Afternoon Alert   -   Thursday, May 30, 2019
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Noon news

All TV networks except Fuji TV led with follow-up reports on the mass stabbing incident in Kawasaki on Tuesday morning. Fuji TV gave top coverage to a report on a cruise ship that capsized on the Danube River in Hungary on Wednesday evening, saying that 7 South Korean passengers were killed and 19 are missing.


Op-ed | Approaching 5G: Tech ties cement Japan-U.S. bonds (Japan Forward)


Japan to assert weaker correlation between exchange rate and trade imbalance

On the Treasury Department's announcement on Tuesday that it is keeping Japan on its list of trading partners whose currency practices merit close attention, Nikkei wrote that the GOJ is set to explain to the USG that the correlation between yen exchange rates and Japan's trade surplus has weakened lately. The Finance Ministry is reportedly hoping that the Trump administration will accept its view that Japan's trade surplus has more to do with return on investment than currency exchange rates. With regard to the Treasury report, an unnamed MOF official was quoted as saying: "As strong wording was not used in reference to Japan, this should not be viewed as U.S. pressure in the ongoing trade talks."

G-20 to tax digital giants by business footprints (Nikkei Asian Review)

Huawei excluded from SoftBank's 5G network (Nikkei Asian Review)

Editorial: Why Japan-U.S. trade negotiations will not be concluded until after Upper House election (Tokyo Shimbun)

Huawei's trouble with U.S. ban could impact Japan's smartphone market and suppliers (The Japan Times)

ANA cargo from Japan to China down 24% (NHK WORLD)

Editorial: Alarming creep of 'national security' (The Japan Times)

Upper House approves investment pact with Argentina (Nikkei)

Japan, Philippines agree to cooperate in supporting workers with "specified skills" (Yomiuri)

Expert: President Trump may try to restrict Japan's auto exports to deliver "results" (Asahi)

Keidanren to set up new organization for entrepreneurs (Yomiuri)


U.S., Japan, ROK diplomats to discuss DPRK denuclearization in Singapore

NHK reported today that the U.S. State Department announced yesterday that Special Representative for North Korea Biegun is planning to visit Singapore from May 31 to June 2 to attend the Asian Security Conference and will meet with MOFA Asian and Oceanian Affairs Bureau Director-General Kanasugi and ROK Special Representative for Korean Peninsula Peace and Security Affairs Lee Do-hoon to discuss trilateral cooperation for North Korea's complete denuclearization.

Abe, Saudi crown prince likely discuss Iran situation (Jiji Press)

Japan to extend $1.2 bil. loans to improve Bangladesh infrastructure (Kyodo News)

Expert: Japan's offer to mediate between U.S., Iran is commendable (Nikkei)

Cambodian PM calls for Japanese investment (NHK WORLD)

INTERVIEW: Ethiopia wants Japanese contributions to Africa economy (Jiji Press)


CCS Suga rules out general election over consumption tax hike or "double election"

NTV reported today that Chief Cabinet Secretary Suga stated during an interview on a BS NTV program yesterday evening that the issue of increasing the consumption tax rate to 10% in October as scheduled is not an issue that would justify the dissolution of the Lower House for a general election since the increase was explained to the Diet and the budget was enacted on the assumption of the tax hike. He also said that he agreed with a recent remark by LDP Election Strategy Committee Chair Amari that holding simultaneous Lower and Upper House elections this summer is "99% out of the question." However, he added that dissolution of the Lower House is the prime minister's prerogative and the current priority of the government is to pass the bills submitted to the Diet.

Prime minister's schedule on May 29, 2019 (Sankei)

Opposition to join hands in most single-seat upper house districts (Kyodo News)

Japan lawmaker Sakurada urges women to each have 3 kids (Jiji Press)

Japanese cabinet members divided over English name order (Jiji Press)

Japan beefs up measures against workplace harassment (Kyodo News)

Party of Hope's leaders resign (Mainichi)


Japan to lead global push for ocean-friendly plastic (Nikkei Asian Review)


Trump's basho visit boosts sumo's reputation overseas (The Japan Times)

Tokyo governor calls for work-style reforms for Olympics (Jiji Press)


Those age 60 and over have highest life satisfaction, Cabinet Office poll (Mainichi)


S. Korea, U.S, Japan defense chiefs to hold talks in Singapore (Kyodo News)

Editorial: Japan-U.S. "bonds" must not be predicated on arms purchases (Asahi)

Editorial: Effectively develop nation's defense capabilities under Japan-U.S. alliance (The Japan News)

Narita airport to use robots to patrol terminals (NHK WORLD)


Municipalities hosting Kadena protest parachute drop training

Okinawa Times wrote that the towns of Kadena and Chatan and the city of Okinawa lodged a protest with the Defense Ministry's Okinawa bureau on Wednesday over the U.S. military's parachute drop drills conducted at Kadena AB on May 21 and two other times earlier this year. According to the paper, the municipalities requested that the U.S. military comply with the SACO Final Report, in which the United States agreed to relocate parachute drop training to Ie Jima Auxiliary Airfield, and clarify what constitutes "special cases" where such training can take place at Kadena. MOD bureau chief Tanaka reportedly told the local leaders that the ministry will continue to ask the U.S. side to conduct the training on Ie Jima in line with the SACO report. Concerning the definition of "special cases," while citing poor weather conditions as an example, the bureau chief reportedly said that it is necessary to decide where to conduct drills on a case-by-case basis.

The leaders of the municipalities also lodged a protest with the defense bureau over recent drunk driving and other incidents involving U.S. airmen and a civilian worker attached to Kadena AB. According to the paper, four such incidents happened in the four-day period from May 23 through 26. Kadena Mayor Toyama reportedly said that it is excessive for persons affiliated with the U.S. military to be arrested almost daily, expressing doubt over whether discipline is being properly enforced. Ryukyu Shimpo ran a similar report.

USAF serviceman arrested for DUI in Okinawa (Ryukyu Shimpo)

U.S. marine arrested for DUI in Okinawa (Ryukyu Shimpo)

U.S. marine arrested for DUI in Okinawa (Ryukyu Shimpo)

USAF serviceman arrested for violating firearms and sword control act in Okinawa (Ryukyu Shimpo)

Non-prosecution rate for U.S. forces, related personnel at 80% in Okinawa (Ryukyu Shimpo)

U.S. Embassy Tokyo Media Analysis and Translation Team