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Kuroda Renominated as Bank of Japan Chief

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

The Top Headline

—Haruhiko Kuroda has been officially nominated by the Abe government for a second term as Governor of the Bank of Japan.

Politics

—Taizo Mikazuki has officially announced that he will be running for reelection as Governor of Shiga Prefecture.

—Latest Jiji Press poll has the Abe Cabinet registering quite strong public approval ratings. Nothing seems able to stop this particular regime, making it quite unique in Japanese postwar history. The weak opposition is clearly a huge factor, but the public too is unusually forgiving.

International

—Rightwing US Admiral Harry Harris dials up political tensions once again: “I think we are self-limiting if we view North Korea’s nuclear ambitions as solely a means to safeguard his regime… I do think that [Kim Jong-Un] is after reunification under a single communist system.”

Economy

—President Donald Trump thinks Abe can command businesses to construct factories in the United States: “I had a phone call this morning with Prime Minister Abe of Japan and I suggested that he invest more and open up more plants… They will do that, he said they will do that.”

—Yen continues to appreciate quickly vis-a-vis the US Dollar. At present, the exchange rate is US$1.00 = 106.6 Yen.

—Japan’s personal income tax filing period begins today and lasts until March 15.

—The No. 3 reactor of the Oi Nuclear Power Plant in Fukui Prefecture looks set to be restarted on March 13. The No. 4 reactor might follow about two months later. This nuclear plant is operated by KEPCO.

Society

—Gunma Prefectural Government trying to get rid of a monument to Korean forced laborers in a local park, but have been blocked by Maebashi District Court. This monument was set up in 2004 under a condition that its existence not be publicized. It would seem that asserting wartime Korean forced laborers were “forced” is now regarded as a “political statement” in Japan, rather than an obvious fact of history. Rightwing views have gained such traction that correcting them has itself become controversial act.

—Abe government decides that in the course of the early 2020s the retirement age for national bureaucrats will be raised from the current 60 years old to 65 years old.

Note: There was no separate “Today in Japan” report issued on February 15.

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