Afternoon Alert   -   Monday, May 11, 2020
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Noon news

NHK led with a report that an earthquake with a seismic intensity of 3 occurred in Fukushima Prefecture this morning. NTV gave top play to a report on the ongoing Diet deliberations where opposition parties are grilling Prime Minister Abe for failing to swiftly deliver additional economic stimulus measures to the public. TBS led with a report that the opposition parties have criticized Abe for the GOJ's attempt to revise the Public Prosecutor's Office Act to extend the retirement age for prosecutors from 63 to 65. Fuji TV led with a report that the rainy season began in Okinawa today and the temperatures in the Tokyo area are expected to exceed 30 degrees Celsius this afternoon. TV Asahi led with a report that the Tokyo government will begin providing subsidies to business operators that complied with its request to temporarily close under the state of emergency.


Government spokesman says 30,000 beds can be secured for COVID-19 patients

Nikkei highlighted press remarks this morning by Chief Cabinet Secretary Suga, who said that the GOJ will soon be able to secure as many as 30,000 beds to accommodate COVID-19 patients at hospitals and commercial hotels across the country. He stressed that additional beds can be secured in preparation for a “second wave” of infections by using empty beds at designated hospitals and clinics nationwide.

•  Emergency medical centers in special alert prefectures restrict admittance of general patients   (Nikkei)

•  Editorial: Thoughtless behavior could cause more harm than the coronavirus   (The Japan News)

•  Editorial: Government needs to set clear goal for easing virus restrictions   (The Asahi Shimbun)

•  Editorial: Individuals, not households better option for fair handouts   (The Asahi Shimbun)

•  Antiviral paint in limelight amid coronavirus epidemic   (Jiji Press)

•  Editorial: Empathy needed in Japan to protect lives amid virus crisis and disparities   (The Mainichi)

•  Japan to consider cash handouts to students in need   (Jiji Press)

•  Editorial: Restart criminal trials gradually with infection prevention measures   (The Japan News)

•  Editorial: Create environment for child-rearing via new policies as birthrate declines   (The Japan News)

•  Commentary — Reimagining Japan Society New York: A beacon of hope at the epicenter of the pandemic   (The Japan Times)

•  Japan governors face balancing act in reopening businesses amid pandemic   (The Japan Times)

•  Hard sell: Japan’s retail sector may need to reinvent itself in the wake of the COVID-19 pandemic   (The Japan Times)

•  Police struggling to prevent virus infection among detainees   (Jiji Press)

•  Infographic: 16,559 persons in Japan confirmed to be infected with COVID-19   (NHK digital)

•  Harassment over coronavirus restraints on rise in Japan   (Jiji Press)

•  Japan’s Shionogi primed to mass-produce coronavirus vaccine in 2021   (Nikkei Asian Review)

•  Workers with disabilities face changes amid virus crisis   (Jiji Press)

•  Coronavirus pandemic sparks worry of increase in suicides   (Jiji Press)

•  Japan’s foreign students struggle to stay and study amid pandemic   (Nikkei Asian Review)

•  Foreigner-friendly coronavirus consultation office opens in Tokyo   (Jiji Press)


•  Chinese “coronatech” is coming   (Nikkei)

•  Japan tries to balance economic partnership with China and security partnership with the U.S.   (Asahi)

•  Editorial: Americans should unite to forestall Chinese dominance   (Sankei)

•  Editorial: Prevent second wave of infections as restrictions ease in U.S., Europe   (The Japan News)

•  Editorial: U.S., China should not further their dispute over origin of virus   (The Japan News)

•  Yukio Okamoto, the hand that cradled the Japan-US alliance   (Nikkei Asian Review)

•  Yukio Okamoto, special aide to prime ministers, dies of COVID-19   (The Asahi Shimbun)

•  Editorial: International community must continue to pressure North Korea   (The Japan News)


Abe stresses importance of bracing for possible onslaught of foreign M&As

Asahi took up remarks made at the Diet this morning by Prime Minister Abe on an opposition lawmaker’s view that investors from nations such as South Korea and China may make active efforts to purchase Japanese companies and/or land as their countries are apparently overcoming the economic difficulties triggered by the coronavirus pandemic faster than Japan. When pressed by the opposition politician to take appropriate measures so as to head off an onslaught of such purchases from the standpoint of economic security, the premier was quoted as saying: “That's a very important point. We must take a close look at the nation’s economic structure from a security perspective to address its vulnerabilities and bolster its strength further in a strategic manner…. We would like to pay keen attention to the investment plans of foreign corporations.”

•  Japan appoints first female central bank executive director   (Nikkei Asian Review)

•  Japan names 518 companies subject to tighter foreign ownership rules   (Nikkei Asian Review)

•  Japan law to tighten foreign investment regulations takes effect   (Kyodo News)

•  Tighter foreign investment rule to apply for 2,102 Japan firms   (Jiji Press)

•  Japan national debt rises to record 1,114 t. yen   (Jiji Press)

•  Japan plans to support jobs in agriculture amid virus   (The Japan News)

•  Foreign workers left high and dry in Japan’s coronavirus economy   (Nikkei Asian Review)

•  Nippon Steel logs 431 bil. yen loss in FY 2019 as virus hits demand   (Kyodo News)

•  ANA halts FY 2021 recruiting due to virus impact   (Jiji Press)

•  Toyota and Mazda post first China sales rise since virus outbreak   (Nikkei Asian Review)

•  Toyota supports medical efforts with infection-barrier vehicles   (The Japan News)

•  Japan’s March household spending down 6.0%, biggest drop in 5 yrs   (Kyodo News)


•  Virus cases on rise among crew of U.S. aircraft carrier, new cases confirmed during quarantine   (Akahata)

•  Japan faces challenges in next-generation fighter development   (Jiji Press)

•  Unloading of SDF’s 1st Osprey in Iwakuni met by small protest   (The Asahi Shimbun)

•  Hacked VPN likely started Mitsubishi Electric attacks   (The Asahi Shimbun)

•  U.S. calling on allies, including Japan, to exclude China from supply chain networks   (The Japan News)


•  Prime minister’s schedule on May 8, 2020   (Sankei)

•  Prime minister’s schedule on May 9, 2020   (Sankei)

•  Prime minister’s schedule on May 10, 2020   (Sankei)

•  Highlights of Japan-related events for May 11-17   (Kyodo News)

•  Celebrities lead protest tweets over Abe’s legal change attempt   (Kyodo News)


•  Weekend polls show majority support shifting start of academic year from April to September   (TBS, Fuji TV)

•  Cash relief by Japanese gov’t “proper” 60%, “too little” 24%, Yomiuri poll   (The Japan News)

•  Opinion poll & results from Yomiuri Shimbun   (Yomiuri)

•  57% discontent with gov’t response to coronavirus outbreak, Kyodo News poll   (Kyodo News)

•  Kyodo News opinion poll & results from Tokyo Shimbun   (Tokyo Shimbun)

•  Majority dissatisfied with Japan’s coronavirus response, Nikkei poll   (Nikkei Asian Review)

•  Trend in six-poll average cabinet support rate and cabinet support rate in text messaging poll, Saitama University Social Survey Research Center   (Saitama University Social Survey Research Center)

•  Japan leaders’ virus response gets lowest citizen support, global survey   (Jiji Press)


•  Univ. of Tokyo starts trials of drug for COVID-19   (NHK WORLD)

•  CiRA Foundation chief eyes practical application of iPS cells   (The Japan News)

•  Hokkaido Univ. Space Mission Center develops satellites with emerging nations   (Nikkei)


•  International exchange programs facing crisis due to COVID-19   (Nikkei)

•  Japanese high schools start to return from virus hiatus   (Nikkei Asian Review)


DOD having difficulty replacing toxic foam extinguisher with nontoxic version

Sunday’s Okinawa Times reported from Washington that the Pentagon might not be able to replace its foam extinguisher containing PFOS and other chemicals with a nontoxic version by October 2024 as planned because of the paramount difficulty of developing an alternative product. The DOD submitted to Congress in March an updated estimate for the production of an alternative to the extinguisher foam, saying that it will be difficult to develop a replacement that does not contain toxic substances in the near future and that the associated costs, including those for replacing relevant components on fire trucks, may soar from the original $600 million to as much as $6 billion. The Pentagon now reportedly projects that it may take 18 years to complete the entire replacement process.

In a related piece, the daily wrote that officials from the Okinawa prefectural and Ginowan municipal governments will visit MCAS Futenma on Monday to sample the soil at a few locations, including the hangar where the foam extinguisher spill occurred in early April. This will be the fifth onsite inspection following the PFOS leakage.

•  USFJ uses 3D technology for fighter parts   (Okinawa Times)

U.S. Embassy Tokyo Media Analysis and Translation Team