Afternoon Alert   -   Monday, August 31, 2020
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Noon news

NHK and NTV led with reports that powerful Typhoon Maysak is approaching Okinawa. TBS, Fuji TV, and TV Asahi gave top play to reports on the upcoming LDP presidential election, with TBS saying that Chief Cabinet Secretary Suga is likely to officially announce his candidacy tomorrow, which is the day on which the date for the presidential race will be decided.


PM Abe conveys to President Trump his decision to resign

All networks reported that Prime Minister Abe and President Trump talked by phone for about 30 minutes this morning. NHK reported that the Japanese premier conveyed to the President his decision to step down and expressed his appreciation by saying that through his relationship of trust with President Trump, he was able to deepen cooperation through numerous visits and teleconferences and strengthen the U.S.-Japan relationship. Abe reportedly reassured the President that his successor will continue to strengthen the bilateral alliance. President Trump reportedly said he was sad to see his closest friend resign and urged him to get sufficient rest to recover, repeatedly expressing appreciation for his strong leadership. In addition, Abe reportedly expressed hope for close bilateral cooperation as Japan is in the process of creating a new security strategy, including missile defense, in light of the severe security environment, including North Korea's improved ballistic missile capability. The Japanese leader also called for continued U.S. support in resolving the abduction issue. In addition, the two leaders reportedly agreed on bilateral cooperation in the development of COVID-19 drugs and vaccines.

Chief Cabinet Secretary Suga reportedly told the press this morning: "Prime Minister Abe and President Trump have built friendship and trust through their many meetings in the past, and today's teleconference also reminded me of the strong bond forged between the two leaders." NHK also reported that the White House released a statement on the teleconference, saying: "The two leaders remarked that their relationship is extraordinary; the President called Prime Minister Abe the greatest prime minister in Japan's history. The President said that Prime Minister Abe has done a fantastic job and that the relationship between the United States and Japan is better today than it has ever been. Although Prime Minister Abe will be leaving his position soon, the President noted that he will undoubtedly keep playing a big role in the future of Japan." NHK also reported that the President posted a tweet saying: "Just had a wonderful conversation with my friend, Prime Minister Abe of Japan, who will be leaving office soon. Shinzo will soon be recognized as the greatest Prime Minister in the history of Japan, whose relationship with the USA is the best it has ever been. Special man!"

According to the networks, PM Abe is expected to also hold talks with Russian President Putin later this afternoon.

Three Hong Kong police investigators visit Nikkei’s Hong Kong Bureau (Asahi)

Japan, UK to restrict governments’ data collection (Yomiuri)

Japan’s foreign policy likely to continue on path set by Abe (Kyodo News)

Continuity or reset? China and South Korea face a post-Abe Japan (Nikkei Asian Review)

Abe’s abrupt exit puts Indo-Pacific strategy and economy at risk (Nikkei Asian Review)

China poised to overtake US in nuclear power by 2030 (Nikkei Asian Review)

75 years on, legacy of the U.S.-led Occupation of Japan still resonates (The Japan Times)


Suga likely to announce candidacy once LDP presidential election date is set

NHK reported that Chief Cabinet Secretary Suga is considering running in the LDP presidential race, saying that he is likely to officially announce his candidacy once the election date is set. The network said the date for the presidential race is expected to be decided on Tuesday, adding that arrangements are being made for holding a scaled-down version of the election sometime between Sept. 13 and 15. When asked whether he intends to run, Suga reportedly said during a regular press conference this morning: "This is a venue for me to explain the positions of the government, so I will refrain from commenting here on the LDP presidential election, including my own intentions."

TBS reported that Suga has already informed LDP Secretary General Nikai of his intention to run for the LDP presidency. The network said the Nikai faction has decided to support Suga, adding that a group of lawmakers who support him will convene this afternoon to prepare. Meanwhile, lawmakers who support LDP policy chief Kishida will also reportedly hold a meeting this afternoon. The network said while Aso and Kishida are close, Aso and Suga have also long been partners in supporting the Abe administration, adding that the moves of the Aso faction will hold the key to the outcome of the presidential race. The network added that former LDP Secretary General Ishiba is lagging behind in support among Diet members, saying that he is calling for holding a full-scale election.

Prime minister’s schedule on Aug. 28, 2020 (Sankei)

Prime minister’s schedule on Aug. 29, 2020 (Sankei)

Prime minister’s schedule on Aug. 30, 2020 (Sankei)

Japan’s next prime minister to be elected around Sept. 17 (Nikkei Asian Review)

Schedule of major political events (Sankei)

Editorial: Candidates to lead LDP should clearly state policies in public forum (The Japan News)

Jockeying already under way to pick Abe’s successor (The Asahi Shimbun)

Commentary: After Abe’s exit, who should lead Japan? (The Japan Times)

Editorial: Avoid political vacuum after Abe’s resignation statement (The Japan News)

Editorial: Abe’s departure must mark start of process to heal democracy (The Asahi Shimbun)

Editorial: PM Abe brought down curtain as administration faced impasse (The Mainichi)

Abe resigning because he ‘cannot fulfill public mandate’ (The Asahi Shimbun)

Commentary: What Abe leaves behind for Japan and the world (The Japan Times)

Commentary: Navigating geopolitical uncertainty in a post-Abe world (The Japan Times)

Commentary: Five points to make sense of post-Abe Japan (The Japan Times)

A legacy slipping away: Why Shinzo Abe stepped down (Nikkei Asian Review)

In pictures: Looking back on Abe’s tenure, from Hiroshima to Mario (Nikkei Asian Review)

Interview: CCS Suga says self-protection is fundamental to preventing spread of COVID-19 (Tokyo Shimbun)


Ishiba seen most fit as Abe’s successor in Kyodo News poll (Tokyo Shimbun)


Keio Univ. Prof. Jimbo tapped as MOD adviser (Yomiuri)

Japan mulls funding study on joining U.S. satellite constellation initiative (Sankei)

All Okinawa political movement reaches a crossroads (The Japan Times)


Biz leaders hail Abe, seek policy continuation by successor (Jiji Press)

Abe’s resignation to complicate casino development in Japan (Jiji Press)

Japan’s PM to exit as Abenomics fizzles with goals unmet (Nikkei Asian Review)

Incomplete Abenomics leaves Japan’s economy unrevitalized (Jiji Press)

Abe’s successor to face challenge to expand free trade (Jiji Press)

Abe lavished attention on ending deflation, without empathy (The Japan News)

BOJ likely to continue ultraeasy policy after Abe’s resignation (Jiji Press)

Thailand throws open LNG imports to private sector (Nikkei Asian Review)

Apple pulled strings behind JDI-Sharp factory sale (Nikkei Asian Review)

Fintech companies outrun big banks in profit and valuation (Nikkei Asian Review)


Japanese start-up’s prototype ‘car’ takes flight (The Japan News)

Editorial: Devise ways to promote Japanese electric vehicles at home and abroad (The Japan News)


All Japan’s foreign residents can travel in and out from September (The Japan Times)

Japan to boost daily coronavirus testing capacity to 200,000 (The Mainichi)

Okinawa to extend state of emergency again (NHK WORLD)

Japan in Talks with Moderna for Supply of Coronavirus Vaccine (Jiji Press)

Editorial: People infected with coronavirus should not be subject to defamation (The Japan News)

Editorial: Coronavirus crisis a chance to stop, think, and build a sustainable world (The Mainichi)

Govt to allow JETs, JICA trainees to enter Japan (The Japan News)

Infographic: New coronavirus cases and positive test rate in Tokyo (Aug. 30, 2020) (Tokyo Shimbun)

Infographic:68,800 persons in Japan confirmed to be infected with COVID-19 (Aug. 30, 2020) (NHK digital)


Japanese abductee families regret Abe’s resignation (Jiji Press)

Hibakusha regret lack of empathy from Abe (Jiji Press)

Sapporo, Osaka make LGBT couples eligible to receive support money (Kyodo News)

Deteriorating structures on Battleship Island at risk of loss (The Asahi Shimbun)


USG officials believe Abe’s resignation won’t affect FRF construction at Henoko

Sunday’s Okinawa Times wrote that in response to Prime Minister Abe’s expression of his intention to step down, several USG officials expressed to the paper on Friday the view that Abe's resignation will not affect the central government’s policy on issues related to U.S. bases in Okinawa, including the construction of the Futenma Replacement Facility at Henoko. The paper wrote that a senior White House official reportedly told the paper that Prime Minister Abe, together with President Trump, further strengthened the U.S.-Japan alliance, and that the United States will work with Abe's successor to advance the construction of the FRF and other common goals between the two nations. The paper also quoted a senior State Department official as reportedly telling the paper that the FRF construction is a high priority for both the United States and Japan and that Washington will work with Abe's successor to steadily move forward with the project.

U.S. Embassy Tokyo Media Analysis and Translation Team