Afternoon Alert   -   Tuesday, January 26, 2021
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Noon news

Broadcasters led with reports on Prime Minister Suga's apology at a Lower House Budget Committee meeting this morning for the increase in the number of people who died of COVID-19 before being hospitalized (NHK, NTV, TV Asahi), opposition parties grilling Suga over whether he intends to host the Tokyo Olympics and Paralympics as planned amid the pandemic (TBS), and the GOJ's plan to administer COVID-19 vaccines to the elderly by sending out vaccination tickets around mid-March and providing two doses of the vaccine within three months (Fuji TV).


Biden administration to consult with allies on China

NHK reported at noon that White House Press Secretary Psaki said at a press briefing on Monday that the U.S.'s stance on China remains unchanged by saying, "Our approach to China remains what it has been for the last months, if not longer" in relation to a recent speech by Chinese leader Xi at the World Economic Forum, in which he stressed global cooperation. She also reportedly said, "We’re in a serious competition with China. Strategic competition with China is a defining feature of the 21st century," indicating that the U.S. will counter China as it threatens U.S. workers and influence in the international community. On the Biden administration's China policy, she reportedly expressed the need for a new policy and said that the administration will engage more with Congress and discuss with allies the path forward. The network added that both Antony Blinken, who was nominated to serve as the secretary of state, and Secretary of Defense Austin view China as a top priority issue under the Biden administration.

EU invites Japan’s Motegi to explain ‘free and open Indo-Pacific’ (Nikkei Asia)

“Seiron” column: North Korea issue a concern under the Biden administration (Sankei)

Editorial: Japan’s involvement needed in newly enforced nuclear ban treaty (The Mainichi)


Outline of bill to prevent land purchases with security implications (Sankei)

ASDF scrambles down in April-December 2020 (Sankei)

“China is a regional hegemon:” U.S. Defense Secretary (Sankei)


With bid policy set, localities in Japan roll dice on casinos (The Japan Times)

Bilateral negotiations on car tariffs continue (Yomiuri)

Japan’s policies “fairly successful” amid pandemic: BOJ Kuroda (Jiji Press)

Japan chip suppliers reap benefits of ‘China exit’ subsidy (Nikkei Asia)


Prime minister’s schedule on Jan. 25, 2021 (Sankei)

Gist of interpellations at Lower House budget committee meeting, Jan. 25, 2021 (Yomiuri)

Researchers funded by foreign entities must declare so when applying for Japan’s largest grant (The Japan News)

India to award Shinzo Abe second-highest civilian honor (Nikkei Asia)

Editorial: Diet debate must focus sharply on steps to contain coronavirus (The Japan News)

Policy speech by the Prime Minister to the 204th session of the Diet (Kantei Website)


Opinion poll & results from Sankei Shimbun (Sankei)

Cabinet approval rate, support for hosting Olympics both plummet, Asahi poll (The Asahi Shimbun)


Fukushima College robot wins top prize for nuclear decommissioning (Kyodo News)


World Athletics chairman says another postponement would mean no Tokyo Olympics

TBS reported at noon that World Athletics Chairman Coe, who is also a member of the IOC, told the network that another postponement of the Tokyo Olympics and Paralympics would mean that the Tokyo Games would have to be canceled. He was quoted as saying: "Suddenly moving the Paris Games in three years' time further down the line is not really a realistic proposition. I'm afraid postponement would almost certainly mean that there will be no Tokyo Games." The network added, however, that Coe also stressed that no discussions are being held by the IOC on canceling the Tokyo Games and cited international athletic competitions that have been held with some spectators amid the pandemic. He was quoted as saying: "We want the Games to be safe and secure, and particularly safe and secure for the communities that are going to host the Games." In addition, he reportedly said the sports community would agree to hold the Games with no spectators if that were the only available option.

Japan’s contact tracers squeezed by mounting COVID cases (Nikkei Asia)

Japan to start random PCR testing to grasp infections in cities (Kyodo News)

Asia’s COVID vaccination drives show Japan as digital laggard (Nikkei Asia)

Editorial: Not enough realistic debate less than 6 months out from Tokyo Games (The Mainichi)

Consultations offered to Vietnamese amid pandemic (NHK WORLD)

Vox Populi: Penalizing people who refuse to be hospitalized for virus is absurd (The Asahi Shimbun)

Infographic: Status of gov’t indicators for COVID-19 in Tokyo (Jan. 25, 2021) (Tokyo Shimbun)

Infographic: 369,197 persons in Japan confirmed to be infected with COVID-19 (Jan. 25, 2021) (NHK digital)

Cartoon: He rather it remain there (Asahi)


Tsunami-hit area struggles to find foreign workers in pandemic (The Asahi Shimbun)

Deposits of toxic herbicide buried all over Japan at risk of release (The Asahi Shimbun)


Okinawa governor disapproves of alleged plan to station GSDF amphibious unit at Henoko

Okinawa Times wrote that Okinawa Governor Tamaki commented on reports that the GSDF and the U.S. Marines reached a “secret agreement” in 2015 on a plan to station the GSDF’s amphibious rapid deployment brigade at the Futenma Replacement Facility to be constructed at Henoko by telling reporters he has never heard of such a plan. The governor added that such a plan would be unacceptable because it would likely involve dual use of the base by the U.S. and Japanese forces and would not help to reduce the base-hosting burden on Okinawa. The governor stressed that Okinawa is seeking substantial reductions of the burden and that Okinawa Prefecture is against the plan to construct a new base at Henoko in the first place. The paper also wrote that Chief Cabinet Secretary Kato said at a press briefing on Monday that the GOJ has no plan to deploy an amphibious unit at Camp Schwab. Ryukyu Shimpo ran a similar report.

Two Okinawan villages protest low-altitude flight exercises (Okinawa Times)

Ginoza Village Council approves resolution requesting closure of Camp Hansen heliports (Ryukyu Shimpo)

U.S. Embassy Tokyo Media Analysis and Translation Team