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Carlos Ghosn Released on Bail

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

Top Headline

—Carlos Ghosn released on bail on 1 billion yen (about US$9 million) after four months in detention. His bail conditions include such things as having cameras installed in his Tokyo home to monitor him and a ban on using the internet. The granting of bail being widely attributed to foreign pressure, perhaps especially from France. Indeed, Ghosn’s new legal team has reportedly submitted a document to the UN Working Group on Arbitrary Detention that there are “violations of fundamental human rights” in the way that Ghosn has been treated by the Japanese legal system.

Politics

—Rightwing lawmaker Yasushi Adachi under fire again for making extreme comments in the Diet. He says that (shameful) police monitoring of the Japan Communist Party under the Subversive Activities Prevention Act means that any of their allies should not be called respectable. In other words, the abuse of security laws by the police and the Abe government is somehow supposed to reflect poorly on the reputations of the entirely peaceful and progressive organizations that are being victimized.

—For obvious reasons, this Self-Defense Forces recruitment poster in Shiga Prefecture is garnering considerable criticism. Japanese women, in particular, are beginning to speak out more about how they are being represented, with public funds. The criticism of this poster has been sufficiently intense that the Shiga Self-Defense Forces have begun to remove it.

—Ainu groups slam the new Abe government legislation that legally recognizes the Ainu. They argue that the purpose of the bill is only to exploit them for tourism purposes, but it conveys no rights to self-determination, land, or any substantial reparations for genocide.

—Miyagi Governor Yoshihiro Murai, himself a former military man and Abe supporter, publicly vows to turn over personal information about all 18 to 22-year-olds in the prefecture so that they can be targeted for Self-Defense Forces recruitment.

—Chief Cabinet Secretary Yoshihide Suga: “With a history of 1,400 years, the Imperial calendar is not simply a dating system, but something which melds into the feelings of the Japanese people, and supports the psychological unity of the public.”

—Liberal Democratic Party appears to be divided over whether or not to run their own candidate in an attempt to defeat Tokyo Governor Yuriko Koike in the summer of 2020. A conservative division could become an opportunity for a viable progressive candidate.

—Some ruling party lawmakers getting angry at Secretary-General Toshihiro Nikai for his “arbitrary actions” in declaring support for the reelection of Tokyo Governor Yuriko Koike and, earlier, his acceptance of Goshi Hosono into his faction.

—Tokyo Governor Yuriko Koike grilled in Tokyo Metropolitan Assembly by those who say she has completely betrayed her campaign promises as they relate to the future development plans for Tsukiji. She had earlier promised that Tsukiji would remain a food-centered area.

—“Reporters Without Borders (RSF) calls on Prime Minister Shinzo Abe to respect the Japanese public’s right to information by requiring his team to respond to all journalists’ questions, without exception.”

—Social Democratic Party’s Mizuho Fukushima sues for defamation a columnist for the Shizuoka Shinbun who declared that Fukushima’s sister lives in North Korea, which explains her political views. Problem is, Ms. Fukushima has no sister.

International

—Prime Minister Shinzo Abe: “Japan fully supports President Trump’s decision to make no easy compromise and at the same time continue productive discussions, and urge North Korea to take concrete action.”

—Abe aide Aiko Shimajiri has announced her candidacy for the Okinawa No. 3 seat in the House of Representatives. This is the seat that Denny Tamaki vacated to become Governor. The progressive candidate is journalist Tomohiro Yara. Election Day is April 21.

—Abe government reportedly planning to reject Okinawa Governor Denny Tamaki’s proposal for three-way talks with the United States over the Henoko base issue. Tokyo will continue to represent Okinawa in bilateral talks and, of course, not represent the Okinawan view at all.

—Abe government begins dumping sand and gravel into a new section of Henoko beach, expanding construction efforts only days after 72% of Okinawans rejected the base construction in a popular referendum: Once again, a total contempt for democracy.

—Russia is reportedly reiterating to the Abe government that the terms of the US-Japan Alliance make it difficult for them to sign a peace treaty with Japan. In particular, Russia worries that the US military might make use of any islands returned to Japanese control.

—The Japanese crab fishing boat detained by Russia in late January for allegedly fishing in its exclusive economic zone has returned to Japan after more than a month. The Japanese side was made to pay a large bond and does not admit fishing in Russian waters.

—South Korean President Moon Jae-In offers an olive branch to Tokyo: “When the pain of victims is substantively healed through concerted efforts, Korea and Japan will become genuine friends with heart-to-heart understanding.”

Economy

—Under strong criticism by some franchisees, Seven-Eleven Japan to test out 16-hour business days at ten selected corporate-run stores in order to measure the business effects. This policy provides no relief for the struggling franchisees, however.

—Hitachi and some of its group companies stand to be ejected from the Technical Intern Training Program after inspections once again find that it is misusing its foreign laborers, in some cases paying them less than the minimum wage.

Technology

—About a year from now, Narita International Airport planning to begin new system that will rely on facial recognition system to identify passengers before boarding rather than the documents they carry.

—Government approves a bill that would force mobile phone companies to charge separately for data plans and mobile devices. This is part of a government effort to force the companies to reduce fees to customers, which are among the highest in the world.

Note: There were no separate “Today in Japan” reports issued between March 1 and March 5.

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