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Emperor Akihito Feeling Unwell

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

Top Headline

—Emperor Akihito, 84, cancels his public duties after feeling dizzy and unwell. He is diagnosed with cerebral anemia. The Emperor is scheduled to abdicate the throne in about ten months, saying that his health condition is making it difficult for him to continue.

Politics

—Constitutional Democratic Party of Japan moving toward a policy of focusing on recruitment of female political candidates. This progressive party recognizes that the hurdle for women to join politics is higher, and they will now proactively become a women’s party.

—Tensions are rising between the opposition Constitutional Democratic Party of Japan and the Democratic Party For the People for a number of ideological and historical reasons. One CDPJ executive tells the media regarding the DPFP: “Their destiny is to disappear.”

—Niigata Chapter of the Democratic Party finally agrees to join the Democratic Party For the People. However, most of their local politicians and about 95% of their ordinary members indicate their intention to resign. Many may join Constitutional Democratic Party of Japan.

—Democratic Party For the People to steal idea from Constitutional Democratic Party of Japan and give special financial support to female candidates in unified local elections. DPFP aims to have at least 30% of its candidates be women.

—Social Democratic Party leader Seiji Mataichi criticizes the centrist Democratic Party For the People. He says that their unwillingness to line up with other opposition parties only results in bringing a smile to the face of Prime Minister Shinzo Abe.

—Seiko Noda says she’s perfectly willing to run as a candidate against Shinzo Abe in the Liberal Democratic Party presidential race while concurrently serving in the Abe Cabinet as Internal Affairs Minister. She is not planning to resign her ministerial post.

—The electronic version of the Japan Communist Party newspaper Akahata launched. This is an attempt to modernize Japan’s oldest political party and gather support from younger people.

—Goshi Hosono and Akihisa Nagashima planning to create a new rightwing opposition caucus within the House of Representatives. They aim to have 5-10 lawmaker members, with the prospect of forming a political party in the future.

—Tokyo Medical University caught bribing a senior Education Ministry bureaucrat. In exchange for its listing on a program from which it could draw public funds, the bureaucrat’s kid was allowed to enroll in the university in spite of low exam scores.

—Ehime Governor Tokihiro Nakamura indicates that he is not satisfied with Kotaro Kake’s behavior so far. Kake’s first press conference was a pretty much a sham, and Governor Nakamura says that Kake has not yet offered a real public explanation.

International

—Self-Defense Forces to stop 24-hour-a-day deployment of Aegis warships in the Sea of Japan, judging that the threat of a North Korean missile launch at Japan has eased somewhat.

—About 2,200 people march in Kisarazu, Chiba, against the temporary deployment of Osprey aircraft to the Ground Self-Defense Forces’ Kisarazu Air Field.

—Foreign Minister Taro Kono offers to send help to North Korea to denuclearize, if it intends to do so: “Japan can offer support, such as providing nuclear experts.”

—Liberal Democratic Party decides to run Ginowan Mayor Atsushi Sakima as its candidate for Okinawa Governor in the November 18 election. It remains unclear if incumbent Takeshi Onaga will continue to lead the “All-Okinawa” forces, or if a new candidate must be found.

—Prime Minister Shinzo Abe cancels his planned visit to Iran this summer so as not to annoy the Trump administration, which is determined to take an antagonistic policy toward the Islamic Republic.

—Abe government to send the helicopter-carrier Kaga to the South China Sea and the Indian Ocean to flex its military muscles abroad, now that they decided to “reinterpret” the pacifist constitution.

Economy

—Regional Comprehensive Economic Partnership (RCEP) negotiators set goal of reaching a broad agreement on the pact’s terms by the end of this year.

—Japan bought more than four million barrels of US crude due to it becoming cheaper than their usual supply from Iran, as well as concerns about Trump administration sanctions against nations that continue to purchase Iranian oil.

—It has been revealed by Hitachi Chemical that for at least seven years it had falsified inspection data regarding industrial-use lead storage battery products. A total of 60,000 units had been supplied to about 500 companies.

—Shikoku government and business leaders call for the construction of a Shikoku Shinkansen running from Okayama Prefecture. In fact, such a plan has been on the table since 1973, but there has been little action to realize this concept.

—Kazakh Minister for Investments and Development Zhenis Kassymbek says that about US$2 billion in Japanese investments in his country are expected in the nuclear energy, transport, and water supply sectors.

—Abe government nuclear energy plan calls for the first time for the reduction of the country’s plutonium stockpile. Japan’s 47 tons of plutonium is sufficient to build more than 5,000 nuclear weapons, and has been cited repeatedly by outside observers as a security concern.

—The Abe Cabinet approved an energy plan that calls for further development of renewable energy, but still calls for nuclear energy to account for up to 22% of percent of Japan’s power generation by 2030. The new energy plan also aims to have renewable energy account for 22% to 24% percent of the nation’s energy, and fossil fuels still a majority at 56%.

—The ten major utility companies are expected to use around 1.7 trillion yen (about US$15.3 billion) in bonds this year to finance new safety measures as they hope to restart some of their nuclear power plants.

—Pro-nuclear forces win a double victory: High court overturns lower court judgment and rules that Oi nuclear reactors (Fukui) can be restarted; and the Nuclear Regulation Authority clears the Tokai nuclear reactors (Ibaraki) for an eventual restart.

Technology

—Toshiba Energy Systems and Solutions Corporation, in partnership with Iwatani Corporation, aims to reduce Japan’s greenhouse gases by 26% by 2030. Electricity from the dam will be used to electrolyze water and separate hydrogen which will be used to generate electricity.

Society

—Mt. Fuji climbing season from the Yamanashi Prefecture side has begun. Shizuoka Prefecture side climbing scheduled to begin on July 10.

—Survey finds that about 60% of employees in Osaka still tried to go to work on the morning of June 18 when the major earthquake hit during the morning rush hour. These weren’t emergency services, just people afraid their bosses wouldn’t forgive their absences.

—Four town councilmen, including the head of the council, at Kamiyama, Tokushima, arrested on charges of bribing someone not to run for a seat on the town council during the last election.

—JR East says it now plans to install eight cameras on every train car in the Tokyo region. Soon, nothing you do on a JR train will go unfilmed.

—It has been a year since the massive rains in northern Kyushu that killed 42 people. Even now about 1,100 people are living in evacuation shelters because they cannot return to their homes.

Note: There were no separate “Today in Japan” reports issued between July 1 and July 4.

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