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Today in Japan (12.21.17)

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

Politics

—House of Councillors lawmaker Naoki Kazama applies to resign from the Democratic Party. He also intends to join the progressive Constitutional Democratic Party of Japan in the near future.

—Constitutional Democratic Party of Japan leader Yukio Edano says that so long as the Liberal Democratic Party keeps pretending the 2015 Abe War Law somehow conforms with Article Nine of Constitution, his party can offer nothing but opposition to any effort to revise the Constitution.

International

—Japan and Taiwan, though they still don’t agree about fishing zone demarcations, do agree to cooperate on search and rescue missions to assist fishermen who get into trouble at sea.

—Tokyo-based NGO Human Rights Now calls upon the government of Myanmar to immediately release the two detained Reuters reporters.

—Okinawa Governor Takeshi Onaga speaks out as Futenma No. 2 Elementary School is now being targeted by mainland rightwingers with harassing phone calls: “There has been no improvement in the hate speech and the discrimination.”

—Okinawa Prefectural Assembly unanimously adopts resolution demanding suspension of US military flights over schools and hospitals. The resolution was supported by Liberal Democratic Party affiliated assemblymen as well.

—Abe government to cut Okinawa economic development budget for second year in a row in an apparent measure to punish Governor Takeshi Onaga and the people of Okinawa for resisting the construction of the new US Marine airbase at Henoko.

—North Korean Foreign Ministry issues statement rejecting US accusations that Pyongyang was behind the “WannaCry” cyberattacks.

—Verdict on Okinawa Prefecture’s latest lawsuit against the central government over the destruction of its coastal environment at Henoko beach is scheduled to be handed down by Naha District Court next March 13th.

Economy

—Where the nuclear power danger and poor Japanese corporate governance intersect: Kansai Electric Power Company admits that dozens of rubber seals from Mitsubishi Cable Industries, which likely had falsified specifications, are being used at Takahama and Oi nuclear power plants.

—An 80-page study supported by the World Wildlife Fund has been issued about how Japan is contributing to the illegal international ivory market, thus putting endangered elephants into further jeopardy of extinction.

—Inbound tourist numbers to hit a new record this year. They appear to be on pace for about 29 million people. Tourism remains the one sector in which the Japanese economy actually is booming under Abenomics monetary policies.

—Japan Productivity Center study finds that (surprise!) Japanese peoples’ long work hours result in the lowest productivity among G7 nations. That is, they are producing fewer products and services than workers in other advanced nations.

—There is some speculation that former Prime Minister Junichiro Koizumi and the progressive Constitutional Democratic Party of Japan may soon jointly campaign for a zero nuclear energy policy.

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