April 21st, 2018


1)   Japanese Finance Minister Taro Aso said Thursday he has no intention of stepping down over a sexual harassment scandal involving the ministry’s top official.

2)   Japan’s consumer prices edged up 0.9 percent in March, government data showed Friday, but inflation was slightly weaker than the previous month and still far below a longstanding target. Japan has notched up eight straight quarters of economic growth — the longest positive run since the “bubble” boom days.

3)   Trump turned down Prime Minister Abe’s top economic and trade priorities. Principal among them: allowing Japan an exemption from new U.S. steel and aluminum tariffs and persuading Trump to re-join the Trans-Pacific Partnership trade deal.

4)   North and South Korea have installed a direct phone link between their leaders. South Korean President Moon Jae-in and North Korean leader Kim Jong Un are to use the hotline before their planned summit next Friday.

5)   A Japanese Cabinet minister will meet women reporters and others to grasp the full picture of sexual harassment in the media industry.

The top bureaucrat at the Finance Ministry tendered his resignation on Wednesday in connection with allegations that he made sexually harassing remarks to women journalists.

Women’s Empowerment Minister Seiko Noda suspects that other female employees of media companies may have experienced sexual misconduct.

6)   The newly-discovered email says that on the same day the Ehime officials were to meet Tadao Yanase, who was the prime minister’s secretary at the time. The Ehime document quotes Yanase as saying the school project was a “matter related to the prime minister.” Yanase says he did not meet the Ehime officials as far as he can recall.

7)   Japan and Malaysia have concluded an agreement on the transfer of defense equipment and cooperation in defense technology.

This comes as Japan has been signing similar deals with the United States, European and Asian countries to transfer patrol planes, radars and other defense hardware and technology.

8)   A 10-day-old girl has become the first baby to appear on the floor of the US Senate during a vote.

Senator Tammy Duckworth of the Democratic Party brought her daughter, Maile, to the chamber on Thursday.

On Wednesday, the Senate unanimously approved a change to its rules to allow senators’ children under the age of one to be brought into the chamber during votes.

9)   The administration of US President Donald Trump has unveiled measures to expand exports of domestically produced weapons.

The measures announced on Thursday include broadening the range of drones that can be exported, and allowing US firms to proceed directly with sales to foreign governments.

But US defense contractors were critical, saying the move allowed Chinese drone manufacturers to increase their share of the global market.

10)   NHK has uncovered hundreds of instances in which inspection data at the Japanese automaker Subaru was falsified.

The alterations were happening on a regular basis.

A probe has revealed that workers at a plant near Tokyo have falsified inspection data on fuel efficiency and exhaust gases for the past several years.