|Afternoon Alert - Wednesday, January 8, 2020|
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All networks gave extensive top coverage to reports on the announcement by the Pentagon that Iran launched more than a dozen ballistic missiles against two Iraqi military bases hosting U.S. troops this morning (Japan time).
PM Abe decides to postpone his visit to Middle East
NTV reported at noon that according to several GOJ officials, Prime Minister Abe has decided to postpone his visit to the Middle East scheduled to start on Jan. 11 as the situation in the region is becoming increasingly tense. Fuji TV said the GOJ has decided to cancel Abe's visit to the region, while TV Asahi said the GOJ is considering postponing the visit, quoting a senior GOJ official as saying: "If an American were killed, the situation could take a sudden turn for the worse." The network added that NSC chief Kitamura left for Washington this morning for talks with National Security Advisor O'Brien and other officials on the Middle East situation.
NTV said the GOJ convened a National Security Council meeting this morning at which the premier ordered his deputies to swiftly collect intelligence in order to provide appropriate information to the public. On the U.S. military's killing of General Soliemani, the network said some within the GOJ and the ruling parties are questioning the decision by President Trump by saying the commander was a national hero in Iran and the move will turn all the Iranian people against the U.S. Noting that Japan enjoys friendly relations with both the United States and Iran and relies on the Middle East for about 80% of its crude oil supply, the network said Japan will need to make further diplomatic efforts to ease tensions.
Suga says plan to deploy MSDF to Middle East unchanged
Mainichi reported online that Chief Cabinet Secretary Suga said at a press briefing this morning that last month's cabinet decision to deploy MSDF assets to the Middle East remains in effect. Suga reportedly said: "We will take all possible measures to prepare while closely assessing the situation in the region." The daily wrote that patrol aircraft are expected to depart Japan on Jan. 11 and the destroyer in early February.
Senior DOS official says impact of Japan's tightened export controls "very limited"
NHK reported on its website that a senior State Department official spoke to selected media outlets including NHK on Tuesday and emphasized that the U.S. is working to resolve the conflict between Japan and South Korea in relation to the tightened export controls on South Korea. Looking back on the conflict between the two nations over GSOMIA, the official reportedly said: "The United States is urging both Japan and South Korea to address the fundamental causes of the problem." According to the network, the official expressed the view that the impact of Japan's tightened export controls on South Korean industries is "very limited" and said it would be best if the two nations focused on cooperation in security rather than remain in conflict.
• Abe to cancel Mideast trip after Iran strikes, Japan urges diplomacy (Kyodo News)
• Editorial: U.S.-Iran exchange of hard-line threats must end to resolve conflict (The Japan News)
• Editorial: US, Iran must show restraint to alleviate tensions (The Mainichi)
• Australian Prime Min. Morrison keen to visit Japan early (Jiji Press)
• Chiba decides not to bid for casino-featuring resort (Jiji Press)
• Editorial: In casino push, Abe government tries to ignore bribery scandal (The Asahi Shimbun)
• Cartoon: Card shark (Kanagawa Shimbun)
• Biz leaders upbeat on Japan economy, cautious on Iran tensions (Jiji Press)
• Japan biz leaders call for boosting economic growth potential (Jiji Press)
• Over 70% of East Asian executives expect Trump reelection, joint newspaper poll of executives in China, Japan, and South Korea (Nikkei Asian Review)
• Prime minister's schedule on Jan. 7, 2020 (Sankei)
• LDP Kishida to visit Denmark (Yomiuri)
• Abe takes dig at opposition at new year party (Jiji Press)
• Chiefs of CDPJ, DPFP meet to discuss integration (Jiji Press)
• Editorial: Abe should properly deal with many tasks at home and abroad in 2020 (The Japan News)
• Cartoon: Running solo (Mainichi)
• Portion of Camp Zukeran to be returned in March (Mainichi)
• 2 warring yakuza groups to face stronger crackdowns (Kyodo News)
• Cruise ships to tackle hotel shortage during Tokyo Olympics (Jiji Press)
• Japan to make escapes by defendants on bail punishable (Jiji Press)
|U.S. Embassy Tokyo Media Analysis and Translation Team|