Afternoon Alert   -   Monday, April 26, 2021
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Noon news

Broadcasters led with reports on the LDP's defeat in three national elections on Sunday and Prime Minister Suga's remarks this morning that he will take the results of the elections seriously (NTV, Fuji TV, TV Asahi), the situation on the first weekday since Tokyo, Osaka, Kyoto, and Hyogo were placed under a state of emergency (NHK), and a drop in the number of people out and about in major districts of Tokyo by 30 to 50% from a week ago on Sunday (TBS).


U.S. made concession on Taiwan in exchange for Suga’s pledging support for U.S. military

Kyodo looked into the behind-the-scenes negotiations between the governments of the United States and Japan in the run-up to the release of the joint statement after the Biden-Suga summit in Washington on April 16. The news service claimed that the President gave up on his demand that the joint document mention the Taiwan Relations Act in exchange for a commitment from Japan to offer to the U.S. logistical support in the event of a contingency in the Taiwan Strait. According to the article, the Japanese side was reluctant to address the Taiwan issue, particularly the Taiwan Relations Act, in the statement out of fear that it would trigger a strong response from China. The GOJ was reportedly eager to include the phrase, “the peaceful resolution of cross-Strait issues,” in order to cushion the preceding language, “We underscore the importance of peace and stability across the Taiwan Strait,” which inferred the two allies’ readiness to increase deterrence against China’s potential aggression.

In winning the President’s concession, the prime minister allegedly said the following: “If a crisis were to occur in Taiwan, it could be construed as a ‘situation posing a threat to the survival of Japan’ or a ‘situation having a significant impact on national security,’ as defined in the comprehensive security legislation. Under such a scenario, we would be ready to support the United States.” The article claimed that some USG officials view Suga’s taking care not to upset Beijing as reflecting a pro-China position, noting that they were also “irritated” by LDP Secretary General Nikai's conciliatory stance toward China. “The U.S. and Japan would be able to cooperate more without Nikai,” a USG source was quoted as saying.

Commentary: For China, Japan looks to be leaving Asia to side with U.S. (Nikkei Asia)

Commentary: Is talk of an Olympic boycott real or diplomatic Kabuki? (Nikkei Asia)

Japan walking a tightrope amid U.S.-China economic tussle (The Asahi Shimbun)

Behind scenes of Japan-U.S. summit over Taiwan (Sankei)

Seiron column: “Taiwan contingency” is contingency for Japan (Sankei)

INTERVIEW: Japan should promote cooperation with China, S. Korea (Jiji Press)

Editorial: Japan-U.S. alliance remains strong, but challenges lie ahead (The Japan Times)

Chinese and Russian troops battle subzero chill in Siberia drills (Nikkei Asia)

Walter Mondale was the epitome of the heavyweight ambassador (Nikkei Asia)

Opinion: United action on a global basis only way to defeat the pandemic (The Asahi Shimbun)


Defense Ministry to study impact of climate change on security

NHK reported this morning that the Ministry of Defense will set up a task force as early as May to discuss the possible impact of climate change on security. The network said Defense Minister Kishi stated in a speech at a session of the climate change summit hosted by President Biden on April 23 that climate change could spark territorial disputes as the rise in the sea level will result in a decrease in land. The network said the ministry will set up a climate change task force as early as mid-May to discuss the impact of climate change on security and examine countermeasures, including providing assistance to island nations that could be affected by the sea level rise, and securing freedom of navigation in the Arctic Ocean as melting ice due to global warming will lead to more maritime traffic in the region. Meanwhile, the ministry will also consider measures to prevent Japan's defense capabilities from weakening on account of the fact that the SDF is frequently deployed for disaster relief operations due to the increasing severity of natural disasters, which affects training.

4 China govt ships enter Japanese waters around Senkakus (Jiji Press)

Japan gov’t studies SDF response in event of Taiwan Strait conflict (Kyodo News)

Editorial: Put a stop to the Chinese military’s invasion by cyberattacks (Japan Forward)

U.S. unit of Japan’s Hoya hit by cyberattack (Jiji Press)

231 people’s data likely stolen in cyberattack on Cabinet Office (The Asahi Shimbun)


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

Prime minister’s schedule on April 24, 2021 (Sankei)

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

Focus: Virus surge, election loss put Suga’s future in question (Kyodo News)

Suga suffers triple defeat in bellwether Diet by-elections (Nikkei Asia)

Japan’s opposition gets results but divisions arise (The Japan News)

Voters who focused on “politics and money” scandals voted for opposition candidates, Asahi exit polls (Asahi)

Suga postpones visit to Ise Jingu shrine again (Jiji Press)

Takashi Kawamura wins for fifth time as Nagoya mayor (The Mainichi)


74% in Japan support engagement in Taiwan Strait, Nikkei poll (Nikkei Asia)

Kono top pick for next prime minister, Nikkei poll (Nikkei)


Fukui Pref. assembly OKs restarts of Mihama, Takahama n-reactors (Jiji Press)

Editorial: Convey safety of treated water’s ocean release to global community (The Japan News)

NTT, Fujitsu to develop next-generation network together (The Japan News)

Editorial: How long will Toshiba take to regain its bearings after the CEO’s exit? (Japan Forward)


Suga stopped short of 50% emissions cut, after White House visit (Nikkei Asia)

Editorial: Major societal change needed if Japan is to hit emissions target (The Asahi Shimbun)

Editorial: Map out specific steps to achieve greenhouse gas reduction targets (The Japan News)

Japan’s new emissions goals a step forward but not enough to hit 2050 target (The Japan Times)

Decarbonization goals have businesses wary of losing competitive edge (The Japan News)

Suga’s new emissions target not just about climate change (The Japan News)

Japan should try California-style solar panel mandate: Koizumi (Nikkei Asia)

GE pushes installation of typhoon-proof offshore turbines in Japan (Nikkei Asia)


Tokyo Olympic organizing committee calls for deployment of 500 nurses

Jiji reported that the Tokyo Olympic and Paralympic organizing committee has filed a request with the Japan Nursing Association to dispatch some 500 nurses to the international sporting events, noting that concern is growing over whether enough healthcare providers can be secured to work at the Games amid the coronavirus pandemic. The organizing committee reportedly underscored that thorough preparations will be made to ensure that the Olympics will not have an adverse effect on hospital capacities.

Behind the scramble over Japan’s third coronavirus emergency (The Japan Times)

Editorial: Show concrete measures to abate ‘4th wave’ during state of emergency (The Japan News)

Editorial: Latest state of emergency underscores failed leadership (The Asahi Shimbun)

Editorial: With 3rd COVID-19 emergency, Japan faces crucial stage in protecting lives (The Mainichi)

Infographic: Five COVID-19 indicators for 12 key prefectures (April 21, 2021) (NHK digital)

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

Infographic: 569,065 persons in Japan confirmed to be infected with COVID-19 (April 25, 2021) (NHK digital)


Cartoon: Can he clear the bar? (Asahi)

Is the IOC putting a torch to ‘freedom of speech’? (The Japan Times)

U.S. national runs in Olympic torch relay in disaster-hit Ozu City (Yomiuri)

Vox populi: Forging ahead with Olympics shows priorities are all wrong (The Asahi Shimbun)

Embassy checks on detained journalist’s condition (NHK WORLD)

Mainichi President Maruyama to head Japan newspaper association (The Mainichi)

Editorial: Casually using pirate sites endangers livelihood of authors, publishers (The Japan News)

Editorial: Society must assist ‘young carers’ struggling under heavy family burden (The Japan News)

Imperial couple attend environmental awards event (NHK WORLD)


LDP-backed candidate wins Uruma mayoral race

Okinawa Times and Ryukyu Shimpo reported that a former municipal assembly member supported by the LDP and the Komeito party prevailed over a rival fielded by political forces close to Governor Tamaki in the Uruma mayoral race on Sunday. The LDP local chapter and the Suga administration were buoyed by the result as it followed a victory by the candidate they backed in the Urasoe mayoral election in February. They are reportedly becoming increasingly confident about their prospects for unseating the governor in the election scheduled for September 2022. As four additional mayoral races are scheduled next year in the island prefecture ahead of the gubernatorial election, the papers said Tamaki and his supporters will need to swiftly revamp his reelection campaign strategy. According to Okinawa Times, the U.S. military and bases were not a major issue in the election.

U.S. Embassy Tokyo Media Analysis and Translation Team