese corporate investment there. While noting that MHI President Izumisawa was one of the some 30 Japanese guests at a business dinner held at the Ambassador's residence over the weekend in honor of President Trump, the article said Japanese parts suppliers are dismayed by Mitsubishi's plan to tap American suppliers for assembling the new version since the development of the MRJ had been viewed as a "Rising Sun" initiative intended to develop a purely domestically produced passenger plane. The name MRJ may also reportedly be changed to "Space Jet" when the new model is rolled out.

Japan, China remain on U.S. "monitoring list" over currency practices (Kyodo News)

Trump drives hard bargain in Japan at honeymoon summit (Nikkei Asian Review)

Focus: Japan braces for more pressure from Trump on trade after July (Kyodo News)

Commentary: What it takes to foster innovation in Japan (The Japan Times)

Japan to open up job fields for foreigners graduating universities (Kyodo News)

Indonesia, Inpex reach deal on Masela gas block's development (Kyodo News)

Suntory taps NY startup to make plastic bottles 100% renewable (Nikkei Asian Review)

Mitsubishi to turn MRJ into cheaper, smaller 'Space Jet' (Nikkei Asian Review)


Senior opposition official to leave party, become independent

Fuji TV reported this morning that it has learned that Lower House member Kazunori Yamanoi, deputy chair of the Democratic Party for the People's Diet Affairs Committee, is planning to leave the party and become an independent and that he will submit his resignation in early June. The network pointed out that it is very unusual for a senior Diet affairs official to resign while the Diet is in session and that his resignation is expected to deal a heavy blow to the DPFP, whose support rating is sagging.

Prime minister's schedule on May 28, 2019 (Sankei)

Close aide to Abe dismisses talk of double election in Japan (Kyodo News)

Schedule of major political events (Mainichi)

Gov't to increase subsidy to DPFP (Yomiuri)


Japan enacts amended law for curbing CFC emissions (Jiji Press)

Minister for Space Policy Hirai welcomes enhancement of Japan-U.S. cooperation in space (Sankei, Online)


IOM praises Japan's plan to accept more refugees (NHK WORLD)

EXCLUSIVE: Japan eyeing traffic restriction near Tokyo Games venues (Jiji Press)

Olympics: Tokyo 2020 torch relay may include Fukushima reactor town (Kyodo News)

American father arrested for allegedly injuring his daughter (NHK, Online)


Gov. Tamaki sends first-ever letter to U.S. gov't calling for "halt of operation of Futenma" (Ryukyu Shimpo)

U.S. Embassy Tokyo Media Analysis and Translation Team