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Today in Japan (12.12.17)

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

Politics

—Leader Kohei Otsuka considering dissolving the Democratic Party and then trying to form a new opposition party. This might happen very quickly, as in this month.

—Reports suggest that at least “several” more Democratic Party House of Councillors lawmakers are eager to defect to the Constitutional Democratic Party of Japan, not to mention all the local politicians who feel that way.

—Renho is opposing the idea of dissolving the Democratic Party, annoyed that leader Kohei Otsuka is taking this position after it was already once decided that the party should carry on.

—Three plans proposed for future of Democratic Party: 1) Dissolve the party; 2) Change the name of the party; 3) Carry on the same as now. Different lawmakers have different opinions on this matter, so it’s no longer clear when the decision will be made.

—Today the Constitutional Democratic Party of Japan set up its eighth local chapter; this one in Hokkaido Prefecture under the leadership of Takahiro Sasaki.

International

—Russian General Valery Gerasimov tells Defense Minister Itsunori Onodera: “Carrying out military training in regions surrounding North Korea will only heighten hysteria and make the situation unstable.”

—Abe government to reorganize its anti-terrorism management systems under Deputy Chief Cabinet Secretary Kazuhiro Sugita in advance of the 2020 Tokyo Olympics.

—Chief Cabinet Secretary Yoshihide Suga again denounces as “regrettable” the erection of another monument to wartime Comfort Women. This time it is in Manila, the Philippines.

Kyodo News quotes a source “close to Prime Minister Shinzo Abe’s office”: “If we stick our nose in Middle East affairs and anger Mr. Trump, we’ll gain nothing and lose everything.” This is the same old story of why Japan is often useless as a peace mediator.

Society

—Charles Jenkins—US Army Sergeant, deserter to North Korea, husband of Hitomi Soga—has passed away at age 77 of unknown causes after spending his last dozen years happily in Sado Island, Niigata Prefecture.

—Of the ten naughty North Korean fishermen who washed up on Japanese shores recently, six are to be immediately deported, three are under arrest for theft, and one has been in the hospital since their arrival.

For breaking news, follow on Twitter @ShingetsuNews

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