Afternoon Alert   -   Monday, February 22, 2021
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Noon news

Broadcasters led with reports on a statement released by the Federal Aviation Administration on Sunday that it has ordered the inspection of all Boeing 777s equipped with the same type of engine as a United Airlines jetliner that suffered engine failure in Denver on Saturday (NHK, NTV), Administrative Reform Minister Kono's remarks on a Fuji TV program on Sunday that the number of elderly people vaccinated against COVID-19 in April will be limited (Fuji TV), and the finding that seven additional officials of the Internal Affairs Ministry were entertained by Prime Minister Suga's son, who works at a broadcast-related company (TV Asahi).


12 Japan firms will kill business deals involving Uyghur forced labor (Kyodo News)

France rejoins Japan in N. Korea surveillance in E. China Sea (Kyodo News)

French Ambassador to Japan: Cooperation with Japan is important (Yomiuri)

Border lockdown strains North Korean economy to breaking point (Nikkei Asia)

Commentary: Australia and Japan’s alliance can beat China’s interdependence trap (The Japan Times)

Trans-Atlantic ‘Quad’ prepares for new Eastern center of gravity (Nikkei Asia)

China boosts rare-earth output amid growing tech war with U.S. (Nikkei Asia)

Editorial: Can new WTO chief overcome dysfunction at global trade body? (The Japan News)

Malaysia: Emergency necessary to curb COVID-19 pandemic (Nikkei Asia)


Japan looks to make domestic venture capital funds more attractive to foreign investors (The Japan News)

Japan to allow domestic venture capital firms to raise more money from foreign investors (The Japan News)

Japan orders carriers to ground some Boeing jets (NHK WORLD)

Water levels at Fukushima reactor containers falling (Jiji Press)

Interview: Mutsu mayor shows discomfort over joint N-fuel facility plan (Jiji Press)

Tokyo high court finds govt liable on Fukushima N-disaster (Jiji Press)

Japan starts scheme linking midsize firms with foreign startups (Jiji Press)

MUFG bank to set up fund to promote renewable energy (Jiji Press)

Editorial: Protect business partners, personal data from IT giants in digital advertising (The Japan News)


Prime minister’s schedule on Feb. 19, 2021 (Sankei)

Prime minister’s schedule on Feb. 20, 2021 (Sankei)

Prime minister’s schedule on Feb. 21, 2021 (Sankei)

Highlights of Japan-related events scheduled for Feb. 22-28 (Kyodo News)

Editorial: Reveal truth behind entertainment scandal at communications ministry (The Japan News)

Editorial: Japan’s comms ministry can’t sweep nepotism suspicions under rug with transfers (The Mainichi)


Public support for Suga Cabinet at 51.5%

Fuji TV reported at noon on the results of its opinion poll conducted over the weekend, which found that public support for the Suga Cabinet fell 0.8 points from last month to 51.5% and nonsupport dropped 1.8 points to 43.2%. The network said while the GOJ's measures against the new coronavirus and the issue of Prime Minister Suga's son dining with Internal Affairs Ministry officials were negative factors, the support for the Cabinet was underpinned by the drop in the number of coronavirus cases and public expectations for COVID-19 vaccination. More than 70% said the appointment of former Olympics Minister Hashimoto as the new head of the Tokyo Olympics organizing committee was "appropriate," and more than half expressed high expectations for new Olympics Minister Marukawa. However, the network said a large number of respondents voiced skepticism about the Tokyo Games, with many saying that there should only be Japanese spectators or none at all, adding that both Hashimoto and Marukawa will be forced to make tough decisions. Meanwhile, when asked who is the most suitable person to become the next prime minister, 22.4% chose Administrative Reform Minister Kono.

Record 40.4 pct in Japan see ties with S. Korea not important, Cabinet Office survey (Jiji Press)

70 pct in Japan want to get vaccinated, Jiji poll (Jiji Press)

Hybrids favored in Japan after gasoline vehicle ban, Jiji poll (Jiji Press)


Japan welcomes U.S. return to Paris climate accord under Biden (Kyodo News)

JAXA to test new solid-state battery in space (The Japan News)


Boards of education in Japan create surveys to protect students from sexual abuse (The Japan News)


GOJ mulls lifting state of emergency for some prefectures this week

Fuji TV reported at noon that the GOJ is making arrangements to decide by the end of this week whether to lift the state of emergency in effect in some 10 prefectures. The network said Prime Minister Suga will meet with relevant Cabinet members on Feb. 24 and convene a task force meeting on Feb. 26 to decide on the matter. The network said that according to multiple GOJ sources, the GOJ is considering lifting the state of emergency for Aichi, Gifu, Osaka, Kyoto, Hyogo, and Fukuoka prefectures but maintaining it for Tokyo, Kanagawa, Chiba, and Saitama until its expiration on March 7.

Japan warns against using unauthorized COVID-19 drugs (Jiji Press)

Vaccination support eyed for Japanese living abroad (The Japan News)

Editorial: Concern growing over intense ‘hoarding’ of COVID-19 vaccines (The Japan News)

Japan’s Fujifilm may restart clinical trial of Avigan for COVID-19 (Kyodo News)

Infographic: Status of gov’t indicators for COVID-19 in Tokyo (Feb. 21, 2021) (Tokyo Shimbun)

Infographic: 426,312 persons in Japan confirmed to be infected with COVID-19 (Feb. 21, 2021) (NHK digital)


12 Japan firms will kill business deals involving Uyghur forced labor (Sankei)

Tokyo protesters appeal for help for Myanmar (NHK WORLD)

Refugee support group criticizes bill to reduce detention time (The Asahi Shimbun)

Rikuzentakata boat leads to sister city ties . . . and cheese (Jiji)

10 years after the Great East Japan Earthquake: ‘Badge of honor’ for caretaker whose advice saved 160 children from tsunami (The Japan News)

Commentary: A decade after 3/11, what lessons has Japan learned? (The Japan Times)

Reflecting on Operation Tomodachi: Personal connections spurred government action (Tokyo Shimbun evening edition)

Editorial: Hashimoto, as new committee head, must dispel chaos, advance Games (The Japan News)

Students taking look at Vietnam War from fresh perspectives (The Asahi Shimbun)

Cartoon: Passing the torch (Tokyo Shimbun)


Okinawa prefectural assembly lodges protest with USG, GOJ over low-altitude flights

The Saturday editions of Ryukyu Shimpo and Okinawa Times wrote that in response to low-altitude flights conducted by U.S. military aircraft in Okinawa, Chairman Teruya of an Okinawa prefectural assembly committee on base issues visited Director Tanaka of the Defense Ministry’s Okinawa bureau and Consul General Robert Koepcke at the U.S. Consulate General Naha on Friday to lodge a protest. The local assemblyman called for the low-altitude flight training to be suspended immediately. Ryukyu Shimpo quoted Teruya as telling the paper that Tanaka said he believes the U.S. side understands the views of the people of Okinawa and there is an operational need for such training. Teruya reportedly asked Consul General Koepcke to provide an opportunity to discuss the issue with the central and local governments. According to Teruya, the Consul General replied by indicating the possibility of considering the request.

In a related development, the papers wrote that Defense Minister Kishi commented on the local assembly’s adoption of a resolution and a written opinion calling for the suspension of low-altitude flights and a drastic review of the U.S.-Japan Status of Forces Agreement at a press briefing on Friday. Kishi reportedly said he is aware of Okinawa residents' concerns. He added, however, that such flight training is important for U.S. forces to perform their mission of defending Japan under the U.S.-Japan Security Treaty.

U.S. Marine arrested on DUI charge (Okinawa Times)

JCG mulls acquiring large unmanned aircraft (Ryukyu Shimpo)

U.S. Embassy Tokyo Media Analysis and Translation Team