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Taro Kono Skewers Opposition Lawmaker

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

The Top Headline

—Touche to Foreign Minister Taro Kono on this one! In an idiotic move, Democratic Party lawmaker Hiroyuki Konishi criticized Kono for taking a photo with a “lower status” Chinese diplomat (Spokeswoman Hua Chunying). Kono’s riposte was a bullseye: “It seems there are some people who think about another person’s ‘status’ when taking a photo with them. That sounds exhausting.”

Politics

—Prime Minister Shinzo Abe offers complete denial that his wife Akie ever telephoned Yasunori Kagoike and offered her encouragement as he negotiated the Moritomo Gakuen affiliated elementary school land price in March 2016. Abe still refusing to have Akie testify for herself.

International

—US Marines fire the commander of the Japan-based Osprey squadron “loss of trust.” Note that the many accidents of December and January in Okinawa involved US Marine helicopters, not Ospreys. Of course, Osprey accidents have been a big concern as well.

—Representatives of six opposition parties jointly visit the US Embassy in Tokyo and deliver a statement of protest, demanding that US Marine flights at Futenma be suspended. Since the Abe government seems unwilling to do much, the opposition taking this unusual action.

—US Vice-President Mike Pence to visit Japan from February 6 to February 8.

Economy

—Coincheck’s woes pile up as a group of lawyers announce intention to sue the company on behalf of customers who lost assets. Coincheck had already said they would reimburse all the customers, but haven’t yet done so. Apparently their efforts are not regarded as sufficient.

—Financial Services Agency raids Coincheck offices to examine the company’s computer security systems. Coincheck is really in the firing line now.

—The hacker who stole the cryptocurrency from Coincheck may have a serious problem of their own, which is how to dispose of the loot. Due to blockchain technology, it is known which accounts it was transferred to. Breaking into the exchange may be one thing, but where to run now?

—Coincheck fiasco and wild fluctuations in value causing low-cost carrier Peach Aviation to have second thoughts about accepting bitcoin payments from passengers.

Society

—Concerns growing that some of the oil spilled into the East China Sea by the Iranian-flagged tanker Sanchi may start washing up on Japanese shores, doing serious environmental damage.

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