NHK Reports on Trump’s 2nd visit to Texas Disaster Areas

#TrumpsJapan

If it’s one thing Japanese people know, it’s natural disasters. Aside from the big ticket items like erupting volcanoes, earthquakes, and tsunami, every year Japan gets hit by both a “rainy season” (the unofficial 5th season!) and late summer tropical storms, both of which cause severe flooding and mass damage throughout the country. Even just a few weeks ago in Akita (where I am) heavy amounts of rain caused flooding that resulted in closure of major roads, home damage, and land slides.

On her 2nd trip down, Mel-T swapped her “FLOTUS” lid for a fly “TEXAS” one. Is that Baylor Green?!
With that in mind, reports of Trump visiting flood victims probably made a good impression in the minds of Japanese citizens.

NHK News web posted an article with video to their website on 3 September 2017 reporting on President Trump’s second visit to Texas’s flood ravaged  areas. The article is basically the video’s script.

The article is titled, “President Trumps makes return visit to disaster area–with attitude of strong support.”

The first paragraph reports that this is Trump’s 2nd visit in a week to the hurricane disaster zone and that he’s there to encourage the victims as well as show strong support for aid sent to the area.

After some basic information about the disaster caused by Hurricane Harvey, the 4th paragraph goes into detail about Trump’s activities during the trip saying that he met in person with a large number of people at a Houston shelter, was seen holding children, served lunches, and cheered up victims. He also visited an aid station where he met with hundreds of volunteers and showed them his gratitude.

The final paragraph reveals WHY this was his 2nd trip in a week: on his first trip on August 28 he did not directly meet with any victims, which drew strong criticism from the media. This time his goal seems to have been to garner appeal by meeting with victims and by showing his support.

This article is a ‘safe’ article and pretty unbiased. No doubt it’s good to see the-man-who-happens-to-be-president at disaster relief centers passing large aid containers into driver’s seat windows of emergency vehicles (WT-?), mingling with people in shelters, and smiling in selfies.

It’s a fairly balanced article as well because at the end, NHK tacks on the note about the criticism Trump received from media on his first trip to the region. I guess the coverage of him avoiding flood damaged areas and not meeting with victims on his first trip wasn’t #fakenews.

 

 

http://www3.nhk.or.jp/news/html/20170903/k10011124041000.html

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Sankei News: What to make of Bannon’s Resignation?

#TrumpsJapan

This article  in the Sankei News 産経ニュース, covers the latest (?) shake-up in the Trump White House. It also shows Japanese readers how the event was portrayed in news media outlets both in the US and abroad.

Image result for bannon
Obama Care wouldn’t let him stick with his old dermatologist.

The title is rather long in English, “The Ripple Effect of Bannon’s Dismissal, [Trump’s] Most Influential Advisor–US Papers: ‘The Problem is Now Trump is on His Own,’  Israeli Papers: ‘[Bannon’s] Resignation Poses even Greater Danger.'”

The article begins with really emphasizing how influential Bannon has been, both during the run up to Trump’s election as well as during the first six months of his presidency, crediting Bannon with Trump’s anti-globalization stance and his “America First” policies.

It then continues to show the contrasting coverage in US and Israeli newspapers of Bannon’s early exit . The US papers are said to portray this as a positive step for Trump’s beleaguered administration, while the Israeli papers see Bannon’s departure as threatening.

For the US, Bannon’s sayonara will offer Trump’s administration a chance to re-group and re-organize–to right the ship, so to speak.

For Israel, Bannon’s anti-Israel stance will only be amplified once he is free of the White House’s burden, where veteran GOP leaders presumably have placed a gag order on his most inflammatory ideas.

Sankei News then goes on to provided examples of the coverage as it appeared in the The Wall Street JournalThe Guardian, and Haaretz.

These last six PLUS months, ordinary Japanese citizens have really had trouble trying to understand what to make of [President] Trump. Translators who are tasked with putting his “speeches” into Japanese often find themselves at a loss–not so much with his scripted speech, but with his off the wall free-talking that appears to follow no logical flow and is often unrelated to the topic at hand.

US-Japan policy experts also have had the rug pulled out from underneath them multiple times these last months, as Trump continues to reverse, re-write, and regress US policy with Japan and the greater Asian region.

So when it comes to Trump’s most influential adviser leaving the White House, what I think this Sankei News article is saying to its readers is, “Not even the US, UK, or Israel know what to make of it! We’re not alone in our uncertainty!”

Strange times…

 

*NOTE: Sankei News describes itself as a “reactionary and center-right political newspaper.” It’s newspaper enjoys the sixth highest circulation in Japan.

 

 

Reports on Session’s Resignation on Jiji.com

#TrumpsJapan

Prime Minister Abe Shinzō (LDP) must feel a sense of relief every time he opens the newspaper these days only to see the Trump administration’s latest fiasco. Abe, his close political associates, and even his wife have been drawing the ire of the people and the press lately for a variety of reasons–two in particular.

from The New Yorker
First, his wife, Akie, (and by extension, him) have been at the center of a controversial land deal in Osaka. The Abe’s influence is credited with negotiating a sweetheart land deal for an ultra-conservative kindergarten called Moritomo Gakuen. One may think, “A kindy? What could possibly be the big deal?” Well, consider this: the property is reported to be worth 13 million USD, but thanks to the head of the school’s (Kagoike Yasunori) political connections, they were able to buy the land for only 1.8 million! Heck, if land in Osaka is 86% off, then I’d start my own kindergarten. Hell–university! Which brings us to the next case…

Abe is linked to a second education-related controversy in which a veterinary school was seeking accreditation in Ehime, Shikoku (one of Japan’s four major islands; in western Japan close to both Osaka and  Hiroshima). The private education management company behind the deal is said to have sought accreditation directly from the government (Ministry of Education, Culture, Sports, Science and Technology–MEXT), without the consultation or even the support of the Japan Veterinary Medical Association (Nihon jūishi-kai 日本獣医師会). Japan’s population has declined by 1 million people in the past five years. Public universities are feeling the crunch as less and less students enroll, while some private universities have laid off large numbers of faculty–some have even gone bankrupt. Why on earth would MEXT grant accreditation to another college/ university when so many are in bad shape (both financially and in terms of student numbers)? The Japan Veterinary Medical Association has spoken out against the establishment of another veterinary school, and rightly so. Hopefully, MEXT will defer to their (the JVMA’s) better judgement.

With this in mind, last week’s reports of the Trump administration’s latest whispered turmoil may have given Abe the sense that he is not alone if the world of world-leaders and corruption. As Jiji.com‘s article “Is the U.S. Attorney General Resigning due to a clash with Trump?” says, Attorney General Sessions was a supporter of Trump early on in the latter’s presidential campaign, which put him in Trump’s close inner-circle. However, in March Sessions recused himself  from any investigations into the Trump campaign’s connections with Russian officials. The article says that Sessions has become increasingly unsatisfied with the administration and has put in his resignation.

At home, Americans may think that the Trump administration’s blunders and controversies do not extend past the evening news and SNL skits, but the foibles and outright blunders are being well covered all over the world.

The Trump administration’s instability and haphazardness detracts from America’s authority and leadership in the world. Controversy and corruption surrounding the leaders of Japan and the US, both at the same time, is not good for stability in Asia.

NHK Reports on Trump’s Quitting the Paris Agreement

#TrumpsJapan

Before the horrible terrorist attacks in London, President Trump pulling the United States out of the Paris Agreement was the big US news in Japan.

…an image from CNN

Just as with the Trans-Pacific Partnership (TPP), the US leaving the Paris Agreement does not mean that the initiative is doomed, but the conspicuous absence of a major player such as the US will surely be felt.

Before I  continue to summarize a little bit about NHK’s report (トランプ大統領 パリ協定脱退の方針を発表, 2 June 2017), I want to make two points clear:

One is that the US emits the 2nd highest amount of COemissions in the world (15% of the global total), behind… drum roll… China! (at 30% of the global total). India is at 3rd place with approximately 7%. Since the US is the 2nd highest contributor of COemissions in the world, you would think that its leader would step up and take some responsibility.

If a country emitting 15% of CO2 emissions drops out of the agreement, then what is to keep countries that emit less (like Japan at 4%) from wanting to participate? Those smaller countries add up quickly.

Second, not only did the participating countries rely on the US to reduce it’s CO2 gas emission, but they also relied on the US’s financial support. Participating in the Paris Agreement costs money–infrastructure needs to change, especially in areas like manufacturing and agriculture. Poorer countries participating in the agreement entered into the pact with the hopes of getting financial support from the US and other wealthy nations. The US is leaving the table and taking its wallet with it.

NHK Reports

The title of the report from 2 June 2017 translates as “President Trump announces his plan to withdraw from the Paris Agreement.”

  • The article drives home the fact that the US is the 2nd highest emitter of green house gasses behind China
  • The article says that the US’s withdrawal will have a huge effect on the agreement
  • Trump’s rational is that the agreement is unfair to American workers and manufacturers
  • The article mentions that during his campaign, Trump was a Global Warming denier–so this is a reflection of his campaign promises
  • Trump’s stance on the Paris Agreement is OPPOSITE of President Obama’s 
  • Trump is revisiting all environmental reforms that the Obama administration passed and will most likely repeal them
  • Pulling out of the Paris Agreement fulfills the promise Trump made during an April 2017 speech in Pittsburgh, Pennsylvania (an old coal & steel city)
  • Finally it shows the contradictory nature of the Trump-beast: at the last G7 summit in Italy Trump said that the environment was a very important thing and something that he is concerned a lot aboutWhich begs the question why pull out of the Paris Agreement?

Since the Tohoku Disaster, energy has been a key issue in Japan. Fukushima’s TEPCO nuclear reactor is still in a critical stage. Ten’s of thousands of Japanese people all over the country have been protesting against the further use of nuclear energy.

Cleaner energy, and hence cutting back on fossil fuel emissions, has been a hot topic in Japan. Seeing the US take a leadership role in the Paris Agreement would have encouraged Japanese people looking for greener energy sources in the future. The US leaving the Paris Agreement could lead to Abe LDP to re-consider its internal energy policies.