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Russia Opposes Japan’s Missile Policy

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

The Top Headline

—Russian Foreign Minister Sergey Lavrov reiterates his country’s opposition to Japan’s purchase and deployment of Aegis Ashore anti-missile system. He says it will negatively impact Russia’s security and he anticipates that the United States, not Japan, will really be in control. Lavrov: “We do not know of a single example around the globe in which the United States has deployed its weapons only to place the controls in the hands of the host country. I have very strong doubts the United States will make an exception.”

Politics

—Party of Hope to shut down Goshi Hosono’s team that is working on revision of the Constitution. Recall that Hosono angrily resigned his Democratic Party executive position last year when that party didn’t listen to his Constitution proposals. Expect blowback on this one.

—Party of Hope leadership taking exactly the opposite strategy as Yukio Edano and the Constitutional Democratic Party of Japan. They are prioritizing “the politics of numbers” (gathering incumbent lawmakers) rather than focusing on the creation of a clear policy identity.

—Akio Fukuda, House of Representatives lawmaker of the Democratic Party, becomes the first to openly announce that he will not be participating in the Party of Hope – Democratic Party unified parliamentary caucus. He stormed out of a party executive meeting and told the press.

—Party of Hope leader Yuichiro Tamaki has presented a plan to split the party and allow those who oppose forming unified parliamentary caucus with the Democratic Party to go their own way.

—Toshio Ogawa is another Democratic Party lawmaker who is very unhappy with prospect of forming joint parliamentary caucus with Party of Hope. He is arguing for continuing efforts to bring in the Constitutional Democratic Party of Japan (in spite of the fact that will go absolutely nowhere).

—Tomorrow there will be lawmaker general meetings of the Party of Hope and the Democratic Party. It is expected that some lawmakers will either resign their party memberships or perhaps the Party of Hope will split into two organizations.

—Liberal Democratic Party again pressing to reduce opposition question time in the Diet. With coalition supermajorities in both chambers and Trump in the White House, now the Abe government doesn’t even want to hear any opposition criticism of its policies any longer.

—Liberal Democratic Party Secretary-General Toshihiro Nikai expresses annoyance that people such as Shigeru Ishiba and Seiko Noda are planning to challenge Shinzo Abe for party leadership in September. He would clearly prefer that Abe be elected without any challenge.

—Seiko Noda makes clear that she has no intention of teaming up with Shigeru Ishiba in her bid to overthrow Shinzo Abe as Liberal Democratic Party president in September. They will run separate candidacies. Fumio Kishida, meanwhile, is suggesting that he is still undecided.

—Liberal Democratic Party Secretary-General Toshihiro Nikai expresses his pleasure that Party of Hope and Democratic Party are forming a united parliamentary caucus. He prefers a single center-right opposition party that makes running the Diet smoother for the ruling party.

International

—Defense Minister Itsunori Onodera slams China for operating submarine near disputed Senkaku-Diaoyu Islands: “Operating a submerged submarine close to another country’s territory goes against international rules.” Why do we doubt that the US plays by those particular rules?

—Romanian Prime Minister Mihai Tudose forced to resign shortly before his scheduled meeting with Prime Minister Shinzo Abe. Tudose was voted down by his party. It’s not clear who Abe will be meeting now.

—As some of its ships get larger, the Japan Coast Guard wants to create new bases, especially in western Japan.

—In exchange today with Japanese politicians of both the ruling coalition and the opposition, ICAN’s Beatrice Fihn argues, “Nuclear deterrence is a myth. It has not stopped North Korean weapons development.” Ruling coalition lawmakers express skeptical responses to her notions.

—North Korean newspaper: “The spasm of Trump in the new year reflects the desperate mental state of a loser who failed to check the vigorous advance of the army and people of the DPRK. He is making a bluff only to be diagnosed as a psychopath.”

—In shades of Hawaii, NHK inexplicably warned viewers at 6:55pm that the J-Alert system was warning of an incoming missile. This included mobile push alerts. Five minutes later, NHK announced its mistake.

—NHK offers a not-very-enlightening explanation for why the missile false alarm was sent out this evening: They say that the person in charge of internet notifications “misoperated” the relevant device.

Economy

—Japan Business Federation (Keidanren) urges its members to accept the Abe government’s request that they give their workers a 3% salary increase this year. They describe this policy as a “social demand.”

Society

—Fascist media star Naoki Hyakuta declares anyone who subscribes to the Asahi Shinbun “the enemy of Japan.” Worth recalling that this same man, Naoki Hyakuta, was appointed a governor of NHK by Shinzo Abe in 2013. He resigned in 2015.

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