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CDPJ Backs Same-Sex Marriage Legislation

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

Top Headline

—Constitutional Democratic Party of Japan to submit unprecedented legislation in the current Diet session that would allow same-sex marriage full legal recognition across the nation. Meanwhile, the Shinzo Abe government, afraid to antagonize its big business allies, is moving toward adoption of a anti-sexual harassment policy that provides zero punishment for those who engage in sexual harassment. Companies will simply be “urged” to address the problem. Meanwhile, rightwing Liberal Democratic Party lawmaker Mio Sugita facing a defamation lawsuit at the Kyoto District Court after a series of Twitter remarks and show appearances in which she accused a group of university researchers of misusing public funds to support gender equality activists.

Politics

—Constitutional Democratic Party of Japan executive Kiyomi Tsujimoto found to have received political donations in the past from lawyer with South Korean nationality, which is a violation of Political Funds Control Law. The rightwing media going nuts, as Tsujimoto is one of politicians they hate most intensely.

—Kiyomi Tsujimoto political funds “scandal” turning out to be very small potatoes. Apparently, the South Korean lawyer attends some of her support group parties and paid the 10,000 yen (US$91) entry fees a couple times. The staff didn’t ask peoples’ nationalities.

—Constitutional Democratic Party of Japan leader Yukio Edano makes clear that the party will not sanction executive Kiyomi Tsujimoto over her small political funding problem. He says that she owed the public an explanation and then gave it.

—Plan being proposed to merge the Democratic Party For the People, Japan Innovation Party, and Liberal Party into a new center-right opposition political party led by Toru Hashimoto. These parties trying to create excitement amidst rock bottom poll ratings. This scheme would probably make them the largest opposition party, at least until the next elections. However, a number of left-leaning members of the current Democratic Party For the People and Liberal Party would likely flee to the Constitutional Democratic Party of Japan.

—Regional Revitalization Minister Satsuki Katayama hit by a fresh round of allegations of influence peddling, coming from Shukan Bunshun. She’s basically spent her whole time as minister rewriting political funds reports and dodging ethics allegations.

—Regional Revitalization Minister Satsuki Katayama threatens Shukan Bunshun with criminal legal action for its latest report on her alleged influence peddling: “This isn’t journalism, it is 2channel!” she declares.

—Prime Minister Shinzo Abe meets at the Kantei with executives of the Liberal Democratic Party factions. Showing his typical intolerance and vindictive streak, one faction only wasn’t invited; the faction of his intra-party critic and leadership challenger Shigeru Ishiba.

—Shigeru Ishiba openly criticizes Prime Minister Shinzo Abe for secretly arranging Liberal Democratic Party faction executive meeting with the apparent intention of excluding only the Ishiba Faction. He says that government should conduct itself openly and with dignity.

—Prime Minister Shinzo Abe uses his speech at the ruling party convention to declare that the Liberal Democratic Party must win the House of Councillors election “so as not to return to the nightmare of the Democratic Party of Japan regime. One of the first to attack Shinzo Abe’s heated rhetoric is his own intra-party rival, Shigeru Ishiba, who declares, “It’s dangerous to assert your own correctness simply by citing past administrations that have ended.” It’s frankly pretty lame that after six years of a Shinzo Abe government his main argument for the public confidence is to cite a long ago defeated government by a political party that doesn’t even exist any longer. Is that what he’s got? Just more fear-mongering?

—Liberal Democratic Party opting to downplay Constitution revision issue in their campaigning, concerned that it may lose them votes in the upcoming elections. Of course, after the elections, should they win, they will claim to have a “mandate” for Constitution revision.

—Yuji Kuroiwa announces that he will be running for a third term as Governor of Kanagawa Prefecture. Election Day is April 7, part of the Unified Local Elections.

—Abe government now refusing to release revised real wage data for the January through November 2018 period, knowing that it will deeply embarrass their contention that Abenomics has been a success in lifting the economic status of ordinary Japanese.

—Child abuse suddenly a top political issue in Japan after tragic death of 10-year-old girl who sought protection from her father but was betrayed by teachers and the system. Prime Minister Shinzo Abe orders a national review of child safety policies.

—Akira Amari, chairman of the Liberal Democratic Party Election Strategy Committee, beginning to move from saying an double election in July is a possibility to saying that he may proactively call on Prime Minister Shinzo Abe for a double election.

—Yukio Edano indicates the Constitutional Democratic Party of Japan will run a strong candidate in the Shizuoka No. 5 district with the intention of defeating the traitorous Goshi Hosono in the next general election. Edano and Hosono used to be colleagues in Democratic Party of Japan cabinets.

—Constitutional Democratic Party of Japan leader Yukio Edano: “The Self-Defense Forces have already been ruled as constitutional within the scope of individual self-defense. The only ones claiming there is a dispute over their constitutionality is the Abe Cabinet itself.”

International

—Prime Minister Shinzo Abe begging for a phone call with US President Donald Trump before his meeting in Vietnam with Kim Jong-Un in a bid to remain somewhat relevant to the North Korea peace process.

—Abe government indicates willingness to participate in informal talks with the International Hydrographic Organization over South Korea’s demand that the Sea of Japan become internationally renamed as the East Sea.

—Calling him “the son of the main culprit of war crimes,” South Korean National Assembly Speaker Moon Hee-Sang declares that Emperor Akihito should personally apologize to Comfort Women. That’s insulting and counterproductive talk. Akihito isn’t the problem.

—Abe government formally protests South Korean National Assembly Speaker Moon Hee-Sang’s comments that Emperor Akihito should personally apologize to Comfort Women. South Korean government appears to be intimating that the Speaker’s view is not their administration’s view.

—“The Committee to Protect Journalists today called on the Japanese government to allow freelance journalist Kosuke Tsuneoka to leave the country to conduct reporting.”

—“Reporters Without Borders calls on the Japanese authorities to immediately return Japanese freelance reporter Kosuke Tsuneoka’s passport and to allow Tsuneoka and all other Japanese journalists to travel freely abroad, including to war-torn countries.”

—Abe government refusing demands of the International Labour Organization and others to join all other developed nations and to allow firefighters to organize into labor unions. Firefighters have been legally barred from joining unions and claims of power harassment are rife.

—UN Committee on Rights of the Child advises Japan to “enact comprehensive anti-discrimination legislation” and to “adopt a comprehensive law on children’s rights and take steps to fully harmonize its existing legislation with the principles and provisions of the Convention.” The part of the report that is sending Japanese rightwingers into a frenzy is that the UN committee also recommends that Korean schools in Japan should be treated like any other foreign school and should receive equal public funding.

—Foreign Minister Taro Kono reveals that Japan is seeking a revision of the Status of Forces Agreement with the US military that would allow Japanese agencies access to US military aircraft accident sites.

Economy

—Agriculture Minister Takamori Yoshikawa says that the spread of swine fever in and around Gifu Prefecture has developed into “an extremely serious situation.” So far the authorities have been unable to contain the epidemic.

—The Philippines temporarily bans Japan pork imports over their concerns about the swine fever epidemic around Gifu Prefecture.

—Abe government cracking down on the Furusato Nozei (Hometown Tax) system, pushing legislation that would strictly limit the value of gifts and benefits that local municipalities can offer in order to attract taxpayers.

—Finance Minister Taro Aso meets David Malpass, the Trump administration’s candidate for president of the World Bank. Malpass is mainly known for being anti-China. Aso praises Malpass but doesn’t immediately pledge to support his candidacy.

Technology

—Plastic straws and cutlery being phased out at all central government cafeterias as a measure to combat plastic pollution. Japan has a long, long way to go in this respect, but government and business is beginning to act.

—Japan Newspaper Publishers & Editors Association criticizes the increasingly restrictive drone laws, arguing that they are interfering with legitimate news collection and the people’s right to be informed.

Society

—The remains of the battleship Hiei have been discovered almost 1000 meters undersea near the Solomon Islands. It was sunk on November 14, 1942, the first major battleship of the Imperial Navy to go down in the Pacific War.

—The number of influenza patients nationally is now dropping. While it had peaked well above 2 million, the current number is well below that number and is falling.

Note: There were no separate “Today in Japan” reports issued between February 7 and February 11.

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