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Today in Japan (12.18.17)

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

Politics

—The centrist Democratic Party, though it has dreadfully low public support, still has about US$70 million sloshing around in the party coffers. What happens to this cash is one focus as the party debates its future.

—It’s not going unnoticed that the Nippon News Network‘s broadcast ignored the fact that the Japan Communist Party polled as the third most popular party with 4.3%, and yet this fact was not listed on their graphic, even when an extra space was clearly available. Obvious political bias.

—Internal Affairs Minister Seiko Noda demands that the ruling Liberal Democratic Party ups its performance on gender equality. She says at least 30% of political candidates should be women. In last election, only 17.7% the party’s candidates were female.

Sankei-FNN Poll confirms that after the ruling Liberal Democratic Party (37.7%), it is now two progressive opposition parties, the Constitutional Democratic Party of Japan (13.9%) and the Japan Communist Party (4.3%), which are the most popular.

—The Ishikawa gubernatorial election set for March 11, 2018. The incumbent Governor Masanori Tanimoto, 72, who has been governor for almost 24 years, longer than any other serving governor, has announced he will run for a seventh term.

International

—Steve Bannon: “It’s not a foregone conclusion that Japan and the US have to decline and let China rise. Japan has every opportunity seize its destiny, to reestablish its national identity; and in partnership with the US reverse what the elites have allowed to happen!”

—US Marines officer apologizes to Futenma No. 2 Elementary School principal over helicopter window that fell on the schoolyard last week. Meanwhile, Defense Minister Itsunori Onodera says government hasn’t received adequate explanation of safety measures as Marines resume flights.

Economy

—Central Japan Railway maglev bid-rigging scandal widens as Tokyo prosecutors raid Kajima Corporation and Shimizu Corporation offices.

—Welfare Ministry panel proposes cutting financial assistance to low-income households by 13.7%.

Society

—The yet-unnamed new station on the Yamanote Line (between Shinagawa and Tamachi) is beginning to appear. Architect: Kengo Kuma. Although it seems to be going up fast, it is not scheduled to open until spring 2020. It will become the closest JR station to the Shingetsu News Agency headquarters.

Akahata expresses exasperation at uncritical, fawning news media coverage of the Imperial family. Notes that journalists must “watch those with power from the public standpoint.” Akahata concludes that journalists “are freedom producers and builders.”

—After the US Marines denied object fell from a helicopter onto the roof of a nursery school outside Futenma base, some Japanese rightwingers developed a theory that the nursery school leaders fabricated the incident. Now the school receives harassing phone calls and e-mails.

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