Afternoon Alert   -   Wednesday, September 4, 2019
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Noon news

NHK led with a report saying that the UK parliament will start deliberating a bill seeking the postponement of Brexit, with Prime Minister Johnson threatening to dissolve the parliament and call a general election if the bill is passed. TBS reported on localized downpours on the Pacific coast of eastern Japan yesterday that caused flooding in many places and the forecast for similar weather today. Fuji TV focused on the recovery efforts from the torrential rain and extensive flooding that occurred one week ago in northern Kyushu. NTV followed up on the trial for a child abuse case in Meguro, Tokyo, last year that resulted in the death of a five-year-old girl. TV Asahi reported on a traffic accident in Kakogawa, Hyogo Prefecture, this morning that injured three people.


ROK PM Lee denies proposing revocation of Japan's export controls, ROK's GSOMIA decision

Fuji TV reported today that ROK Prime Minister Lee has denied media reports that he proposed to former Chief Cabinet Secretary Kawamura a "package deal" in which Japan would rescind its removal of the ROK from the preferential trade treatment "white list" and the ROK would rescind its decision to scrap its GSOMIA with Japan. Lee remarked that he merely reiterated the ROK's position that if Japan steps back from its tighter export controls, Seoul would be able to reconsider its GSOMIA decision. Kamamura later admitted that Lee did not use the term "package deal" and apologized for the misunderstanding.

Officials worried about Moon toughening anti-Japan stance (Jiji Press)

Editorial: Make Japan Africa's choice by building mutually beneficial ties led by private sector (Nikkei)

MSDF considers sailing Hormuz not part of U.S. initiative (The Japan News)

Abe expresses desire to realize U.S.-Iran dialogue (Nikkei)

Editorial: Exchange programs between Japan, S. Korea promote understanding (The Japan News)

Japan maintains cautious stance on "Japan-Russia-India" framework as it could provoke U.S. (Mainichi)

Cartoon: Bolsonaro fiddles while the rain forests burn (Asahi)


Japan again proposes raising bluefin tuna fishing quota (Kyodo News)

Keidanren, other business groups worried over no-deal Brexit (Jiji Press)

Tokyo raps Seoul for planned trade restriction (Jiji Press)

East Africa rising as LNG producer (Nikkei)

Huawei ready to work with foreign nations to ease security concerns (Kyodo News)

Japanese JV to join power generation project in Bangladesh (Kyodo News)

G-20 labor ministers call for elderly-friendly working environment (Kyodo News)


FM Kono likely to be replaced by Motegi

A TBS noontime program reported on Prime Minister Abe's plan to change his cabinet lineup next week, with two prominent political analysts projecting that Foreign Minister Kono will not be reappointed since his "candid" remarks have apparently exacerbated tensions with South Korea. One of the commentators said that even though Kono has traveled to more than 120 countries over the past two years, there have been no major foreign policy accomplishments under his stewardship. The analyst also noted that the minister has many "enemies" within the ruling LDP because of his instructions to his ministry deputies that diplomats posted abroad should refrain from attending upon lawmakers who travel overseas in a personal capacity. The two pundits projected that the prime minister is likely to replace Kono with Economic and Fiscal Policy Minister Motegi because he is deemed to be extremely skillful in delivering results in such difficult areas as trade negotiations with the U.S. However, Motegi is reportedly unpopular among fellow lawmakers because he is "short-tempered."

The two analysts predicted that Abe will probably retain Trade Minister Seko because replacing him would send to South Korea the message that Tokyo is ready to compromise on the issue of stricter export controls. They added that Defense Minister Iwaya will probably be replaced.

Abe reportedly plans to retain Nikai as LDP secretary general

NTV reported today that Prime Minister Abe has decided to retain Toshihiro Nikai as LDP secretary general for the sake of intraparty stability despite calls for his replacement due to his age, his alleged high-handed methods, and the fact that he has already served in the post for three years. The network said that Executive Acting Secretary General Hagiuda, a close confidant of Abe, will also be retained. In addition, Abe is reportedly considering appointing Policy Research Council Chairman Kishida, who is regarded as a strong candidate to succeed him, to a position responsible for constitutional revision in his drive to move the constitutional debate forward.

Prime minister's schedule on Sept. 3, 2019 (Sankei)

Matsui reappointed as Nippon Ishin representative (Nikkei)


Trend in six-poll average cabinet support rate and cabinet support rate in text messaging poll, Saitama University Social Survey Research Center (Saitama University Social Survey Research Center)

Highlights of August 2019 Jiji Press Public Opinion Poll (Jiji Press Public Opinion Poll Bulletin)


Survey: 47,000 Japan high school students studied abroad in 2017 (Nikkei, Evening edition)


NHK reports on U.S. Olympic swimming gold medalist Ervin

NHK aired a report this morning on Anthony Ervin, the American gold medalist in freestyle swimming in the 2000 Sydney Olympics and the 2016 Rio de Janeiro Olympics. After winning the gold in Sydney and another gold medal at the world championships in 2001, he succumbed to the pressure of being a celebrity, particularly the media's focus on the fact that his father is African American and he was competing in a sport dominated by white athletes. He retired from competition at the age of 22 and became addicted to alcohol and drugs, but decided to return to swimming following the experience of teaching children to swim seven years later. He made a spectacular comeback, becoming at the age of 35 the oldest swimmer to win an Olympic gold medal when he came in first in Rio de Janeiro. Ervin came to Japan last month to hold swimming clinics for children in Osaka and Tokyo. He is now aiming to win a third gold medal in the 2020 Tokyo Olympics.

Tokyo library showcases ambassadors' favorite books (Mainichi)

64% of Japanese write their given name first in Roman letters, Yomiuri poll (The Japan News)

'Prison camps for Brazilians': Foreign kids in Japan being ushered into special education (The Mainichi)


Futenma relocation target date 'impossible' (NHK WORLD)

Editorial: When will Tokyo care about U.S. military mishaps in Okinawa? (The Asahi Shimbun)


GOJ dismisses Okinawa's call for suspension of CH-35E helicopter flights

Ryukyu Shimpo led with a report on Okinawa Vice Governor Jahana's visits to the Ministry of Foreign Affairs and the Ministry of Defense on Tuesday, during which he lodged a protest over the incident on Aug. 27 in which a window fell into the sea from a U.S. Marine CH-35E helicopter. The vice governor expressed Okinawa's dissatisfaction with the GOJ's failure to ask the U.S. side to suspend CH-35E flights for one week and renewed the request. The paper wrote that the GOJ did not respond affirmatively to the prefectural government's renewed request for flight suspension.

U.S. Embassy Tokyo Media Analysis and Translation Team