Morning Alert   -   Tuesday, October 26, 2021
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Broadcasters led with reports on the lifting of all COVID-19 restrictions on bars and restaurants in Tokyo and four other prefectures on Monday (NHK), the forecast for rain and strong winds in Tokyo and Chiba this morning (NTV, TBS), and a press conference to be held following the marriage of Princess Mako and Komuro Kei this afternoon (Fuji TV, TV Asahi).

Top stories in national dailies included projections that the ruling LDP may be able to secure a simple majority in the Lower House election on Oct. 31 (Asahi, Sankei), the results of a survey of the candidates for the general election in which 54% of them expressed opposition to the idea of restricting private rights as a way to contain the spread of COVID-19 (Mainichi), a plan by the Financial Services Agency to strengthen supervision of IT services together with its U.S. and European counterparts (Yomiuri), and a UN report saying that global greenhouse gas emissions will be 16% higher than 2010 levels in 2030 (Nikkei).


LDP may be able to secure simple majority in Lower House election

Asahi reported on its projection of the results of the Lower House election on Oct.31, analyzing that although the ruling LDP will likely lose some of the 276 seats it held before the Lower House dissolution, it may be able to secure a simple majority of more than 233 of the 465 seats in the chamber. The paper also projected that the Constitutional Democratic Party of Japan (CDPJ), the largest opposition party, may not be able to win more than the 109 seats it held before the dissolution because the benefits of its election cooperation with other opposition parties in single-seat districts appear to be limited.

Sankei made a similar projection that the LDP might be able to maintain a simple majority of the seats in the Lower House and that if it doesn’t win a simple majority it will certainly be able to secure a joint majority with its junior coalition partner the Komeito party. The paper speculated that the CDPJ will likely add some 30 seats to the number it held before the dissolution.


PM Kishida to travel to UK on first overseas trip

TV Asahi reported on Monday evening that final arrangements are underway for Prime Minister Kishida to visit the UK as early as Nov. 1 on his first overseas trip as prime minister. The network said that according to a senior MOFA official, although Kishida was planning to attend the COP26 meeting slated for Nov. 1 –2 in the UK remotely because the Lower House election will be held on Oct. 31, he has decided to attend the meeting in person because coordination with the host nation did not go well. The network said the premier is expected to leave Japan on Nov. 1 and stay in the UK for a very short period.

Chinese foreign minister sends warning to Japan about Taiwan

Yomiuri and Asahi wrote that in a video message shown at an online forum on Japan-China relations on Monday, Chinese Foreign Minister Wang Yi sent a warning to the Kishida administration by saying that Japan should not cross the line with regard to Taiwan issues. Wang reportedly said Japan should abide by the four political documents signed between Japan and China, including the 1972 joint statement in which Japan expressed understanding for China’s position that Taiwan is an integral part of Chinese territory. Refraining from mentioning the United States by name, Wang stated that Japan and China must avoid allowing a third-party country to intervene when they have disputes.

Japan welcomes G7 statement on elimination of forced labor

Nikkei wrote that Deputy Chief Cabinet Secretary Isozaki told reporters on Monday that Japan welcomes the G7 trade ministers’ joint statement issued on Oct. 22 on working together to eliminate forced labor from global supply chains as a major achievement. The trade ministers agreed to promote “human rights due diligence” to eliminate forced labor.


Kishida expresses concern over Chinese and Russian vessels’ moves around Japan

Nikkei wrote that during a stump speech in Osaka on Monday, Prime Minister Kishida expressed concern over the recent circling of the Japanese archipelago by a fleet of ten Chinese and Russian navy vessels by passing through the Tsugaru Strait toward the Pacific and transiting the Osumi Strait. Kishida said these moves are disturbing. Defense Minister Kishi also expressed concern over the moves during a meeting with visiting Secretary of the Navy Del Toro. Deputy Chief Cabinet Secretary Isozaki told reporters on Monday that the GOJ is watching the situation with great concern and continues to conduct warning and surveillance activities.

Defense minister, U.S. Navy Secretary agree on strengthened security cooperation

Yomiuri wrote that Defense Minister Kishi and Secretary of the Navy Carlos Del Toro agreed to strengthen cooperation between the U.S. Navy and the MSDF during their talks on Monday at the Defense Ministry. Referring to the recent passage by a flotilla of ten Chinese and Russian navy vessels through the Tsugaru Strait, Kishi reportedly told the Navy Secretary that the security environment surrounding Japan is becoming increasingly severe and the need to deepen cooperation between the U.S. Navy and the MSDF is higher than ever before. Mainichi and Sankei also wrote that in response to Kishi's expression of concern over North Korea’s recent SLBM launches and the security environment surrounding Japan, Secretary Del Toro said cooperation between the two naval forces is important and the United States will make efforts to strengthen its partnership with Japan.


U.S. sailor arrested for alleged use of cocaine

Yomiuri and Asahi wrote in their metropolitan news sections that the Azabu Police Station in Tokyo arrested a U.S. Navy sailor on Sunday on suspicion of violating the Narcotics and Psychotropics Control Law by using cocaine. The police have not disclosed whether the suspect has pleaded guilty or not. The police questioned the suspect on the street in Tokyo’s Roppongi district and his urine tested positive for the drug.

U.S. Embassy Tokyo Media Analysis and Translation Team