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Hodaka Maruyama Suggests War on Russia

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

Rolling Coverage: Hodaka Maruyama

—Japan Innovation Party lawmaker Hodaka Maruyama is under fire after suggesting that the only way that Russia might return the four islands of the Northern Territories would be if Japan launched and won a war against Russia.

—Japan Innovation Party quickly decides to expel Hodaka Maruyama from the party after his suggestion of launching a war against Russia. Party leader Ichiro Matsui says Maruyama’s comments hurt Japanese diplomacy as well and he should resign as a lawmaker.

—Chief Cabinet Secretary Yoshihide Suga calls Hodaka Maruyama’s “war” gaffe “extremely regrettable,” but on the other hand it may give the Abe government a good excuse why their negotiations with Russia have stalled. Now they can blame it on an opposition lawmaker.


—Jiji Press declares that Yoshihide Suga’s prospects to become the next prime minister have been greatly enhanced by his being the person who introduced the “Reiwa” era name to the nation. Really? Is that all it takes to wash away the corruption of the Morikake scandals?

—Yukio Edano is the only opposition leader with any substantial public support to become the next prime minister, according to a Nikkei poll. However, he ranks behind Shinjiro Koizumi, Shigeru Ishiba, and, suddenly, Yoshihide Suga.


—Hokkaido Shinbun editorial complains about lack of progress toward return of Northern Territories: “It must be said that the policies toward Russia are lacking strategically. It’s necessary to restructure talks to link economic cooperation to the return of the four islands.”

—Communist Duma deputies propose new legislation to make September 3 the official Russian victory day over militarist Japan. The current law recognizes September 2 as a “memorable” date marking the end of the war, but says nothing about victory over Japan or military glory.

—Special Presidential Envoy for International Cultural Cooperation Mikhail Shvydkoi says talks are underway to create a Year of Russia-Japan Regional Exchange. This would serve as a follow up to the Year of Russia-Japan, which formally ends in June.

—The Abe government apparently has the ambition to “mediate” between the United States and Iran over the 2015 nuclear deal, blissfully unaware that Bolton and Pompeo have zero interest in peaceful, negotiated settlements with Iran.

—All the Abe government’s instincts are to strongly condemn North Korea for its recent firing of “projectiles,” but they fear to take any line different from Donald Trump, who has dismissed it as unimportant. Abe’s Japan continues to show its lack of independence.

—US Marines indicate that relocation of 5,000 Marines and 2,400 dependents from Okinawa to Guam “may” take place from late 2024 to early 2026. However, many doubts continue to be raised from all sides whether or not it will happen this way.


—Signs are growing that Japan’s moral comeuppance for the coup against Carlos Ghosn (apparently approved by Abe and Suga personally) is the rapid decline of Nissan Motors altogether, with sales plummeting, internal strife, and a total lack of vision going forward.

—The Japan National Tourism Organization (JNTO) and the Russian Union of Travel Industry (RST) have signed a two-year cooperation agreement. The aim is to promote efforts to double mutual visitors to 400,000 by 2023. This goal was set by Putin and Abe in January.


—Shibuya Ward moving toward policy of a serious crackdown on Halloween antics, since they have become increasingly violent and destructive of property. Drinking on the streets during Halloween may be banned and the police much more aggressive in enforcement.

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

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