Afternoon Alert   -   Tuesday, October 1, 2019
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Noon news

All broadcasters led with extensive reports on reactions to the 2% hike in the consumption tax that went into effect today.


Motegi indicates that official signing of trade pact with U.S. is imminent

NHK reported online that Foreign Minister Motegi remarked to the press this morning that Japan and the U.S. will ink their bilateral trade agreement in the beginning of this month. While noting that legislation will be submitted to the Diet in the near future, the foreign minister said he will provide a detailed explanation on the content of the trans-Pacific accord at the parliament in order to obtain the opposition camp's understanding.

Final WTO ruling favors Japan in tariff dispute with South Korea (Nikkei Asian Review)

80% of big Japanese companies still do business with Huawei: Nikkei poll (Nikkei Asian Review)

Manufacturer sentiment falls for 3rd straight qtr to 6-yr low: Tankan (Kyodo News)

Despite government steps, Japan's consumption will take a hit from tax hike, analysts say (The Japan Times)

Editorial: Consumption tax hike should start debate on social security system (The Asahi Shimbun)

FEATURE: Dwindling of South Korean visitors takes toll on Japan businesses (Kyodo News)

Editorial: Japanese gov't should show clear vision for social security system (The Mainichi)

Commentary: Japan-U.S. trade deal is a Trump ploy (The Japan Times)

Expert: End agriculture's dependence on tariffs (Mainichi)

JCCI head looking to resume exchanges with Korean counterpart as early as next spring (Nikkei)

Japan approves export of semiconductor materials to South Korea (Nikkei)

Japan, Poland to jointly develop next-generation nuclear reactor (Yomiuri, Evening edition)


Senior Pentagon official calls for ROK to continue sharing defense data with Japan

NHK reported on a speech given at a Washington think tank on Monday by DOD Under Secretary for Policy John Rood. He reportedly urged South Korea to revisit its decision to rescind its GSOMIA with Japan. He underscored the importance of the U.S., Japan, and South Korea maintaining trilateral "integrity" on the security front irrespective of differences between Tokyo and Seoul in order to deal with regional challenges such as North Korea and China. Regarding the possibility of the U.S. deploying medium-range ballistic missiles in Asia, U/S Rood reportedly explained that there are not yet any specific plans for the deployment of the missiles, which he said are still under development.

ROK calls Japan's export controls "extremely restrictive"

NHK reported on a comment issued today by the South Korean Trade Ministry on Japan's implementation starting in early July of enhanced regulations on three Korea-bound semiconductor materials. The Moon administration reportedly criticized the measure again by calling it "extremely restrictive" and pointing out that although Japan had said it would take three months or so to process requests for the export of such materials, exports of hydrogen fluoride fell to zero in August. It added that local businesses are already feeling the effects of the Japanese regulations.

Iranian official says Japan offered credit line for oil purchases

NHK's website took up remarks made on Monday by Iranian Foreign Ministry spokesman Mousavi, who disclosed that Japan has allegedly proposed offering Iran a line of credit based on the volume of Iranian oil Japan purchases. The Iranian diplomat welcomed the alleged proposal, saying it is designed to achieve a [diplomatic] breakthrough and is similar to an initiative put forward by French President Macron. The Japanese Embassy in Tehran reportedly told the network that while it was aware of the Iranian official's remarks, it would not divulge the details of diplomatic communications with a foreign nation.

S. Korea party proposes to settle wartime labor dispute with Japan (Kyodo News)

Japan-S. Korea festival kicks off in Tokyo amid soured ties (Jiji Press)

FOCUS: Japan, China may boost ties over next decade, depending on U.S. (Kyodo News)

Commentary: Keep South Korean judiciary independent (The Japan Times)

"Hold Iran to account," says senior DOS official (Asahi, Online)

Tenuous ties: Few signs of substance behind warming Sino-Japanese relations as communist China marks 70th anniversary (The Japan Times)

Lavrov thanks Japan for helping Russian officials get visas for U.S. (Asahi)

N. Korea will never give up nuclear weapons voluntarily: Bolton (Kyodo News)


Record high 85% of Japanese view China unfavorably, despite improving ties between Beijing and Tokyo (The Japan Times)


Prime minister's schedule on Sept. 30, 2019 (Sankei)

Strength of in-house groups in House of Representatives and House of Councillors (Yomiuri)

Political subsidy outlays amounted to 23.1 billion yen in 2018 (Yomiuri)

Editorial: Upcoming Diet session must promote essential debates on future outlook (The Japan News)

Kono faces tests for post-Abe credentials (Kyodo News)


Screening strengthened at Narita Airport to block entry of African swine fever

NHK reported that the customs, immigration, and quarantine (CIQ) authorities at Narita Airport have enhanced screening of arriving passengers and cargo to block the entry of swine fever originated in Africa. Specially-trained dogs are being used to detect processed food that could carry the deadly virus. Airport authorities are reportedly alarmed by the growing danger of the virus reaching Japanese shores as the Korean Peninsula has already been affected by the highly contagious disease.

Japanese astronauts can stay on the moon too: NASA administrator (NIKKEI Business Daily)


"Specified skilled worker" status only granted to 271 foreigners (Yomiuri)

INTERVIEW: New driver's license eyed to tackle elderly accidents (Jiji Press)

Tokyo Olympic volunteers to have 1-hour shifts amid heat concerns (Kyodo News)

Organizers, festival host agree to reopen "comfort women" exhibition (Kyodo News)

FEATURE: Fukushima residents look for Olympic PR boost (Kyodo News)

Editorial: Japanese gov't needs to tackle problem of foreign kids not attending school (The Mainichi)

Japan govt to grant 660 m. yen in Ainu-related subsidies (Jiji Press)


Chiba municipality submits Osprey questionnaire to Defense Ministry

NHK's metropolitan news reported last night that the municipal government of Kisarazu, Chiba Prefecture, has submitted to the Defense Ministry a list of 25 questions concerning the temporary deployment of GSDF MV-22s to a base in Kisarazu. Local officials and residents are reportedly not convinced by the ministry's explanation that the temporary deployment is a stopgap measure until the Ospreys can be based at Saga Airport semi-permanently. The municipal government reportedly asked for data proving that Kisarazu is preferable to other sites for hosting the tilt-rotor planes.

Government to reassess cost, timetable for U.S. base relocation (The Asahi Shimbun)

MOD to end Osprey monitoring at Yokota (Tokyo Shimbun)

Leading U.S. cyberdefense company starts operating in Japan (Nikkei)


Defense chief meets with top U.S. military official in Okinawa

Okinawa Times and Ryukyu Shimpo highlighted yesterday's meeting between Defense Minister Kono and Okinawa Area Coordinator Clardy at Camp Foster. The Japanese official reportedly emphasized Tokyo's strong commitment to moving forward with the FRF construction initiative. He also reportedly asked the top U.S. Marine in the island prefecture to give local residents around Camp Schwab advance notice of the disposal of outdated munitions and to refrain from using the Navy ramp at Kadena AB. In return, Lt. Gen. Clardy promised to make an utmost effort to minimize the impact of such operations on the local community. Kono reportedly did not mention Okinawa Governor Tamaki's request that the U.S. military refrain from using commercial airports and seaports except in emergencies.

Okinawa Gov. publishes book on Henoko (Ryukyu Shimpo)

U.S. Embassy Tokyo Media Analysis and Translation Team