Afternoon Alert   -   Wednesday, September 23, 2020
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Noon news

Most networks gave top play to reports on Typhoon Dolphin, which is slowly moving toward the Kanto region. TV Asahi led with a report on a speech by President Trump at the annual meeting of the UN General Assembly during which he reiterated his America First policy.


Ambassador-nominee Weinstein approved by Senate Foreign Relations Committee

NHK reported online that Dr. Kenneth Weinstein, who has been nominated by President Trump as the next U.S. ambassador to Japan, was approved by the Senate Foreign Relations Committee on Tuesday. The network said Dr. Weinstein is expected to take up the post in Japan as Ambassador Hagerty's successor after being approved by the full Senate. However, the network noted that his term might change significantly depending on the outcome of the U.S. presidential election. According to NHK, Chief Cabinet Secretary Kato told the press this morning: "Mr. Weinstein has led various efforts to promote mutual understanding and relations between the United States and Japan as the president of the Hudson Institute and has developed a vast network of contacts in both the public and private sectors. When he assumes his post, I expect that he will make significant contributions to the further development of the solid U.S.-Japan relationship." Concerning Dr. Weinstein's remark at the congressional hearing that he will ask Japan to make further security contributions with an eye on China's military buildup, Kato reportedly said: "We've been drastically strengthening our security through proactive and voluntary efforts, such as the enactment of the security legislation and the review of the national defense program. We will continue to strengthen the U.S.-Japan alliance and work closely with the U.S. to realize a 'free and open Indo-Pacific' and secure regional peace and prosperity."

PM Suga arranging for talks with ROK counterpart on Thursday

Fuji TV reported at noon that Prime Minister Suga is making arrangements to hold a teleconference with South Korean President Moon Thursday morning, saying that this will be the first time for the Japanese and ROK leaders to officially exchange views since December 2019. The network speculated that Suga is expected to extend greetings as prime minister and ask for cooperation in resolving the abduction issue. According to a GOJ official, the leaders are not expected to discuss such issues as former wartime requisitioned workers or export controls during the teleconference. The network added that there are expectations in South Korea that bilateral relations may improve under PM Suga, saying that in response to President Moon's letter congratulating Suga's inauguration, Suga said, "Japan and South Korea are important neighbors," according to the Blue House.

•  Japan wants permanent U.N. Security Council seat   (Jiji Press)

•  Prime Minister Yoshihide Suga is faced to navigate a difficult path between China and the United States   (The Japan News)

•  Suga’s UN debut to focus on global cooperation to contain pandemic   (Nikkei Asian Review)

•  U.S. woos Taiwan and its chipmakers in step toward trade pact   (Nikkei Asian Review)

•  Taiwan president says she has no plans to talk to Japan’s Suga   (The Japan Times)

•  Ex-Japan PM Mori meets Taiwan President Tsai   (NHK WORLD)

•  China warns against Suga govt’s possible approach to Taiwan   (Jiji Press)

•  S. Korea voices concern over radioactive water release into sea   (Jiji Press)

•  Suga hopes for future-oriented ties with S. Korea   (Jiji Press)

•  Opinion: How will Japan’s new leader handle growing China-US tensions?   (Nikkei Asian Review)

•  First Suga-Trump talks go off without a hitch, but challenges still ahead   (The Japan Times)

•  Commentary: Is the world ready for a Trump re-election?   (The Japan Times)

•  Japan firms’ moves into Africa hit by COVID-19, Abe exit   (Jiji Press)

•  China-led AIIB’s troubled loans spike amid pandemic   (Nikkei Asian Review)

•  U.S. society at risk as it decouples from China in science and tech   (Nikkei Asian Review)

•  U.S. vs China: South China Sea drills centered on submarine warfare   (Nikkei Asian Review)

•  Commentary: After Abe’s charm offensive, new Japan leader needs Russia reset   (Nikkei Asian Review)

•  Editorial: Putin must clarify suspected poisoning of anti-government leader   (The Japan News)

•  Exclusive: Japan saw “big picture” over 1989 Tiananmen crackdown   (The Asahi Shimbun)


•  Fighter and cool-headed realist, Suga is willing to cooperates with outsiders   (Asahi)

•  Suga takes over tough diplomatic challenges left by his predecessor   (The Asahi Shimbun)

•  Prime minister’s schedule on Sept. 18, 2020   (Sankei)

•  Prime minister’s schedule on Sept. 19, 2020   (Sankei)

•  Prime minister’s schedule on Sept. 20, 2020   (Sankei)

•  Prime minister’s schedule on Sept. 21, 2020   (Sankei)

•  Prime minister’s schedule on Sept. 22, 2020   (Sankei)

•  Highlights of Japan-related events scheduled for Sept. 21-27   (Kyodo News)

•  Let the Suga-Nippon Ishin bromance begin   (The Japan Times)

•  Suga Administration begins: New leader holds dissolution card close at hand   (The Japan News)

•  Suga’s three snap election scenarios   (Nikkei)

•  Editorial: Time for new Japan PM Suga to show diplomatic colors, build int’l trust   (The Mainichi)

•  Japan’s Suga leans on Abe’s brother and holdovers to handle China   (Nikkei Asian Review)

•  Caretaker or changemaker? Riddle of Japan’s ambitious new leader   (Nikkei Asian Review)

•  Commentary: Can Suga replicate success of maverick reformer Koizumi?   (Nikkei Asian Review)

•  Suga skips Diet debates; another extra session seen in late Oct.   (Jiji Press)

•  Meet Japan’s new top government spokesman, same as the last one   (The Japan Times)

•  Editorial: Japan’s new PM Suga must address warped political-bureaucratic ties   (The Mainichi)

•  Editorial: Suga administration needs to address Japan’s economic gap   (The Mainichi)

•  Editorial: Prime Minister Suga: give us new policies and structural reforms to grow the economy   (Japan Forward)

•  Editorial: Quickly present blueprint for digitization of public administration   (The Japan News)

•  Editorial: Planned digital agency scheme must put Japan public first   (The Mainichi)

•  Japan govt to submit prosecutors’ bill again next year   (Jiji Press)

•  Abe: I’ve managed to pull Japan out of its decline   (The Japan News)

•  Cartoon: Taro away!   (Tokyo Shimbun)


•  Suga cabinet’s initial approval rating at 74%, 3rd highest since 1978, Yomiuri poll   (The Japan News)

•  Opinion poll & results from Yomiuri Shimbun   (Yomiuri)

•  Suga Cabinet kicks off with approval rating of 65%, Asahi survey   (The Asahi Shimbun)

•  Opinion poll & results from Asahi Shimbun   (Asahi)

•  64% support Japan PM Suga’s Cabinet, 35% have high hopes for policies, Mainichi spot poll   (The Mainichi)

•  Spot opinion poll & results from Mainichi Shimbun   (Mainichi)


•  FOCUS: Don’t pursue strike capability or NATO-like Asia, scholars tell Suga   (Kyodo News)

•  Japanese gov’t to pay over 300 million yen for contaminated soil removal from former site of U.S. military base in Fukuoka   (Mainichi)

•  U.S. scholars voice doubts about Defense Minister Kishi at online conference   (Kanagawa Shimbun)

•  Five years after enactment, new security laws bearing fruit   (The Japan News)

•  Editorial: National security legislation an issue that must be re-examined   (The Asahi Shimbun)

•  Japan’s Defense Ministry plans to offer university tuition support to woo young people to join SDF   (The Japan News)


•  Tighter U.S. regulations on Huawei already affecting Japan   (The Japan News)

•  TikTok row pushes companies in Japan into marketing dilemma   (Nikkei Asian Review)

•  Editorial: FTC must continue to train watchful eye on data oligopolies   (The Japan News)

•  Tackling economic revival amid adversity   (The Japan News)

•  INTERVIEW: New Japanese farm minister vows to boost exports   (Jiji Press)

•  Commentary – Japan-U.K. trade deal: Cheer amidst the gloom   (The Japan Times)

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

•  Editorial: Much at stake in picking a final nuclear waste disposal site   (The Asahi Shimbun)

•  EXCLUSIVE: Japan to aid local govts vowing carbon neutrality   (Jiji Press)

•  Japan mulls tax breaks for foreign finance hires   (The Japan News)

•  Toray boosts carbon fiber output for fuel cell vehicles by 50%   (Nikkei Asian Review)

•  U.S. startup’s carbon capture concrete wins Mitsubishi’s backing   (Nikkei Asian Review)

•  COVID-19 spurs digital shift for companies in Asia   (Nikkei Asian Review)

•  Editorial: Reconstruction of Tohoku region to test commitment of ‘self-help’ Suga   (The Asahi Shimbun)


•  Japanese again wins parody version of the Nobel Prize   (The Asahi Shimbun)

•  Japan leads battery tech race with a third of global patent filings   (Nikkei Asian Review)

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


IOC President Bach expresses confidence about holding Olympics even without vaccine

NHK, TBS, Fuji TV, and TV Asahi reported that International Olympic Committee (IOC) President Bach expressed confidence about holding the Tokyo Olympics amid the COVID-19 outbreak in an open letter released on Tuesday. He reportedly said that the fact that sporting events are being held despite the restrictions imposed by the coronavirus pandemic "should give all of us confidence in our preparations for future events, including the Olympic Games Tokyo 2020." According to the networks, President Bach also expressed the view that holding the Olympics will be possible even if a vaccine is not available by saying that "these recent weeks have shown that we can organize big sports events in a safe way even without a vaccine." Meanwhile, NHK reported that in response to President Bach's message, Tokyo Governor Koike told the press this morning: "It's reassuring to hear that he is positive about holding sporting events safely."

Tokyo Olympic organizing committee making final arrangements to reduce number of participants

Fuji TV reported at noon that the Tokyo Organizing Committee of the Olympic and Paralympic Games is making final arrangements to reduce the number of people who visit Japan to participate in the Tokyo Olympics and Paralympics, such as board members of international sports associations, by 10 to 15% as part of efforts to simplify the Tokyo Games to reduce additional costs caused by the postponement of the sporting event.

•  Japan to set up testing systems at regional airports handling international flights   (The Japan News)

•  Convict to sue Osaka Prison for stricter COVID-19 measures   (The Asahi Shimbun)

•  Japanese approval sought for Avigan to treat COVID-19   (Nikkei Asian Review)

•  INTERVIEW: Japan’s new health minister eyeing virus test expansion   (Jiji Press)

•  Editorial: Lessons from ‘second wave’ can guide way to economic revival   (The Asahi Shimbun)

•  Unruly anti-mask passengers disrupt Japanese airlines   (Nikkei Asian Review)

•  Asian airlines fight to reassure passengers over virus response   (Nikkei Asian Review)

•  Visitors to Japan plunge 99.7 pct in Aug.   (Jiji Press)

•  Infographic: Status of gov’t indicators for COVID-19 in Tokyo (Sept. 22, 2020)   (Tokyo Shimbun)

•  Infographic: 80,614 persons in Japan confirmed to be infected with COVID-19 (Sept. 22, 2020)   (NHK digital)


•  Japan plans new system for refugee applicants to live in society to avoid long-term detentions   (The Japan News)

•  Japan dangles 2-year visas for aspiring student entrepreneurs   (Nikkei Asian Review)

•  Olympics/ Tokyo Games cuts limited to tens of billions of yen in savings   (The Asahi Shimbun)

•  Fincen files: Money trail ties Tokyo Olympic bid consultant to kin of IOC member   (The Asahi Shimbun)

•  Record number of people seen linked to cannabis cases in Japan   (Jiji Press)

•  Japan’s all-male boards a no-no for overseas investors   (The Asahi Shimbun)

•  Suga inherits Abe’s broken promise: to empower Japan’s women   (Nikkei Asian Review)

•  Museum memorializing Fukushima nuclear disaster opens in Futaba   (Kyodo News)

•  Long-lost photos show bustle in the Ginza at time of 1964 Olympics   (The Asahi Shimbun)

•  Lawyer sounds alarm over Japanese gov’t proposals on foreigners facing long-term detention   (The Mainichi)


•  U.S. marine in Okinawa arrested for hitting a man   (Ryukyu Shimpo)

•  U.S. soldier in Okinawa arrested for DUI   (Ryukyu Shimpo)

U.S. Embassy Tokyo Media Analysis and Translation Team