Afternoon Alert   -   Thursday, September 24, 2020
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Noon news

All broadcasters gave top coverage to reports on Typhoon Dolphin, which is slowly moving toward the Tohoku region.


PM Suga tells President Moon Japan-ROK relations can’t be left as they are

NHK, TBS, Fuji TV, and TV Asahi reported at noon that Prime Minister Suga and South Korean President Moon spoke for about 20 minutes this morning. The networks quoted Suga as telling reporters after the talks: "I just had my first teleconference with President Moon. The President congratulated me on my inauguration, and I told him that we should work together on a wide range of issues, including the new coronavirus. I said that Japan and South Korea are each an important neighbor of the other and that bilateral cooperation between Japan and South Korea and trilateral cooperation between Japan, South Korea, and the United States are important for tackling such issues as North Korea." The premier added: "I told President Moon that we cannot leave bilateral relations as they stand since they are extremely strained over such issues as former wartime requisitioned workers. In view of today's teleconference and based on Japan's consistent position on various issues, we will continue to strongly call on South Korea to respond appropriately." The networks said this was the first time for the leaders of Japan and South Korea to hold official talks in about nine months.

NSS chief Kitamura tells Secretary Esper Japan’s foreign policy remains unchanged

NHK reported at noon that National Security Secretariat Secretary General Kitamura met with Secretary of Defense Esper at the Pentagon on Wednesday and told him that the Suga Cabinet will maintain the foreign policy pursued by former Prime Minister Abe and continue to enhance Japan's defense capability and deterrence while strengthening the U.S.-Japan relationship. Kitamura reportedly explained that the GOJ is currently considering alternatives to the canceled Aegis Ashore deployment plan and is drafting a new policy on missile defense. The network said Kitamura also held talks with Deputy Secretary of State Biegun on Wednesday, adding that he is also expected to meet with senior USG officials, including National Security Advisor O'Brien, at the White House during his stay in the U.S. through Sept. 26.

•  Japan has no plan for phone call with Taiwan leader: spokesman   (Nikkei Asian Review)

•  U.S. blacklist filled with companies working for China military   (Nikkei Asian Review)

•  China has no true allies, Pompeo adviser Miles Yu says   (Nikkei Asian Review)

•  Suga wades into turbulent Indo-Pacific diplomacy in Abe’s wake   (Nikkei Asian Review)

•  Editorial: Suga diplomacy needs a vision, with Japan-U.S. alliance at core   (Nikkei Asian Review)

•  Japan to contribute additional 107.6 billion yen to Asian Development Fund   (Yomiuri)

•  A call for practical Japan-Russia relations: Carnegie Moscow Center senior fellow   (Nikkei)

•  Cartoon: Burgers or pancakes?   (Tokyo Shimbun)


•  Prime minister’s schedule on Sept. 23, 2020   (Sankei)

•  PM Suga to visit Fukushima on Sept. 26   (Yomiuri)

•  MOFA, not METI, likely to spearhead Suga administration’s diplomacy   (Sankei)

•  Young LDP lawmakers backing Suga   (Nikkei evening edition)

•  Suga cabinet members in right-wing Diet groups   (Akahata)

•  Editorial: Planned digital agency set to improve convenience   (Japan Forward)

•  Editorial: Japan’s new gov’t needs to prioritize tackling gender inequality   (The Mainichi)


•  62% support Suga Cabinet, an initial approval rate second only to Koizumi and Hatoyama, NHK public opinion poll   (NHK digital)

•  Over 70% are worried about coronavirus infection, NHK public opinion poll   (NHK digital)

•  Political party support rates, NHK public opinion poll   (NHK digital)

•  Cabinet support rates in media outlet opinion polls differ depending on whether poll asks follow-up question   (Yomiuri)


•  Japan to allow entry to 1,000 travelers a day, but not tourists   (The Asahi Shimbun)

•  Japan to open PCR test booking site in Oct.   (Jiji Press)

•  Japan seeks itinerary, pledge to limit activity from foreign Games athletes   (The Japan News)

•  Suga and Koike agree to move forward with holding Tokyo Games   (The Japan Times)

•  Foreign workers in coronavirus predicament seeking way out   (Jiji Press)

•  Infographic: Status of gov’t indicators for COVID-19 in Tokyo (Sept. 23, 2020)   (Tokyo Shimbun)

•  Infographic: 80,828 persons in Japan confirmed to be infected with COVID-19 (Sept. 23, 2020)   (NHK digital)


•  Japan must demonstrate its “own view of China” in new National Security Strategy: expert   (Nikkei Business digital)

•  Japanese security advisor affirms close ties with top U.S. officials   (Kyodo News)


•  Agriculture ministry to set up “exports and international affairs bureau”   (Yomiuri)

•  Energy authority clears TEPCO to restart Niigata nuclear plant   (The Asahi Shimbun)

•  Editorial: TEPCO’s fitness to operate nuke reactors still open to question   (The Asahi Shimbun)

•  Suga, Kuroda affirm govt-BOJ cooperation   (Jiji Press)

•  Fincen files: Small banks shun overseas money transfers due to growing costs   (The Asahi Shimbun)


•  Bipartisan group drafts bill on ownership of space resources   (Sankei)


•  Hiroshima University to host international branch of Arizona State   (Nikkei)


•  China’s oppression of Uyghurs cast shadow over Uyghur group in Japan   (Sankei)


DOD acknowledges delay in development of alternative to toxic firefighting foam

Okinawa Times reported from Washington on testimony given to the House Armed Services Committee on Sept. 15 by a senior Pentagon official regarding the ongoing development of a new type of firefighting product as a substitute for foam containing toxic PFOS. Environmental Research and Development Program Director Herb Nelson reportedly acknowledged that the development has been delayed by about six months due to the coronavirus outbreak. While noting that Congress has already mandated the DOD to phase out firefighting foam containing PFOS by October 2024 to prevent environmental pollution, the daily said lawmakers are growing skeptical about whether the DOD will be able to develop an alternative product by then.

U.S. Embassy Tokyo Media Analysis and Translation Team