JAPAN MEDIA HIGHLIGHTS
Morning Alert   -   Wednesday, June 29, 2022
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HEADLINES

Broadcasters led with the forecast for extreme heat in the Kanto region again today (NHK, NTV, TV Asahi) and the finding that a section of road suddenly caved in at three locations in Tokyo yesterday probably due to the extreme heat (Fuji TV).

All national dailies gave top play to the joint G7 communique pledging $4.5 billion for food security. Sankei highlighted the communique’s expression of grave concern over China’s use of forced labor in global supply chains, including state-sponsored forced labor involving vulnerable groups and minorities, in the agricultural, solar, and garment sectors.

INTERNATIONAL

G7 leaders vow to tackle food crisis, keep pressure on Russia

All national dailies reported extensively on a joint communique released by the leaders of the G7 nations on Tuesday following their three-day summit in Elmau in southern Germany. In the communique, the leaders vowed to continue imposing sanctions on Russia and to tackle the food crisis and other global challenges, pledging a total of $4.5 billion toward alleviating the deepening global food crisis. On the idea of setting a price cap on imports of Russian oil, the leaders said they will consider a global ban on all services that allow the transportation of Russian seaborne crude and petroleum products "unless the oil is purchased at or below a price to be agreed in consultation with international partners."

Yomiuri wrote that although the G7 leaders agreed to seek a price cap as a further measure to stifle Russian financial sources for funding its war in Ukraine, they did not come up with more specific wording for the communique. Mainichi wrote that the United States took the lead in imposing a ban on imports of Russian gold and in seeking ways to impose a price cap on Russian oil.

The papers wrote that the G7 leaders demonstrated solidarity by agreeing that they will continue support for Ukraine until Russia ends its war on the nation. Yomiuri wrote that President Biden led the discussion on support for Ukraine and the sanctions on Russia out of the strong sense of crisis that the international order would be undermined if Russia’s aggression is allowed, adding that USG officials patiently explained to their European counterparts the need for a ban on the import of Russian gold and a price cap on imports of Russian oil.

On China, the G7 leaders’ communique said again this year: “We underscore the importance of peace and stability across the Taiwan Strait and encourage a peaceful resolution of cross-Strait issues…. We reiterate the importance of maintaining a free and open Indo Pacific, which is inclusive and based on the rule of law.” They also urged Beijing to "respect universal human rights and fundamental freedoms, including in Tibet and in Xinjiang where forced labor is of major concern to us." Having China in mind, the leaders expressed opposition to any attempts to change the status quo by force in the South and East China Seas.

Kishida announces plan to host G7 summit in Hiroshima on May 19-21 next year

All national dailies wrote that Prime Minister Kishida said at a news conference on Tuesday in Elmau, Germany, that Japan will host the G7 summit in Hiroshima on May 19-21 next year. "I would like to express a strong commitment from Hiroshima to never repeat the horrors of nuclear weapons," Kishida said. Sankei wrote that although Kishida has had the idea of hosting the G7 summit in Hiroshima, his own constituency, ever since he served as foreign minister in the Abe administration, he was originally hesitant to realize the idea out of concern that the move could be viewed as politically motivated and selfish. However, President Putin’s hinting at the possibility of using nuclear arms in the war in Ukraine led him to decide to host the G7 summit in Hiroshima.

Leaders of U.S., Japan, ROK to meet to discuss North Korea

NHK reported this morning that White House National Security Adviser Sullivan told the press on Tuesday that the leaders of the United States, Japan, and South Korea will hold a summit on the sidelines of the NATO summit on Wednesday to discuss ways to respond to North Korea’s ongoing nuclear and missile development programs. He also reportedly said the three leaders are expected to discuss ways to apply economic pressure on the North to cut off the financial resources funding the programs. The network said this will be the first such meeting between the three countries’ leaders since September 2017.

Kishida pledges food aid to Africa

Mainichi wrote that on Monday in Elmau, Germany, Prime Minister Kishida told South African President Ramaphosa that Japan will provide food assistance to African countries that are suffering a serious food crisis as a result of Russia's invasion of Ukraine. President Ramaphosa reportedly expressed gratitude for Japan’s food assistance by saying that the war in Ukraine has exposed the vulnerability of food security in Africa.

UK to lift import restrictions on food products from Fukushima

All national dailies wrote that British Prime Minister Johnson told Prime Minister Kishida on Tuesday in Elmau, Germany, that his nation will lift on Wednesday its import restrictions on Japanese food products imposed in the wake of the 2011 Fukushima nuclear disaster. Johnson said at the outset of the meeting on the fringes of the G7 summit: "I'm delighted that from tomorrow Fukushima products will be sold in shops throughout the UK.” Kishida expressed his appreciation for the British decision. Meanwhile, referring to an MSDF training ship’s recent call at a port in the UK, Kishida expressed Japan’s hope to further promote security cooperation with the UK in the Indo-Pacific.

Japan to provide $3 million for Afghan quake relief

Mainichi and Asahi wrote that Foreign Minister Hayashi told reporters on Tuesday that Japan will provide $3 million in emergency grant aid for Afghanistan, where more than 1,000 people were killed in a magnitude 5.9 earthquake on June 22. Japan will provide the assistance through the International Federation of Red Cross and Red Crescent Societies and has already provided 1,200 blankets, 300 portable water tanks, and other relief supplies.

UKRAINE CRISIS

Japan to help Ukraine set up temporary grain storage facilities

Asahi wrote that concerning the stalled export of Ukrainian grains, Foreign Minister Hayashi told reporters on Tuesday that Japan will help the nation to establish temporary facilities to store grain by using Japan’s pledged $200 million assistance to the Food and Agriculture Organization of the United Nations. Prime Minister Kishida announced at the G7 summit on Monday that Japan will contribute $200 million toward the global food crisis resulting from Russia’s invasion of Ukraine. Hayashi said that Japan will contribute to efforts to strengthen global food security by providing assistance to Ukraine ahead of the harvest season.

ECONOMY

Treasury Secretary Yellen to visit Japan on July 12-13

Mainichi ran a Kyodo story from New York saying that the Department of the Treasury announced on Tuesday that Secretary Yellen will visit Japan on July 12-13 to discuss with her Japanese counterpart such issues as strengthened sanctions on Russia, the response to higher prices, and stronger and more resilient supply chains. The report said that this will be Yellen’s first trip to Japan after assuming her current post in January last year. The report speculated that she may discuss exchange rates with Japanese officials. After Japan, Yellen will attend a meeting of the G20 finance ministers and central bank governors in Bali, Indonesia, on July 15-16 and will visit South Korea on July 19-20. Yomiuri ran a similar report.

SECURITY

SDF to participate in RIMPAC

Yomiuri wrote that Defense Minister Kishi told reporters on Tuesday that the SDF will participate in the Rim of the Pacific Exercise to be held from June 29 through Aug. 4. According to the MSDF, navies from 26 countries, including the United States, Japan, South Korea, the UK, and Australia, will participate in the drills, and Japan will send a GSDF unit to the exercises in addition to JS Izumo and JS Takanami. Kishi said that the SDF will enhance its tactical capabilities and coordination with allies and partners and demonstrate its solidarity with the other participants.

JAPAN MEDIA HIGHLIGHTS
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U.S. Embassy Tokyo Media Analysis and Translation Team