Hodaka Maruyama’s Shameful Behavior Exposed
SNA (Tokyo) — The following stories were reported recently by the Shingetsu News Agency.
Rolling Coverage: Hodaka Maruyama
—Six Japanese opposition parties intend to make a proposal in parliament asking for the resignation of Hodaka Maruyama as a member of the lower house. This follows Maruyama’s drunken comments about retaking the Northern Territories through war.
—Ruling parties decide to propose a censure motion in the Diet against lawmaker Hodaka Maruyama for his comments about reclaiming the Northern Territories through war. This contrasts with the opposition’s tougher proposal to demand his resignation from the Diet.
—Japan Innovation Party executives Nobuyuki Baba and Toranosuke Katayama visit the Russian embassy to personally apologize for former party member Hodaka Maruyama’s drunken comments about retaking the Northern Territories through war.
—Hodaka Maruyama criticizes Japan Innovation Party executives’ visit to the Russian embassy to apologize for his comments about taking back the islands by war. He says apologizing to Russia is “entirely incomprehensible.” Maruyama has already been expelled from the party.
—Defense Minister Takeshi Iwaya says Hodaka Maruyama’s war comments should have no impact on ties with Russia: “It was extremely inappropriate but these were just one person’s comments, entirely inconsistent with the government’s position. I think Russia understands this.”
—Liberal Democratic Party’s hesitation to join opposition parties in demanding Hodaka Maruyama’s resignation from the Diet being attributed to their concern of creating a precedent that will soon come back to bite the ruling party, whose lawmakers often make verbal gaffes.
—Hodaka Maruyama was due to appear before the Diet Committee on Rules and Administration to explain his comments about going to war to reclaim the Northern Territories. He failed to show up, submitting a medical note stating that he was taking two-months leave.
—Here are further reports of Hodaka Maruyama’s comments when on Kunashir: “I want to buy a woman” and “I want to massage a woman’s breasts.” He also made several attempts to leave the lodging house, against the rules of the program.
—Russia raises doubts about future of visa-free trips to the Kurils: “The politicization of these exchanges by Japan leads to the fact that they have simply ceased to fulfill their initial task: to strengthen friendship and trust between residents of the neighboring regions.”
—Nemuro City Council holds emergency meeting and votes unanimously to demand that Hodaka Maruyama resign from the Diet over his drunken comments about launching a war against Russia, damaging both peace diplomacy and relations with Russia.
—Not only Komeito, but also the Liberal Democratic Party appears to be giving up its opposition to holding a second referendum on the unification of Osaka prefecture and city after their electoral drubbing by the Osaka Restoration Association.
—Komeito now moving entirely into the camp of the Osaka Restoration Association. Not only are they going to allow a second popular referendum on the Osaka unification plan, but they will add their substantial political support to win the referendum.
—A group of Liberal Democratic Party lawmakers has formed who want to push legislation to make the use of paternity leave mandatory throughout the country. This is meant to increase the birthrate and take some social pressure off of professional women.
—Foreign Minister Taro Kono says he will ask foreign-language news organizations to render Japanese names with the family name first.
—Muneo Suzuki, the former Diet member who remains influential over Russia policy, has announced that he has cancer of the esophagus and will undergo surgery on May 27. He will decide whether to run in the Upper House elections in mid-June.
—Ichiro Ozawa, Japan’s longest-serving Diet lawmaker (since 1969) and the most impactful Japanese politician of the modern era who never became a prime minister, has turned 77 years old. He has changed parties or party names eleven times in his tumultuous career.
—Opposition parties growing worried that Shinzo Abe plans to submit referendum legislation for Constitution revision that would allow the ruling party and its rich corporate backers to flood the airwaves with advertisements with no meaningful restrictions or financial limits.
—Marino Kayo of the Protect the Nation from NHK political party, apparently elected with a strong vote in April, has had her election victory annulled by Tokyo Adachi Ward after they discovered that her supposed residence in the ward is actually a capsule hotel.
—Former Prime Minister Yasuhiro Nakasone turns 101 years old and is reportedly still in decent health, spending his time reading books and newspapers. If he lives another year or so, he will have the all-time record high age for a former Japanese prime minister to live to.
—Kazunori Yamanoi mulls quitting the Democratic Party For the People, which would be a significant blow to the centrist opposition party as he is one of its more prominent members.
—Liberal Democratic Party Secretary-General Toshihiro Nikai under fire by some lawmakers in the ruling party for declaring that if Yuriko Koike wants to run for a second term as Tokyo Governor, the ruling party “of course” should support her this time.
—The rightwing opposition Party of Hope is imploding. Shigefumi Matsuzawa resigns as leader and Kuniko Koda resigns as secretary-general because the other three lawmakers wouldn’t support caucus merger with the Japan Innovation Party. Nariaki Nakayama is the new leader.
—Liberal Democratic Party lawmaker and recent ex-minister Yoshitaka Sakurada has a stunningly simple plan for addressing Japan’s population decline: He urges all Japanese women to give birth to about three babies. Now, why didn’t anyone else think of that?
—Opposition lawmakers lambast conservative lawmaker Yoshitaka Sakurada’s urging of women to have three babies. Renho declares, “It’s the lowest sort of comment. I can’t believe someone with such an old way of thinking was a minister. He is the shame of the Diet.”
—Iehiro Tokugawa, the man who would be the Shogun of Japan were it not for his family losing the civil war in 1868, to run as a Constitutional Democratic Party of Japan candidate for the House of Councillors this July, representing Shizuoka Prefecture.
—Constitutional Democratic Party of Japan, Democratic Party For the People, and Japan Communist Party reach agreement to unify behind a single candidate in 30 of 32 single-seat districts in the upcoming House of Councillors elections.
—Democratic Party For the People’s political fortunes set to improve after they wisely unveil their first official party mascot, Kokumin Usagi “Citizen Rabbit.”
—South Korean Prime Minister Lee Nak-Yeon urges Japan to accept Korea’s position over historical issues and separate them from other political matters in order to build future-oriented relations between the two.
—South Korean lawmakers planning to meet their Japanese counterparts in Tokyo in September to discuss ways to resolve the recent strained relations between the two countries. They are also expected to discuss abductees. The specific agenda is to be released soon.
—South Korean Foreign Ministry has said it will look prudently into a request from Japan for the formation of an arbitration panel involving a third country to address the issue of forced labor that occurred during Japan’s occupation of Korea. Korea is unlikely to grant the request. It is reluctant to intervene in litigation involving private citizens. The request for arbitration appears to be a means for Japan to show that it is taking diplomatic steps toward a resolution so as to shape international opinion.
—A Japanese court has denied a request by 27 Korean people to remove the names of family members from Yasukuni Shrine. The court rejected the claim that enshrinement dishonored the deceased Koreans because their names were not made public, and thus could not be broadly known.
—Chair of Liberal Democratic Party policy bureau Fumio Kishida says the removal of Japan’s explicit claim to the Northern Territories from the 2019 Diplomatic Bluebook is something he can’t understand. He is also concerned other countries may misunderstand the move.
—Foreign Ministry protests Russia’s plans to expand the special economic zone on the disputed islands, saying that it is not compatible with Japan’s position. The SEZ was created on Shikotan in 2017. Proposed new projects include tourism and ship repair. The special economic zone is seen as incompatible with Japan’s plans for joint projects since it operates under Russian law. Japan wants the joint projects to be conducted under a legal regime that does not contradict its claim to sovereignty over the disputed islands.
—Former residents of the Northern Territories want to expand “free visits” to the islands. At present, only former islanders, their spouses and children are allowed to visit using this system. The third generation is only permitted to join if they accompany former islanders.
—United Russia opens center for international cooperation in Vladivostok. Their aim is to boost the party’s ties with nearby countries. Talks expected to be held at the center with Japan’s Liberal Democratic Party in October.
—Results of Russian public opinion survey commissioned by Japan’s Foreign Ministry: 53% think the Southern Kurils should remain Russian; 41% favor a mutual agreement; 2% think the islands should belong to Japan.
—Committee of the Russian Duma decides not to support proposal by a rightwing party to make September 2 “Victory Day over Japan.” It is said that the decision may be out of consideration to Japan. September 2 is already marked in Russia as “Day of the End of World War II.”
—On May 30, Russian Defense Minister Sergei Shoigu became the first minister from a foreign country to visit Japan’s new Ground Component Command (the unified command center for the GSDF) at Camp Asaka, Tokyo. It was established in March 2018.
—General Sergei Shoigu says Russia and Japan have agreed to strengthen naval cooperation. It was also proposed at the meeting that they should continue to conduct exchanges between the chiefs of the countries’ General Staffs.
—Japan raised concerns at 2+2 Meeting about Russian military activity on the disputed islands. Sergei Lavrov responds: “We emphasized our position that the Russian armed forces are operating on their sovereign territory, as is accepted by international law.”
—Defense Minister Takeshi Iwaya seeks to assuage Russian concerns about US missile defense systems in Japan: “Our country’s missile defense system, including Aegis, is a purely defensive system, which does not place Russia under threat.”
—One of the main results of the 2+2 Meeting is the announcement that the head of the Russian navy, Nikolai Evmenov, will visit Japan in 2019. This will be the first such visit in 18 years. The head of the Russia army, Oleg Salyukov, visited Japan in November 2017.
—Prime Minister Shinzo Abe considering visit to Iran next month. If it happens, he’d be the first Japanese prime minister to visit since the Islamic Revolution of 1979. He is likely to seek US President Donald Trump’s permission in advance of making the commitment.
—US President Donald Trump says that he is fine with the Abe government’s desire to play a mediating role between the United States and Iran. “We’ll see what happens,” he says.
—US President Donald Trump visit to Tokyo this weekend more-or-less admitted even by officials to be about little of substance. It’s just another opportunity for Abe to demonstrate his subservience and flattery of Trump, which is what stands in for a Japanese foreign policy.
—Note to Shinzo Abe: Total dependence on the US alliance did NOT win you back the Northern Territories or create peace with Russia, did NOT erase the Comfort Women issue, did NOT solve the North Korea abductee issue, did NOT bring progress on combatting climate change, etc.
—Mayor Norihiko Hanada of Abu town, Yamaguchi Prefecture, rejects Defense Ministry’s request that his community host Aegis Ashore facilities: “We can’t accept the deployment, which would be a crisis posing a life-or-death question to our town.”
—Defense Minister Takeshi Iwaya wants to deploy Osprey aircraft to Kisarazu city, Chiba Prefecture, after local communities in Saga Prefecture have successfully delayed the planned deployment of the accident-prone aircraft to their region.
—US President Donald Trump calls his forthcoming meeting with Emperor Naruhito “the biggest event that they’ve had in over two hundred years.” We are still trying to figure out what occurred in Japan in the 1810s that could possibly have been bigger than a Trump visit.
—US President Donald Trump: “I am the guest, meaning the United States is the guest. But Prime Minister Abe said to me very specifically, ‘You are the guest of honor. There’s only one guest of honor. You are the guest of honor.'” Bottom line: Trump is THE guest of honor.
—US President Donald Trump suggests Japanese like Americans because they can easily play them for fools on trade: “Japan has had a substantial edge for many, many years, but that’s OK, maybe that’s why you like us so much.” The insult will go unrecorded in Japanese media.
—The effort to keep the USS John S. McCain out of President Donald Trump’s sight during his visit to Yokosuka being blamed on “sontaku” (though of course they don’t use that word), according to some reports. Trump himself says he didn’t know about it.
—US President Donald Trump has meeting with North Korea abductee families: “We will be working together to bring your relatives, your daughters, your sons, your mothers home,” he tells them.
—Government planning to make concrete proposal soon for a bilateral summit between Prime Minister Shinzo Abe and North Korean leader Kim Jong-Un. The proposal will be made “without conditions.”
—Prime Minister Shinzo Abe continues aid program to Bangladesh with a loan of US$1.2 billion for infrastructure development. Additionally, Japan showcases its support for Bangladesh as it deals with the refugee crisis from Myanmar.
—Prime Minister Shinzo Abe holds phone call with Saudi Crown Prince Mohammad bin Salman to discuss tensions with Iran. The Saudi prince’s murder of journalist Jamal Khashoggi is now no more than a footnote in history. MBS remains quite welcome in Establishment circles.
—Hiroto Saikawa so far retaining his power over Nissan Motor, fending off efforts to replace him or to merge the company with Renault. Saikawa apparently has no vision for the company, but his nationalism going over well in some political circles.
—Tokyo prosecutors have declined to indict Nissan CEO Hiroto Saikawa, the head of the company’s nationalist faction, in their familiar pattern of ignoring crimes by the establishment while relentlessly pursuing outsiders and challengers to the system.
—Nissan Motors’ danger of being left behind in the global automotive market increasing as its partner Renault now considering a mega-merger with Fiat Chrysler. It is unclear if Nissan would join such an alliance or not with its nationalistic stance under Hiroto Saikawa.
—While reports make clear that Nissan was not informed in advance about the merger talks between Renault and Fiat Chrysler, they are publicly pretending that they are not alarmed and that they aren’t being threatened with being left behind on the roadside.
—Abe government wants Japanese companies to keep employees working until age 70, well beyond the standard 60 years old hitherto.
—Ministry of Health, Labor and Welfare lifts the age restrictions on the import of US beef that have been in place since 2003 over fears of Mad Cow Disease. This is a concession to recent trade complaints from the Trump administration.
—Akio Toyoda, chairman of the Japan Automobile Manufacturers Association addresses Donald Trump in statement: “We are dismayed to hear a message suggesting that our long-time contributions of investment and employment in the United States are not welcomed.”
—Importing right-hand drive cars into Russia is set to become more expensive due to new certification and inspection requirements. This will mainly affect the Russian Far East and Siberia, where importing right-hand drive cars from Japan remains popular.
—On May 20, Prime Minister Dmitri Medvedev approved expansion of the special economic zone on the disputed islands, emphasizing need for improving tourism infrastructure. The decision came on the same day as Russian and Japanese officials met to discuss joint economic projects.
—Russian Deputy Minister of Transport Vladimir Tokarev attends event in Yokohama to mark dispatch of a test cargo from Japan to Poland. Russia is eager to promote the Trans-Siberian Railway, noting that the freight delivery will take 19 days vs, 45 via the Suez Canal.
—On May 24, Russian Railways and the Russian Ministry of Transport held an event at Keidanren entitled “The Trans-Siberian Railway for Japan.” It was announced that Russian Railways will establish an office in Japan before the end of 2019.
—ANA plans to begin flights between Tokyo and both Vladivostok and Moscow in summer 2020. It is not specified whether ANA will use Haneda or Narita. Currently JAL is the only Japanese airline to fly from Tokyo to Moscow. Aeroflot has daily flights.
—Mitsubishi Corporation is reported to be seriously considering investing in Arctic LNG-2, with a deal possibly to be signed at the G20. The Abe government is offering to finance at least half the stake with public money. The deal may also include Mitsui & Co.
—Labor Minister Takumi Nemoto asks TEPCO to act cautiously about employing foreign workers to clean up the disaster-struck Fukushima Daiichi nuclear power plant. He points out the obvious issue that their long-term health needs to be monitored.
—Under criticism even from the government, TEPCO reverses its plan to hire foreigners under the new five-year visa program for duties of cleaning up disaster-struck Fukushima Daiichi nuclear power plant. TEPCO says it must first design policies “to ensure their safety.”
—Yamanashi governor pitching plan to extend railway services to the fifth station of Mt. Fuji, a measure to enhance tourism in the region.
—McDonald’s Japan fined by the Consumer Affairs Agency for what was regarded as running misleading television ads. The issue seemed to be that the meat used in its Tokyo Roast Beef Burger was not derived from the ways shown in the ads.
—Financial Services Agency slaps Nomura Holdings with a business improvement order after Nomura leaked confidential market information to its clients.
—Health Ministry to begin tougher inspections of South Korean fishery products. Ostensibly this is to better protect public health, but in reality it is part of the Abe government’s retaliation against South Korea over its Fukushima food ban and other matters.
—Tokyo District Court sides with NHK again, this time ruling that owners of cars with a navigation system capable of receiving television signals must pay NHK subscription fees.
—The Diet has approved NHK to begin regular internet streaming of its news services. These regular, simultaneous broadcasts expected to begin within about nine months or so.
—Anti-drone legislation has been tightened to ban flights near Olympics facilities, US military bases, or Self-Defense Forces areas. This is being portrayed as yet another “anti-terrorism” measure.
—Campaign against Huawei now extends to KDDI and SoftBank, which for some reason have cancelled plans to sell Huawei mobile phones. They appear to be worried mainly about US retaliation against them since the US anti-Huawei campaign is at full steam.
—Amazon Japan has stopped selling products by Huawei in fear of being sanctioned by the Trump government, which is now campaigning globally against the Chinese technology company.
—SoftBank has excluded all Huawei technology from its forthcoming 5G high-speed network in Japan, relying instead on Ericsson and Nokia.
—Amazon Japan tying up with Life supermarkets to offer online sales of fresh foods that will be delivered within hours. Services will be launched in Tokyo later this year and then expanded to other regions in the future.
—Japanese government imposes restrictions on foreign ownership of twenty sectors in information technology and communications industries, arguing that it has become a national security issue.
—Japan government to use opportunity of the Osaka G20 Summit to propose creating the first G20 framework designed to prevent plastic waste, aiming to reduce disposable plastic by 25% by 2030.
—Six deer from the Nara Park passed away from consumption of plastic. The Nara Deer Welfare Association has responded by asking the public to take care when feeding the deer, and reducing the use of non-biodegradable plastic bags.
—Abe government confirms that it will keep Chongryon, General Association of Korean Residents in Japan, under surveillance under the terms of the Subversive Activities Prevention Act. They explain that they “can’t deny the possibility” they might do something destructive.
—Yoshinori Shigekawa, 60, appears to be the man who has been pointing lasers at US military aircraft for several years. Police finally tracked him down and arrested him, and he has reportedly admitted his involvement.
—Another Australian visitor arrested for spraying graffiti, this time in Kyoto. For some reason a group of young Australians have got it into their heads that it’s a cool thing to travel to foreign countries like Japan and spread graffiti. Local Japanese called the police.
—Knife attack takes place in Kawasaki, killing two and injuring almost twenty more. The attacker takes his own life.
—Prime Minister Shinzo Abe’s response to the Kawasaki stabbing is to propose that police and communities share more information about “suspicious people” in their neighborhoods. Wonderful plan! What could possibly go wrong with it?
—Kawasaki knife-attack murderer identified as Ryuichi Iwasaki, an unemployed 51-year-old who lived with and was supported by his elderly aunt and uncle. The relatives had warned Kawasaki’s mental health and welfare center about him in 2017. Authorities chose to do nothing.
—On May 26, an Ainu memorial service was held at a grave site on Shikotan. History was not kind to the Ainu. In 1884 Japan forcibly resettled 97 Ainu from other Chishima Islands to Shikotan. After 1945 the Soviet Union expelled the island’s entire population.
Note: There were no separate “Today in Japan” reports issued between May 16 and May 30.
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