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Finance Ministry Asked Moritomo Gakuen to Lie

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

The Top Headline

—NHK (!) reporting that a Finance Ministry official telephoned Moritomo Gakuen in February 2017, after the land sale scandal was beginning to break, and asked them to lie about garbage removal from the site. First clear evidence that fraud was on the government side even before the document forgeries.

Politics

Asahi Shinbun editorial: “This sort of dysfunction mirrors the Abe administration’s nature, which is characterized by its contempt of the Diet and its arbitrary high-handedness in pushing its agenda.”

—Prime Minister Shinzo Abe’s speech to the incoming class of national bureaucrats receives scoffs when he speaks of the need “to carry out your duties with the highest sense of ethics.” The fact that the Japanese media is commenting on this boilerplate speech shows Abe’s crisis.

—Interestingly, the ruling party itself seems to be growing concerned about civilian control of the military (which they themselves loosened considerably over the years). They want answers why the Iraq War daily logs’ existence wasn’t promptly reported to Defense Minister Itsunori Onodera.

—Defense Minister Itsunori Onodera reveals that the Self-Defense Forces actually located the Iraq War daily logs in March 2017, over a year ago, but kept this information hidden from then-Minister of Defense Tomomi Inada. The uniformed military clearly keeping ministers in the dark.

—Constitutional Democratic Party of Japan executive Kiyomi Tsujimoto responds to latest Defense Ministry scandal. “It’s clear that civilian control is not currently effective. I’m greatly worried that this represents a crisis for the Japanese nation.”

—Yasunori Kagoike lost his school and his freedom after the Moritomo Gakuen scandal broke and he accused Shinzo Abe of wrongdoing. However, Abe’s university buddy Kotaro Kake just proudly opened his veterinary school in Imabari, Ehime, in spite of the Kake Gakuen scandal.

—Komeito leader Natsuo Yamaguchi indicates that there’s almost no support anywhere within his ruling coalition party for Prime Minister Shinzo Abe’s idea of revising Article Nine of the Constitution.

—Breakup of Party of Hope could get very messy, with a split into three groups now a growing possibility. The situation within the Democratic Party not much better.

International

—Prime Minister Shinzo Abe has reportedly asked South Korean President Moon Jae-In to meet with him before holding with summit meeting with North Korean leader Kim Jong-Un. There is a possibility that Moon may say he’s too busy to meet with Abe.

—US Air Force CV-22 Osprey aircraft have arrived in the Tokyo area ahead of their expected deployment to Yokota Air Base. Hopefully the USAF will fly them in the capital region more safely than the US Marines in Okinawa seem capable of doing.

Economy

—Well, Donald Trump may finally have set off the global trade war that his emergence has long been promising. China is making it clear that they will not lie down and accept punitive US tariffs, but will respond in kind. Good chance that everyone will come out the loser.

Society

—Every move you make: JR East says it will install security cameras on all Yamanote Line trains. This is being portrayed as yet another 2020 Olympics related move.

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