Morning Alert   -   Wednesday, March 23, 2022
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All broadcasters led with reports that although power outages were avoided on Tuesday, the Ministry of Economy, Trade and Industry announced that it will maintain its power supply warning in the Tokyo area covered by TEPCO today. The ministry lifted its warning for areas covered by Tohoku Electric Power Co. last night.

Top stories in national dailies included the power supply warning for the Kanto region (Asahi, Yomiuri, Sankei), the Russian foreign ministry’s announcement of the suspension of peace treaty talks with Japan (Mainichi), and a rise in prices for architectural steel in Japan due to disruptions to building material supply chains following Russia's invasion of Ukraine (Nikkei).


Hiroshima, Nagasaki mayors meet with Ambassador Emanuel to request visit by President Biden

Kyodo News reported that during a meeting with Ambassador Emanuel at his official residence in Tokyo on Tuesday morning, Hiroshima Mayor Matsui and Nagasaki Mayor Taue submitted a letter of request to President Biden asking the President to visit their cities when he travels to Japan to attend a Quad summit in Tokyo this spring. Asahi and Yomiuri also reported online on the Ambassador’s meeting with the mayors.

NHK Hiroshima, Hiroshima-based broadcaster Chugoku Hoso, Television Shin-Hiroshima System, and Nagasaki Broadcasting Company aired similar reports saying the mayors said in the letter that the Russian invasion of Ukraine is raising the risk of nuclear weapons and that Hiroshima and Nagasaki are becoming increasingly alarmed at this situation since they have both experienced atomic bombing. The mayors also said in the letter that they hope President Biden will visit their cities to witness the reality of the atomic bombings firsthand and send out a strong message from there on creating a trend toward a world without nuclear weapons. Chugoku Hoso added that the mayors also invited the Ambassador to visit their cities.

Kyodo and the broadcasters also reported that the mayors met with Foreign Minister Hayashi later in the day to request the GOJ’s support for realizing visits to the cities by President Biden. Hayashi was quoted as telling the mayors that having dignitaries visit their cities to witness the reality of the atomic bombings is important for generating efforts toward nuclear disarmament. Mainichi also reported on the mayors’ meeting with Hayashi.


President Biden commends Japan on response to Russian invasion of Ukraine

Mainichi wrote from Washington that during a business forum on Monday, President Biden commented on the Quad nations’ response to the Russian invasion of Ukraine by reportedly saying that among the Quad nations, India is somewhat shaky, but Japan and Australia have taken extremely strong actions against Russia over its invasion of Ukraine.

Kishida to attend G7 summit in Brussels to discuss Ukraine

Nikkei and Sankei wrote that when speaking to reporters at the Kantei on Tuesday, Prime Minister Kishida officially expressed his intention to attend a G7 summit in Brussels on Thursday. The premier was quoted as saying that it is important for the G7 leaders to gather and unite in response to the Russian invasion of Ukraine and that he wants to contribute to the summit as a representative of Asia. According to Sankei, Kishida will depart for Brussels on Wednesday evening and return to Japan on Friday.

Ukrainian president to address Japanese Diet today

Nikkei, Yomiuri, Asahi, and Sankei wrote that the Committees on Rules and Administration of both houses of the Diet confirmed at their respective administrative board meetings on Tuesday that Ukrainian President Zelenskyy will speak to Diet members remotely at 6:00 p.m. on Wednesday. The papers wrote that the Ukrainian leader will speak in Ukrainian for 10 to 15 minutes with simultaneous interpretation into Japanese and that his address will also be livestreamed on the website of the House of the Representatives. The papers wrote that the speech will be broadcast not in a plenary hall at the Diet but in a meeting room in the Diet members' office building with Prime Minister Kishida, House of Councillors President Santo, House of Representatives Speaker Hosoda, and other Diet members in attendance. Nikkei and Sankei added that although several foreign leaders have addressed the Japanese Diet in the past, this will be the first address by a foreign leader to be delivered online.

Kishida expresses readiness to provide additional humanitarian aid to Ukraine

Yomiuri wrote that at an Upper House Budget Committee session on Tuesday, Prime Minister Kishida expressed Japan’s readiness to provide additional humanitarian assistance to Ukraine and neighboring nations. The paper wrote that although Japan has already pledged $100 million in emergency humanitarian assistance, it is prepared to provide additional support in view of the intensifying Russian attacks and increasing number of Ukrainian evacuees.

LDP lawmaker indicates possibility of Japan providing satellite data to Ukraine for humanitarian purposes

Nikkei wrote that Yamamoto Tomohiro, the director of the LDP Division of Science and Technology, said at a party meeting on Tuesday that it might be possible for Japan to provide Ukraine with data collected by Japanese satellites. The data, which would be provided for humanitarian purposes, would include images of roads and bridges to facilitate evacuation. He noted, however, that this is a matter for the government to decide.


Japan reacts sharply to Russia’s suspension of peace treaty talks

All national dailies reported extensively on Japan’s reaction to the Russian foreign ministry’s announcement on Monday that it will suspend peace treaty talks with Japan. Prime Minister Kishida said at a Diet committee session on Tuesday that Russia's action is extremely unreasonable and totally unacceptable because the sole cause of the current situation is Russia’s invasion of Ukraine. Vice Foreign Minister Mori summoned Russian Ambassador to Japan Galuzin to protest Russia's announcement. The papers wrote that Moscow’s suspension of the talks has made the return of the Northern Territories to Japan even more difficult.

Former PM Abe, Taiwan President Tsai discuss Ukraine, Japan-Taiwan relations

Nikkei, Yomiuri, and Sankei wrote that former Prime Minister Abe and Taiwan President Tsai Ing-wen exchanged views on Ukraine and the ties between Japan and Taiwan at a virtual meeting on Tuesday. Abe posted a tweet afterward saying they shared the view that no attempts to change the status quo by force should ever be tolerated. According to an informed source, during the meeting Abe expressed his desire to visit Taiwan in the future. The talks took place during a general meeting of a Japanese nonpartisan parliamentary group promoting Japan’s relations with Taiwan held in Tokyo on Tuesday.

U.S. Embassy Tokyo Media Analysis and Translation Team