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Six Years of Abe Diplomacy

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

Top Headline

—Must say we’re enjoying seeing Shinzo Abe on the diplomatic sidelines, waiting for phone calls from Trump or Moon to tell him what’s going on: a just reward for years of neglecting relations with East Asia, nitpicking over Comfort Women, etc., rather than building friendships. One year of Moon Diplomacy vs. Six Years of Abe Diplomacy:

Politics

—Finance Ministry apparently taking stance that its sexual harassment problem is fully over now that Junichi Fukuda has been given a salary reduction. They seem to be hoping that the public forgets about pursuing any institutional problems over the Golden Week holiday.

—Liberal Democratic Party Secretary-General Toshihiro Nikai reiterates that his position that Shinzo Abe should be reelected to a third term as ruling party president “hasn’t changed one millimeter” over the serial scandals. He cites Abe’s alleged diplomatic achievements.

International

—Kim Jong-Un says that if United States ends war and promises nonaggression against North Korea in a binding way, then his nation has “no need” to maintain nuclear weapons.

—Kim Jong-Un says he will close his country’s nuclear test site next month and invite international experts and journalists to verify the move.

—Prime Minister Shinzo Abe: “President Moon talked about North Korea’s abduction of Japanese people and the relations between Japan and North Korea during his summit with Chairman Kim Jong-Un. I thank President Moon for his sincere effort.”

—Prime Minister Shinzo Abe departs Japan heading for West Asia. The itinerary is United Arab Emirates, Jordan, Palestine, and Israel. This is supposedly related to the “peace process” that establishment types have been talking about since the early 1990s and never delivering.

—Defense Ministry makes protest to US military for violating agreements about the lowest altitude US jets can fly on training missions over Japan. An US F-16 was caught on video flying very low over Aomori Prefecture, including over residential areas.

—Konosuke Kokuba, just appointed head of the Liberal Democratic Party’s Okinawa chapter, apparently got in a drunken brawl with another man in the middle of the night in Naha. Both men were injured, with Kokuba breaking his ankle.

—Philippine President Rodrigo Duterte faces backlash after removing Comfort Women statue from a beach in Manila. His defense is rather confused, saying he doesn’t know about the removal issue while at the same time advising Filipino people not to antagonize Japan.

Economy

—Yoshimitsu Kobayashi, head of the Japan Association of Corporate Executives, says that the national consumption tax will need to be raised to 14% by around FY2024. This tax, currently at 8%, is already scheduled to rise to 10% next October.

Society

—Japan Sumo Association board of directors holds an hour-long discussion of whether or not to end its ban on women entering the dohyo (the rope circle where the matches take place), but they are unable to reach a conclusion. Likely the board is divided on the matter.

—As of today, there is exactly one year left to run in the Heisei Era. At this time next year, Akihito will be enjoying his last day as Emperor and Naruhito will be preparing to symbolically lead Japan into a new era which hasn’t been named yet.

—Thief who escaped from prison in western Japan has finally been caught in Hiroshima after a massive manhunt involving thousands of police, sniffer dogs, drones, etc. that lasted weeks.

Note: There was no separate “Today in Japan” report issued on April 29.

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