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Nissan Coup Turning Sour

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

Top Headline

—The apparent Nissan coup against Carlos Ghosn begins to suffer serious reverses. Inside reports emerge that Tokyo prosecutors not only intend to indict Carlos Ghosn and Greg Kelly, but will also go after Nissan itself, which apparently had fed the case to prosecutors in the first place. Also, the Wall Street Journal reports that Carlos Ghosn was only days away from sacking Hiroto Saikawa as CEO of Nissan when Ghosn was suddenly arrested by prosecutors and then publicly thrown under the bus by Saikawa.

Politics

—Constitutional Democratic Party of Japan lawmaker Yoshifu Arita reveals that a total of 69 foreign “technical interns” died in Japan in the three-year period 2015-2017. Most of them were young men in their 20s.

—Constitutional Democratic Party of Japan lawmaker Yoshifu Arita hits the Abe government in Diet debate, asking how they can create a new visa system for foreign workers if they have so manifestly failed to reform the existing system of “technical interns”?

—The ruling coalition enacts the controversial Immigration Bill over the fierce protests of opposition parties. This was the main legislation for the autumn Diet session.

—Ruling coalition enacts revisions to the Water Supply Act, which will allow private companies to run public water services. Similar measures overseas have routinely led to higher water costs and public health hazards. Another Abe political gift to his big business allies?

—Japan Times Executive Editor Hiroyasu Mizuno takes the blame for the controversial “Editor’s Note.” He denies it was the result of political pressure, but recognizes that trust in the Japan Times was damaged.

—Prime Minister Shinzo Abe continues his pattern of being unwilling to meet compelling activist leaders whose causes he disagrees with, this week stiffing hibakusha and anti-nuclear activist Setsuko Thurlow.

—The 13-lawmaker Group of Independents, which includes Katsuya Okada and Yoshihiko Noda, heading toward dissolution, not a new political party, with the idea that most of these lawmakers will apply to join the Constitutional Democratic Party of Japan.

International

—Abe government plans to ban equipment purchases from China’s Huawei Technologies and ZTE Corporation out of a rising concern about these companies’ links with Chinese government espionage.

—Nihon Keizai Shinbun reports that the Abe government is planning to increase the military budget every year going forward by over 1% each year. Most of these increases are expected to go to more purchases of military equipment from the United States.

Economy

—Abe government’s push to export nuclear power creating a fresh fiasco, as its partnership with Mitsubishi Heavy Industries to build nuclear reactors in Sinop, Turkey, facing unexpectedly high costs, making the whole venture a near-certain financial loss.

—Japan-European Union trade agreement has been ratified by the Diet. If the European Union, as expected, follows suit later this month, it will be effectuated in February.

Society

—Japan’s very first ticket scalping law has been enacted by the Diet, which will completely ban scalping and a penalty of up to one year in prison. The vote was unanimous, as both the ruling coalition and opposition supported the measure. It’s meant to prepare for Olympics.

Note: There were no separate “Today in Japan” reports issued between December 7 and December 8.

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