Afternoon Alert   -   Wednesday, October 30, 2019
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Noon news

NHK gave top coverage to a follow-up report on the damage caused by the recent typhoon and record rainfall in Chiba and other prefectures. NTV and Fuji-TV led with reports on the heavy fog in the Kanto plain this morning. TBS and TV-Asahi reported on discussions between the International Olympic Committee and the Tokyo Olympics Organizing Committee on the planned relocation of the marathon event to Sapporo. The organizing committee will reportedly ask the IOC to pay all the expenses for moving the event if it goes ahead with the plan despite Tokyo's strong opposition.


President Trump to miss ASEAN meetings, dispatch national security advisor

Nikkei reported online that according to a White House statement released on Tuesday, National Security Advisor O'Brien and Commerce Secretary Ross will take part in the ASEAN-related meetings on behalf of President Trump. NSA O'Brien is expected to attend the meetings in Bangkok in early November as the President's special envoy. The daily speculated that the absence of the U.S. leader may raise doubts among regional powers about U.S. engagement with East Asia.

NHK ran a similar story, adding that since the president, the vice president, or the secretary of state have represented the United States at ASEAN conferences in the past, the absence of these officials this year may give the impression that Washington is indifferent to Asia.

Japanese academics press China to disclose information on detained colleague

Yomiuri reported online that a group of Japanese researchers specializing in Chinese affairs issued a petition on Tuesday asking Chinese authorities to release information on a Hokkaido University Professor who has been detained in China since he visited Beijing in mid-September at the invitation of an influential Chinese think tank. The researchers reportedly demanded the disclosure of the reason for the detention, warning that the prolonged absence of an explanation would have "undesirable effects" on bilateral academic exchanges.

Japan urges South Korea to abide by 1965 pact (Jiji Press)

Japan and South Korea deny reports of joint fund to address wartime labor issue (The Japan Times)

Japan film festival decides not to show "comfort women" movie (Kyodo News)

Japan, S. Korea lawmakers eye committees to mend ties for Olympics (Kyodo News)

Japanese tours to disputed islets under Russian control begin (Kyodo News)

Kazakh airline starts 1st regular flights to Japan (Kyodo News)


69% say "no need for Japan to make concessions" to improve Japan-ROK relations, Nikkei poll (Nikkei)


Defense chief holds talks with business leaders

Nikkei reported online that Defense Minister Kono held talks with senior Keidanren officials today and exchanged views with them on how to reinforce the foundation of the nation's defense industry amid the increasingly severe security environment around Japan. While noting that emerging military technology, such as AI-controlled drones, will pose a greater risk to national defense, Kono underscored the importance of greater R&D investment to head off such threats. The defense official also mentioned the need to export weapons to help maintain the viability of the nation's defense contractors. This was reportedly the first time for a Japanese defense minister to hold discussions with Keidanren officials.

NHK carried a similar article, adding that the two sides agreed to coordinate closely to shore up the defense industry.

GSDF to resume flights of attack copter after fatal crash in 2018 (The Asahi Shimbun)

With hazy plan for SDF dispatch to Mideast, is Japan pursuing contradictory goals? (The Japan Times)


Japan trade minister to skip RCEP meeting in Thailand (Kyodo News)

New Japanese trade minister hopes for RCEP agreement by the end of the year (The Japan Times)

Venture capitalists anxious for new foreign exchange law to be enacted (Nikkei)

INTERVIEW: Minister vows to deliver on points reward program (Jiji Press)

Japan beer exports to S. Korea dive to near zero in Sept. (Jiji Press)

EU to lift some restrictions on Japan food imports in mid-Nov. (Kyodo News)

Direct Sendai-Bangkok flights resume after 5-yr hiatus (Kyodo News)


Prime minister's schedule on October 29, 2019 (Sankei)

Strength of in-house groups in House of Councillors (Asahi)

Editorial: Low turnout for Saitama by-election sends warning signal to political parties (The Japan News)


Movable housing to be tested in Antarctic for future lunar mission (Kyodo News)


Olympics: Tokyo regional party appeals to overseas media over Sapporo move (Kyodo News)

Sadako Ogata, first female U.N. refugee chief, dies at 92 (The Japan Times)

Editorial: Sadako Ogata's lasting legacy is commitment to 'human security' (The Asahi Shimbun)


Okinawa reacts strongly to parachute training at Kadena

Ryukyu Shimpo and Okinawa Times reported extensively on the strong reactions of local officials and residents to the parachute training conducted by the U.S. military at Kadena AB last night. According to the articles, the drill was the fourth of its kind this year and was conducted despite a request issued by Defense Minister Kono earlier in the day not to go ahead with it. While noting that the two governments agreed to relocate parachute drop training to Ie Jima Auxiliary Airfield in the 1996 Special Action Committee on Okinawa (SACO) agreement and limit the use of the Air Force installation for the drills to "exceptional cases" in a follow-up pact in 2007, Okinawa Times speculated that the two sides appear to differ on what is meant by "exceptional cases." Local officials reportedly expressed concern that the U.S. military may be determined to use both facilities as platforms for parachute drills. Ryukyu Shimpo claimed that the U.S. military's disregard of Japan's pleas not to conduct the drill at Kadena indicates that Tokyo is not able to restrict U.S. military operations as the U.S. side apparently interprets bilateral accords however it pleases to conduct training where and when it likes.

U.S. Embassy Tokyo Media Analysis and Translation Team