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Today in Japan (11.29.17)

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

Politics

—Finance Ministry official Mitsuru Ota gives first official admission before the Diet that Moritomo Gakuen land sale was handled differently: “Over the past few years, this was the only case in which we took such measures.”

—In effort to pry some transparency from the government, the Constitutional Democratic Party of Japan calling for legal duty that all bureaucratic documents must be preserved for at least a year. Everyone getting tired of Abe government’s magical disappearing documentation.

—Japan Innovation Party unhappy after ruling Liberal Democratic Party passes on idea to trying to revise Constitution to give everyone the right to free education.

—Under questioning in Diet, Prime Minister Shinzo Abe claims he wants to be transparent about why Finance Ministry admittedly handled Moritomo Gakuen land sale differently than any other case. Abe’s every move so far has been to shut down transparency.

—Katsuya Okada says that for now he wants to remain as a Democratic Party lawmaker in preference to joining either the Party of Hope or the Constitutional Democratic Party of Japan.

International

—North Korea fires a missile that stays aloft for a long fifty minutes and comes down in waters off the coast of Aomori Prefecture, possibly within Japan’s exclusive economic zone.

—Chief Cabinet Secretary Yoshihide Suga says North Korea “won’t have a bright future” if it keeps forcing him to wake up in the middle of the night with new missile tests.

—US Pentagon reckons the North Korean missile was likely another ICBM based on its trajectory and flight time.

—Analysts suggest that this morning’s North Korean missile was the most sophisticated one yet, likely capable of reaching any part of the continental United States. Trump responds he “will take care of it.”

—Shinzo Abe’s answer to new North Korean missile launch is, as always, that “more pressure” is needed and that all negotiations are pointless.

—Mystery of the North Korean boat that suddenly went missing from port in Akita Prefecture is solved — it sank.

—Foreign Minister Taro Kono to visit Okinawa from Friday.

Economy

—Keidanren to recommend, ostensibly, that its member companies should raise worker monthly salaries by 3% this year, echoing the stated wishes of Prime Minister Shinzo Abe.

Society

—The Shingetsu News Agency notes with sadness that Peter Ennis of Dispatch Japan has passed away. Never met him in person, but he was one of very few analysts connected to the Washington Establishment that we found to be honest and routinely insightful. He will be sorely missed.

—Health Ministry adopts a plan to allow Japan’s public health insurance to cover sex reassignment surgery for people with gender identity disorder. Likely to take effect from next April.

—Kumamoto City Council, still unaware of how much they have disgraced themselves internationally, issues written warning to Councilwoman Yuka Ogata for bringing her baby to work. They declare that she obstructed council business.

—For inexplicable reasons, Sumo wrestling scandal becomes a subject Prime Minister Shinzo Abe that must field questions about in National Diet. He declares the violent incident “extremely regrettable.”

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