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Today in Japan (12.13.17)

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

Politics

—Pushed by Komeito to be more cooperative, the Liberal Democratic Party said to be open to any discussion of revision of the Constitution, including those not touching on security policy that are proposed by opposition parties.

—Three leading opposition parties: Democratic Party (59 lawmakers); Constitutional Democratic Party of Japan (58 lawmakers); Party of Hope (54 lawmakers). One difference is that almost all the Democratic Party’s strength (45 lawmakers) is in the House of Councillors.

—Taku Yamasaki, the former Secretary-General of the Liberal Democratic Party, laments that the liberal wing of the ruling party has now disappeared. He invites Kiyomi Tsujimoto to a lecture in Fukuoka and encourages her to help make the Constitutional Democratic Party of Japan into a strong liberal force.

International

—Sudden death of Edwin Lee, Mayor of San Francisco. Japanese Rightwing: “It was a divine punishment! Japanese Leftwing: “It was Abe’s handiwork!” Conclusion: Abe is a god!

—In interview with Asahi Shinbun, Mayor Hirofumi Yoshimura explains the foreign policy of the Republic of Osaka as being never to tolerate efforts like that of San Francisco to engage in “Japan bashing” over Pacific War Comfort Women non-crimes.

—Osaka Mayor Hirofumi Yoshimura says Mayor Edwin Lee’s sudden death doesn’t change his city’s decision to cut sister city ties with San Francisco. “We have no intention to restart negotiations,” he says.

—On his visit to Japan, UN Secretary-General Antonio Guterres to be treated to another Shinzo Abe lecture about how “dialogue for the sake of dialogue is meaningless” with North Korea, and that it is better to hit them with harsh economic sanctions with no realistic policy goals.

—US Secretary of State Rex Tillerson: “We’re ready to talk anytime North Korea would like to talk, and we’re ready to have the first meeting without precondition. It’s not realistic to say we’re only going to talk if you come to the table ready to give up your program.”

—The South Korean government said to be delighted with Rex Tillerson’s new position in favor of talks with North Korea. The Abe government is no doubt gritting its teeth: “Dialogue for the sake of dialogue is meaningless”! Tillerson now begs to difer.

—Shinzo Abe: “Dialogue for the sake of dialogue is meaningless…” Rex Tillerson: “We can talk about the weather if you want… but can we at least sit down and see each other face to face…”

—Although Secretary of State Rex Tillerson has come around to the only logical position on North Korea, he can probably be faulted for not coordinating his new approach with the US allies in Tokyo. There is also plenty of reason to doubt that President Trump agrees with Tillerson.

—Chief Cabinet Secretary Yoshihide Suga’s *public* response to US Secretary of State Rex Tillerson is claim that nothing has changed. He says Abe and Trump are in “100% agreement” on pressuring North Korea.

Nikkei shills for Abe: “There is little hope the constantly clashing United States and North Korea will end up in constructive talks even though US Secretary of State Rex Tillerson on Tuesday abruptly stated a willingness to unconditionally negotiate with Kim Jong-Un’s regime.”

—Secretary of State Tillerson also reveals that if there is a war in North Korea, that the United States has promised China that US troops won’t remain north of the 38th parallel after the war is concluded.

—You can’t make this stuff up! A window falls out of a US CH-53E transport helicopter outside Futenma base, Okinawa, and drops on a school sports field. There is a claim that a 10-year-old Okinawan boy was slightly injured, though the direct connection sounds pretty weak.

—Liberal Democratic Party lawmaker Shigeru Ishiba again shows his affinity for nuclear weapons. He says that Japan should prepare in advance the technology to quickly build nuclear weapons if the need arises.

—Government survey finds that when J-Alert system goes off, warning of a North Korean missile, 94% of Japanese do nothing. The citizens report that there’s nowhere to evacuate to, and it’s a pointless exercise anyway.

Economy

—The Real Chinese Invasion: JETRO survey finds that Japan is the country that young Chinese want to visit more than any other in the world. The Chinese are especially interested in the amusement parks, shopping, and the cherry blossom season. Get ready for the crowds!

—Anti-nuclear forces win a big victory as the Hiroshima High Court orders the Ikata No. 3 nuclear reactor to shut down its operations.

—On visit to Argentina, METI Minister Hiroshige Seko defiant in face of ruling by Hiroshima High Court that the Ikata No. 3 nuclear reactor must suspend operations: “The government’s policy of restarting nuclear reactors putting safety first hasn’t changed,” he declares.

Society

—Former US Marine and later base worker Kenneth Franklin Shinzato appeals his life sentence for the rape and murder of an Okinawan woman last April.

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