Afternoon Alert   -   Thursday, May 14, 2020
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Noon news

NHK, NTV, and TV Asahi gave top play to reports that Economic Revitalization Minister Nishimura requested this morning that the government panel of experts working on measures against the coronavirus examine the GOJ's plan to lift the state of emergency for 39 prefectures. Prime Minister Abe is expected to hold a press conference this evening after finalizing his decision upon hearing the experts' assessment. Meanwhile, TBS and Fuji TV led with reports that a total of 20 people tested positive for COVID-19 at a hospital in Matsuyama, Ehime Prefecture. 


•  Number of coronavirus patients convalescing at home reduced by half to 957   (Nikkei)

•  TMG launches information-sharing system on coronavirus case data   (Asahi)

•  Coronavirus antigen test to be covered by public insurance   (Jiji Press)

•  Editorial: Companies must be flexible in helping college students find jobs in Japan   (The Japan News)

•  Infographic: 16,815 persons in Japan confirmed to be infected with COVID-19   (NHK digital)

•  Japan’s ‘virus vigilantes’ take on rule-breakers and invaders   (The Japan Times)

•  Radioactivity screening for Fukushima rice and beef to be scaled down   (Nikkei)

•  Olympics: Organizers consider shorter, cheaper torch relay   (Kyodo News)

•  CartoonAbe under the sword   (Asahi)

•  Editorial: Gov’t efforts crucial in avoiding senior care collapse in Japan amid pandemic   (The Mainichi)


U.S. Navy’s Aegis-equipped destroyer transits Taiwan Strait

NHK reported that the U.S. Navy's 7th Fleet announced that the Aegis-equipped destroyer USS McCampbell sailed through the Taiwan Strait on May 13. The network said since there are voices of concern in the U.S. that China is increasing its military pressure on Taiwan amid the chaos over the new coronavirus pandemic, the latest U.S.move is probably aimed at keeping China in check. Noting that another U.S. Navy vessel transited the Taiwan Strait twice last month, the network said the Navy is accelerating the pace of deploying vessels to the strait. According to the network, the U.S.-China Economic and Security Review Committee released a report on May 12 in which it expressed concern that China is increasing its military pressure on Taiwan at a time when the world is distracted by the new coronavirus, pointing out that PLA aircraft crossed the median line in the Taiwan Strait three times this year and a Chinese carrier sailed near Taiwan last month.

•  Japan prepares for next Operation Wuhan with ‘mobile consulate’   (Nikkei Asian Review)

•  Japan, saying world has much to learn from Taipei’s handling of virus, pushes WHO to allow Taiwan’s participation   (The Japan News)

•  Only option is Japan-China conciliation, author of ‘New Thinking’ says   (The Japan News)


•  China zeroing in on Japan’s leading-edge tech   (The Japan News)

•  MOFA unable to present “international law” cited as basis for the SOFA   (Asahi)

•  Personal info on over 12,000 people leaked after Nikkei comes under cyberattack   (The Mainichi)

•  Japan to extend dispatch of forces to U.N. mission in South Sudan   (Kyodo News)


•  Japan to inject capital into virus-hit companies   (Nikkei Asian Review)

•  Japan business sentiment at lowest since 2002   (NHK WORLD)

•  Coronavirus bankruptcies top 140 in Japan   (NHK WORLD)

•  Japan’s imports of U.S. beef grow 20% in April   (Yomiuri)

•  Editorial: Quick rescue needed for businesses struggling to pay rent   (The Japan News)

•  Every breath you take: Water and power tell if Tokyoites are home   (Nikkei Asian Review)


•  Prime minister’s schedule on May 13, 2020   (Sankei)

•  Interview: Shinzo Abe on economic aid, crisis management in the face of COVID-19   (Japan Forward)

•  Interview: Prime Minister Abe anxious to lift state of emergency, talks about advances in coronavirus treatment   (Japan Forward)

•  Yoshimura factor” boosts Nippon Ishin image, public opinion polls   (Sankei)

•  LDP says postponing local elections due to COVID-19 “difficult”   (Yomiuri)


U.S. military renovating runway at Iejima Auxiliary Airfield

Ryukyu Shimpo led with a report saying that it has learned from a U.S. Marine Corps website that the Marines began renovating a runway and landing area at the Iejima Auxiliary Airfield on Feb. 19. and that the construction work will likely continue until late June. The website reportedly says the purpose of the renovation is to “maximize the operational capability of the island.” The paper wrote that this statement indicates that the Marines plan to strengthen the functions of the base and that the base-hosting burden, including noise pollution, may increase if more drills involving U.S. military aircraft are conducted after the renovation. The paper also wrote that although the U.S. military notified the government of the village of Ie of the construction in February through the Defense Ministry’s Okinawa bureau, the prefectural government was not informed. The paper added that the U.S. military told officials of the local municipality and assembly and the Okinawa Defense bureau when they visited the construction site on May 8 that the length and width of the runway will not change. 

•  Two men involved in Chatan robbery fled toward sea   (Okinawa Times)

•  Currency exchange shop in Chatan robbed   (Okinawa Times)

U.S. Embassy Tokyo Media Analysis and Translation Team