Afternoon Alert   -   Wednesday, June 19, 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

All TV networks led with extensive follow-up reports on the strong earthquakes that hit Niigata and Yamagata, injuring 26 people and causing widespread damage to infrastructure, homes, and buildings, as well as transportation disruptions. Heavy rain forecast for today is expected to aggravate the damage and possibly cause landslides in the affected areas. The Meteorological Agency has warned residents to be prepared for possible strong aftershocks over the next week.


China, Russia block release of report on DPRK ship-to-ship transfers

TBS reported this morning that it has learned that China and Russia stopped the UN Security Council Sanctions Committee on North Korea yesterday from releasing a report submitted by the U.S. and others last week saying North Korea exceeded its import ceiling for petroleum products under UN sanctions through repeated illicit ship-to-ship transfers. TBS said that the U.S., Japan, and 24 other nations had demanded the release of this report, but China and Russia blocked the release by asserting on June 18 that the U.S.-led survey does not constitute conclusive evidence since the import volume was an estimate based on ship movements.

MOFA summons ROK embassy official over failure to appoint arbitration panel member

NHK reported today that the Foreign Ministry's Asian and Oceanian Affairs Bureau Director General Kanasugi summoned Kim Kyung-han, deputy chief of mission at the ROK Embassy in Tokyo, to the ministry this morning to convey regret that the ROK government failed to fulfill its obligation under the 1965 bilateral agreement on claims for wartime compensation to appoint a member to an arbitration committee that will deal with the World War II requisitioned worker issue. The deadline for appointing the member was yesterday. NHK said Kim was also told that the ROK will now have to take the next step under the agreement of choosing a third country to name a committee member by July 18, urging the ROK to agree to start the arbitration process. Kim later told reporters that the ROK was "strongly pressed" to engage in arbitration but he merely said that he would report back to Seoul. Meanwhile, at a news conference this morning Chief Cabinet Secretary Suga also voiced regret that the ROK failed to appoint an arbitration committee member. When asked if Prime Minister Abe plans to hold a summit meeting with President Moon on the sidelines of the G20 Summit, Suga would only say that the government will make a decision based on a comprehensive assessment of the situation.

In a separate report, TV Asahi cited a senior Foreign Ministry official as saying that Abe has decided not to hold any meeting with Moon since the ROK has not addressed the radar illumination incident or offered a solution for the requisitioned worker issue.

Trump officially launches re-election campaign (NHK WORLD)

Suga comments on Trump reelection bid (NHK WORLD)

Opinion: Trade between U.S., China should be mutually beneficial (Asahi)

Chinese envoy vows to seek era of Japan-China cooperation in interview (Yomiuri)

How Japan's clout is rising in age of U.S.-China tensions (The Japan Times)

Japan-Russia vice foreign ministerial to be held in Moscow (Nikkei)

Editorial: Kim Jong Un must decide to move forward with denuclearization (Tokyo Shimbun)


USTR calls for prioritizing deal with Japan on farm tariff cuts (Kyodo News)

Japan incurs goods trade deficit in May amid U.S.-China tensions (Kyodo News)

Japanese-led electric vehicle charging network completed in California (Jiji Press)

Spending at Japan companies soars to record in fiscal 2018 (Nikkei Asian Review)

Japan economy still recovering moderately despite China risk: gov't (Kyodo News)

Toshiba and U.S. AECOM to collaborate on decommissioning (Nikkei)

Gas-fired power plant funded by Tokyo Gas and Sojitz in U.S. goes online (NIKKEI Business Daily)

80% of companies affected by U.S.-China friction, Asahi Shimbun survey of 100 leading companies (Asahi)

Sekisui Chemical to buy US aircraft component maker for $510m (Nikkei Asian Review)

Companies hope new visa will resolve labor shortage but say issues remain, Asahi Shimbun survey of 100 leading companies (Asahi)

SoftBank leads $205m investment in health care startup (Nikkei Asian Review)

Oil majors and Japanese companies join hands in ocean resources development (NIKKEI Business Daily)


Pentagon: Shanahan to step down on Sunday (NHK WORLD)

Iwaya: Residents safe from illness-causing radars (NHK WORLD)

Japan defense ministry to beef up cybersecurity with AI (Nikkei Asian Review)

Editorial: Change lax approach, restore public trust in Aegis Ashore deployment (The Japan News)


Veteran lawmaker Suzuki to run as Japan Innovation Party candidate

NHK reported online on Tuesday evening that Osaka Mayor Matsui, the leader of the Japan Innovation Party, revealed to reporters that New Party Daichi leader Muneo Suzuki has asked to join his party and coordination is underway for him to run on the party's ticket in the Upper House election this summer. Matsui said he met with Suzuki in Osaka on Monday and Suzuki indicated that he wants to devote the rest of his political career to pursuing the return of the Northern Territories. Matsui also stated that the Japan Innovation Party will maintain a cooperative relationship with New Party Daichi as a regional party in Hokkaido.

Prime minister's schedule on June 18, 2019 (Sankei)

Aso rejects another gov't estimate on post-retirement budgets (Jiji Press)

SDP leader announces non-candidacy for Upper House election (Yomiuri)

Internet media gaining ground as new platform for disseminating truth (THEMIS)


Technology to clean radioactive contaminated soil (NHK WORLD)

Editorial: Nations must get past differences to cooperate on the environment (The Japan News)


Petition against new entrance exams (NHK WORLD)


FEATURE: Young women call on G-20 leaders to commit to gender equality (Kyodo News)

Traffic control measures drafted for 2020 Tokyo Game (Jiji Press)

Japan Post Bank to cap int'l transfers to counter money laundering (Kyodo News)

U.S. Embassy Tokyo Media Analysis and Translation Team