JAPAN MEDIA HIGHLIGHTS
Afternoon Alert   -   Friday, October 23, 2020
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HEADLINES

Noon news

Networks led with reports on the final U.S. presidential debate (NHK, TBS, Fuji TV, TV Asahi) and the arrest of a man over his involvement in the abandonment of his brother's body in Tokyo (NTV). 

INTERNATIONAL

Kono proposes Japan’s membership in “Five Eyes”

Nikkei reported on the opening on Friday of a security symposium in Tokyo that it co-sponsored with CSIS, focusing on a keynote speech delivered by Administrative Reform Minister Kono. The former defense minister reportedly stressed the importance for Japan to take a concerted approach with the U.S., the UK, and other Western countries amid deepening divisions between democratic states and autocratic ones. He reportedly expressed hope that Japan will eventually be invited to join the Five Eyes. He took issue with China’s rapid military buildup, with which he said Japan cannot easily keep pace, adding that the international community is faced with Beijing’s unilateral attempts to alter the status quo by force. The politician also criticized North Korea for continuing to develop missiles in defiance of UN Security Council resolutions. Kono vowed to strengthen the alliance with the U.S. to cope with these challenges.

PM Suga stresses Japan’s promotion of free and open Indo-Pacific

NHK reported online that in a videoconference this morning Prime Minister Suga exchanged views with American political scientist Ian Bremmer on the challenges faced by the international community, including the growing conflict between the U.S. and China and the coronavirus pandemic. According to the network, Suga responded to Bremmer's analysis of the current state of and future prospects for international affairs by mentioning that he visited Vietnam and Indonesia on his first overseas trip since taking office and stressed that Japan will continue to promote the "free and open Indo-Pacific" initiative.

•  Focus: U.S. election may serve as critical juncture for U.S.-Japan alliance   (Kyodo News)

•  Japan ex-defense minister slams China’s ‘revisionist’ expansion   (Nikkei Asia)

•  Chinese Foreign Minister Wang may visit Japan in Nov.   (Kyodo News)

•  Editorial: Sticking with tradition, Suga makes Southeast Asia his priority   (The Japan Times)

•  Suga strikes ‘fine balance’ in 1st diplomatic trip   (The Japan News)

•  Beijing blasts Suga over free, open Indo-Pacific region push   (The Asahi Shimbun)

•  Visitors on business trips in Japan of up to 3 days to be exempt from 2-week quarantine   (The Japan News)

SECURITY

Mitsubishi says no change in plan to develop ASDF fighter jet

Nikkei took up remarks made to the press this morning by Defense Minister Kishi, who disclosed that he has obtained assurances from Mitsubishi Heavy Industries that it remains committed to developing a next generation jet fighter for the ASDF. The ministry reportedly asked the defense contractor about its plans to produce the new aircraft that will replace the aging F-2 following its decision to give up on developing its SpaceJet passenger plane on account of the global slump in air travel triggered by the COVID-19 pandemic.

•  LDP group urges corporations to enhance anti-leakage measures   (Yomiuri)

•  Over 8,000 takeoffs and landings at Yokota Air Base in past six months   (Tokyo Shimbun)

•  Japanese drug firm Shionogi & Co. hit by cyberattack, data breach   (Kyodo News)

•  In its fifth year, Acquisition, Technology & Logistics Agency still struggles to export equipment   (Kanagawa Shimbun)

•  Commentary: Five takeaways from the Australia-Japan defense ministers’ joint statement   (The Japan Times)

•  U.S. Deputy Secretary of State says Quad framework should be “regularized”   (Sankei)

•  Okinawa women document U.S. military sex crimes in book   (The Asahi Shimbun)

ECONOMY

•  Japan’s NEXI strengthens support for renewable energy projects in developing countries   (Asahi)

•  Yokohama mayor says she will “respect results of referendum” on casino IRs   (Kanagawa Shimbun)

•  Editorial: Government’s energy blueprint needs to return to drawing board   (Nikkei Asian Review)

•  Illegal fishing boats are “extremely serious problem”: CCS Kato   (Yomiuri)

•  Semiconductor tech trends favor China   (Nikkei Asia)

•  Japan urgently needs to revise its energy plan to better reflect reality   (Nikkei)

•  Gov’t to focus on popular wagyu, fish to promote food exports   (Yomiuri)

•  Mitsubishi Heavy halts development of Japan’s homegrown jet   (Nikkei Asia)

•  Sumitomo taps Japanese partners for Hanoi smart city   (Nikkei Asia)

•  Editorial: US Justice Dept.’s suit against Google a chance to stop tech oligopoly   (The Mainichi)

•  Editorial: Clarify Google’s monopoly of online search to maintain fair competition   (The Japan News)

•  Fujifilm unit aims to sell Avigan in China   (Jiji Press)

POLITICS

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

•  Suga inherits Abenomics’ magic wand despite his and Abe’s difference in economic philosophy   (Asahi)

SCIENCE

•  Japan to recruit astronauts in 2021, first intake for 13 years   (Kyodo News)

•  Clinical trial conducted of Japan’s 1st cancer treatment using iPS cells   (The Japan News)

COVID-19

GOJ’s COVID-19 subcommittee to call for extending or dispersing New Year’s holidays

TV Asahi reported at noon on the finding that the GOJ's subcommittee on the new coronavirus in a meeting to be convened this afternoon will likely call for extending or dispersing the New Year's holidays to prevent congestion during the year-end and New Year's holidays. According to the network, since Jan. 4 falls on a Monday, many companies are expected to resume business on that day and the New Year's holidays will only be three days long. As a result, many places across Japan are expected to be crowded, raising the risk of COVID-19 infection. The subcommittee is reportedly expected to discuss calling on companies to disperse the New Year holidays or to extend them to Jan. 11.

•  Percentage of serious COVID cases drops dramatically   (Yomiuri)

•  Special hospitals for COVID-19 patients spring up across nation   (Nikkei)

•  Eased work rules are lifeline for foreign ex-students stuck in Japan   (The Japan Times)

•  Commentary: Harnessing technology key to winning race against COVID-19   (The Japan Times)

•  Screens showing CO2 level set up at venues to lessen virus risk   (The Asahi Shimbun)

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

•  Infographic: 95,960 persons in Japan confirmed to be infected with COVID-19 (Oct. 22, 2020)   (NHK digital)

SOCIETY

•  Record 610,000 bullying cases recognized at schools in Japan   (Jiji Press)

•  Editorial: Be aware of warning signs in children as bullying cases hit record high   (The Japan News)

OKINAWA LOCAL PRESS

Defense chief, Okinawa leader at odds over Futenma relocation

Ryukyu Shimpo and Okinawa Times reported on a meeting in Naha on Thursday between Okinawa Governor Tamaki and Defense Minister Kishi at which the governor demanded the cancellation of the FRF construction initiative, the closure of MCAS Futenma, and the establishment of a venue for dialogue on base issues between Okinawa, Tokyo, and Washington. The defense chief reportedly rejected all of these requests, saying that the Henoko project is the only viable solution to concurrently maintain the deterrence of the U.S.-Japan alliance and remove the risk posed by the Futenma airfield. On Tamaki’s call for a framework for discussions among the three parties, the cabinet minister said: “The central government represents Okinawa in negotiations with the U.S. government. We have no plans to launch such a venue now.” Kishi also dismissed Tamaki’s request that Naha Military Port revert to Japanese control ahead of the transfer of its functions to Urasoe City on the grounds that the return is premised upon the completion of the relocation under the U.S.-Japan agreement.

Kishi reportedly met separately with municipal government leaders, including the mayors of Ginowan and Nago. Okinawa Times observed that Kishi responded with greater courtesy and understanding to local politicians’ calls for increased economic assistance than to the governor's requests. According to the dailies, the defense minister also held talks with III MEF Commanding General Clardy.

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