Afternoon Alert   -   Wednesday, September 11, 2019
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Noon news

NHK led with a story on Prime Minister Abe's plan to reshuffle his cabinet this afternoon, while all commercial networks reported on a power outage in parts of Chiba Prefecture as a result of damage caused by Typhoon Faxai.


Abe determined to pursue conservative agenda in forming new cabinet

Commercial broadcasters' soft news programs gave prominent coverage to the new cabinet lineup that Prime Minister Abe plans to launch later today. They focused on the politicians who have been given key ministerial portfolios, including Koichi Hagiuda (education minister) and Seiichi Eto (minister in charge of Okinawa affairs). Pointing out that most of the new cabinet ministers are politically and ideologically close to the prime minister and have been his ardent supporters for many years, the networks speculated that Abe was keen to launch a cabinet composed of his "friends and allies" in order to aggressively pursue his conservative agenda, including constitutional amendment and educational reform meant to play up patriotism. As his final term as LDP president is set to expire in about two years, the broadcasters conjectured that Abe is anxious to leave a legacy in Nagatacho for years to come by empowering younger like-minded followers. The networks also observed that the premier appears to be confident that he will be able to withstand criticism that the new cabinet is mainly composed of his confidants.

TV-Asahi claimed that Abe's selection of Motegi as foreign minister, Kono as defense minister, and Sugawara as trade minister signals his resolve to maintain a hard line toward South Korea. The network voiced concern that as some new cabinet members are regarded as "right-wing ideologues," there will perhaps be repercussions on ties with neighbors.

Prime minister's schedule on Sept. 10, 2019 (Sankei)

Abe's new Cabinet lineup (Kyodo News)

PROFILE: Finance chief Aso leads push for consumption tax hike in Japan (Kyodo News)

PROFILE: Internal affairs minister Takaichi known as policy expert (Kyodo News)

PROFILE: Foreign Minister Motegi tasked with handling South Korea feud (Kyodo News)

PROFILE: New education minister Hagiuda backs Abe's Constitution reform bid (Kyodo News)

PROFILE: Health minister Kato pushes ahead with Abe's pet policies (Kyodo News)

PROFILE: Industry minister Sugawara to deal with S. Korea export controls (Kyodo News)

PROFILE: Koizumi Jr. known as possible future leader (Kyodo News)

PROFILE: Defense Minister Kono regarded as future PM candidate (Kyodo News)

PROFILE: Gov't spokesman Suga at vanguard of Abe Cabinet (Kyodo News)

List of Liberal Democratic Party executives (Kyodo News)

LDP's new exec team launched ahead of cabinet shake-up (Jiji Press)

PROFILE: Longest-serving LDP secretary general Nikai is powerbroker (Kyodo News)

PROFILE: New LDP General Council chief Suzuki known as Olympics minister (Kyodo News)

PROFILE: LDP policy chief Kishida hoping to succeed Abe (Kyodo News)

PROFILE: Shimomura known as proponent of constitutional reform (Kyodo News)

In rare move, Abe promotes secretary Imai to special adviser (Jiji Press)

Infographic: No. of meetings each cabinet member has had with PM Abe (Asahi)

Anti-NHK party to receive 69.83 million yen in gov't subsidies in 2019 (Yomiuri)

Cabinet reshuffles provide a window into Japan's policy priorities (The Japan Times)

Appointment of "Kantei's Eichmann" as NSS chief gives MOFA the blues (Shukan Gendai)


Abe cabinet support at 48%, nonsupport at 33%, NHK public opinion poll (NHK)

Cabinet and political party support rates, NHK public opinion poll (NHK)


Suga comments on dismissal of NSA Bolton

Nikkei took up remarks made to the press this morning by Chief Cabinet Secretary Suga in response to a question on President Trump's decision to dismiss National Security Advisor Bolton. The government spokesman said: "Mr. Bolton has made strenuous efforts to strengthen the U.S.-Japan alliance and ensure peace and stability in the Indo-Pacific region and the international community, including dealing with the North Korea issue". Japan's policy of dealing with various issues through an ironclad alliance with the United States remains unchanged."

South Korea seeks WTO ruling on Japan's tighter export controls

All TV networks reported on a high-ranking ROK trade official's remark to the press this morning that the Moon administration has filed a suit with the WTO against Japan's restrictions on exports of three types of sensitive semiconductor-related materials to South Korea. While claiming that Tokyo's decision was a "politically motivated" attempt to change Seoul's position on the forced labor dispute and hence violated WTO principles, the official urged Japan to enter bilateral talks, the first step in the WTO's conflict resolution mechanism. The GOJ reportedly reacted strongly to South Korea's move, with Trade Minister Seko dismissing the Korean argument by saying the Japanese measures are fully compatible with WTO rules since they were taken as a result of an internal review of the export control regime after a number of "improper cases" of exports of dual-use products were detected.

ROK province passes ordinance designating Japanese firms as "war crime enterprises"

Yomiuri reported online that today the provincial assembly of Gyeonggi, South Korea, enacted an ordinance designating a total of 284 Japanese companies as "war crime enterprises" on account of their involvement in forced labor during Japan's colonial rule of the Korean Peninsula. The ordinance called for printing stickers that say "war crime enterprise" for use by local schools. Schools will fasten the stickers to the companies' products so that students can "clearly remember the companies' war crimes" and "develop accurate perceptions of history."

U.S. recognized Takeshima as part of Japan's territory in 1950: Japanese government report (The Japan Times, Jiji)

N. Korean projectiles "serious issue": Japan defense min. (Jiji Press)

Kono expresses regret over requisitioned workers issue as he reflects on his service as top diplomat (Yomiuri)

Japanese, S. Korean lawmaker groups to meet on Nov. 1 (Jiji Press)

5th China-Japan political document eyed: envoy (Jiji Press)

IAEA labs' new facilities to be named after late chief Amano (Kyodo News)

Editorial: The stalemate in the Japan-Russia territorial row (The Japan Times)

Xi told Abe he "can't believe" Trump amid trade friction (Kyodo News)


What intel pact? Japan flaunts North Korea missile analysis (Nikkei Asian Review)


Japan biz leaders, China officials agree to maintain free trade (Jiji Press)

Nissan CEO Saikawa to quit Sept. 16 in face of overpaid compensation (Kyodo News)

Nissan board pushes out Saikawa after disclosure of improper compensation (The Japan News)

Removal of Seoul's ban on Japan goods seen as distant goal (Jiji Press)

Fukushima fishers angry at minister's remarks on nuclear plant water (Jiji Press)

Editorial: Joint venture should help secure technology, personnel for N-power (The Japan News)

Gov't to conduct survey of municipalities about IR hosting (Sankei)

Ministry requests no budget for fast-reactor construction with France (NIKKEI Business Daily)

Tokyo Metropolitan Gov't stresses advantage of hosting casino (Tokyo Shimbun)

Daiwa Securities Group to form ETF joint venture with U.S.'s Global X (Nikkei)


JAXA postpones rocket launch due to fire on launch pad

TBS and NTV reported that JAXA suspended this morning's planned launch of a rocket carrying a spacecraft transporting supplies to the International Space Station because of a fire near the launch pad. The launch is now likely to take place on Sept. 14 at the earliest.


Commentary: The roles of women in influential positions (The Japan Times)

Typhoon Faxai raises questions about Japan's train schedule management and the fragility of its infrastructure (The Japan Times)


Iwakuni police sends papers to prosecutors regarding U.S. service member on suspicion of theft and DUI (Okinawa Times)

U.S. Embassy Tokyo Media Analysis and Translation Team