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Abe Wants North Korea to Surrender Before Talks Begin

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

The Top Headline

—Abe government has developed new tactic to gum up negotiations efforts with North Korea. Abe wants the United States to demand Pyongyang promise to solve the abductee issue and eliminate all its medium-range missiles as a precondition for leadership talks. Between John Bolton and Shinzo Abe, it seems that the only thing Kim Jong-Un might do to is to completely surrender before any talks are held. The talks themselves, presumably, would only be about how Pyongyang might lay down and die. Somehow, we don’t think Kim will go for this.

Politics

—Hundreds of protesters turning out each evening near the Prime Minister’s Office to demand that Shinzo Abe resign.

—At today’s Liberal Democratic Party convention, Prime Minister Shinzo Abe apologizes for the Finance Ministry document forgeries, saying that it is his responsibility “as the head of the government administration” (but not in relation to the cover-up done to protect him).

—Also at today’s Liberal Democratic Party convention, Secretary-General Toshihiro Nikai confirms that the ruling party intends to move forward with a proposal to revise Article Nine of the Constitution. For as long as Shinzo Abe survives in office, this will still be a priority.

—Shinjiro Koizumi points out the obvious fact that Shinzo Abe himself is now clearly a detriment to the prospects for Constitution revision: “Without trust there can be no constitutional revision.”

Jiji Press interviews former Japan Communist Party leader Tetsuzo Fuwa, who openly praises Emperor Akihito: “The current Emperor is the first one to behave appropriately under the current constitution.” Fact is, in a strange way the Imperial Family and the Communists are Abe Era allies.

—Shinjiro Koizumi breaks ranks with the ruling party and suggests that First Lady Akie Abe really should appear as a sworn witness in front of the Diet on the Moritomo Gakuen scandal. He suggests that Moritomo is a Shinzo Abe problem, not a ruling party problem.

—All indications are that Nobuhisa Sagawa’s sworn testimony before the Diet will be this coming Tuesday. It will be a high stakes day for all involved.

—Ruling party finally starting to talk about a third party investigation of the Moritomo Gakuen document forgeries. These bright bulbs finally beginning to realize that letting the suspects be their own investigators may not be the best idea for rebuilding public trust.

—Prime Minister Shinzo Abe, dining last night at a Chinese restaurant with his supporters, told them “don’t worry” about the Moritomo Gakuen scandal. Apparently, Abe doesn’t think it’s such a big deal.

—Japan Teachers’ Union abandons the Democratic Party and decides it will run a candidate in the next House of Councillors election as a member of the Constitutional Democratic Party of Japan. This labor union (called Nikkyoso in Japanese) is a bugbear of rightwingers like Abe.

International

—On Friday, the Okinawa prefectural government appealed the most recent adverse court verdict on the Henoko base issue. So far, the courts have proven to be entirely subservient to the Abe government, but Okinawa nevertheless carries on the legal fight to another round.

—Defense Ministry to resume financial payments to Nago City now that anti-base Mayor Susumu Inamine has been defeated and new ruling coalition-backed Mayor Taketoyo Toguchi is in office. The election bribes for the residents of Nago begin to pay out.

—John Bolton already making clear that his version of “negotiation” with North Korea is that Kim Jong-Un immediately agree to give up all his nuclear weapons. He cites Libya as the model case. Gee, and it sure worked out for Muammar Gaddafi too! How could Kim resist such an offer?

—Ground Self-Defense Forces unprecedented “Marines” unit expected to be launched on Tuesday. The excuse is that Japan now needs an offensive marine forces not because they will attack anyone, but to “retake” Japanese islands from imaginary invaders. Revision by reinterpretation.

—2018: The age when children have become adults, and adults have become children.

—Prime Minister Shinzo Abe planning to visit Russia and meet with Vladimir Putin on May 26… presuming that Abe is still in office two months from now.

Economy

—Board of Audit calculates that Japan taxpayers will shoulder about US$2 billion for the 2011 Fukushima Daiichi nuclear disaster for the interest payments alone.

Technology

—Japan has acquired a few dogs from Taiwan which are specialists in sniffing out fire ants. The nation continues its attempt to keep the pesky insects out of this nation.

Society

—Yusef Salaam addresses a class of students in Tokyo yesterday morning. Salaam was one of the Central Park Five, the group of young men falsely convicted in the 1989 Central Park Jogger case. Donald Trump called for the Five’s execution and never recanted.

Note: There was no separate “Today in Japan” report issued on March 24.

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