Afternoon Alert   -   Tuesday, July 16, 2019
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Noon news

NHK led with a report saying that plaintiffs in a requisitioned workers court case in the ROK will start liquidating the seized assets of Mitsubishi Heavy Industries shortly since the company has refused to engage in talks with them as of the deadline today. All commercial TV networks reported on the stabbing of a high school student in his home in Warabi, Saitama Prefecture, early this morning.


President Trump says Ambassador Hagerty to run for Senate in 2020

Kyodo News reported on Saturday that President Trump tweeted on Friday: "Tennessee loving Bill Hagerty, who was my Tennessee Victory Chair and is now the very outstanding ambassador to Japan, will be running for the U.S. Senate," professing his "Complete & Total" endorsement. Kyodo also cited U.S. media reports saying the Ambassador is widely expected to enter the race. NHK, TV Asahi, TBS, Fuji TV, and Jiji Press reported on Saturday on the President's tweet. All national newspapers except Nikkei reported on Sunday that the Ambassador is likely to resign from his post and then run in the senate election, so all eyes will be on the Trump administration's choice of his successor. Sankei observed that, with the President's support, he stands a good chance of getting elected. Asahi quoted an unnamed USG official as saying that in view of the fact that his four children will start school in September in the U.S., he will probably make a decision this summer. Nikkei filed on Saturday an online report from Washington saying that since he took up post in 2017, the Ambassador's efforts have resulted in an increase in Japanese direct investment in the U.S. by $50 billion, which has been greatly appreciated by the President. The report also cited a CNN story on Friday saying the Ambassador is being considered as a replacement for Secretary Pompeo if the Secretary decides to run for the Senate next year.


METI Minister Seko, CCS Suga refute ROK President Moon's criticism of Japan's export curbs

NHK reported today that Minister of Economy, Trade, and Industry Seko and Chief Cabinet Secretary Suga refuted at separate news conferences this morning ROK President Moon's criticism on Monday that Japan's stricter controls on semiconductor material exports to the ROK "run counter to the history of the development of bilateral relations," implying these were in retaliation for the wartime requisitioned workers issue. The two officials reiterated that the export control measures were being taken for the sake of proper management of exports for security reasons and the president's comments were "off the mark." TV Asahi also reported on Seko's news conference.

Secretary Pompeo expects new denuclearization proposal from North Korea

Nikkei reported online on a radio interview with Secretary of State Pompeo on Monday in which he reportedly voiced hope that the DPRK will put forward a new proposal when the two sides resume denuclearization talks in the near future. "I hope the North Koreans will come to the table with ideas that they didn't have the first time," the Secretary said. "We hope we can be a little more creative too." He reportedly underscored that President Trump is strongly committed to ending Pyongyang's nuclear weapons program by saying: "The president's mission hasn't changed: to fully and finally denuclearize North Korea in a way that we can verify. That's the mission set for these negotiations."

Senior U.S. diplomat indicates intent to hold discussions on such matters as increasing Japan's base-hosting burden (Too Nippo)

Editorial: Can Japan justify support for int'l military coalition in Middle East? (The Mainichi)

Japan-U.S. ties should adapt to changes in situations: Stilwell (Jiji Press)

South Korean officials reject Japan's claims in meeting on export curbs (Kyodo News)

Senior U.S. diplomat says Japan alliance will "change constantly" (Kyodo News)

S. Korea's Moon slams Japan's export curbs, warns of consequences (Kyodo News)

Japan industry minister defends export curbs amid S. Korean rebuke (Kyodo News)

South Korean companies urge diplomacy in Japan export dispute (Nikkei Asian Review)

South Korean economic body urges reconsideration (NHK WORLD)

S. Korea plaintiffs to ask sale of seized M'bishi Heavy assets soon (Kyodo News)

Russia nixes Japan territorial talks on flagging Putin support rate (Kyodo News)

Commentary: Japan in tight spot in tussle with Russia over isles near Hokkaido (Nikkei Asian Review)


DM Iwaya says no plan to send SDF to Strait of Hormuz

NHK reported today that in light of the U.S.'s plan to form a coalition of the willing for the security of the Strait of Hormuz as tensions continue to rise over the Iran situation, Defense Minister Iwaya said at a news conference this morning: "While we are deeply concerned by the rise in tensions, the situation is relatively calm at present, so at this point we are not thinking of having the Self-Defense Forces join the coalition of the willing or of sending them there." However, he was quoted as adding that "this area is extremely important for Japan's energy security, so we need to think of various options when it becomes really necessary. First, it is important to closely watch the situation," indicating that a response will be considered depending on the situation.

U.S. Embassy closely watching Akita in UH election, concerned about impact on deployment of Aegis Ashore (Akita Sakigake)

Expert: Japan's defense spending will account for "1.3% of GDP" if it shoulders cost of stationing U.S. troops (Sankei)

Japan weighs possible SDF dispatch to Strait of Hormuz as U.S. seeks coalition (The Japan Times)

EXCLUSIVE: GSDF Osprey training at U.S. base unveiled for 1st time (Jiji Press)


Japan white paper calls for new int'l order in trade (Jiji Press)

Japan warns of rising protectionism (NHK WORLD)

FOCUS: U.S.-China trade war may provide window of opportunity for Japan (Kyodo News)

Japan to set up model field in India to promote farm tech (Nikkei Asian Review)

Editorial: Govt must provide assistance for foreign workers to adapt to society (The Japan News)


Prime minister's schedule on July 12, 2019 (Sankei)

Prime minister's schedule on July 13, 2019 (Sankei)

Prime minister's schedule on July 14, 2019 (Sankei)

The week ahead for July 15 to July 21 (The Japan Times)

Abe avoids sticky Iran, territorial issues in campaign speeches for Japan's Upper House election (The Japan Times)

Tokyo-based fact-checking NPO keeping busy ahead of Upper House election (The Japan Times)

Japanese political parties woo young voters with manga, social media and cosplay (The Japan Times)

Editorial: Parties must present foreign policy views that address global turmoil (The Japan News)

Editorial: Parties must close gap with reality in talks on nuclear power (The Asahi Shimbun)

Abe extols Kishida as candidate for prime minister (Mainichi)


Poll shows 70.7% support ROK export curbs, 74.7% think the ROK not trustworthy

Fuji TV reported at noon today on the results of an FNN opinion poll on July 14-15 showing that 70.7% of the respondents support the government's tightening controls on semiconductor material exports to the ROK, while 14.9% disapprove of it. The poll results also show that 74.7% think the ROK is not trustworthy, while 12.1% said it is trustworthy.

Abe cabinet approval rate inches down to 43 pct, Jiji poll (Jiji Press)

27 pct say Abe should call Lower House election, Jiji poll (Jiji Press)

40 pct of Japanese workers see none taking paternity leave, Jiji poll (Jiji Press)

Ruling coalition seen gaining majority in upper house election, Yomiuri poll (The Japan News)

Abe's LDP extends lead as election campaign heats up, Kyodo News poll (Kyodo News)

Kyodo News trend survey from Tokyo Shimbun (Tokyo Shimbun)

Pro-constitutional reform forces may lose 2/3 majority in Japan upper house, Mainichi poll (The Mainichi)

35% of voters picking LDP in election, 12% for CDP, Asahi poll (The Asahi Shimbun)

Constitutional revision hangs in balance of Japan's election, Nikkei poll (Nikkei Asian Review)


With Japan's increasing tourism numbers, tensions will inevitably follow (The Japan Times)

Japan weather firm looks to back 2020 Olympians with strategic data (The Japan Times)

Asylum-seekers in Japan are stuck in bureaucratic limbo (The Japan Times)

FOCUS: LGBT community hopes election spurs gay rights debate, legislation (Kyodo News)


U.S. military posts message on illegality of for-profit ride sharing

The July 13 edition of Okinawa Times led with a report saying that concerning the illegal taxi service being provided by people connected to the U.S. military in Okinawa by using their vehicles with the special "Y" license plate, they are apparently providing the illegal service to foreign tourists visiting Okinawa in addition to U.S. military personnel and their dependents. Meanwhile, the paper wrote that the U.S. Marines in Okinawa posted on their Facebook account a message from the Okinawa Area Coordinator, Lt. Gen. H. Stacy Clardy, saying: "Operating a ride-share service for money is illegal under the Japanese Road Transportation Act."

U.S. Embassy Tokyo Media Analysis and Translation Team