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Japan Falls Behind on Renewable Energy

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

The Top Headline

—Finally showing a hint of his own liberal views, Foreign Minister Taro Kono criticizes Japan’s weak efforts to adopt renewable energy. He notes that Japan’s renewable energy target for 2030 is about the same as the world average that already exists now globally in 2018.

Politics

—Some of the more rightwing Party of Hope lawmakers, including Kyoko Nakayama, making clear that they oppose forming a united parliamentary caucus with the Democratic Party. The whole project is now looking shaky, leaving the Democratic Party and Rengo without a viable strategy.

—Party of Hope Secretary-General Motohisa Furukawa says a conclusion on whether or not his party will form a united parliamentary caucus with the Democratic Party will be reached within a few days.

—The Party of Hope and the Democratic Party have apparently reached a broad agreement to form a united parliamentary caucus that will be sealed tomorrow. However, not all lawmakers in the two parties are pleased about this arrangement, so fallout is certainly possible.

—Former Defense Minister Gen Nakatani (Tanigaki Faction) hints that he might support Fumio Kishida and not Shinzo Abe in September’s Liberal Democratic Party leadership race.

Kyodo News poll finds that while plurality opposes most of the specific policies advocated by the Abe administration, almost half of the nation supports the current Cabinet.

—Former Liberal Democratic Party leader Sadakazu Tanigaki is apparently making a recovery from his very serious July 2016 cycling accident. There is now an effort underway to schedule a meeting between Tanigaki and Prime Minister Shinzo Abe.

—The political strategies of the Japanese Trade Union Confederation (Rengo) are so dumb and convoluted that even Deputy Prime Minister Taro Aso can’t help but be stupefied.

International

—Beatrice Fihn, head of the International Campaign to Abolish Nuclear Weapons, winner of the Nobel Peace Prize, is currently on a short visit to Japan. The Abe government was clearly hostile to ICAN’s recognition and does not support its agenda of banning nuclear weapons.

—Abe government sends diplomatic protest after a Chinese military submarine enters waters not far from the disputed Senkaku-Diaoyu islands.

—US President Donald Trump not worried about North Korea driving a diplomatic wedge between Seoul and Washington: “I know more about wedges than any human being that’s ever lived,” Trump told the Wall Street Journal.

—The Abe Visit Headline: Japan and Estonia “agreed Friday to never accept a nuclear North Korea.” Yes, we’re sure that North Korea really has the Estonians deeply worried! Or is that they are, like, “Whatever makes you happy Shinzo and keeps the Japanese money flowing.”

—Prime Minister Shinzo Abe making what is essentially the first attempt to build a significant relationship between Japan and the Baltic States of Lithuania, Latvia, and Estonia. They are trying figure out areas in which they can boost bilateral trade.

—In Lithuania, Prime Minister Shinzo Abe pays homage to Chiune Sugihara, as “the pride of Japan,” but if a Japanese diplomat today massively violated his or her orders to save lives in a country where they posted, how do you really think Abe and Suga would actually react?

—Prime Minister Shinzo Abe has now completed his tour of the three Baltic States and has arrived at his next stop, Bulgaria.

—Okinawa Governor Takeshi Onaga visits Guam Governor Eddie Calvo. They agree to cooperate on the transfer of some US Marines from Okinawa to Guam and related issues.

—Foreign Minister Taro Kono visits Rakhine State in Myanmar, where the military has unleashed a genocidal campaign against the Rohingya Muslim population.

—Hawaii had their “J-Alert” moment yesterday when an employee at the Hawaii Emergency Management Agency pushed the wrong button and inadvertently terrorized the whole population for thirty minutes with an alert that a ballistic missile was on its way.

—Chobin Zukeran, is running for the post of Mayor of Nanjo City, Okinawa, as the “All-Okinawa” candidate. He is trying to defeat a three-term conservative incumbent, Keishun Koja.

Economy

—US negotiators are reported pushing the Japanese government to accept more imports of US beef, dropping the current policies meant to stop the possible import of BSE, Mad Cow Disease.

Note: There was no separate “Today in Japan” report issued on January 13.

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