Afternoon Alert   -   Wednesday, February 10, 2021
The following information reflects the reporting of the cited news media and does not reflect the opinions of the U.S. Embassy in Tokyo. Japan Media Highlights is intended for USG use only and should not be forwarded. Visit the website here. For more information, contact TokyoMATT@state.gov.


Noon news

Broadcasters led with reports on remarks made by Economic Revitalization Minister Nishimura at the Diet this morning that the GOJ will make a final decision on whether to lift the state of emergency after hearing the experts' views (NHK), Tokyo Governor Koike's intention not to attend a meeting with International Olympic Committee Chairman Bach, Tokyo Olympics Organizing Committee President Mori, and Olympics Minister Hashimoto planned for Feb. 17 in light of Mori's controversial remarks (NTV, TBS), arrangements being made within the GOJ to forgo lifting the state of emergency for all 10 prefectures (Fuji TV), and Mori's plan to attend a board meeting of the Tokyo Olympics Organizing Committee to be held on Friday and apologize for his controversial remarks (TV Asahi).


Defense Minister Kishi, Chargé Young discuss China’s new coast guard law

All national papers except Asahi took up a meeting between Defense Minister Kishi and U.S. Embassy Chargé d’Affaires Young that was held at the ministry yesterday, saying the two officials exchanged views on China’s recent enactment of a new coast guard law. “We have serious misgivings” about the statute, said the Japanese cabinet minister. “It is absolutely unacceptable.” Chargé Young was quoted as saying in reply that the U.S. and Japan share the goal of pursuing a free and open Indo-Pacific.

Japan raps China’s new coast guard law as “unacceptable” (Kyodo News)

Japan Defense Minister voices doubts about China’s Coast Guard Law (Jiji Press)

Interview with former Taiwanese Air Force deputy commander (Sankei)

Editorial: Global teamwork vital in addressing aggressive China Coast Guard law (Nikkei Asia)

Editorial: South Korea must coordinate with Japan, U.S. on North Korea policy (The Japan News)

Biden seeks Tokyo-Seoul thaw to help end North Korea deadlock (Nikkei Asia)

Expert sees chance for cooperation with Japan under Biden (Jiji Press)

Suga and Putin should build relationship of trust by meeting in person: Ishin Diet member (Sankei)

Return to “expanded equilibrium” approach to Northern Territories, says expert (Sankei)

Japan mulls, but hopes to avoid, halt in economic aid to Myanmar (Sankei)

Editorial: Japan needs new strategy to take back Northern Territories from Russia (Japan Forward)

Japan offers $70 mil. more to ensure poor nations’ access to vaccines (Kyodo News)

Japan supports 2nd term for Guterres as U.N. chief (Kyodo News)

Cartoon: Jail for democracy’s champions (Tokyo Shimbun)


U.S. Navy conducts drills in South China Sea

NHK reported this morning that the U.S. Navy announced that a pair of carrier strike groups conducted military drills in the South China Sea on Tuesday, saying that this was the first time for such drills to be held since the launch of the Biden administration. The network noted that the move came after a freedom of navigation operation on Feb. 5 and claimed that it was aimed at sending a strong message to China. According to the network, the U.S. Seventh Fleet released a statement saying that the Theodore Roosevelt Carrier Strike Group and the Nimitz Carrier Strike Group conducted dual carrier operations on Tuesday. Commander Verissimo of the Theodore Roosevelt Carrier Strike Group reportedly stressed: "Through operations like this, we ensure that we are tactically proficient to meet the challenge of maintaining peace and we are able to continue to show our partners and allies in the region that we are committed to promoting a Free and Open Indo-Pacific." The network added that the Biden administration has upheld the position of the former Trump administration that China's maritime claims in the South China Sea are illegal.

Host nation support: We already pay substantially, Japan lawmakers say (Nikkei Asia)

MSDF chief: Losing communication big problem (NHK WORLD)

Commentary: Taiwan looms ever larger among Japan’s security concerns (The Japan Times)

PM Suga briefed by expert on Senkakus (Nikkei)

Private sector to launch new consultative body on economic security (Nikkei)

Editorial: Asia should welcome Britain’s planned naval dispatch to keep China at bay (Japan Forward)

Japan wary DPRK may resume missile tests (Sankei)


Taiwan Semiconductor Manufacturing to build R&D center in Japan (Kyodo News)

Japan’s Chiyoda wins LNG export hub contract in Qatar (Jiji Press)

Editorial: NRA needs to re-examine TEPCO’s fitness to operate nuclear plants (The Asahi Shimbun)

Tsuyoshi Hasebe to succeed Naotoshi Okada as Nikkei president, CEO (Nikkei Asia)


Prime minister’s schedule on Feb. 9, 2021 (Sankei)

Japan govt adopts digital transformation bills (Jiji Press)

Editorial: Pursue digitization reforms that will bring real convenience to daily life (The Japan News)

LDP leadership picks Komeito candidate for Hiroshima district in next general election (Nikkei)

Japan lawmakers join Clubhouse app to reach voters (Nikkei Asia)


10 years on: Moves going on to bring new industries to Fukushima (Jiji Press)


Memorial held in commemoration of 20th anniversary of Ehime Maru accident

TBS and TV Asahi reported at noon that a memorial service was held in Honolulu on Tuesday to commemorate the 20th anniversary of the Ehime Maru accident that occurred in waters off Hawaii, in which nine people, including four students of Uwajima Fisheries High School, were killed. The network said although the families of the victims attend the ceremony each year, the number of people at the ceremony this year was limited due to the coronavirus pandemic. The networks said a moment of silence was observed at 1:43 p.m. local time, adding that a memorial was also held at Uwajima Fisheries High School today.

Diet group condemns China on Uyghurs, presses for domestic human rights law (Sankei)

Imperial couple may make online visit to Tohoku (NHK WORLD)

Olympic sponsors raising voices against Mori’s women remark (Jiji Press)

Female lawmakers in Japan wear white to protest Mori’s sexist remarks (Kyodo News)

Nations should share vaccines to ensure Olympic safety: IOC member (Nikkei Asia)

LDP No. 2 Nikai adds fuel to the fire over Mori’s sexist comments (The Asahi Shimbun)

“Ordinary” Japanese tend to be caught in conspiracy theories – the danger of “prior justification” (Asahi digital)

Japan draws up pre-emergency measures over pandemic (Jiji Press)


GOJ to forgo lifting state of emergency for any prefecture on Friday

Fuji TV reported at noon that the GOJ is making arrangements to forgo lifting the state of emergency for any prefecture on Friday and maintain it for all 10 prefectures. The network said although the GOJ was looking into lifting the state of emergency for Aichi and Gifu prefectures on Friday, it has changed its stance and decided to maintain the strong measures in order to improve the infection situations in all 10 prefectures given that the healthcare system remains strained even in prefectures where the number of cases per day is dropping. The network said Prime Minister Suga, who has been seeking to partially lift the state of emergency to avoid imposing a burden on the public, is leaning toward keeping it in place for the time being. The network added that the GOJ is once again expected to examine whether to partially lift the state of emergency as early as next week, saying that some say making a decision on when to lift a state of emergency is more difficult than declaring one.

Individual vaccination plans gradually spreading in Japan (Jiji Press)

Japan readies cold logistics for Feb. 14 arrival of Pfizer vaccine (Nikkei Asia)

Olympics: Athletes to test for COVID-19 at least every 4 days in Tokyo (Kyodo News)

Infographic: Status of gov’t indicators for COVID-19 in Tokyo (Feb. 9, 2021) (Tokyo Shimbun)

Infographic: 409,058 persons in Japan confirmed to be infected with COVID-19 (Feb. 9, 2021) (NHK digital)


Defense Ministry to move ahead with Naha port transfer following Urasoe election

Ryukyu Shimpo wrote that in response to Urasoe Mayor Matsumoto’s victory in the mayoral race on Sunday, Defense Minister Kishi told reporters on Tuesday that his ministry will continue its efforts to transfer the functions of the Naha Military Port to Urasoe. Kishi added that the mayor has been proactively working on issues related to U.S. military bases.

U.S. Embassy Tokyo Media Analysis and Translation Team