Afternoon Alert   -   Friday, September 18, 2020
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Noon news

All broadcasters led with reports that the former chairman of Japan Life Co. and 13 others were arrested this morning on allegations of fraudulent business practices.


PM Suga, President Trump to hold teleconference

TBS reported at noon that according to a government source, arrangements are being made for Prime Minister Suga and President Trump to hold a teleconference possibly before the end of this week. Noting that Suga has made the U.S.-Japan alliance the foundation of his foreign policy, the network speculated that the two leaders will confirm the continuation of their bilateral partnership and discuss international efforts to contain the coronavirus pandemic. The network added that National Security Secretariat Secretary General Kitamura will visit the U.S. at the beginning of next week to meet with National Security Advisor O'Brien.

•  New START Treaty “may expire,” U.S. envoy   (Asahi)

•  Interview: Russian envoy to U.S. blasts ‘unproductive’ coalition against China   (Nikkei Asian Review)

•  Russia ready for constructive cooperation with Japan: Putin   (Jiji Press)

•  Japanese firms call on China not to exclude foreign firms from gov’t procurement   (Nikkei)

•  Ex-PM Mori to attend memorial service for Lee Teng-hui   (Yomiuri)

•  Over 700 fire ants found at port in central Japan   (Jiji Press)

•  Semiconductor industry faces advent of “geopolitics of technology”   (Nikkei)


Chief Cabinet Secretary Kato says U.S.-Japan alliance stronger than ever

Sankei reported online that Chief Cabinet Secretary Kato stressed at a press conference today the significance of Japan's security legislation that enabled the limited exercise of the right to collective self-defense, which went into effect exactly five years ago. He reportedly said: "The U.S.-Japan alliance has become stronger than ever, and our deterrence and response capabilities are improving.... We will protect the lives and livelihoods of the people under all circumstances." Kato also reportedly said the security legislation enabled the SDF to protect U.S. vessels, use weapons when coming to the aid of geographically distant units or personnel under attack in UN peacekeeping operations, and participate in the Multinational Force and Observers (MFO) in the Sinai Peninsula.

•  Suga govt needs to draw up new missile defense system   (Jiji Press)

•  Nobuo Kishi, Abe’s younger brother, seeks to carve out new role as Japan’s defense chief   (The Japan Times)

•  Odawara Police identify two people who died in road accident   (Kanagawa Shimbun)

•  Capacity to attack enemy bases will lead to unification of Japan and U.S. military: Former top GOJ official   (Tokyo Shimbun)

•  Ex-defense minister calls for improved SDF working conditions   (Jiji Press)


•  Prime minister’s schedule on Sept. 17, 2020   (Sankei)

•  Deputy PM Aso, CCS Kato listed first and second in line to serve as acting prime minister   (Nikkei)

•  LDP to retain Amari as tax panel chief   (Yomiuri)

•  LDP parliamentary group compiles proposals for tighter control of Senkakus   (Yomiuri)

•  Editorial: Simply succeeding Abe as Japan’s PM does not grant Suga legitimacy   (The Mainichi)

•  Kono’s red-tape complaint hotline halted   (Jiji Press)

•  Abe willing to be ‘special envoy’ for new PM Suga   (The Japan News)

•  Editorial: Formidable challenges ahead as Suga era begins   (The Japan Times)

•  Economic challenges faced by Suga cabinet   (Yomiuri)

•  Still doing situps: Japan’s PM starts first day with old ritual   (Nikkei Asian Review)

•  Yamaguchi secures 7th term as Komeito leader   (Jiji Press)

•  Rengo decides to support CDPJ   (Yomiuri)


•  Approval rate for Japan’s new Cabinet at 66%, Kyodo News spot poll   (Kyodo News)

•  Kyodo News spot opinion poll & results from Tokyo Shimbun   (Tokyo Shimbun)

•  Japan’s Suga shoots to 74% approval on ‘trust’ factor, Nikkei spot poll   (Nikkei Asian Review)


•  Editorial: Strengthen ties with Britain through new trade agreement after EU exit   (The Japan News)

•  Interview with British trade minister on Japan-UK EPA, CPTPP membership   (Nikkei)

•  What will ‘Suganomics’ look like?   (The Japan Times)

•  Japan’s new leader wants Suganomics to take off immediately   (Nikkei Asian Review)

•  Suga’s ambitious food export target called into doubt   (Jiji Press)

•  Japan to review corporate dispute arbitration system   (Jiji Press)

•  Editorial: Suga should seize opportunity to reinvent nation’s energy policy   (The Asahi Shimbun)

•  Coronavirus crisis realigns Asia’s steel industry stars   (Nikkei Asian Review)


•  President Trump’s reasons for stressing space exploration: Interview with the U.S. Chargé d’Affaires and NASA rep   (Newsweek, digital)


•  Editorial: Safe event management urged after limits eased on number of spectators   (The Japan News)

•  Japan to present vision of Olympics amid pandemic by year-end   (Jiji Press)

•  Trial of anti-parasite drug to treat COVID-19   (NHK WORLD)

•  Tannin found in persimmons fights COVID-19, Japan team says   (The Asahi Shimbun)

•  Infographic: Status of gov’t indicators for COVID-19 in Tokyo (Sept. 17, 2020)   (Tokyo Shimbun)

•  Infographic: 78,322 persons in Japan confirmed to be infected with COVID-19 (Sept. 17, 2020)   (NHK digital)


•  Editorial: Lifting Fukushima evacuation orders without decontamination should be limited   (The Mainichi)


Kono effectively links Okinawa’s support for base realignment and economic assistance

The two major Okinawa papers highlighted a remark made to the press on Thursday by Okinawa Affairs Minister Kono stressing that the economic development of Okinawa is closely connected to U.S. base issues. “We cannot discuss the development of Okinawa without addressing the base issues,” Kono said. He stressed that he intends to evaluate past spending programs for the island economy and said U.S. military installations could be tapped as a “resource” for enabling local students to learn English. Kono also disclosed that he will visit Naha on Saturday for talks with Governor Tamaki.

The two dailies also took up new Defense Minister Kishi’s press remarks underscoring the Suga administration’s commitment to implementing the plan to build the Futenma replacement facility off Camp Schwab since it is the “only viable option” to concurrently maintain the deterrence of the U.S.-Japan alliance and remove the danger associated with MCAS Futenma.

U.S. Embassy Tokyo Media Analysis and Translation Team