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Trump Trade Policy “Hard to Understand”

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

Top Headline

—Prime Minister Shinzo Abe is negative on the Trump administration’s “national security investigation” regarding automobile imports: “It’s hard for Japan to understand and we cannot accept it,” Abe told the Diet.

Politics

—Liberal Democratic Party declares that no special investigation of the Moritomo Gakuen or Kake Gakuen scandals is needed.

—Kobe Gakuin University Professor Hiroshi Kamiwaki files criminal complaint against Nobuhisa Sagawa and other Finance Ministry officials for discarding and falsifying documents in the Moritomo Gakuen case. He is acting because the Osaka prosecutors are failing to do so.

—Prime Minister Shinzo Abe parses his “involvement” in the Moritomo Gakuen scandal: “In the political world, swaying a policy through an exchange of money or valuables has been a big issue. In that sense, I was not involved at all.”

—The ruling coalition is planning to extend the Ordinary Diet Session by several weeks in order to assure passage of the IR Implementation Bill as well as a controversial labor policy bill.

—Prime Minister Shinzo Abe now very much off the hook on the documentation of his February 2015 meeting with Kotaro Kake. Officials at Kake Gakuen now say they fabricated the story to help them in negotiations with Imabari city, and are fully apologizing. Constitutional Democratic Party of Japan executive Kiyomi Tsujimoto responds: “They will really go that far to shield the prime minister? This is not a matter that can be simply dispensed with by an apology. Chairman Kotaro Kake needs to be summoned as a sworn witness.”

International

—Prime Minister Shinzo Abe finally able to get the meeting with President Donald Trump that he’s been desperately pushing for. He apparently wants to get to Trump before the US president makes any deals with North Korean leader Kim Jong-Un. Abe isn’t happy about peace moves.

—North Korea denounces the 2016 Japan-South Korea General Security of Military Information Agreement, calling it a “treacherous war agreement” which must be scrapped.

—Mitsubishi Corporation has announced an order for port improvement in Iraq. It is the first port construction deal in Iraq in forty years. “The objective of this project is to modernize existing industrial port facilities around Basra.”

—US Pacific Command (PACOM) renamed as US Indo-Pacific Command. Defense Minister Itsunori Onodera praises the move, saying it is correct to consider the Indian Ocean and the Pacific Ocean as a single unit.

—Abe government moving toward ending direct subsidies to the neighborhoods around Henoko base. This had been a probably illegal measure to undermine the authority former Nago Mayor Susumu Inamine, but now the pro-government candidate has been installed.

Economy

—KEPCO will be reducing its rates by about 5% from July 1, which it attributes to the reactivation of the No. 3 and No. 4 reactors at its Oi nuclear power plant in Fukui Prefecture.

—Abe government planning to bring in half a million foreigners to plug holes in the labor market, then kick them all out after five years. Japan’s head-in-the-sand immigration policies set to continue into the next decade.

—Japanese retail gasoline prices have reached their highest level since December 2014, with an average price of 151 yen per liter—likely due to the US announcement of its withdrawal from the 2015 nuclear deal involving Iran.

—Keidanren Chairman Hiroaki Nakanishi declares it “not an option” to keep delaying the consumption tax hike to 10% beyond October 2019.

—The ruling coalition has passed the Way of Working Reform Bill, which will legalize some cases of death-by-overwork, through the House of Representatives.

—Kobe Steel admits fabricating inspection data for aluminum and copper products for over five decades. Tokyo prosecutors and police will begin conducting investigations at the firm’s headquarters, its Tokyo office, and several of its plants.

Technology

—Canon Japan discontinues the company’s last film SLR, eight years after ending production of film cameras. Canon has not produced a new film camera since 2010 but continued selling what remained in stock, leaving the EOS name to be succeeded by its digital counterparts.

Society

—House of Representatives passes bill that would lower the age of adulthood to 18 years old. There’s no much for the kids to celebrate though, because various exceptions will take away the extra freedoms for 18- and 19-year-olds, but saddle them with new responsibilities.

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

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