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Japan Dead Last in Gender Equality Ranking

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

The Top Headline

—Inter-Parliamentary Union survey finds Japan ranking 158th among 193 surveyed nations for female representation in the national parliament. Only 10.1% of Japan’s Diet members are women, putting the nation dead last among advanced industrial countries. The Inter-Parliamentary Union report observes: “Since his declaration in 2012 to make Japan a place where “all women can shine”, Prime Minister Shinzo Abe’s targets for women’s leadership have not been met. In Abe’s Liberal Democratic Party, women made up only eight per cent of the candidates versus more than 20 per cent in some of the opposition parties.” This is another crucial case where progressive-sounding Abe government initiatives simply aren’t followed up by action.

Politics

—Finance Ministry pledges to investigate possible Finance Ministry forgery of Moritomo Gakuen documents, continuing the curious Abe-era practice of having the suspects serve as their own investigators and usually finding that—surprise!—they did nothing wrong.

—Opposition parties declare that if it is proven that the Ministry of Finance has been submitting forged Moritomo Gakuen documents to the Diet, that the Abe Cabinet must resign.

Kyodo News poll: 69.1% of public feels that the Abe government’s Way of Working Reform Bill is “unnecessary” at this time. Only 17.1% support its passage in this Diet session. As usual, the public polls negative on Abe’s policy agenda, but still votes for the ruling party.

International

—Trump: “trade wars are good, and easy to win.” Sounds rather like one of those apocryphal quotes like, “The Titanic is unsinkable!” or “Europe is too civilized to fight another major war!”

—Defense Minister Itsunori Onodera admits the Abe government is studying the possibility of deploying F-35 fighter jets on Izumo-class helicopter carriers. He insists that no decision about actually creating full-fledged aircraft carriers has yet been made.

—Ginowan Mayor Atsushi Sakima meets with new Minister for Okinawa and the Northern Territories Teru Fukui and requests that the US Marine airbase at Futenma be removed from his city very soon. Fukui says he takes the request seriously.

—New Minister for Okinawa and Northern Territories Affairs visits Ginowan, Okinawa, including an inspection of the Futenma No. 2 Elementary School, where a US Marine helicopter dropped a window on the playground.

—Election period begins in the Ishigaki, Okinawa, mayoral race. The conservative incumbent, Yoshitaka Nakayama, is going for his third term. This outlying smaller Okinawan island tends to be more conservative than the Okinawa main island.

—South Korean President Moon Jae-In reportedly selects two of his top national security aides to be his envoys to Pyongyang, following up on the momentum for talks that was pushed forward by the Pyeongchang Winter Olympics.

Economy

—Countries involved in the Regional Comprehensive Economic Partnership negotiations hope that the terms of this trade agreement can be substantially agreed by the end of this year. METI Minister Hiroshige Seko states that he supports that goal.

—Taisei Corporation completely rejected accusation that they were involved in bid-rigging over the Central Japan Railway’s maglev project. They even go so far as to denounce the prosecutors for arresting one of their former senior executives.

—Japan Communist Party open to possibility of jointly submitting the Zero Nuclear Basic Bill in partnership with the Constitutional Democratic Party of Japan.

Note: There was no separate “Today in Japan” report issued on March 3.

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