Afternoon Alert   -   Tuesday, September 24, 2019
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Noon news

TV Asahi led with a report on the speech delivered yesterday by 16-year-old Swedish activist Greta Thunberg to world leaders at the UN special summit on climate change. NHK, TBS, and Fuji TV filed follow-up reports on the murder of a couple in Sakaemachi, Ibaraki Prefecture. NTV reported on a fire in Anpachi, Gifu Prefecture, this morning in which three died.


DM Kono holds first teleconference with U.S. defense secretary

NHK reported at noon that Defense Minister Kono held his first teleconference with US. Defense Secretary Esper last night. The two officials reportedly affirmed the importance of Japan-U.S.-ROK cooperation after the ROK's decision to scrap its GSOMIA with Japan. They also agreed to work toward strengthening the bilateral security alliance and steadily executing the plan to relocate MCAS Futenma to Henoko, Nago City. On North Korea, Kono and Esper confirmed the importance of striving for the complete and irreversible dismantlement of all its weapons of mass destruction and missiles of all ranges and the full implementation of all UN Security Council resolutions. NHK said they also discussed the Middle East situation, and Kono informed Esper of Japan's diplomatic efforts to ease tensions in that region.

No discussion of Japan-ROK GSOMIA at U.S.-ROK summit

TV Asahi and Fuji TV cited Blue House sources as indicating that at the summit meeting between President Trump and ROK President Moon yesterday the two leaders discussed U.S. dialogue with North Korea and other DPRK-related issues but not South Korea's GSOMIA with Japan. NHK also quoted a Blue House spokesperson as saying that no Japan-ROK issues were taken up at the summit.

S. Korea's Moon talks up U.S. alliance in Trump talks (Kyodo News)

Abe heads to New York with Japan-U.S. trade deal, Iran in focus (Kyodo News)

Japan's new Environment Min. Koizumi makes diplomatic debut (Jiji Press)

Japan, EU to sign agreement to strengthen cooperation (Sankei)

Asia expert to be Trump's deputy security adviser (NHK WORLD)

Japan, France hold bilateral maritime dialogue for first time (Nikkei)

Japanese, French ministers of foreign affairs hold teleconference (Nikkei)

Commentary: South Pacific pivot to Beijing recasts regional chessboard (Nikkei Asian Review)

Fentanyl trafficking plus a trade row makes for vicious cocktail (Nikkei Asian Review)

Editorial: China's South Pacific offensive (The Japan Times)

Editorial: Anti-Japan sentiment causing decline in South Korean visitors (The Japan News)

Korean budget carrier Eastar furloughs staff as Japan traffic drops (Nikkei Asian Review)

Samsung and Japan suppliers steadfast in keeping ties, for now (Nikkei Asian Review)

Malaysian Ambassador Dato' Kennedy Jawan on bonds and beginnings: A lifelong commitment to cross-cultural appreciation (The Japan Times)


FM Motegi announces end of trade talks with the U.S. ahead of bilateral summit

All TV networks except Fuji TV reported today that Foreign Minister Motegi met with USTR Lighthizer in New York yesterday ahead of the Japan-U.S. summit scheduled for Thursday. After the meeting, Motegi announced that "all negotiations were completed today" and the terms of the agreement will present "no cause for concern." He added that the details of the trade deal will be announced as soon as possible after the two leaders confirm its terms.

Tourism Agency survey shows eight areas interested in hosting IRs with casinos

NHK reported today that the Tourism Agency conducted a survey of the governments of all prefectures and chartered cities in the country on their plans to invite integrated resorts with casinos. The results of the survey, concluded on Sept. 19, show that nine local governments in eight regions are preparing bids or considering doing so. In addition to Yokohama, Osaka-fu and Osaka City, Wakayama Prefecture, and Nagasaki Prefecture, which have previously announced their plans, Hokkaido, Chiba City, Tokyo, and Nagoya have also shown an interest. Under the law, only up to three IRs will be allowed to operate in the country. The Tourism Agency said that it plans to hold hearings where contenders will present their operational plans and preparations before deciding on the schedule for filing applications by year end.

Japan and U.S. poised to agree trade pact on Wed. (Kyodo News)

Japan, U.S. seek to clinch trade deal but legal work to remain (Kyodo News)

EXCLUSIVE: U.S. may signal future removal of Japan auto tariffs (Jiji Press)

Japan to pump $10bn into LNG as move away from Mideast oil (Nikkei Asian Review)

Chemical industry association chief warns oil price fluctuations will have a severe impact on earnings (NIKKEI Business Daily)

Exclusive: Saudi Arabia floats change to Japan oil supply, sparks concern (Nikkei Asian Review)

Trading firms wary that gov't will pressure them to purchase U.S. corn (Asahi)

With Trump vote in mind, Japan yields on beef but protects its rice (Nikkei Asian Review)

Analysts see business sentiment worsening (NHK WORLD)

Economic gloom in Japan at 7-year high on US-China trade war, Nikkei poll of 100 major Japanese companies (Nikkei Asian Review)

Local trading firm in Hokkaido to set up a travel agency in Russia's Far East (Nikkei)

4 areas in Japan plan to host casino resorts (Jiji Press)

Fujitsu names Yachi advisor (Mainichi)

Interview: New Japan minister vows to keep economy vibrant (Jiji Press)

Editorial: Assess economic climate calmly to effectively carry out monetary policy (The Japan News)

Rugby fans enjoy 5G viewing services tested by NTT Docomo (Jiji Press)

Editorial: Acquittals don't absolve Tepco of blame for disaster (The Japan Times)

Editorial: Ruling clears ex-TEPCO execs of liability, says 'zero risk' not possible (The Japan News)

Editorial: Despite Fukushima acquittals, TEPCO must do more to regain public trust (The Mainichi)

Cartoon: Quick to run, slow to reflect (Asahi)

Cartoon: Not guilty (Tokyo Shimbun)

Cabinet OKs autonomous driving rules, to enforce ordinance next year (Kyodo News)

Graying Japan faces urgent need to realize autonomous transportation (Kyodo News)

Japan Inc. takes another crack at the US restaurant market (Nikkei Asian Review)


Prime minister's schedule on September 20, 2019 (Sankei)

Prime minister's schedule on September 21, 2019 (Sankei)

Prime minister's schedule on September 22, 2019 (Sankei)

Prime minister's schedule on September 23, 2019 (Sankei)

Highlights of Japan-related events scheduled for Sept. 23-29 (Kyodo News)

Gov't seeking to present about 15 bills to extraordinary Diet session (Nikkei)

Kishida at Singapore Summit shows ambition to succeed Abe (The Japan News)

Former Yahoo Japan chief becomes Tokyo vice governor (Jiji Press)

Now playing: Japan's post-Abe game of thrones (Nikkei Asian Review)

Abe's less conservative posture aimed to spur talks on constitution (Jiji Press)

Rookie ministers source of concern for Abe at extra Diet session (Jiji Press)

Editorial: New opposition bloc must avoid infighting to halt monopoly of LDP (The Asahi Shimbun)

Editorial: Opposition parties have duty to restore Diet's authority through alliance (The Mainichi)


Cartoon: Hot air, global warming (Tokyo Shimbun)

Concentrated liquid oxygen cause of fire at Japanese rocket launch (Kyodo News)


Editorial: Free education program means universities must continue to improve education (The Japan News)


IOC chief to confirm Japan's food products are safe (Kyodo News)

Private women's university in Miyagi to accept transgender students (Kyodo News)

Empress Emerita's breast cancer completely removed (Jiji Press)


Talk between U.S. Ambassador William Hagerty and Japan Institute of International Affairs President Kenichiro Sasae (J2Top)

Q&A session with U.S. Ambassador William Hagerty and Japan Institute of International Affairs President Kenichiro Sasae (J2Top)


Coast Guard to file charges on 2016 Osprey crash in Okinawa

NHK reported today that in connection with the crash of an Osprey into waters off Nago in 2016, the Japan Coast Guard has decided to send criminal papers to the prosecutors without identifying the pilots responsible for the accident because it has been unable to obtain the U.S. Forces' cooperation in the investigations. NHK noted that under the bilateral Status of Forces Agreement, the investigation of crimes and accidents by U.S. military personnel that occurred while they are on official duty requires the U.S. side's consent. Although the U.S. military has issued a report saying pilot error was the cause of the accident, it has not responded to Japan's request to name the crew members for questioning. With the statute of limitations approaching in three months, the JCG has decided to proceed to file criminal charges.

Study: N. Korea stepping up submarine building (NHK WORLD)

Japan withholds fleet review invite to S. Korea (Jiji Press)

Japan eyes hikes in starting pay for SDF members (Jiji Press)

Editorial: Deciding appropriate share for hosting U.S. bases needs calm talks (The Japan News)

Editorial: Academics must play no part in helping to develop weapons (The Asahi Shimbun)

Japan fails to track N. Korea missiles in recent string of launches (Kyodo News)

Gov't seeks AI system for predicting cyber-attacks (The Japan News)

Defense Ministry mulls utilizing private satellites for information gathering (The Japan News)


MOD defense bureau instructs contractor to consult with U.S. military on design change for FRF construction

Sunday's Ryukyu Shimpo wrote that the Defense Ministry's Okinawa Bureau has instructed a private contractor selected to work on the design change for the construction of the Futenma replacement facility, including the reinforcement of the soft seabed, to hold consultations with the U.S. military. A local engineer who has learned of the move by the defense bureau through a freedom-of-information request told the paper that it is unusual for a private contractor to hold consultations directly with the U.S. military and that this indicates that the soft seabed is a serious issue. The paper wrote that a specification document includes the defense bureau's instruction to hold consultations with the U.S. military four times in stages until the completion of the work.

Okinawa City lodges protest with U.S., Japan over DUI involving U.S. Marines (Ryukyu Shimpo)

U.S. Embassy Tokyo Media Analysis and Translation Team