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Today in Japan (12.27.17)

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

Politics

—Shiori Yamao to be admitted to membership into the Constitutional Democratic Party of Japan this afternoon, the progressive party picking up another talented lawmaker who has proven effective in attacking the Abe government.

—Talks planned for Thursday between Shinzo Abe, Yoshihide Suga, Ichiro Matsui, and Toru Hashimoto. Likely topics are thought to be Constitution revision and the second casino bill.

—Renho is convinced by her meeting with Yukio Edano. She applies to join the Constitutional Democratic Party of Japan, citing its clear policy direction, quite different from the Democratic Party.

—Prosecutors decide not to pursue legal charges against former Liberal Democratic Party lawmaker Mayuko Toyota over her violence against her political secretary.

—House of Representatives lawmaker Takahiro Kuroiwa (Niigata No. 3 District) applies to resign from the Democratic Party, becoming the fifth lawmaker to do so this month. The party continues to crumble as its leaders remain indecisive about their basic direction.

—Constitutional Democratic Party of Japan opts to defy the pro-nuclear wing of Rengo and clearly specifies its goal of making Japan a zero nuclear nation as quickly as possible.

International

—Eight of the North Korean fishermen stranded in Akita Prefecture last month are being deported back to their country today.

—South Korean Foreign Minister Kang Kyung-Wha criticizes previous Park government for reaching 2015 accord with Japan over Comfort Women without involving the Comfort Women and civil groups into the process.

—The first North Korea missile evacuation drills in Tokyo to be conducted by Bunkyo Ward on January 22.

Economy

—Predictions abound that 2018 will finally see some substantial wage increases in Japan as labor shortage forces companies to offer more in order to attract workers.

—Government begins radiation clean-up effort in Futaba town, which hosts the Fukushima Daiichi nuclear power plant. The aim is to allow residents to return in early 2022, more than a decade after the March 2011 disaster.

—Official unemployment rate now at 2.7%. Basically, any Japanese who wants to work and has average abilities can do so, although many of the jobs are low paying and less-than-exciting.

—Tokyo Labor Bureau orders Nomura Real Estate Development Company to correct its practices of forcing employees to do unpaid overtime work.

—Nuclear Regulation Authority officially approves TEPCO to reenter the nuclear energy business by endorsing Kashiwazaki-Kariwa reactors for restart. However, Niigata Governor Ryuichi Yoneyama expected to withhold his own approval for several more years.

Society

—Today marks 5,000 consecutive days of protest at Henoko beach by local residents and others opposed to the construction of a US Marine airbase that will destroy the environment of Okinawa’s Oura Bay.

Note: There was no “Today in Japan” report issued on December 26.

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