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The Degradation of Japanese Politics

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

The Top Headline

—Constitutional Democratic Party of Japan leader Yukio Edano says that in case after case we are witnessing the degradation of Japanese politics after five years of the Abe administration. Both politicians and bureaucrats are failing to maintain basic standards of public trust.

Politics

—Nagoya Mayor Takashi Kawamura blasts the Abe government over its persecution of Kihei Maekawa and interference in local school board: “Moral value judgments by the Ministry of Education are leading to thought control.”

—Party of Hope executive suggests calling former Defense Minister Tomomi Inada before the Diet to explain how, in yet another case, the ministry during her time in office misled the Diet about records not existing, in this case the daily logs of the Self-Defense Forces’ Iraq War mission.

—It seems that about half of Itsunori Onodera’s job as Defense Minister is taken up by apology tours: apologies for US military mishaps and arrogant behavior, apologies for aircraft accidents, apologies for lying to the legislature, mostly done by his predecessor, Tomomi Inada.

—Defense Ministry itself says that it “discovered” the Iraq mission daily logs in January, but for some reason waited almost three more months before they decided to inform Diet lawmakers that their earlier testimony that the documents didn’t exist was false.

—After receiving a strongly negative reaction from even some parts of the ruling party, the Abe government might be backing off their idea of revising the broadcasting law to allow biased and openly rightwing partisan on television.

—Democratic Party again (again!!!) pleads with the Constitutional Democratic Party of Japan to join with them and the Party of Hope in a re-merged, larger opposition party. Edano’s team has learned from the failures of the past, but these guys clearly never will learn.

—Goshi Hosono confirms that he won’t be joining the “New Democratic Party” to be created from the merger of the current Democratic Party and the Party of Hope. It’s not clear that he has anywhere to go at this point, so likely he’ll become an independent.

—At the end of March, Tomoaki Katsuda, head of the Tokyo Labor Bureau, threatened to issue business improvement orders against media companies after he became annoyed by aggressive questioning by reporters at a news conference. The story is starting to break into the open.

International

38 North, run by the US-Korea Institute of Johns Hopkins School of Advanced International Studies, challenges Foreign Minister Taro Kono’s contention that there is evidence North Korea is preparing a new nuclear weapons test.

—Foreign Minister Taro Kono doubles down on his contention that there is clear evidence that North Korea is preparing a new nuclear weapons test: “We can see that they are doing their utmost to prepare.”

—It’s worth noting that the South Korean news media is basically just ignoring Foreign Minister Taro Kono’s warnings of a new North Korean nuclear weapons test. It seems to be a non-story across the Tsushima Strait because they aren’t taking Japan’s contentions very seriously.

—Yoshiro Mori, head of the 2020 Tokyo Olympics organizing committee, apparently has asked the International Olympic Committee to intervene on Japan’s behalf on the issue of abductees to North Korea. It seems he thinks the IOC’s role is to conduct Japanese diplomatic talks.

Technology

—Apparently, hackers have broken into many Japanese government ministries and obtained email addresses and passwords of a large number of government employees. These are now being sold by the hackers.

Society

—Fukuoka city becomes the seventh local government in Japan to recognize LGBT partnerships. The conservative Abe government doesn’t see the issue as a priority, but local governments in Japan are doing what they can to advance civil and human rights in the meantime.

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