Afternoon Alert   -   Thursday, September 3, 2020
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Noon news

Most networks led with reports on the approach of Typhoon Haishen, which is expected to develop into an extremely powerful tropical storm and inflict severe damage even if it does not make landfall. TBS led with a report on a fire that broke out on a fishing boat in waters off Akita Port.


Ceremony held in Pearl Harbor to commemorate 75th anniversary of end of WWII

Fuji TV reported that a memorial ceremony was held on the USS Missouri in Pearl Harbor on Sept. 2, where Japan signed the Instrument of Surrender exactly 75 years ago. The network said Secretary of Defense Esper delivered a speech in which he pointed out the importance of strengthening the partnership with Japan over the next 75 years in view of China's expanding its influence in the Pacific region. The Secretary was quoted as saying: "We are working to build an even broader coalition of partners ... to protect the hard-fought gains of generations past and present, especially in the Pacific." The network said the ceremony was scaled down due to the coronavirus pandemic, adding that there were no participants from Japan.

•  China, U.S. and South Korea grapple with a post-Abe Japan   (Nikkei Asian Review)

•  Japan’s China diplomacy escaped from shackles of apology under Abe   (Sankei)

•  Abe holds teleconferences with three heads of state   (Yomiuri)

•  Editorial: Taiwan is caught between two powers — and Japan can help   (Nikkei Asian Review)

•  China officials run for cover as Xi Jinping prepares another brutal purge   (Nikkei Asian Review)

•  Russia’s handover of Japan-claimed isles impossible: Medvedev   (Jiji Press)

•  With eye on China, U.S. aims to ‘formalize’ four-nation ‘Quad’ security grouping   (The Japan Times)

•  Commentary: Who succeeds Abe’s foreign policy?   (The Japan Times)

•  New Japan PM to address U.N. General Assembly on Sept. 25   (Jiji Press)

•  Editorial: Abe’s ‘value-based’ diplomacy fell short of living up to promise   (The Asahi Shimbun)

•  10 years after Senkaku boat collision: What China’s refusal to resolve the issue has taught us   (Nikkei)

•  Nintendo’s Animal Crossing changes game of politics in U.S. and Asia   (Nikkei Asian Review)


•  Prime minister’s schedule on Sept. 2, 2020   (Sankei)

•  Suga eager to meet Kim Jong Un   (Jiji Press)

•  Commentary: How a dark horse became the front-runner to become Japan’s next prime minister   (The Japan Times)

•  Power struggle among LDP factions backing leadership hopeful Suga   (Jiji Press)

•  Editorial: LDP again puts power structure over intraparty democracy   (The Asahi Shimbun)

•  Female lawmakers continue to struggle to get nominations in Japan’s male-dominated Diet   (The Japan News)

•  Strategic relations with China a key to post-Abe gov’t: Hokkaido Prof. Suzuki   (Nikkei)

•  Editorial: Japan’s ruling LDP will not gain public trust without all-party vote on next PM   (The Mainichi)

•  Cartoon: Go To LDP presidency   (Mainichi)

•  Cartoon: Suga in the saddle   (Asahi)


•  Japan OKs safety steps at new nuclear fuel storage facility   (Kyodo News)

•  Reactivation of Fukui nuclear power plant reactors delayed until 2021   (NIKKEI Business Daily)

•  MLIT to designate four harbors as hubs for offshore wind power   (Nikkei)

•  Japan’s appetite for rice takes biggest plunge in 7 years   (Nikkei Asian Review)


•  Suga gives no date for decision on new security strategy   (Nikkei)

•  Slightly over half of Japanese companies have not updated their cybersecurity measures for COVID-19   (NIKKEI Business Daily)


•  JAXA: Hayabusa2 capsule to be released on Dec. 5   (NHK WORLD)

•  Fujitsu, hospital developing AI technology for COVID-19 diagnosis   (Jiji Press)


Coronavirus cases in Tokyo declining, but pace of decline is slow

NHK reported that 211 new cases of COVID-19 were confirmed in Tokyo today, saying that this is the first time for the daily tally to top 200 since Aug. 29. The total number of cases in Tokyo now stands at 21,339. The network said the Tokyo government convened today a meeting to discuss the infection situation and the medical capacity in the prefecture. According to the broadcaster, Tokyo Medical Association Vice President Inokuchi said at the meeting that although the average daily tally over the last seven days was 183, lower than the average of 225 the week before, the pace of decline is slow and the daily tally remains at a high level. He reportedly asked the government to be on guard for a possible resurgence and said Tokyo should remain at the highest level of alert for the coronavirus, which means that the prefecture will have been at that level for eight consecutive weeks. The healthcare system in Tokyo has reportedly remained at the second highest level of alert for nine consecutive weeks.

•  Univ. of Tokyo researchers find patients in serious condition have fewer COVID-19 antibodies   (Nikkei)

•  August worst for Japan virus cases, accounts for half of total   (The Asahi Shimbun)

•  Japan to mass-produce medical masks   (NHK WORLD)

•  COVID weighs on Asia’s largest satellite operator Sky Perfect Jsat   (Nikkei Asian Review)

•  Infographic: New coronavirus cases and positive test rate in Tokyo (Sept. 2, 2020)   (Tokyo Shimbun)

•  Infographic: 70,455 persons in Japan confirmed to be infected with COVID-19 (Sept. 2, 2020)   (NHK digital)


Waseda University closes its campuses due to bomb threat

Sankei reported online on Wednesday on the finding that on Aug. 29 Waseda University received an email threatening to bomb its main buildings on Sept. 4. The paper said the university is planning to close all of its campuses including its affiliated middle and high schools and bar students from entering buildings on Sept. 4. 

Meanwhile, NHK reported online on Wednesday that local municipalities across Japan are receiving similar kinds of threats almost daily, adding that so far at least 16 prefectures have received more than 60 threats since the middle of August. The network said schools and local governments have no choice but to respond to the threats, adding that people across the nation are voicing anger at the threats which they describe as "despicable."

•  Japan loses global status as country free from classical swine fever   (Kyodo News)


Suga promises to move forward with FRF construction

The two major Okinawa papers reported on Chief Cabinet Secretary Suga’s announcement yesterday on his bid to seek the LDP presidency, highlighting his resolve to move forward with the plan to build the Futenma replacement facility off Camp Schwab. “I want people in Okinawa to understand that the FRF initiative is being promoted in the belief that the danger of MCAS Futenma can be removed by transferring its functions to the Henoko area,” he was quoted as saying. “If elected, I will push forward with the relocation initiative that will result in moving one-third of U.S. forces in Okinawa outside the prefecture." 

Ryukyu Shimpo wrote that although Suga extolled the Abe administration’s "accomplishments" in reducing the base-hosting burden on the island prefecture during the press event, his comments on the details were sometimes misleading and inaccurate. Okinawa Times noted that Suga has been the chief proponent of the FRF plan since he assumed the current post in December 2012, expressing the view that he has employed a “high-handed” approach in promoting the construction by directly linking central government subsidies for local municipalities to their support for the project. 

U.S. Embassy Tokyo Media Analysis and Translation Team