JAPAN MEDIA HIGHLIGHTS
Morning Alert   -   Thursday, March 3, 2022
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HEADLINES

All commercial broadcasters led with reports on Russia’s ongoing attack on civilian areas of Ukraine, including Kharkiv. The networks said Ukraine announced on Wednesday that the Russian invasion has killed more than 2,000 citizens. NHK gave top play to a report that the UN General Assembly adopted a resolution on Wednesday demanding that Russia stop fighting in Ukraine and withdraw its troops.

All national dailies except Nikkei gave top coverage to reports on the Russian invasion of Ukraine. Nikkei led with President Biden's State of the Union address on Tuesday.

AMBASSADOR

Ambassador Emanuel discusses China’s duplicity in development finance in op-ed

Nikkei ran an opinion piece by Ambassador Emanuel on page 4 of its political news section. “As Ambassador, my top priority is to deepen the bonds between our two countries,” the Ambassador wrote. “Together, we must confront our common challenges in common purpose throughout the Indo-Pacific…. The world is waking up to Beijing's duplicity. Their playbook depends on disinformation, coercion, intimidation and aggression, even when it comes to development finance.”

Ambassador Emanuel hosts Embassy lighting ceremony to show solidarity with Ukraine

Mainichi reported online that in response to Russia’s invasion of Ukraine, the U.S. Embassy in Tokyo lit up the walls of its chancery building in blue and yellow, the colors of the Ukrainian flag, on Wednesday evening to show U.S. support for and solidarity with Ukraine. The paper wrote that Ambassador Emanuel initiated the idea of illuminating the Embassy building and invited Ukrainian Ambassador to Japan Sergiy Korsunsky to a lighting ceremony last night. The paper wrote that the Ambassador stressed at the ceremony that it is very important to show strong U.S. support for the Ukrainian people and that the United States strongly condemns the unprovoked, unjustified, and unwarranted war.

Ambassador Korsunsky expressed his appreciation for the support extended by the United States, Japan, and Europe and said that many Ukrainians, including children, are falling victim to Russia’s bombing of houses, schools, and hospitals at this moment and that the freedom and security of Europe will be determined by the Ukrainian people’s fight against Russia. The paper added that the U.S. Embassy will continue to be illuminated in the Ukrainian flag’s colors for the time being.

Yomiuri reported on the event on page 9 of its international news section, while NHK, NTV, Sankei, and Jiji Press posted similar reports online. NHK quoted Ambassador Emanuel as saying that because Prime Minister Kishida took the action to oppose the unjustified war, it is no longer just a European confrontation but is a global confrontation of democracies against autocracies. Jiji Press quoted the Ambassador as saying that the world is turning its back to Russia because Russia is turning its back to the world and that President Biden underscored U.S. solidarity with Ukraine during his State of the Union address on Tuesday.

Ambassador Emanuel calls on Japan to close airspace to Russian planes

Nikkei wrote that speaking to reporters at the U.S. Embassy in Tokyo on Wednesday, Ambassador Emanuel called on Japan to consider closing its airspace to Russian planes as part of its sanctions on Russia. The paper wrote that the Ambassador commended Prime Minister Kishida for Japan's response to Russia's invasion of Ukraine, including imposing sanctions on President Putin and other Russian government officials.

UKRAINE CRISIS

Japan to accept refugees from Ukraine

All national dailies wrote that after speaking by phone with German President Frank-Walter Steinmeier and Polish Prime Minister Mateusz Morawiecki on Wednesday, Prime Minister Kishida told reporters that the GOJ is planning to accept people who have fled Ukraine to third countries to show Japan’s solidarity with the people of Ukraine. Kishida told reporters: "The Ukrainian situation is tense, and the number of refugees is growing. We will make preparations to address this situation as soon as possible. We will first accept people who have relatives or acquaintances in Japan but will accept more people later from a humanitarian point of view."

Helicopter believed to be Russian violates Japanese airspace

All national dailies wrote that the Ministry of Defense announced on Wednesday that a helicopter that appeared to be Russian briefly entered Japanese airspace off the Nemuro Peninsula in eastern Hokkaido at around 10:23 a.m. on Wednesday. The ministry is trying to determine whether it was a military helicopter. The Ministry of Foreign Affairs lodged a protest with the Russian government through diplomatic channels. The ASDF reportedly scrambled fighter jets in response to the aircraft. Chief Cabinet Secretary Matsuno told reporters on Wednesday that the incident was very regrettable and that Russia’s increasing activities in the air and sea surrounding Japan are a source of concern.

Ukrainian Embassy removes tweet inviting foreigners to join “international legion”

Mainichi wrote that the Ukrainian Embassy in Tokyo removed on Wednesday a tweet from its account inviting foreigners to join the country’s “international legion." The paper wrote that although about 70 Japanese people had contacted the embassy to convey their willingness to volunteer, the embassy removed the message ahead of Ambassador Korsunsky’s meeting with Foreign Minister Hayashi on Wednesday, during which the Ukrainian envoy expressed his nation’s appreciation for Japan’s donation of $200 million to the country in financial and humanitarian aid. Hayashi told reporters on Tuesday that his ministry has issued an evacuation advisory for all of Ukraine and advised people not to travel there for any purpose. Yomiuri wrote that Chief Cabinet Secretary Matsuno sent the same warning during a regular press briefing on Wednesday.

INTERNATIONAL

U.S. delegation meets with Taiwan president to express U.S. commitment to region

Nikkei and Yomiuri wrote that a U.S. delegation to Taiwan held talks with Taiwan President Tsai Ing-wen on Wednesday in Taipei. Nikkei speculated that the delegation’s visit to Taiwan was intended to reiterate Washington's commitment to the region in response to concern that China may increase its pressure on Taiwan following Russia's invasion of Ukraine. Mike Mullen, a former chairman of the Joint Chiefs of Staff and head of the bipartisan delegation, reportedly told Tsai at the presidential office on Wednesday that the delegation was sent to Taiwan to express the United States’ support for its strong partnership with Taiwan and that the United States opposes any unilateral changes to the status quo.

COVID-19

Japan to raise daily entry cap from 5,000 to 7,000

All national dailies wrote that the GOJ is making arrangements to further ease its COVID-19 border controls by raising the daily cap on foreign entrants from the current 5,000 to 7,000. The papers wrote that although the government raised its cap for arrivals from foreign nations for purposes other than tourism to 5,000 from 3,500 on Tuesday, business and other sectors continue to call for further easing of Japan’s border controls. According to the papers, Prime Minister Kishida is expected to announce the details of the plan at a news conference today.

Japan to extend quasi-state of emergency in Tokyo and 14 other prefectures

All national dailies wrote that the GOJ has decided to extend the COVID-19 quasi-state of emergency in Tokyo and 14 other prefectures because the decline in the number of new cases in these prefectures has been slower than expected and their hospital bed occupancy rates remain high. The extension will probably be for two weeks until March 21. The prefectures where the measures will be extended are Tokyo, Chiba, Kanagawa, Saitama, Hokkaido, Aomori, Ibaraki, Tochigi, Gunma, Ishikawa, Aichi, Kyoto, Osaka, Hyogo, and Kagawa. Currently, 31 of the nation's 47 prefectures are under a quasi-state of emergency. The government has decided to lift the measure in 11 prefectures and has not yet made a decision on the remaining 5. The government will formally decide on the extension after consulting with a panel of health experts on Friday.

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U.S. Embassy Tokyo Media Analysis and Translation Team