Afternoon Alert   -   Wednesday, March 4, 2020
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Noon news

Most networks gave top play to reports that a man in his 40s in Yamaguchi Prefecture tested positive for the new coronavirus on Tuesday, bringing the total number of people infected with the virus in Japan to 1,000, including the Diamond Princess passengers and crew members. Fuji TV led with a report that the Indian government has announced that it will void visas issued to Japanese nationals to prevent the spread of the coronavirus.


U.S. begins checking temperatures of travelers from ROK, Italy

NHK reported online that Vice President Pence told the press on Tuesday that three additional people have died of the new coronavirus in Washington State, bringing the death toll in the U.S. to nine. The Vice President also reportedly disclosed that the U.S. has begun taking the temperature of all travelers entering the U.S. on direct flights from South Korea and Italy before and after they board the planes.

JAL, ANA to reduce domestic flights due to coronavirus

All networks reported that in light of the new coronavirus outbreak, ANA and JAL have decided to reduce the number of domestic flights connecting Haneda with Osaka, New Chitose Airport in Hokkaido, and other locations from March 6 to 12. NHK said this is the first time for the two carriers to reduce domestic flights due to the new coronavirus.

WHO: Too early for decision about Tokyo Olympics (NHK WORLD)

LDP seeks FY 2020 extra budget to ease coronavirus impact (Jiji Press)

Lacking hospital ships for virus response, Japan to fill the gap: New and retrofitted vessels both under consideration (Nikkei Asian Review)

Nagoya looks to implement tough new measures to fight spread of coronavirus (The Mainichi)

Patients with mild symptoms seen spreading viral infections: Japan panel (Jiji Press)

Editorial: Prioritize expediting supply of daily necessities to alleviate public concern (The Japan News)

Editorial: Spread of new coronavirus prompts Japan, S. Korea to strengthen cooperation (The Japan News)

Infographic: 999 persons in Japan confirmed to be infected with COVID-19 (NHK digital)

Editorial: Coronavirus measures need fine-tuning to cover everyone (The Asahi Shimbun)

Editorial: Suppression of free speech, revoking press credentials, aren't the way to respond to the new coronavirus (Japan Forward)

Editorial: Government should draw lessons from cruise ship for future infections (The Japan News)

Tokyo Games committee mulls earthquake response during events (Jiji Press)

Olympics: Torch relay measures to vary depending on local virus status (Kyodo News)

Olympics: Organizers allow uploading torch relay videos on social media (Kyodo News)

Cartoon: General Abe (Asahi)

Japan's 2011 disaster recovery agency to remain open until 2031 (Kyodo News)

Survey shows 40% of foreign workers are unaware of specified skills visa (Tokyo Shimbun)

Gov't OKs bill with tough road rage penalties, elderly driver testing (Kyodo News)


GOJ requests airlines' understanding for steep landing requirement on new Haneda route

Asahi reported that the Transport Ministry convened a briefing on Monday for domestic and international airlines regarding its requirement for aircraft to use a steep 3.45-degree approach when landing at Haneda Airport during late afternoon in the summer to reduce noise in central Tokyo. The meeting was held in response to some foreign operators' refusal to comply with the rule during test flights conducted in February on the grounds that their pilots were "not well prepared." Some foreign commercial airlines have reportedly raised concern about the steep approach requirement, which makes aircraft touchdown at a greater air speed than in a standard 3-degree approach. During the session, which was attended by representatives of some 50 airlines, the ministry reportedly stressed that planes are not allowed in principle to descend at the standard 3-degree angle for the entire final approach. However, it also said they may land at the airport at a 3-degree angle if they choose to descend at a steeper angle than 3.45 degrees after entering the final approach and adjusting to 3 degrees before landing.

Citing safety concerns, IATA requests MLIT to change Haneda's new landing path (Tokyo Shimbun)

Myanmar workers in Japan join top labor group: Unions aim to give voice to fast-growing legion of foreign employees (Nikkei Asian Review)

Japanese companies boosting imports of Russian livestock feed (Sankei)

Japan panel proposes record low catch quota for flying squid (Jiji Press)

Japan govt adopts pension system reform plan (Jiji Press)


Focus: N. Korea's 1st projectile firing of 2020 aimed at getting U.S. attention (Kyodo News)

Editorial: Outrageously wrong for Philippine President Duterte to end military pact with the U.S. (Japan Forward)

Russia's ban on cession of territories to exclude border demarcation (Yomiuri evening edition)


Experts warn that FRF seawalls may collapse due to soft seabed

Asahi reported that a group of geologists led by a Niigata University professor visited the Okinawa prefectural government on Tuesday to submit the results of their study on the soft seabed off the coast of Camp Schwab. The team reportedly concluded that some of the seawalls currently being built on the soft seabed for the Futenma replacement facility may gradually subside and collapse. The experts reportedly urged the Defense Ministry to conduct a geological survey in the vicinity to check whether the soft seabed runs deeper than the ministry's estimate, which has been disputed by some scholars.

Trump will take hardline stance on host nation support with Japan as well (Asahi)


Prime minister's schedule on March 3, 2020 (Sankei)

Gist of interpellations at Upper House budget committee meeting, March 3, 2020 (Yomiuri)


KAGRA starts observation of gravity waves (Yomiuri)

Japanese firms seek business opportunities in space (Asahi)


Okinawa concerned by lack of quarantine for U.S. service members returning from ROK

Ryukyu Shimpo reported on a meeting held yesterday between Okinawa Vice Governor Jahana and GOJ representatives in Okinawa, during which the local politician expressed "serious concern" about the recent return to the island prefecture of some 300 Marines from training in South Korea, where COVID-19 has spread rapidly, because they were not subject to Japan's quarantine upon arrival. The vice governor reportedly called for a revision of the SOFA since it exempts U.S. military personnel from Japanese quarantine requirements.

According to the Okinawa Defense Bureau, the Marines stayed at a U.S. military facility in South Korea for a few days for health monitoring before their departure and none of them showed any symptoms when they arrived at Kadena AB, where they were examined again. The Marine authorities reportedly issued a statement on Tuesday saying that none of the personnel tested positive for the virus and they did not travel to Daegu or other areas where there have been many infections.

U.S. rejects request to stop transporting objects suspended from choppers (Ryukyu Shimpo)

MHLW invites public comment on standards for organic fluorides in drinking water (Ryukyu Shimpo)

Okinawa Prefecture detects high concentration of PFAS near U.S. bases (Ryukyu Shimpo)

U.S. Embassy Tokyo Media Analysis and Translation Team