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Insane and Bloodthirsty John Bolton Appointed by Trump

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

The Top Headline

—H. R. McMaster now confirmed out as US National Security Adviser. His replacement is… gulp!… John Bolton, possibly the single-most insane and bloodthirsty member of the Washington foreign policy establishment. Bolton’s advice on almost every issue is “Go to War!” As might be expected, Chief Cabinet Secretary Yoshihide Suga declares that John Bolton’s appointment as US National Security Adviser will have “no influence” on US-Japan relations. “Truth” is on Suga’s agenda just about as often as “Peace” is one of Bolton’s priorities.

Politics

—On Tuesday, it was finally reported that the two Liberal Democratic Party lawmakers who persecuted Kihei Maekawa were Masaaki Akaike and Yoshitaka Ikeda. SNA last filmed Masaaki Akaike when he spoke in support of rightwing extremist Satoru Mizushima’s Gambare Nippon movement.

—Despite his declining clout, Shinzo Abe still proves able to push aside the loud objections of Shigeru Ishiba and get his own plan for revision of Article Nine of the Constitution accepted by the ruling Liberal Democratic Party. Exact wording of proposed third paragraph unclear.

—Opposition party politicians are given 45 minutes to interview Yasunori Kagoike, the imprisoned former head of Moritomo Gakuen. Kagoike repeats that there is “no mistake” but that Akie Abe had offered verbal encouragement to buy the plot of land from the Finance Ministry.

—Former Moritomo Gakuen head Yasunori Kagoike has been kept separated from the world by the police, and so he apparently learned today for the first time about the Finance Ministry’s forgery of documents. Meeting with opposition lawmakers clued him in about recent developments.

—Whack-job Liberal Democratic Party lawmaker Masamune Wada declares that he has received bomb threats from leftist critics, but when police investigate they find nothing to support his claims. He’s a former rightwing Kokoro party member.

International

—On Wednesday, South Korean President Moon Jae-In floated the idea of a three-way summit involving the United States, North Korea, and South Korea. Seems like no one really wants the Abe government at the table when the stakes are very high. Who would? Also on Wednesday, it was reported that Prime Minister Shinzo Abe is now seeking his own separate face-to-face summit with Kim Jong-Un to discuss denuclearization and the abductee issue. Apparently, Abe’s request has already been delivered. It’s really hard not to see Shinzo Abe’s sudden enthusiasm to meet Kim Jong-Un as a desperate ploy to shift public attention to foreign policy and away from the Moritomo Gakuen scandal. Abe used the North Korea missile threat to escape Kake Gakuen last year, now this initiative.

—China is building a cruise ship for the purpose of traveling the “Polar Silk Road.”

—Shinzo Abe’s policy of ass-kissing Donald Trump beginning to show diminishing returns as Japan fails to get “exemption” on steel and aluminum tariffs; and Abe’s policy on North Korea brushed aside as well. Having staked Japan’s entire diplomatic posture on one madman, what now?

—In 2013, his first year as Chief Cabinet Secretary, Yoshihide Suga spent about US$12 million from a black budget, a secret fund of the Abe Cabinet with little transparency or accountability. The Abe government reports that it possesses no receipts for about 90% of the funds.

Economy

—European Union anti-trust authorities fine eight Japanese companies for creating an electronic components cartel that operated secretly for almost a decade-and-a-half.

—US residents have launched a US$1 billion lawsuit against TEPCO for possible health damage they received from radiation in the course of helping Japan in Operation Tomodachi. The plaintiffs accuse TEPCO of negligent management of its nuclear energy business.

—Fukushima Federation of Societies of Commerce and Industry survey finds that within the former radiation evacuation zones around the disaster-struck Fukushima Daiichi plant, only 30% of the local businesses have been able to resume. This is after seven years of recovery efforts.

—Genkai No. 3 nuclear reactor in Saga Prefecture resumes operations.

—Nuclear Regulation Authority to hire more lawyers to fight current and likely future lawsuits targeting nuclear power generation. Under the Abe regime, the role of nuclear regulator blurs into the role of nuclear advocate.

—Share prices on the Tokyo Stock Exchange are taking a beating, apparently due to growing fears that US President Donald Trump is about to plunge the world into an unnecessary global trade war.

—Core consumer price index achieves 1% inflation, suggesting that the Bank of Japan’s target of reaching 2% inflation is finally coming into sight after years of effort. Governor Haruhiko Kuroda aims to continue his current policy of monetary easing.

—Fair Trade Commission files criminal charges of bid-rigging against Obayashi Corporation, Kajima Corporation, Shimizu Corporation, and Taisei Corporation in regard to the Central Japan Railway maglev project. The companies have been offering disparate responses to the charges.

—Introducing the Vanilla Peach! ANA Holdings to merge its two low-cost carrier firms Vanilla Air and Peach Aviation by the end of the next fiscal year.

—China surpasses Japan to become the world’s Number Two in terms of filing global patent applications. The United States remains the world leader, but the margin over China is not very wide.

Technology

—National Police Agency has reported that in 2017 there were 149 recorded cases of cryptocurrency theft in Japan, with losses totaling about US$6.3 million. Police have caught none of the thieves in any of the 149 cases. They have a zero batting average.

Society

—The sharing of pension data between the national and local governments under the MyNumber system has been delayed for an indefinite period while the Japan Pension Service untangles a series of mistakes its subcontractors have made in entering people’s data into computers.

Note: There were no separate “Today in Japan” reports issued from March 19 to March 22 due to the foreign travel of SNA President Michael Penn.

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