Afternoon Alert   -   Monday, March 22, 2021
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Noon news

Broadcasters led with reports on an increase in the number of people out and about in Tokyo on Sunday (NHK, NTV) and the first day after the lifting of the state of emergency on Sunday (TBS, Fuji TV, TV Asahi).


Editorial: U.S.-China talks highlight deep rift between global superpowers (The Japan News)

Editorial: U.S., China should bolster dialogue to cool down tensions (The Asahi Shimbun)

China marks 120-year comeback with fireworks in Alaska (Nikkei Asia)

Gloves off in Alaska as US and China spar over new world order (Nikkei Asia)

Air China’s unusual GE aircraft deal coincides with Alaska talks (Nikkei Asia)

Focus: No breakthrough in U.S.-China talks may hurt Sino-Japan ties (Kyodo News)

Hate crimes against Asians in the U.S.: Two expert views (Nikkei)

Commentary: Two very different ‘two-plus-two’ meetings (The Japan Times)

Exclusive: Japan, U.S. to set up 3 working groups (Jiji Press)

Commentary: The era of the Japan-Australia alliance is here (The Japan Times)

Editorial: Britain’s plan to increase nuke stockpile risks new arms race (The Asahi Shimbun)

Japanese man exposed to 1954 U.S. H-bomb test dies at 87 (Jiji Press)

Mongolia’s first solar-plus-storage project won by Japan-led bid (Nikkei Asia)


Chinese ships spotted near Senkakus for 37th consecutive day (Sankei)

Cyberattacks on Japanese virus control center rose in 2020 (Kyodo News)

Air Self-Defense Force YS-11 makes final flight in Saitama skies (The Japan News)

US, Belgium, France and Japan hold Mideast naval exercise (The Mainichi)

Japan, U.S. to conduct joint exercise based on scenario of “retaking Senkakus” (Mainichi)


Editorial: Conflicting court rulings show judiciary’s misstep on reactors (The Asahi Shimbun)

Delays frustrate plans for Fukushima plant cleanup (The Japan News)

Editorial: Restart of nuclear plant operations is at the mercy of disparate courts (The Japan News)

RCEP seen increasing Japan’s GDP by 2.7 pct. (Jiji Press)

Line’s parent firm to examine personal info breach (The Japan News)

Personal info commission to mull legal action against Line (Jiji Press)

Editorial: Line’s data access case exposes possible risks of outsourcing overseas (The Japan News)

Editorial: BOJ must contain side effects of easing policy to support economy (The Japan News)

Renesas aims to resume fire-hit chip line within 1 month (Jiji Press)

Editorial: Japan’s energy needs review as court halts nuclear plant over evacuation plans (The Mainichi)

Fanuc plans biggest investment in China to expand robot plant (Nikkei Asia)

Japan seeks shot in the arm from TSMC to revive chipmaking sector (Nikkei Asia)

Memory prices soar 60% from start of year amid virus crisis (Nikkei Asia)

30-billion-yen fund eyed to revitalize small firms in Japan (Jiji Press)

New graduates’ job-securing rate falls for 1st time in decade (Jiji Press)


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

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

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

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

Gist of interpellations at Upper House budget committee meeting, March 19, 2021 (Tokyo Shimbun)

Focus: No foreign spectators at Tokyo Olympics mirrors Suga’s weak standing (Kyodo News)

Ruling parties agree to revise land acquisition bill (Jiji Press)

Suga vows to do best for LDP in lower house election (Jiji Press)

Kumagai wins 1st term as Chiba governor (Jiji Press)

Report on research funding aims to improve transparency (The Japan News)

Japan’s bid to raise female election candidates to 35% hard to achieve (Kyodo News)

Media Mix: Did Japan’s press drop the ball on the wining-and-dining scandal? (The Japan Times)

View from Osaka: As long-time Hyogo governor steps aside, will voters seek a new direction? (The Japan Times)

Cartoon: In no mood for “o-hanami” (Mainichi)


Poll: Nearly 50% opposed lifting state of emergency

TV Asahi reported at noon on the results of its opinion survey conducted over the weekend, which found that 49% of respondents expressed opposition to the GOJ's lifting of the state of emergency for the Tokyo region on Sunday, while 38% expressed support. Public support for the Suga Cabinet edged up 0.4 points from last month to 36.6%, while nonsupport fell 2.3 points to 38.7%. On the GOJ's measures against the new coronavirus, 36% expressed support. On the Tokyo Olympics and Paralympics, 27% said they should be held in July, while two-thirds called for another postponement or cancellation. In addition, 39% said the Olympic torch relay should be held as planned. When asked when the Lower House should be dissolved for a snap election, 10% said "as soon as possible," 7% said "around June before the Tokyo Olympics and Paralympics," and 78% said "October when the four-year term of the Lower House members ends." When asked who should be the next LDP leader, 21% chose Administrative Reform Minister Kono, 18% favored former LDP Secretary General Ishiba, and 11% picked Environment Minister Koizumi.

Opinion poll & results from Asahi Shimbun (Asahi)

65% think Japan’s coronavirus vaccine rollout is slow, Kyodo News poll (Kyodo News)

Kyodo News opinion poll & results from Tokyo Shimbun (Tokyo Shimbun)

Over 70 pct of foreigners oppose Tokyo Games as planned, survey (Jiji Press)

Half of younger people in Japan ignorant of “decarbonized society” (Jiji Press)


Japan eyes undersea ‘fire ice’ as source of clean-burning hydrogen (Nikkei Asia)

Mitsubishi’s ammonia fuel project in Indonesia to tap carbon capture (Nikkei Asia)

Half of younger people in Japan ignorant of “decarbonized society” (Jiji Press)


Sixth batch of Pfizer vaccine arrives in Japan

Fuji TV reported that the sixth batch of Pfizer vaccine for COVID-19, containing about 1.3 million doses, arrived at Narita Airport this morning. The network said that according to the Health Ministry, about 578,000 doses of the Pfizer vaccine have been administered by March 19, and about 25,000 people have received their second shots. The network added that elderly people will begin receiving the vaccine in April.

Interview with vaccine minister Kono: Finding ways to support local governments with COVID vaccinations (Sankei)

Japan may approve 2 coronavirus vaccines in May: Minister (Jiji Press)

‘Vaccine passports’ could help global travel resume. But is Japan on board? (The Japan Times)

Gov’t begins checking visitors entering Japan for installation of COVID-19 apps (Nikkei)

Kobe City: Ratio of virus variant infection is 55% (NHK WORLD)

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

Infographic: 457,577 persons in Japan confirmed to be infected with COVID-19 (March 21, 2021) (NHK digital)

Editorial: Stricter COVID-19 measures necessary as Japan moves to end state of emergency (The Mainichi)

Japan governors urge state to prevent coronavirus rebound (Jiji Press)

Editorial: Stay vigilant to avoid resurgence of virus after state of emergency (The Japan News)

Japan cults target lonely college students isolated by pandemic (Nikkei Asia)

COVID-19 crisis shuts out foreign players from Japanese baseball (Nikkei Asia)


3/11 disaster still nightmare for crack ASDF pilot (The Asahi Shimbun)

Yomiuri Shimbun Proposal / Establish strategic system to treat infectious diseases (The Japan News)

Editorial: Yomiuri proposal: Build up Japan’s medical system for the long term (The Japan News)

Focus: Will Tokyo’s overseas spectator ban have lasting impact on Olympics? (Kyodo News)

Refunds in cards for those who bought Olympic tickets overseas (The Asahi Shimbun)

Top medic and Saitama governor back games without spectators (The Asahi Shimbun)

Former JETRO head Hatakeyama dies at age 85 (Nikkei)


Journalist claims U.S. military fails to check soil, water at Kadena AB after PFOS detection

Okinawa Times gave top play to a report by British freelance writer Jon Mitchell in which he claimed that following the detection of high levels of PFOS in a river and a well located near Kadena AB, the U.S. Air Force has not surveyed the soil or water near a fire extinguisher training site at the base, which is suspected to be the origin of the contamination. Mitchell wrote that the 18th Wing has told Okinawa Times that there used to be a two-story concrete building and an outdoor training ground at the fire extinguisher training facility, but the training ground is no longer in use. The writer also said the U.S. military did not answer his question on whether it will allow GOJ or Okinawa prefectural government officials to enter the base to investigate the possibility of PFOS contamination there and said such requests would be discussed by the U.S.-Japan Joint Committee. Okinawa Times reported in August last year that the training facility, which had been in use in the 1970s and 1980s, was located about 50 meters from the river in question and that the results of an Environment Ministry survey in June last year showed that 1,462 nanograms per liter of PFOS, which is about 50 times the government-set limit of 50 nanograms, was detected in the river.

GAO report says environmental analyses contribute to delays in FRF construction (Okinawa Times)

CSIS report views FRF construction at Henoko “difficult” (Okinawa Times, Ryukyu Shimpo)

U.S. Embassy Tokyo Media Analysis and Translation Team