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Kim Jong-Un Makes Peace Overture

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

The Top Headline

—Kim Jong-Un: “It’s about time that the north and the south sit down and seriously discuss how to improve inter-Korean relations by ourselves and dramatically open up.” You wouldn’t know it from most of the slanted headlines, but the North Korean leader just made a peace overture.

Politics

—Ichiro Ozawa holds New Years party at his Tokyo home, gathering about forty current and former lawmakers. He says the Abe administration is much more vulnerable than it seems, and that if the opposition unites it can bring him down in the July 2019 House of Councillors election.

International

—South Korean Unification Minister Cho Myong-Gyon accepts Kim Jong-Un’s invitation for direct talks, and an initial meeting is being planned in Panmunjom on January 9.

—Komeito leader Natsuo Yamaguchi also breaks with Shinzo Abe’s hardline “no negotiation” stance and says that only peace talks can resolve the North Korea crisis.

—Since we will later describe it as “predictable,” we might as well go ahead and make a prediction: Both the Abe and Trump administrations will soon express more annoyance that Kim Jong-Un has proposed peace than they would had he simply repeated military threats.

—Seoul Mayor Park Won-Soon tells the media that he sees a renegotiation of the 2015 Japan-South Korea Comfort Women agreement as “inevitable.” The Abe government presently continues to insist that the current agreement is the “only solution.”

Economy

—Constitutional Democratic Party of Japan is compiling its basic policy on nuclear energy. The gist is that they will oppose any nuclear reactor restarts unless there is some kind of national emergency that required one.

Society

—Unknown woman makes telephone threat to blow up airplanes at Tokyo Narita Airport unless a plan to extend its runways is dropped. Appears to be a legacy of the Narita Struggle of the late 1970s. Police investigating.

—The so-called “u-turn rush” is now on as Japanese cram the transportation systems returning to the Tokyo region after holidays in the countryside and abroad.

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