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Today in Japan (12.05.17)

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


—As of yesterday, the Constitutional Democratic Party of Japan has established five prefectural chapters: Miyagi, Aichi, Osaka, Tokyo, and Chiba. Two more, Hokkaido and Saitama, are said to be not far behind. Meanwhile, the conservative Party of Hope has not yet established even a single prefectural chapter, likely hampered by its very low public approval ratings.

—Nobuhisa Sagawa was the Finance Ministry official who falsely, repeatedly testified to the Diet that Moritomo Gakuen land sale was appropriate. Prime Minister Shinzo Abe still asserts, based on no particular argument, that it’s no problem he appointed Sagawa as National Tax Agency head.

—Reporters count 61 lawmaker visitors to Yasukuni Shrine today. Government ministers stayed away. One difference is that now Japan’s leading opposition party, the Constitutional Democratic Party of Japan, has no lawmakers who visit Yasukuni Shrine. It’s probably the first time since the 1990s that the leading opposition party doesn’t contain anyone who honors war criminals.

—Top executives of the Constitutional Democratic Party of Japan, Party of Hope, and the Democratic Party jointly attended a meeting of the Rengo labor union federation.

—Keiji Yamada, 63, decides not to run again as Governor of Kyoto Prefecture when his fourth term end next spring. He has also been serving as the head of the National Governors’ Association.


—Prime Minister Shinzo Abe declares for the umpteenth time in regard to North Korea: “Dialogue for the sake of dialogue is meaningless.” Polls show Japanese public is more-or-less evenly split on the advisability of talks with Pyongyang.

—Abe government’s hard line on refusing even the idea of talks with North Korea now reportedly extending so far as to disrupt a Canadian effort to discuss alternative policies toward Pyongyang.

—UN Secretary-General Antonio Guterres scheduled to make his first visit to Japan from December 13th to 14th.


—Cross-party lawmakers’ bill to be introduced to establish a Media Arts National Center that will promote and preserve manga, anime, and video games as an important part of Japanese culture.

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