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Defense Ministry Didn’t Take Inada Seriously

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

The Top Headline

—Defense Ministry says that then-Defense Minister Tomomi Inada issued “vague” verbal instructions to locate the Iraq War daily logs, but her order was only conveyed to a handful of staff officers and was not taken very seriously. Inada seemingly didn’t press the matter further.

Politics

—It’s beginning to look like the name for the new merged opposition party may be the “Democratic Party of Japan,” a return to the party name abandoned in March 2016. It remains unclear precisely how many lawmakers will join this new-old party, with some likely to split off.

—Komeito leader Natsuo Yamaguchi wants it both ways, as usual. He distances himself from First Lady Akie Abe’s behavior and cautions her to take more care in her public actions, but will back the government in protecting her from any testimony before the Diet.

—Takatoshi Nishiwaki, the establishment candidate, is elected Governor of Kyoto Prefecture. He defeated a single Japan Communist Party affiliated rival.

International

—The Ground Self-Defense Forces’ Constitution-bending marine force is now officially in existence. The theory is that they’ve been created merely to amphibiously re-take one of Japan’s own islands which was been occupied by… uh… someone or other.

—North Korea reportedly sent a communication to the Abe government reiterating its position that the abductee issue has already been resolved. Pyongyang’s contention has long been that they have already come clean about what they know about the issue.

Economy

—METI bars Obayashi Corporation, Kajima Corporation, Shimizu Corporation, and Taisei Corporation from bidding for public works projects through August 5. This a punishment related to the Central Japan Railway maglev train bid-rigging scandal. Some of them maintain their innocence.

—Online brokerage Monex Group agrees to purchase troubled cryptocurrency exchange Coincheck for US$33.6 million. It turns out that Coincheck was unable to recover after the massive theft of its cryptocurrency in January.

Asahi Shinbun notes the potentially perverse impact of the Abe government’s Way of Working Reform Bill: “The key concern to be addressed is whether the labor deregulation initiative will actually end up promoting long working hours and ‘karoshi,’ death from overwork.”

Society

—Takarazuka Mayor Tomoko Nakagawa publicly criticizes sumo association for barring her, because she is female, from giving her speech from inside the sumo ring. She says it’s time to end traditions that are out of step with the times: “I’m a female mayor but I am a human being.”

—It now emerges that a Japanese construction company not only sent its Vietnamese “trainees” to do radiation clean-up near the Fukushima Daiichi nuclear power plant, but then it embezzled the special hazard pay that was supposed to go to the workers. Thoroughly unscrupulous.

Akahata: Yoshiteru Takeda, who runs a comic book publishing company that promotes anti-Korean racism, including works by people such as Makoto Sakurai, is also head of a company that the Abe government has just approved to publish an ethics textbook for junior high students.

—Hakubun Shimomura, of all people, criticizes the Japan Sumo Association for maintaining the “tradition” of keeping women out of the sumo ring. He asks what they intend to do when Japan has a female prime minister. Do they propose to exclude her from entering the ring as well?

Note: There was no separate “Today in Japan” report issued on April 7.

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