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Issue #1692      July 8, 2015

Region Briefs

In a response to questions from a Japanese Communist Party member of parliament, the Japanese Defence Ministry confirmed that 64 retired officials from the Defence Ministry and the Self-Defence Forces were working for the country’s top 10 weapons manufactures in 2014. The manufacturers also donated a huge amount of money to the incumbent Liberal Democratic Party of Japan which has embarked on a massive arms build-up. In return the manufacturers were granted 62.5 percent of the military’s highly profitable equipment and service procurement in 2013. The largest and second largest manufacturers were Mitsubishi Heavy Industries and Mitsubishi Electric that produce military ships, missiles, torpedoes, amongst other things.

Thirty out of 47 Japanese prefectures and 116 local assemblies have released a statement opposing Prime Minister Abe Shinzo’s latest assault on Japan’s pacifist Constitution. He pushed a series of war-bills through the national parliament. Nagano Prefecture, for instance, in its statement, publicly objected to any war-related bills that might overturn Japan’s pacifist constitution.

The ninth session of Vietnam’s National Assembly’s (NA) closed after holding 30 days of meetings in Hanoi on June 26. The NA Chairman, Nguyen Sinh Hung, hosted a closing ceremony for the meetings and thanked the efforts made by NA deputies. He called on the government to “improve national economic competitiveness, extend international integration and firmly safeguard peace and stability”. The session adopted a number of resolutions in areas of workers’ insurance, law, and large construction projects and so on.

China and Venezuela drafted a 10-year plan to develop bilateral projects at the fourth technical meeting of the two countries’ joint commission, strengthening their comprehensive strategic partnership. Venezuelan Vice President for Planning, Ricardo Menendez said that the goal of the meeting was to find projects that benefited the development of both nations, especially in the area of telecommunications; providing tablets to primary and university students; setting up related factories; and constructing undersea cables in the Caribbean Sea. Wang Jianjun, Secretary of the commission, said that “with mutual efforts we will achieve very successful results”. The two countries have signed nearly 400 cooperation agreements.

A number of the Philippine members of parliament criticised President Benigno Aquino III, who violated the country’s Constitution, allowing Japanese military to participate in a joint naval military exercise in Philippine territory. Aquino III was questioned regarding the legality of forming a military alliance with Japan. One legislator, Antonio Tinio, said the presence of foreign military in the country was prohibited without approval from the Senate; hence it was illegal for Japanese military to join the exercise. He also criticised the President for undermining the country’s independence which produced tensions in the region.

Next article – Culture & Life – Capitalism: burning fossil fuels and controlling food

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