Afternoon Alert   -   Friday, October 18, 2019
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Noon news

All TV networks led with reports on the ongoing search, rescue, and reconstruction operations in the areas in eastern and northeastern Japan hit hard by Typhoon Hagibis. The Japan Meteorological Agency said that rain is forecast for Friday through Saturday across those regions.


Russia criticizes Tokyo governor's remark on holding Olympic events in Northern Territories

NHK reported that in response to Tokyo Governor Koike's sarcastic comment on Thursday suggesting that the marathon and race walking events for the 2020 Olympics be held in the Northern Territories, the Russian Foreign Ministry and the Russian Embassy in Tokyo posted critical comments on Facebook and Twitter. The Russians said in the posts that they would like to inform Governor Koike that the South Kuril Islands do not belong to Japan and sports should be used for strengthening bonds, not for creating conflict.

Korean American group to install comfort women statue near Washington, DC

NHK reported online that a group of Korean Americans announced on Thursday that it will install a statue of a girl symbolizing the former comfort women on private land in Fairfax County, Virginia. They made the announcement at a ceremony marking the start of the installation work. The group is planning to erect the statue as early as next week and invite a former comfort woman from South Korea to its unveiling on Oct. 27. The leader of the group said the statue is intended to have people reflect on the tragic history of Japan-South Korea relations and to remember the victims of war. NHK commented that the statue could become another source of friction between Japan and South Korea. In response to the group's plan to erect a statue on public land in Washington, DC, the Japanese Embassy in Washington is trying to persuade local officials not to permit its installation. The network noted that similar statues have been installed in Georgia and California.

Scholar expects Empress Masako to be effective communicator for Japan (Kyodo News)

PM Abe likely to meet with ROK PM Lee on Oct. 24 (Yomiuri)

ROK premier calls for mutual consideration through acknowledging differences between two nations (Asahi)

South Korea open to wartime labor talks, envoy to Japan says (Nikkei Asian Review)

Cartoon: Cho Kuk tossed out (Asahi)

Amid Brexit chaos, abandoning U.K. operations no simple task for Japanese firms (The Japan Times)

Editorial: H.K. chief executive must focus on reexamining strong-arm methods (The Japan News)

Cartoon: A matter of viewpoint (Kanagawa Shimbun)


Group of lawmakers visits Yasukuni Shrine

NHK reported that a group of 98 lawmakers from the LDP, the Democratic Party for the People, and the Japan Innovation Party visited Yasukuni Shrine on Friday morning for its autumn festival. The group customarily visits the shrine during its spring and autumn festivals and on Aug. 15, the anniversary of the end of WWII. State Minister for Agriculture, Forestry and Fisheries Kanji Kato, Parliamentary Vice-Minister for Foreign Affairs Shinichi Nakatani, and Parliamentary Vice-Minister of Defense Kazuchika Iwata were among the group of lawmakers.

Nearly 100 cross-party lawmakers visit war-linked Yasukuni shrine (Kyodo News)

Prime minister's schedule on Oct. 17, 2019 (Sankei)


Japan estimates trade pact with U.S. to raise GDP by 0.8% (Kyodo News)

Japan cabinet approves tighter rules on investment from abroad (Nikkei Asian Review)

Japan to oblige large firms to have outside directors (Jiji Press)

Japan gov't adopts bill to expand foreign lawyers' activities (Jiji Press)

Exclusive: Japan to export weather satellite to Vietnam (Jiji Press)

Japan's lenders bankroll scholarships to dodge negative rates (Nikkei Asian Review)

70% disapprove of ag policy, Japan Agricultural News poll of its ag policy monitors (Japan Agricultural News)

Opinion poll & results of Japan Agricultural News survey on politics and agricultural policy of its agricultural policy monitors (Japan Agricultural News)

Japan FY 2018 corporate income hits record 73 T. yen (Jiji Press)

Exclusive: Japan seen skipping tougher financial taxation (Jiji Press)

Japan to exempt asset managers from stricter investment rules (Nikkei Asian Review)


Exclusive: Japan SDF choppers to scatter swine fever vaccine (Jiji Press)

U of Tokyo-led team comes step closer to large-scale quantum computing (Jiji Press)


Only 990 Japanese students are enrolled in graduate schools in the U.S. (NIKKEI Business Daily)


Gov't to designate Typhoon Hagibis as "specified" disaster: Abe (Jiji Press)

Cartoon: Drowning in inaction (Sankei)

IOC planning to move Tokyo Olympic marathon north to Sapporo in bid to avoid heat (The Japan Times)

Editorial: Volunteers play key role in ensuring 2020 Tokyo Games are a success (The Japan News)

Landslides hit 2020 Olympic cycling race road (Jiji Press)

School bullying cases hit record high in Japan in FY 2018 (Kyodo News)

Two Japanese make BBC's list of world's 100 most influential women (The Japan Times , Jiji Press)

44% of internet users believed false information, Yomiuri poll (The Japan News)


New government organizations to be formed to oversee economic security (Nikkei)

[Commentary] Taro Kono: A different kind of defense minister (The Japan Times)


Okinawa governor meets with U.S. lawmakers

Ryukyu Shimpo and Okinawa Times reported on Okinawa Governor Tamaki's meetings with three U.S. congressional members in Washington on Wednesday. According to the papers, Tamaki held talks with Senator Todd Young (R-IN), Representatives Brian Mast (R-FL) and Ed Case (D-HI), and a Congressional Research Service analyst, during which he called for a review of the ongoing FRF construction at Henoko. Okinawa Times speculated that the governor decided to visit Washington in response to the Senate's inclusion of a provision in the National Defense Authorization Act of Fiscal Year 2020 which calls on the Department of Defense to review its plan for the realignment of Marine assets in the Indo-Pacific. However, the papers wrote that none of the politicians Tamaki met with are directly involved in congressional discussions on the annual defense legislation. Ryukyu Shimpo wrote that the U.S. lawmakers did not respond positively to the governor's call for reviewing the Henoko project.

Labor shortage affecting Guam construction for Marine relocation (Okinawa Times, Ryukyu Shimpo)

U.S. Embassy Tokyo Media Analysis and Translation Team