Afternoon Alert   -   Monday, June 15, 2020
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Noon news

NHK, Fuji TV, and TV Asahi gave top play to reports on the hot weather across Japan today, calling for caution against heatstroke. NTV and TBS led with reports that an elderly man drove a car into a building near an intersection in Funabashi, Chiba, this morning, injuring two pedestrians.


Suga says GOJ to allow travel across prefectural borders from June 19

NHK reported that Chief Cabinet Secretary Suga told the press today: "Over the last few days, new cases have been confirmed by only a portion of local governments. Although 47 new cases were confirmed in Tokyo yesterday, that was the result of active testing, and 18 of the individuals were working at the same 'host club.' Despite the large population, there were only 10 cases for which the routes of infections were unknown." Suga reportedly added: "We will continue to work closely with Tokyo and other local governments and aim to balance preventing the spread of the virus and promoting social and economic activities." He reportedly said the GOJ is planning to gradually raise the level of social and economic activities as planned, including easing restrictions on travel across prefectural borders on June 19.

PM Abe says he would consider enforcing a curfew with punishment if necessary

TBS and Fuji TV reported on remarks at the Diet this morning by Prime Minister Abe, who expressed the view that he would consider establishing a law to impose a curfew and enforce it with punishment if necessary. The premier reportedly said: "I believe we need to consider the possible enactment of a law to impose a curfew or enforce calls for business closures with punishment if it is absolutely necessary." TBS said Abe made the comment in response to a question from a ruling coalition member at the Upper House Audit Committee session this morning after stressing the need for careful examination because this would greatly restrict individual rights. In addition, the prime minister reportedly said what is needed now is to control the risk of infection while gradually raising the levels of social and economic activity.

JAL to resume full operations at Haneda Airport’s Terminal 1 on July 1

NHK reported today that Japan Airlines (JAL) has decided to resume full operations at Haneda Airport’s Terminal 1 starting on July 1 in light of the recovery in the number of people using it following the lifting of the nationwide state of emergency. According to the network, JAL closed the departure lobby at the North Wing of Haneda Airport's Terminal 1 in April and has only been using the South Wing. The network said JAL has set up thermographic inspection systems at two security check points in the departure lobby at the North Wing in preparation for the resumption of operations. Meanwhile, the network said the timing for resuming full operation of the airport's Terminal 2, which is used by All Nippon Airways and other airlines, has not been decided yet.

Abe comments on COVID-19 vaccines

All national dailies reported online on remarks made on an Internet TV program on Sunday night by Prime Minister Abe. He reportedly talked about the development of COVID-19 vaccines abroad. Noting that the U.S.'s Moderna and the UK's AstraZeneca are moving rapidly to produce vaccines, the premier reportedly stated: “Their vaccines may become available by the end of the year. We are negotiating with them so that there is a sufficient supply for provision to Japan.” He emphasized that there is no reason to ease vigilance against the coronavirus in the summer, as it has also spread widely in warm climates around the world. He was quoted as saying: “We would like to increase our testing and hospital capacities in preparation for a second wave.”

•  Experts worried by Japan’s moves to ease entry restrictions   (Jiji Press)

•  Experts suspect cross immunity explains Japan’s low coronavirus death rate   (The Mainichi)

•  Commentary: Is Japan’s low COVID-19 death rate due to a ‘higher cultural level’?   (The Japan Times)

•  COVID-19 patients with no symptoms likely to stay that way: Japanese researchers   (The Japan Times)

•  Japan uses term “climate crisis” for 1st time   (Jiji Press)

•  Infographic: Trends in no. of coronavirus cases and positive test rate in Tokyo (June 13, 2020)   (Tokyo Shimbun)

•  Infographic: 18,241 persons in Japan confirmed to be infected with COVID-19 (June 14, 2020)   (NHK digital)

•  Mori: 80% of the venues could be available next year for Tokyo Games   (The Japan News)

•  Japan looks to add convenience stores to foreign worker program   (Nikkei Asian Review)

•  Japanese immigration authorities announce conditions for re-entry of foreign residents   (The Japan Times)

•  Japan’s NPA unveils innovative technology to help solve crime   (The Japan News)

•  Only 10% of firms in Japan have addressed LGBT issues, MHLW survey   (Kyodo News)

•  Japan in talks to secure coronavirus vaccines: Abe   (Jiji Press)


•  Japan to ease restrictions on travelers heading to Vietnam   (Nikkei Asian Review)

•  Letter to the editor: US-Japan digital cooperation is world-leading   (Nikkei Asian Review)

•  US fears for Hong Kong’s religious freedom under security law   (Nikkei Asian Review)

•  Expert: As China’s “One Belt, One Road” rapidly expands, Japan must discern to what extent to collaborate with China   (Asahi)

•  Commentary: Five key takeaways from the Japan-Australia Reciprocal Access Agreement   (The Japan Times)

•  Taiwan and Japan lead the way in post-coronavirus reopening   (Nikkei Asian Review)

•  Russian lawmaker on US-China power game: Don’t play us ‘as a card’   (Nikkei Asian Review)

•  Italian ambassador to Japan indicates early opening of border for Japanese tourists and businesspersons   (Mainichi)


•  Japan to tighten foreign investment regulations on medical fields   (Kyodo News)

•  Japan, 10 other TPP nations eyeing ministerial videoconference   (Jiji Press)

•  Japan govt sued over new Haneda low-altitude routes   (Jiji Press)

•  New Haneda routes drawing complaints despite low utilization   (Jiji Press)

•  Toyota president seen as top runner to be next Keidanren chairman   (Tokyo Shimbun)

•  Mitsui E&S to sell warship biz to Mitsubishi Heavy   (Jiji Press)

•  Drugmaker Daiichi Sankyo eyes COVID-19 vaccine clinical test in March   (Kyodo News)

•  Key talks eyed this month for JR Tokai’s maglev shinkansen   (Jiji Press)

•  Death of yields’ puts countries at risk of ‘Japanization’   (Nikkei Asian Review)

•  Editorial: Enhance transparency of criteria in revised Foreign Exchange and Foreign Trade Control Act   (Nikkei)


•  Two GSDF personnel serving on MFO in Sinai Peninsula to be rotated   (Yomiuri)

•  Linton Wells: Japan-U.S. cooperation key for cyberwarfare   (The Asahi Shimbun)


•  Prime minister’s schedule on June 12, 2020   (Sankei)

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

•  Highlights of Japan-related events scheduled for June 15-21   (Kyodo News)

•  Gist of interpellations at Upper House budget committee meeting, June 11, 2020   (Tokyo Shimbun)

•  With dinners canceled, Abe drifts away from public   (Nikkei Asian Review)

•  Abe’s arm-twisting of bureaucrats paved way for Avigan blunder   (Nikkei Asian Review)

•  Japan’s $1tn coronavirus aid sits mired in bureaucratic logjam   (Nikkei Asian Review)

•  Japan fires up plans to scout Hong Kong talent for financial hub   (Nikkei Asian Review)

•  13.8% say they consult Internet for political, election news, poll   (Yomiuri)

•  Editorial: Discussing post-coronavirus outlook is desirable in Tokyo gov. election   (The Japan News)

•  FOCUS: Race for Tokyo governor is Koike’s to lose   (Kyodo News)

•  Editorial: Election offers chance for Tokyo voters to assess Koike’s two sides   (The Asahi Shimbun)

•  Editorial: No more COVID relief delays can be tolerated after Japan’s 2nd extra budget   (The Mainichi)

•  Editorial: Japan industry ministry bears responsibility for confusion over COVID subsidy   (The Mainichi)

•  Koike’s first term as Tokyo governor: Eventful, but little to show for it   (The Japan Times)

•  Japan enacts record 31.9 tril. yen extra budget to ease virus impact   (Kyodo News)

•  Editorial: 2nd supplementary budget must be implemented promptly, efficiently   (The Japan News)

•  Editorial: Where are the checks, balances on massive extra budget spending?   (The Asahi Shimbun)


•  Japanese private rocket fails to reach outer space   (Jiji Press)

•  Japan set to challenge US and China for fastest supercomputer   (Nikkei Asian Review)


•  Black Lives Matter spreads to Tokyo as 2,000 people march to protest racism   (The Japan Times)

•  Over 1,000 turn out at Tokyo rally to protest racial discrimination   (Kyodo News)

•  Japanese government looking to reinvent disaster-hit Fukushima   (The Japan News)

•  Tokyo falls to 3rd most expensive city in world for expats   (Kyodo News)


Okinawa prefecture lodges protest with U.S. consulate, Kadena AB over robbery in Chatan

Saturday's Okinawa Times wrote that the chief of the office of Okinawa governor visited the U.S. Consulate General Naha and Kadena Air Base on Friday to lodge a protest over the robbery at a currency exchange shop in Chatan that allegedly involved two SOFA personnel. According to the governor’s office chief, Brig. Gen. Joel Carey, the commander of the 18th Wing, said during the meeting that the incident was very regrettable and that the base will make efforts to prevent a recurrence. The Okinawa official also said Consulate Naha's Deputy Principal Officer Hilary Dauer said the incident caused great anxiety among the residents of Chatan and the rest of the prefecture. Ryukyu Shimpo ran a similar report on Sunday, adding that the Okinawa official visited the U.S. Consulate and the Kadena base because the U.S. military had rejected the prefectural government’s request for a U.S. military representative to come to the prefectural office.

In a related story, Sunday's Ryukyu Shimpo wrote that the city assembly of Nago unanimously adopted on Thursday a resolution and opinion paper calling for an apology and compensation for the damage and revision of the U.S.-Japan Status of Forces Agreement. The resolution and opinion paper said the incident should not be overlooked because it occurred at a time when strict restrictions on activities both on and off base are called for in response to the coronavirus outbreak. According to the paper, the documents were addressed to the U.S. Ambassador to Japan [sic], the USFJ commander, the Okinawa Area Coordinator, the U.S. Consul general, the prime minister, the foreign minister, the defense minister, and the state minister in charge of Okinawa.

•  Futenma-based Ospreys operate late at night for third straight day   (Okinawa Times, Ryukyu Shimpo)

•  Environment minister comments on PFOS contamination   (Okinawa Times, Ryukyu Shimpo)

U.S. Embassy Tokyo Media Analysis and Translation Team