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Genkai Reactor Forced to Shut Down After Only One Week

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

The Top Headline

—Genkai No. 3 nuclear reactor in Saga Prefecture, which resumed operations just a week ago, is taken offline again after a steam leak erupts. This will likely disrupt Kyushu Electric’s plan to restart the No. 4 reactor as well.

Politics

—Finance Minister Taro Aso apologizes for criticizing the media because it is closely covering the Moritomo Gakuen scandal. He says that his criticism “invites misunderstanding.”

—Constitutional Democratic Party of Japan leader Yukio Edano criticizes the Democratic Party leadership’s call to create a new political party. Edano suggests that now is the time to keep focused on the Moritomo Gakuen issue and not get lost in diversions like another opposition party realignment. Keep eye on ball.

—Party of Hope leader Yuichiro Tamaki accepts in principle the idea of forming a new political party together with most of the Democratic Party. Talks to begin next week.

—Katsuya Okada opposes creation of new political party that would merge most of the current Democratic Party and the Party of Hope. Okada declares: “Mr. Edano is the leader of the opposition. If we are not tied up with him, the opposition will not be able to wield its power.”

—Next week may bring significant developments on opposition party realignment. Look for the Party of Hope to split, with the smaller, Shigefumi Matsuzawa-led group wanting to keep possession of the “Party of Hope” name. The largest group, led by Yuichiro Tamaki, will seek to form a new party together with most of the Democratic Party. Akihisa Nagashima and Goshi Hosono look to be the odd men out.

—Democratic Party leader Kohei Otsuka again calls on the Constitutional Democratic Party of Japan to join in a new, merged political party. He says that it would become a party centered on Yukio Edano. Edano has already responded with a big NO. Edano says that the Constitutional Democratic Party of Japan isn’t interested in continuing political games, but rather wants to face the people directly and “restore the politics of decency” to the Japanese nation.

—Japan Innovation Party moving closer to taking a second shot at Osaka unification referendum. They narrowly lost their referendum in 2015, and their party popularity is declining, but without trying again it’s hard to see what the main purpose of their party really consists of.

—Rightwing Japan Innovation Party eager to support Prime Minister Shinzo Abe on the issue of revising Article Nine of the Constitution.

International

—US President Trump pretty much openly admits he wants to use trade policy to blackmail South Korea to do his bidding on North Korea negotiations. Not clear if President Moon Jae-In is interested in playing the role of puppet. Most likely not.

—Thaksin and Yingluck Shinawatra are confirmed to be visiting Japan now. The military junta which rules Thailand, working under the fine Orwellian name “National Council for Peace and Order,” regards the pair of former prime ministers as fugitives.

—Protest Letter to Japanese ambassador to the United States: “It is a sign of repression by the authority against the anti-bases movement by intimidating and putting pressure on the people not to join the activities by showing them the risk of the arrest and indictment. It attempts to hide the true crime of progressing militarization, despite the fact that it destroys the environment, ignores the democratic will of Okinawan people, and the base puts their lives in danger.”

—Liberal Democratic Party planning to decide its candidate for the Okinawa gubernatorial race around May. The Abe government (and the US government) desperately wants to knock off Governor Takeshi Onaga. The incumbent, however, still polls high support in the prefecture.

—Foreign Minister Taro Kono claims that North Korea appears to be preparing for a new nuclear weapons test.

Economy

—”World’s Cheapest Form of Energy”: TEPCO and the government estimate that Fukushima Daiichi nuclear disaster cleanup will cost more than US$2 billion annually for at least the next several years.

—Osaka District Court dismisses the first lawsuit filed by an anti-nuclear group arguing that Japanese nuclear power plants could be targeted by North Korean missiles. The judge says it’s “unclear” whether or not North Korea would actually target nuclear power plants.

Society

—Tokyo Metropolitan Government estimates that a super typhoon could put almost all Sumida Ward and Katsushika Ward underwater, with places like JR Shinagawa Station and Shimbashi Station possibly flooded to a depth of a meter or so. Such a typhoon hit western Japan in 1934.

Note: There was no separate “Today in Japan” report issued on March 30.

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