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Friday, October 13, 2017, 15:00 - 16:00

"Election Insight"

Language: Speech and Q&A will be in Japanese with English interpretation.

The election that kicked off earlier this week is expected to remap the Japanese political landscape. The snap election, which many say was called without any legitimate reason, led Tokyo Gov. Yuriko Koike to form a new national political party, forcing the Democratic Party to be de-fact disbanded. It is speculated that the Koike-led Kibo no To could fair well and Prime Minister Shinzo Abe's Liberal Democratic Party may lose seats, but the question is how many.

Nobody can analyze this hard-to-read election better than Soichiro Tahara, a long-time political journalist and TV host, who is known for his aggressive style of grilling politicians, including prime ministers, on TV. The FCCJ is inviting him to talk about everything from politics, to Abe, to diplomacy.

Tahara would rank as one of Japan's more feisty, long-livedand politically powerful commentators. His persistentquestioning style is said to have forced the resignations of two prime ministers, Kiichi Miyazawa and Ryutaro Hashimoto, in the 1990's. He has been active, and often influential, in virtually every debate of national importance since.

While Tahara is constantly in contact with Abe, he does not mince his words in criticizing the prime minister to his face. He made headlines when he met with the Prime Minister in August and proposed that Abe "have an adventure that could cost his political life". He later revealed that he suggested Abe should meticulously ask U.S. President Donald Trump about his North Korean policy, followed by meeting with his Russian, Chinese, and South Korean counterparts. And then Tahara proposed Abe go to the North to meet Kim Jong Un more than a decade after he made a surprise visit to the hermit nation with then-Prime Minister Junichiro Koizimi, a trip that resulted in bringing Japanese abductee victims back from the North.

Born 1934, today he is best known for his long-running Asahi TV 'Asa-made Nama Terebi!' (Live TV through till Morning) program where up to a dozen of Japan's commentariat of every political spectrum are thrown together around a table shortly after Friday midnight each week and told to thrash out answers to the issues of the day before dawn. Tahara's deliberately provocative interruptions add fuel the raw, emotion-laden tumult.

His book projects run into the several hundreds and have included everything from iconoclastic denials of guilt in the Lockheed and Recruit scandals, strong criticisms of police prosecutors and their forced confessions, plus debate on taboo topics such as Japan's imperial system, past nuclear energy policies and the burakumin caste problem. Herecently fought a lonely and largely unsuccessful battle for media freedom when hit with law suits for revealing what he said was Foreign Ministry information stating no abductees remained in North Korea.

Please reserve in advance, 3211-3161 or on the website (still & TV cameras inclusive). Reservations and cancellations are not complete without confirmation.

Professional Activities Committee

Oct 13 17 PC Soichiro Tahara048

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