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North Korea Gratuitously Embarrasses Moon Administration

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

The Top Headline

—North Korea embarrasses the Moon government by announcing that it will send Kim Yong-Chol as leader of its delegation to the Winter Olympics closing ceremony. Kim is believed responsible for the 2010 sinking of the South Korean warship Cheonan, which killed 46 sailors. Conservative Liberty Korea Party leads the outrage: “Kim Yong Chol is a diabolical war criminal who attacked the South… He deserves death by hanging in the street… Even if the heavens are split in two, we cannot allow such a heinous criminal, who must be sliced to death, to be invited to the Olympics closing ceremony.” Colorful statement, even if they can’t quite decide between hanging and slicing. Honestly, it would probably be good for the Moon administration to refuse to accept Kim Yong-Chol. It’s understood they want to keep positive diplomatic momentum with Pyongyang, but this would be a very good place to draw the line and show some toughness.


—Japan Innovation Party breaks ranks with other six opposition parties and adopts a stance accepting of the government’s Way of Working Reform Bill. They are no doubt very happy with Prime Minister Shinzo Abe after he decided to hold the G20 Summit in Osaka.

—Minister for Okinawa and Northern Territories Affairs Tetsuma Esaki expected to leave the hospital early next week after his suspected minor stroke.

—Japan Innovation Party asks ruling Liberal Democratic Party to include free public education as one of its Constitution revision proposals. Liberal Democratic Party executives give an encouraging initial response to the idea.

—Liberal Democratic Party’s Bunmei Ibuki suggests that Shinzo Abe’s political future would very much be on the line with a referendum on Constitution revision: “Realistically, responsibility for a referendum failure would lie with the president of the largest ruling party.”

—Top national leaders of the Constitutional Democratic Party of Japan are turning out one after another to help the street campaigns of the party’s two candidates for the Machida City Council in Tokyo. Much attention going to a very small local election.


—US Vice-President Mike Pence: “For all those in the media who think I should have stood and cheered with the North Koreans, I say: the United States of America doesn’t stand with murderous dictatorships, we stand up to murderous dictatorships.”

—Foreign Minister Taro Kono criticizes South Korean government minister for describing Comfort Women as sex slaves. The once-liberal Kono more and more echoing the ideological orthodoxies of the Japanese rightwing history deniers.

—Ivanka Trump has arrived in South Korea to attend the closing ceremony of the Pyeongchang Winter Olympics.

—Kanzaki City Council votes unanimously to demand Self-Defense Forces flights over the city be ended in the wake of the major helicopter accident which crashed onto a residential neighborhood.

—US Marine helicopter flew over Futenma No. 2 Elementary School this afternoon, in latest dismissal of public opinion in Okinawa. The Marines had promised not to fly over the school if at all possible, but apparently such promises don’t count for much. Okinawan protests expected.


—Japan wins World Trade Organization case against South Korea over its Fukushima food ban. South Korea says it will keep the ban in place and will appeal the ruling.

—Constitutional Democratic Party of Japan decides to submit its Zero Nuclear Basic Bill to the Diet on March 9. It has no hope of passing at this time, of course, but the party is eager to show the general public what it stands for.


—In the middle of the night last night, two Japanese rightwingers fired guns at the Tokyo headquarters of the General Association of Korean Residents in Japan (Chongryon). Nearby policemen, always stationed in the area, immediately arrested them. Nobody was hurt.

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