Afternoon Alert   -   Friday, April 17, 2020
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Noon news

NHK, TBS, and Fuji TV gave top coverage to reports on a meeting of about 30 governors across Japan held online this morning in response to the announcement yesterday by the GOJ on the expansion of the state of emergency to cover all prefectures in an effort to minimize the movement of people during the upcoming Golden Week holidays. NTV gave top play to a report that Kyoto Prefecture will request the closure of local entertainment facilities from 12 a.m. on Saturday through May 6. TV Asahi led with a report that China's GDP growth turned negative in the first quarter of this year amid the coronavirus pandemic, saying that this was the first time for China's quarterly growth to be negative since the country began releasing such data.


COVID-19 patient says his family wasn’t permitted to undergo testing for coronavirus

NHK reported this morning that a man in his 60s in Hyogo who has been hospitalized since he tested positive for COVID-19 told the network on Thursday that his mother who lives with him was initially not allowed to undergo PCR virus testing. The man argued that everyone who needs to be tested should be allowed to be tested. According to the network, the man developed a fever and tested positive for the virus on April 6 after a cluster of infections was confirmed at his father's elderly care center in March. His father tested negative. The man reportedly asked the public health center to allow his mother, who is in her 90s, to undergo PCR testing as well, but was told that she did not meet the criteria. He reportedly said: "My mother was in and out of the hospital at the end of last year because of lung disease. She's over 90 and it would be life-threatening for her if she were to contract the coronavirus. I asked the public health center if they were willing take responsibility if she were to die." According to the network, the health center finally allowed his mother to get tested and the result came back positive. The man reportedly said: "I cannot accept the fact that a patient's family members were not allowed to undergo testing. If I hadn't been allowed to get tested, then I would have spread the virus unwittingly. PCR testing must be thoroughly carried out in order to stop the spread of the virus as soon as possible."

•  China adds 1,290 deaths to Wuhan’s virus fatality total   (Kyodo News)

•  China reports 92 new coronavirus cases, no deaths   (Kyodo News)

•  Japan to OK career changes by foreigners displaced amid virus crisis   (Jiji Press)

•  Japan to introduce coronavirus antibody testing   (The Japan News)

•  EXCLUSIVE: Japan urges measures against coronavirus discrimination   (Jiji Press)

•  Editorial: Utilize emergency measures to halt spread of infections   (The Japan News)

•  PCR testing capacity to be ramped up   (The Japan News)

•  Virus fears cause patients to flock to big Tokyo hospitals   (The Japan News)

•  Japan to boost regional PCR test capacities   (Jiji Press)

•  Foreign trainees in Japan to make face masks   (NHK WORLD)

•  Japanese police warn that criminals are making most of virus outbreak   (The Japan Times)

•  ANA to tailor medical gowns amid coronavirus spread   (The Japan News)

•  Weekly Editorial: Government’s support for schools is essential   (The Japan Times)

•  Infographic: 10,008 persons in Japan confirmed to be infected with COVID-19   (NHK digital)

•  Coronavirus, stay-home request hit girls with no place to go   (Kyodo News)

•  Electronic seals gaining attention amid spread of telework in Japan   (The Mainichi)

•  Cardboard boxes replace hotel rooms at Narita as Japan struggles with returnees   (The Japan Times)

•  Japan city adopts 1st ordinance urging wearing of masks due to virus   (Kyodo News)

•  Olympics: Tokyo organizers securing schedule, venues for delayed games   (Kyodo News)

•  Cartoon: In the trenches   (Asahi)


•  Trump says U.S. moving to reopen economy in wake of virus peak   (Kyodo News)

•  Editorial: Trump halts WHO aid, but ‘America First’ cannot contain novel coronavirus   (The Mainichi)

•  WHO head, Taiwan brawl via media; China’s scheme?   (Sankei)

•  Taiwan donates 2 million face masks to Japan   (Kyodo News)


•  Fukushima decommissioning work to be downsized   (The Japan News)

•  Refusal to let fintech companies connect to bank infrastructure may “violate antitrust law”: JFTC report   (Nikkei)

•  Flu fighter Avigan hunts for Japan substances to fill in for China   (Nikkei Asian Review)

•  RCEP negotiators to meet via videoconference next week   (Yomiuri)

•  Japan Feb. industrial output down revised 0.3 pct   (Jiji Press)

•  Japan govt postpones monthly meeting on economy   (Jiji Press)

•  Nissan joins face shield making in Japan to combat coronavirus   (Kyodo News)

•  Coronavirus testing for US workplaces offered by Konica Minolta   (Nikkei Asian Review)

•  JCCI and two business federations ask for a freeze on minimum wage raise   (Asahi)

•  Sumitomo Mitsui Financial to also divest from coal-fired power plants   (Kyodo News)

•  0.5% display signs of gambling addiction, Yokohama City survey   (Kanagawa Shimbun)


•  Prime minister’s schedule on April 16, 2020   (Sankei)

•  Strength of in-house groups in House of Representatives   (Yomiuri)

•  Sugita becomes second longest-serving deputy chief cabinet secretary   (Yomiuri)

•  Akie Abe criticized for taking group tour in Oita during pandemic   (The Japan Times)


•  Editorial: Questions yet to be answered about art festival in Hiroshima   (The Asahi Shimbun)


MOD officials conduct onsite inspection at Futenma following PFOS leak

NHK reported that Defense Minister Kono told the press that six MOD and MOFA officials conducted an onsite inspection at MCAS Futenma on Thursday following the recent incident in which foam extinguisher containing perfluorooctanesulfonic acid (PFOS) leaked out of the base into a local river. According to the network, the U.S. side briefed the Japanese officials on how the PFOS leaked and told them that the doors of a hangar, which were supposed to be closed, were open at the time of the incident, allowing a large volume of foam to leak out. Kono reportedly said: "Yesterday's onsite inspection will not be the last one. Okinawa Prefecture and Ginowan City will also be able to conduct onsite inspections. We hope to conduct investigations as needed."

•  Deployment of intermediate-range missiles in Japan may become reality   (Mainichi)

•  70% approve of U.S.-Japan security arrangements, MOFA poll   (Mainichi)


Okinawa prefectural assembly committee adopts chairman’s statement protesting foam extinguisher leakage at Futenma

Ryukyu Shimpo and Okinawa Times wrote that the Okinawa prefectural assembly’s special committee on U.S. base issues unanimously approved on Thursday a chairman’s statement protesting the incident in which foam extinguisher containing perfluorooctanesulfonic acid (PFOS) leaked from MCAS Futenma. Saying that the incident is very regrettable and should not have happened, the statement called for an investigation into the cause of the incident and prevention of similar incidents in the future

In related stories, both papers wrote that Vice Governor Jahana is planning to visit the Futenma base today to see the site firsthand and lodge a protest with officials of the U.S. Marines and U.S. Consulate General Naha. The papers noted that Jahana's visit is separate from the onsite investigation the prefectural government is seeking based on the U.S.-Japan environmental agreement to supplement the Status of Forces Agreement.

•  Okinawa Marines produce COVID-19 protective gear using 3D printers   (Okinawa Times, Ryukyu Shimpo)

U.S. Embassy Tokyo Media Analysis and Translation Team