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Today in Japan (11.09.17)

SNA (Tokyo) — The following stories were reported today by the Shingetsu News Agency.

Politics

—Some ruling party members mulling idea of having national referendum on Constitution revision in July 2019, together with the House of Councillors election.

—Yuichiro Tamaki expected to be elected Party of Hope co-leader tomorrow with the support of the party’s large conservative and rightwing faction. Rightwing pro-Pentagon lawmaker Akihisa Nagashima specifically mentioned as key Tamaki backer.

—Ruling Liberal Democratic Party again proposes cutting opposition parties’ Diet question time from 80% to 50%. Opposition leaders accuse ruling party of trying to avoid too many questions about Kake Gakuen Scandal.

International

Jiji Press quotes senior Defense Ministry official on Trump’s declaration that Japan will be buying more military equipment from the United States: “We’ll proceed with the existing plan, without worrying about the president’s remarks.”

—With Defense Ministry study showing that US Osprey aircraft are becoming even more accident-prone since their deployment in Okinawa, Chief Cabinet Secretary Yoshihide Suga calls for US Marines to pay better attention to public safety.

—Prime Minister Shinzo Abe departs Japan on a weeklong trip to Southeast Asia. The first stop is the Asia-Pacific Economic Cooperation forum meeting in Danang, Vietnam. After that, the Philippines.

—Japan-UK 2+2 Meeting (foreign and defense ministers’ meeting) being planned for London in mid-December.

Economy

—Canada, New Zealand, and Malaysia reportedly in no big rush to reach a deal on TPP 11, potentially keeping bargain out of reach for the time being.

—IMF Managing Director Christine Lagarde urges Japan to promote labor reforms, which could be a “game changer.” This means shorter work hours, gender equality, children daycare support.

—US Department of Agriculture study finds that US pork likely to be disadvantaged by Japan-EU trade agreement and TPP 11 (without US participation).

—Japanese Society for Rights of Authors, Composers and Publishers (JASRAC) wants a cut of 1%-2% of all revenues from foreign films screened in Japan as music royalties beginning from next April.

—Japan Tourism Agency panel says the proposed departure tax for leaving the country should be set at under 1,000 Yen (about US$9) in order to prevent negative impact on tourist industry.

Technology

—Health Ministry eyes creating online system in which all residents enrolled in universal public health insurance system can view their medical results via computer.

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