Afternoon Alert   -   Wednesday, March 24, 2021
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Noon news

All broadcasters led with reports that Barcelona Olympic judo gold medalist Toshihiko Koga died at the age of 53 today.


Senior officials of U.S., Japan, ROK to meet in Washington to discuss DPRK

NHK reported at noon that a USG official disclosed on Tuesday that senior national security officials of Japan and South Korea will be invited to Washington next week for trilateral talks on North Korea. According to the network, National Security Advisor Sullivan, National Security Secretariat Secretary General Kitamura, and Office of National Security Director Suh Hoon will attend the talks. The U.S. official reportedly said they will be the highest-level foreign officials to visit Washington since the launch of the Biden administration. The network said the officials are also expected to hold bilateral talks, adding that Sullivan and Kitamura are likely to discuss the abduction issue and Japan-ROK relations as well. The U.S. official also reportedly said that the comprehensive review of U.S. policy on North Korea is "at its final stage," adding that Washington is expected to announce its new North Korea policy after the high-level talks next week. TBS carried a similar story, adding that Kitamura is expected to confirm the importance of the trilateral alliance ahead of Prime Minister Suga's planned visit to the U.S. in April.

Meanwhile, Sankei focused on remarks made to the press this morning by Chief Cabinet Secretary Kato concerning a South Korean media report alleging that the DPRK fired two cruise missiles into the Yellow Sea on the morning of March 21. “We are aware of the report,” the government spokesman was quoted as saying. “We are constantly collecting and analyzing information on North Korea’s military activities with great interest. However, given the sensitive nature of the information, we do not comment on individual cases.”

Interview: Myanmar Ambassador to UN urges Japan to impose sanctions on Myanmar military (Mainichi)

Editorial: U.S. raises concerns on behalf of global community (Sankei)

Japan reluctant to impose sanctions over China’s human rights abuses (The Japan News)

Trial of Japanese man arrested by Chinese authority started in February (Yomiuri)

Japan’s ambassador thanks Hubei chief for help (NHK WORLD)

Japan awards Chinese man for help amid pandemic (NHK WORLD)

China and North Korea to reopen border, aid shipments being assembled in Liaoning (Asahi)

Editorial: US must coordinate with allies in its engagement with China (Nikkei Asia)


U.S. military claims helicopters exempt from pact on flight altitude in Japan (The Mainichi)

4 Chinese ships enter Japanese waters near Senkakus (Jiji Press)

LDP approves security-linked land bill (Jiji Press)

U.S. military aircraft suspected of flying at low altitudes over Nagano (Akahata)


Canon and Tokyo Electron to join Japan advanced chipmaking project (Nikkei Asia)

Gov’t keeps view on Japan economy, warns of slow recovery in exports (Kyodo News)

Toyota to produce key fuel cell components in China (Nikkei Asia)

More water injected into Fukushima Daiichi reactor (NHK WORLD)

Japan holds work visa exam in Vietnam (NHK WORLD)

Line shuts off access from China (Jiji Press)


Prime minister’s schedule on March 23, 2021 (Sankei)

Commentary: Japan needs a stronger crisis review system (The Japan Times)

Communications ministry scandal puts focus on Japan’s Broadcast Act (The Japan Times)

Cartoon: The fall of the Kawais (Tokyo Shimbun)


Japan working on carbon-cutting ideas in aviation (NHK WORLD)


Preparations underway for domestic production of COVID-19 vaccines in Japan (The Japan News)

Scientists devise way to painlessly inject vaccines without needles (The Asahi Shimbun)

Japan’s slow COVID vaccine rollout turns hope into frustration (Nikkei Asia)

Pandemic leads to Japan land prices falling for 1st time in 6 years (Kyodo News)

Infographic: Six COVID-19 indicators for 12 key prefectures (March 23, 2021) (NHK digital)

Infographic: Status of gov’t indicators for COVID-19 in Tokyo (March 23, 2021) (Tokyo Shimbun)

Infographic: 459,895 persons in Japan confirmed to be infected with COVID-19 (March 23, 2021) (NHK digital)


Japan sets up group for criminal justice digitalization (Jiji Press)

Japan’s Mie Prefecture enacts ordinance banning outing (Jiji Press)

Survey: Only 11% of teachers have discussed LGBT issues in class (The Asahi Shimbun)

Editorial: Japan gov’t must unravel slipshod info management behind Line’s data breach (The Mainichi)

Opinion: What Japan and the US can learn from each other (Nikkei Asia)


DM Kishi dismisses alleged U.S. plan to deploy new Marine unit in Okinawa

Okinawa Times took up remarks made yesterday at the Upper House Foreign and Defense Affairs Committee by Defense Minister Kishi concerning Marine Commandant Berger's suggestion last year that a Marine littoral regiment will be launched in Okinawa by 2027. The cabinet minister reportedly said: "Although Japan and the United States are communicating constantly, it is not true that such an idea has been proposed to our side."

U.S. Embassy Tokyo Media Analysis and Translation Team