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Ruling Coalition Wins in Niigata

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

Top Headline

—NHK calls the crucial Niigata gubernatorial race for Hideyo Hanazumi, which represents a bitter defeat for the opposition and the nation’s anti-nuclear forces. It appears, however, that the ruling party-backed Hanazumi will win Niigata gubernatorial race with less than 50% of the vote, meaning that the third candidate, Satoshi Annaka, may have made the small difference that confirmed to Chikako Ikeda’s defeat. Meanwhile, the Constitutional Democratic Party of Japan issues a statement on Niigata gubernatorial election vowing to fight on against the Abe government and for the anti-nuclear cause. They also point out that there is yet no prefectural chapter of their party established in Niigata.

Politics

—Two candidates step up for the Shiga gubernatorial elections on June 24. Governor Taizo Mikazuki is running for reelection with both ruling party and opposition support, while challenger Manabu Kondo is backed by the Japan Communist Party.

—New leader of the Social Democratic Party Seiji Mataichi is struck by unclear physical ailment and is taken to the hospital by ambulance. The veteran Mataichi, 73, became the party leader when no one else could be found to take the job.

—As part of their modernization efforts, Japan Communist Party finally going to launch a fully electronic version of the Akahata newspaper next month. Currently the print version of the newspaper has over 1.1 million subscribers.

—Party of Hope leader Shigefumi Matsuzawa asks pointedly if Taro Aso feels any sense of responsibility as a human being for the suicide of Finance Ministry official Toshio Akagi? Matsuzawa says Aso has no moral character whatsoever.

—Komeito Secretary-General Yoshihisa Inoue agrees that Kotaro Kake has a responsibility to personally explain what his school was up to in Imabari city, now that they say that they lied about Prime Minister Shinzo Abe’s involvement.

—Shigeru Ishiba: “The Liberal Democratic Party cannot win public support if it cannot properly admit that the prime minister has made a mistake.”

—The two Koizumis trip over each other a bit. Shinjiro does not go to Niigata Prefecture to campaign for the ruling party candidate because everyone knows that his father Junichiro is quietly supporting the anti-nuclear opposition candidate.

International

—Prime Minister Shinzo Abe: “I wish to directly face North Korea and talk with them so that the abduction problem can be resolved quickly.”

—In his meetings with US President Donald Trump, it appears that little changed on the trade policy front. Prime Minister Shinzo Abe promised to boost Japanese investment in the US economy, which has been the Abe government line since Trump was elected.

—Abe government making efforts to begin direct negotiations with North Korea after the June 12 Trump-Kim summit. Not so long ago Abe was refusing to speak with South Korea. Now he’s trying to catch up after spending years antagonizing Japan’s Asian neighbors.

Economy

—With unanimous party support, the Diet enacts a climate change adaptation bill which is to fund measures to mitigate damage from the changing climate patterns, including the construction of new levees.

—A man in his 50s, shortly after completing his work at the Fukushima Daiichi nuclear power plant, fell ill, vomited, and died. The exact cause of his death is being investigated.

—Airbnb has suspended a large majority of its unlicensed listings in Japan ahead of a new law which will be effectuated from June 15. It requires owners to obtain a government registration number and to meet various regulations before being able to host guests.

—Honda Motor Company to start selling its US$5.3 million six-seater business jet in Japan next year as it seeks to expand global sales. It is aiming at demand from rich customers in North America, Europe, and the Persian Gulf.

—In a big story we’ve seen unreported until now, the Mainichi Shinbun says that the East Japan Railway Workers’ Union has been in a total meltdown since March. losing more than 70% of its membership over the possibility of a strike. The Abe government seems to have played a role.

—Japan Society of Civil Engineers estimates that a powerful typhoon with a storm surge on par with what actually occurred in the 1934 Muroto typhoon could inflict 110 trillion yen (about US$1 trillion) in economic damages on the country.

—Malaysian Prime Minister Mahathir Mohamad raises questions about whether or not TPP 11 (CPTPP) is actually good for his country. He doesn’t threaten to withdraw, but says his new government will “review” the pact with fresh eyes.

Technology

—Seven-Eleven Japan will introduce two compact fuel-cell trucks newly developed by Toyota Motor for product deliveries in the Tokyo metropolitan area, hoping to significantly reduce carbon dioxide emissions, starting in spring 2019.

—Fsho becomes the first cryptocurrency exchange denied a license to do business by the Financial Services Agency. The agency says that Fsho’s safeguards to prevent money laundering are insufficient.

Society

—Although he took some political hits over the project, Nagoya Mayor Takashi Kawamura’s restoration of Nagoya Castle has apparently been magnificently executed, based on the photos. This may turn out to be a brilliant move to put Nagoya on the tourist map.

—Forecast suggests Tokyo region may have very heavy rainfall at times on Monday as a typhoon passes off the coast. It is not expected to make a direct hit, but from about noon today the weather report contains a lot of rain for several days.

—Anti-Abe protest crowds in front of the Diet Building put at about 20,000 today. However, if they can’t win elections, they still aren’t hitting the incumbent regime where it counts.

Note: There were no separate “Today in Japan” reports issued between June 7 and June 9.

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