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Stop Immigrants Day

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

Top Headline

—The racist Japan First Party, run by Makoto Sakurai, has declared “Stop Immigrants Day” and is protesting in many cities across Japan, in almost 30 locations. Local Antifa groups mobilizing against the Japan First Party anti-immigrant hate rallies.

Politics

—Jiji Press poll on who should be the next prime minister after Shinzo Abe: Shinjiro Koizumi (26.1%); Shigeru Ishiba (15.3%); Yukio Edano (5.4%).

—House of Representatives lawmaker Masato Imai looks to be the next one to resign from the Democratic Party For the People and to apply to join the Constitutional Democratic Party of Japan. The centrist party seems to be breaking down more quickly than expected.

—Tokihiro Nakamura, who had run-ins with the Abe government recently over the Kake Gakuen scandal, running for a third term as Governor of Ehime Prefecture. Election Day is November 18.

—Prime Minister Shinzo Abe again uses the Self-Defense Forces to promote his notions of Constitution revision. Abe suggests that the Self-Defense Forces cannot “accomplish their duties with sense of pride” until pacifist Article Nine is busted.

—Japan Communist Party noticeably de-emphasizing its traditional post-1960 call for the US-Japan security treaty to be scrapped and replaced by a treaty of US-Japan friendship. This seems to be a measure to clear the deck for tighter opposition party electoral cooperation.

—Reports surfacing that Education Minister Masahiko Shibayama may be about to get hit by accusations of violating political campaign laws. He is the same minister who recently suggested that the 1890 Imperial Rescript on Education has contemporary validity for schools.

—Vice-Minister of Land, Infrastructure, Transport and Tourism Shozo Kudo in hot water over failing to report some campaign finances. Even Chief Cabinet Secretary Yoshihide Suga declines to defend him.

International

—Okinawa Governor Denny Tamaki meets Prime Minister Shinzo Abe and Chief Cabinet Secretary Yoshihide Suga, the first such meeting since his election. Tamaki asks Prime Minister Shinzo Abe to set up a forum to discuss US Marine realignment issues between the national government and the prefecture. Abe responds that there’s nothing to talk about: Henoko base will be built and that’s that.

—Asahi Shinbun: “This is clearly the time for the Japanese government to rethink its stand that the new Henoko base is ‘the only solution’… Tokyo should also propose a major review of the bilateral SOFA which gives US forces in Japan a raft of unfair privileges.”

—Japanese officials said to be getting frustrated with US Marines’ unwillingness to let them inspect Futenma base in Okinawa. This is leading to growing calls for SOFA revision. Japan has far fewer rights than European nations hosting the US military and they’re noticing it.

—Big win for All-Okinawa forces over the Abe government. Challenger Hitoshi Yamakawa wins Tomigusuku mayoral race. For new Governor Denny Tamaki, it is an encouraging start.

—Campaign period for Naha mayoral race has begun. All-Okinawa incumbent Mikiko Shiroma facing off against the Abe government-backed challenger Masatoshi Onaga. Contest widely seen as a proxy battle between Governor Tamaki and the Abe regime.

—Abe government asking North Korea to allow it to establish a liaison office in Pyongyang for the purpose to investigating the abductee issue. Prime Minister Shinzo Abe has promised that he will “resolve” the issue before he steps down as Japan’s leader.

—Defense Ministry moving towards designating its only overseas military base in Djibouti as a permanent facility, keeping Japanese troops in Africa indefinitely.

—SoftBank stock lost about 6% of its value today as investors worried about the Japanese company’s tight relations with Saudi Arabia in the wake of the Jamal Khashoggi disappearance (murder?). There’s a lot of Saudi money in SoftBank.

Economy

—Prime Minister Shinzo Abe reportedly ready to publicly confirm that the consumption tax will be hiked to 10% in October 2019 as planned.

—Trump administration is trying to link currency exchange rates with bilateral trade talks. So far, the Abe government is rejecting this linkage.

—Kyushu Electric has been cutting off solar energy from its grid this past weekend, apparently because an energy supply surge could overload the system and cause blackouts. Concerns are growing that this policy will be used to slow the growth of renewable energy in Japan.

Technology

—Japan to belatedly begin electronic visa services from April 2020, slow to move away from its paper-based business and administrative systems, but slowly getting there.

Society

—Environment Ministry moving toward policy of requiring that retailers charge their customers a small fee for all plastic bags that are used. This is another sign that Japan is belatedly getting more serious about the issue of plastic pollution.

—NHK moving toward both the beginning of regular internet broadcasting and a reduction in fees.

—Japan Tourism Agency launching its first survey on “overtourism,” looking at the need to contain environmental damage from hordes of tourists descending on the most popular sites and disrupting the lives of residents.

Note: There were no separate “Today in Japan” reports issued between October 13 and October 14.

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