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Today in Japan (11.14.17)

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


—Tokyo Katsushika Ward Elections: Tokyoites First runs five candidates and four of them fail, confirming that Governor Yuriko Koike has lost her political magic.

—Tokyo Katsushika Ward Elections: Rightwing xenophobe Nobuyuki Suzuki elected, endorsed by racist Japan First Party.

—Education Minister Yoshimasa Hayashi gives the final permission for the Kake Gakuen veterinary school to open its doors next April. No scandal could derail this project owned by Prime Minister Shinzo Abe’s buddy Kotaro Kake.

—Constitutional Democratic Party of Japan Acting Leader Akira Nagatsuma describes as “outrageous” that Kake Gakuen given permission to open veterinary school while Prime Minister Shinzo Abe has yet to give any credible public explanation about the Kake Gakuen Scandal.

—Japan Innovation Party lawmaker Yasushi Adachi calls for the Asahi Shinbun to “Die!” when it editorialized against Kake Gakuen being approved for opening.

—Tokyo Governor Yuriko Koike quickly breaks her post-election promise. She will resign as co-leader of the Party of Hope, essentially cutting adrift the new national party she founded.

—Latest Sankei-FNN Poll confirms progressive Constitutional Democratic Party of Japan’s clear-cut position as opposition leader: Constitutional Democratic Party of Japan 15.3% / Party of Hope 3.9% / Japan Innovation Party 2.4% / Democratic Party 1.5%.

—New leader Yuichiro Tamaki appoints all-male executive line-up for Party of Hope, including Motohisa Furukawa as Secretary-General and Akihisa Nagashima as policy chief. Very rightwing and very male.

—With Governor Yuriko Koike leaving leadership and the new executive line-up, we are having trouble seeing where the Party of Hope has any political base whatsoever. The Japan Innovation Party, at least, has Osaka. Why wouldn’t male conservatives just support the Liberal Democratic Party?

—One good thing about how things worked out with the Party of Hope is that the former Democratic Party conservatives, who had long sabotaged opposition unity, will now be exposed for their utter lack of political savvy and their inept strategies. Another positive is that if Party of Hope continues to sink into oblivion, and the Constitutional Democratic Party of Japan remains credible, Rengo may be forced to come off the fence and support a more progressive agenda, or risk splitting apart.


—Philippine President Rodrigo Duterte said during speech in Danang that he killed a man for the first time at age 16, stabbing him “just over a look” he didn’t like. Revelation not expected to affect Abe policy an iota.

—Unfazed by President Rodrigo Duterte’s latest open admission that he once murdered a man for giving him “a look” he didn’t like, Prime Minister Shinzo Abe steps up military and economic aid to his Manila regime.

—US Ambassador William Hagerty meets Okinawa Governor Takeshi Onaga in Naha. The Governor tells Hagerty that the concentration of US military bases in Okinawa “feels like discrimination” and Henoko sea should not be destroyed.

—Abe government begins accelerating speed of Henoko base construction with ships delivering rocks that will be used to destroy to coastline to build the new US Marine airbase.


—US Commerce Secretary Wilbur Ross says Japanese automakers should stop exporting so many cars from Japan and Mexico, and move more plants to the United States.


—Police conduct raid on Aleph (successor to Aum Shinrikyo) over minor infractions. Aleph has been growing its membership again, rising to about 1,500 members as young people, especially, are joining the group.

—Various national and local governments have begun sharing MyNumber data about individual residents. The upside is less paperwork in some cases; the downside is potentially weaker privacy protection.

—Tired of rescuing unprepared climbers, Saitama Prefecture to start charging a roughly 60,000 yen (US$550) fee to those it rescues by helicopter. This is more-or-less equivalent the fuel cost.

—In response to question from Constitutional Democratic Party of Japan lawmaker Seiji Osaka, the government confirms that no one has yet been arrested under terms of the Conspiracy Law enacted over opposition protests in July.

Note: There was no Today in Japan report issued on November 13.

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