Afternoon Alert   -   Wednesday, September 16, 2020
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Noon news

All networks led with reports on LDP President Suga's election as the 99th prime minister of Japan today.


Suga elected 99th prime minister of Japan

NHK reported that LDP President Suga was elected as the 99th prime minister of Japan at plenary sessions of both chambers of the Diet this afternoon. The network said Suga earned 314 votes in the Lower House and 142 votes in the Upper House. Members of the opposition camp voted for Constitutional Democratic Party of Japan leader Edano. According to the network, Suga is expected to go to the Kantei and meet with Komeito leader Yamaguchi before forming his cabinet. The network added that after being formally appointed by the Emperor, Suga will launch his new cabinet this evening and hold a press conference to explain his basic policies. Asahi noted that this is the first change of leadership in Japan since December 2012 when Shinzo Abe became prime minister. The daily said Suga served as chief cabinet secretary for a record 2,822 days under Prime Minister Abe and won the party presidential race by stressing his continuity with the Abe administration. 

•  Suga elected Japan PM by lower house amid virus, economic woes   (Kyodo News)

•  Japan’s Suga leans on contacts with reformers and CEOs   (Nikkei Asian Review)

•  Opinion: Suga must expand Abe’s assertive Indo-Pacific vision   (Nikkei Asian Review)

•  Suga’s perspective on foreign affairs   (Sankei)

•  In the spotlight: Suga seeks to build own diplomatic style   (The Asahi Shimbun)

•  Can behind-the-scenes operator Suga excel as Japan’s prime minister?   (The Japan Times)

•  Editorial: Japan’s new ruling party chief should pave own path, not inherit Abe regime   (The Mainichi)

•  Suga can move agenda forward, can he fit initiatives into big picture?   (Asahi digital)

•  For Japan’s new Constitutional Democratic Party, the hard work starts now   (The Japan Times)

•  Abe resigning, leaving legacy of light and darkness   (Jiji Press)

•  Prime minister’s schedule on Sept. 15, 2020   (Sankei)


U.S. paying close attention to how Suga differentiates himself in foreign policy

Jiji Press reported from Washington that the USG is hoping that Japan's foreign policy under the new Suga administration will follow along the lines of the diplomacy of former Prime Minister Abe, who attached importance to the U.S.-Japan alliance. Jiji wrote, however, that unlike his predecessor, who built a personal relationship of trust with President Trump, it remains to be seen how much political energy the new Japanese leader will devote to diplomacy, adding that the U.S. is paying close attention to how Suga will differentiate himself in foreign policy. 

•  U.S. eager to cooperate with Japan as it awaits new prime minister   (Kyodo News)

•  Abe to not call S. Korean, Chinese leaders before exit   (Jiji Press)

•  Editorial: ASEAN should not become an arena where U.S., China vie for hegemony   (The Japan News)

•  Japan, China, S. Korea to discuss coronavirus measures   (Jiji Press)


•  Commentary: Abe’s last national security legacy for Suga to complete   (The Japan Times)

•  Japan to continue debating missile defense under new leader   (Jiji Press)

•  Japan faces challenge of spearheading global trade rulemaking amid U.S.-China confrontation   (Nikkei)

•  Two people affiliated with Yokosuka base test positive for COVID-19   (Kanagawa Shimbun)


•  Trade policy to be major challenge for new Japan govt   (Jiji Press)

•  Japanese chipmakers scramble to replace Huawei sales after US ban   (Nikkei Asian Review)

•  UK to apply for TPP membership early next year   (Nikkei Asian Review)

•  TEPCO to build new breakwater at Fukushima N-plant   (Jiji Press)


•  How to deal with employees tested positive for COVID-19   (Nikkei)

•  Central govt to help local govts with PCR testing expenses   (Asahi)

•  METI to issue electronic COVID-19 test certificates for business travel abroad   (Sankei)

•  Tokyo to ask people who tested positive for COVID-19 to endeavor to recuperate at hotel   (Nikkei)

•  Editorial: Act carefully to keep virus in check while restoring vitality to tourism   (The Japan News)

•  Infographic: Status of gov’t indicators for COVID-19 in Tokyo (Sept. 15, 2020)   (Tokyo Shimbun)

•  Infographic: 77,283 persons in Japan confirmed to be infected with COVID-19 (Sept. 15, 2020)   (NHK digital)


•  Olympics: Local organizers expect accord with IOC on simplifying games   (Kyodo News)

•  Ex-Nissan exec Kelly pleads not guilty over Ghosn case   (Jiji Press)

•  Ex-aide to Ghosn pleads not guilty over alleged financial misconduct   (Kyodo News)


Head of supporters’ group for Okinawa Governor Tamaki to step down

Okinawa Times and Ryukyu Shimpo front-paged reports that Morimasa Goya, chairman of the Naha-based construction and retail company Kanehide Group, expressed on Tuesday his intention to step down as the head of Okinawa Governor Tamaki's main supporters’ group at the end of this month. Goya reportedly told the papers on Tuesday that he will step down to focus on running his company, which has been hit hard by the coronavirus outbreak. Ryukyu Shimpo wrote that former Lower House member Toshinobu Nakasato is likely to succeed Goya.

The papers wrote that although Goya stressed that he will continue to support Tamaki, his departure may weaken the influence of the All-Okinawa Coalition, an organization established by opponents of the construction of “a new base” at Henoko, including Okinawa Prefectural Assembly members, labor unions, civic groups, and business people. Goya has been a symbolic representative of local business people who oppose the Henoko plan.

U.S. Embassy Tokyo Media Analysis and Translation Team