Morning Alert - Wednesday, January 13, 2021
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Morning news

Broadcasters led with reports on the GOJ’s plan to issue a state of emergency for seven additional prefectures today, bringing the total number of prefectures under the state of emergency to 11 (NHK, TBS, Fuji TV), several restaurant chains in Tokyo serving only takeout after 8 p.m. (NTV), and the GOJ’s plan to provide up to 400,000 yen to each company affected by requests for the public to avoid nonessential outings (TV Asahi).

All national dailies gave top play to the GOJ’s plan to put seven more prefectures under a state of emergency.


GOJ to expand state of emergency to seven prefectures

All national dailies gave top play to reports on a GOJ plan to expand today the state of emergency to seven additional prefectures beyond the Tokyo metropolitan area in a bid to stem the sharp rise in COVID-19 cases and relieve pressure on hospitals. The expansion will cover Osaka, Hyogo, and Kyoto in western Japan; Gifu and Aichi in central Japan; Fukuoka in Kyushu; and Tochigi in the Kanto region. The state of emergency will last until Feb. 7, during which the governors of the seven prefectures will call on restaurants and bars to close by 8 p.m. and ask people to stay home as much as possible.

In a one-on-one interview with Asahi on Tuesday, Prime Minister Suga said that his administration will make utmost efforts to prevent the virus from spreading further while the state of emergency is in place.

LDP lawmakers call for entry ban on business travelers from 11 nations

Sankei wrote that during a meeting on Tuesday of the Foreign Affairs Division of the ruling LDP, many participants criticized the GOJ’s current policy of allowing business travel to and from 11 nations and regions, including China and South Korea, while asking people in Japan to minimize their movement under the state of emergency. The group agreed to urge the GOJ in the near future to completely suspend entry from these nations and regions.


LDP lawmaker comments on ROK court order to compensate former comfort women

Nikkei wrote that Masahisa Sato, director of the LDP's Foreign Affairs Division, commented on a South Korean court’s order to the Japanese government to pay compensation to former Korean comfort women at the division’s meeting on Tuesday by reportedly saying that asking South Korean Ambassador to Tokyo Nam Gwan-pyo to return home may be an option. Sato told reporters after the meeting that the government must take visible action because this is a grave infringement of Japanese sovereignty. Yomiuri and Sankei quoted Sato as saying that Japan should consider various steps, including appealing to the International Court of Justice. Yomiuri wrote that many members of the LDP division criticized the court decision at the meeting and that the group is planning to urge Foreign Minister Motegi to take retaliatory steps against the ROK.

Japan lodges protest with South Korea over demand to halt survey in East China Sea

Mainichi wrote that the Japan Coast Guard announced on Monday that a South Korean government ship demanded that a JCG survey ship halt a survey it was conducting in the East China Sea off Nagasaki at around 3:20 a.m. on Monday and repeated the demand for about six hours. Nikkei wrote that Chief Cabinet Secretary Kato told reporters on Tuesday that Japan has lodged a protest with South Korea over the incident. Kato reportedly said that the demand was unacceptable to Japan because the survey was being conducted in Japan’s EEZ.

Japan to continue calling Kim Jong Un “Chairman Kim”

Nikkei wrote that Chief Cabinet Secretary Kato told reporters on Tuesday that Japan will continue to call North Korean leader Kim Jong Un “Chairman Kim” following the report by the Korean Central News Agency on Monday that he was elected as general secretary of the Workers' Party of Korea. Kato reportedly said that Japan will keep a close eye on the implications of his new position.


U.S. strategy document stipulates U.S. military’s defense of Taiwan in event of emergency

Asahi claimed that it has obtained an internal document drawn up by the Trump administration in February 2018 on U.S. strategies for the Indo-Pacific. The daily wrote that in addition to defending Taiwan in the event of an emergency, the document stated that the United States would support the modernization of Japan’s Self-Defense Forces and the military of Taiwan. Asahi said the report also mentioned China’s increasing espionage and cyberattacks. According to the daily, the document, which was dated Feb. 15, 2018 and titled “A Memorandum of Strategic Framework in the Indo-Pacific,” was signed by then-National Security Advisor McMaster and classified “secret.” The daily wrote that according to a White House source, the document will be released as early as Wednesday after being declassified.

China tested ballistic missile against moving ship

Yomiuri front-paged a report saying that it has learned from a source with knowledge of the Chinese military that during an anti-ship ballistic missile test conducted in the South China Sea in August 2020, the Chinese military used a moving ship as a target. The paper wrote that Adm. Philip Davidson, Commander of U.S. Indo-Pacific Command, acknowledged this at an online security forum held in November last year. The paper wrote that China’s military modernization may pose a threat to the U.S. military, which operates aircraft carriers in waters near China, because there are reports that two “aircraft carrier killer” missiles successfully hit the moving ship during the test.

U.S. Embassy Tokyo Media Analysis and Translation Team