Afternoon Alert   -   Thursday, June 6, 2019
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Noon news

NHK and TBS led with reports that Fiat Chrysler has withdrawn its offer to merge with Renault. NTV and Fuji TV gave top coverage to a subway derailment in Yokohama this morning. TV Asahi reported on the arrest of a woman and her boyfriend in Sapporo today for abusing her two-year-old daughter, who died yesterday.


Abe to visit Iran from June 12 amid standoff with U.S. (Kyodo News)

Lawmakers criticize Japan-S.Korea defense talks (NHK WORLD)

Editorial: Abe should meet Moon to heal rift that has set back bilateral ties (The Asahi Shimbun)

Kono: Japan will work to ease U.S.-Iran tension (NHK WORLD)

Japan, Italy affirm cooperation for G-20 Summit (Jiji Press)

Japan, China to agree on giant panda breeding research upon Xi visit (Kyodo News)

Cartoon: Chinese hypocrisy (Asahi)

U.N. rights expert shows concern on independence of Japan media (Jiji Press)

11 recommendations made to Japanese government by U.N. special rapporteur (Sankei)


Government to adopt AI strategy to produce 250,000 specialists annually by 2025

NHK reported today that amid fierce competition among American, Chinese, and other companies in the commercial application of artificial intelligence, the government has decided to adopt an AI strategy to produce 250,000 specialists annually by 2025, focusing on five areas: health care, medical, and nursing services; agriculture; national resilience building; transportation and logistics; and regional revitalization. The strategy envisions providing all students from elementary through high school with tablet devices for learning, certifying outstanding university AI education programs, and establishing an "AI research and development network" in cooperation with government research institutes, universities, and other organizations within the current fiscal year to set up core research programs. This strategy will reportedly be officially adopted at a meeting of the Cross-Ministerial Strategic Innovation Program on June 11.

Japanese group puts Huawei on trade control alert list (Nikkei Asian Review)

G-7 to cooperate in regulating IT giants to protect competition (Kyodo News)

Japan eyes legislation to regulate global IT giants (Kyodo News)

Japan targets online tax evasion with specialized agents (Nikkei Asian Review)

Sharp to move PC production from China to Vietnam (NHK WORLD)

Outline of government's draft growth strategy (Mainichi)

Isuzu motors concludes comprehensive partnership with Cummins (NIKKEI Business Daily)

Mitsubishi Heavy aiming to buy Bombardier's small jet biz (Jiji Press)

Hospitalized Keidanren chief diagnosed with lymphoma (Jiji Press)


Prime minister's schedule on June 5, 2019 (Sankei)

Japan Lower House slams Maruyama for war gaffe (Jiji Press)

Party of Hope no longer fulfills necessary conditions for political party (Yomiuri)

Abe becomes 3rd longest-serving prime minister in Japan (Jiji Press)

Revisions to Act Concerning Utilization of National Forest Land enacted (Mainichi)

Koga's "preference of Suga over Kishida" weakens Kochi-kai (Sentaku)

Cartoon: No resting on your oars in your golden years (Asahi)


Record 1 ton of stimulants seized on central Japan beach (Kyodo News)

Measles quickly spreading in Japan (Jiji Press)


DM Iwaya comments on rubber sheet that dropped on Okinawa school

NHK reported today that Defense Minister Iwaya commented on the rubber sheet that dropped from a U.S. Marine helicopter onto the premises of a middle school in Urasoe on Tuesday at the Lower House Committee on Security this morning. Iwaya informed the committee that the U.S. Forces will replace any worn-out rubber tape on helicopters of the same model and that the government has asked them to give top priority to safety and take thorough maintenance and safety measures in their operations. He also said that in light of past incidents, the U.S. side has ordered aircraft deployed at MCAS Futenma to avoid flying over schools as much as possible. The government has asked the U.S. military to strictly observe this prohibition.

Defense Ministry suspends R&D of defense equipment due to "China risk" concerns

TBS reported today that it has learned that the Defense Ministry is currently unable to implement its budget for research and development of defense equipment, including R&D for converting the Izumo-Class destroyers into virtual aircraft carriers, because a company affiliated with the consulting firm that the ministry normally contracts out work to has hired a Chinese woman as one of its executives, arousing concerns regarding the possible leakage of defense secrets. With the U.S. banning the use of Huawei products due to security risks, the ministry also revised its rules for bidding on R&D contracts last month in response to "China risk," taking into account the employment histories, nationalities, and other biographical details of contractors, and this has resulted in the current delay in the bidding process.

Japan to station officers at U.S. base as part of space strategy (The Asahi Shimbun)

Editorial: Sharp discussions at the Shangri-la Dialogue (The Japan Times)

Flawed data shown to Akita Pref. over Aegis Ashore deployment (Jiji Press)


U.S. military confirms that rubber tape fell from Futenma helicopter

Okinawa Times and Ryukyu Shimpo gave extensive coverage to the U.S. military's acknowledgement on Wednesday that the object that fell onto a tennis court at a junior high school in Urasoe a day earlier was a piece of "blade tape" from a Futenma-based CH-53 helicopter. Marine authorities in Okinawa reportedly explained that the falling object did not pose a threat to humans or property, adding that all aircraft using the same kind of tape are being inspected and any tape that has deteriorated will either be removed or replaced. Local officials were reportedly unconvinced by this explanation, with Vice Governor Jahana telling the press last night: "We have no choice but to conclude that the U.S. military's maintenance and management of helicopters are insufficient. Since the incident caused great anxiety among local residents, it is extremely regrettable." The prefectural government is reportedly set to ask the U.S. military to ground all CH-53s until the cause of the incident has been determined and preventive measures taken.

The dailies took issue with the absence of an apology from the U.S. military, with Ryukyu Shimpo declaring in a headline that the U.S. military "disregards human life." Okinawa Times claimed that the central government is poised to capitalize on the incident to step up its PR campaign for the FRF construction initiative off Camp Schwab by arguing that the ultimate solution to protect citizens from this type of incident is to move the Futenma Air Station to the planned offshore location.

Governor Tamaki meets with Cuban envoy (Okinawa Times)

U.S. Embassy Tokyo Media Analysis and Translation Team