Afternoon Alert   -   Friday, May 28, 2021
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Noon news

Broadcasters led with reports on a collision between a Japanese cargo ship and a foreign chemical tanker in the Seto Inland Sea yesterday evening in which three of the ten crew members of the Japanese ship went missing (NTV, Fuji TV, TV Asahi) and the GOJ's plan to extend the state of emergency for nine prefectures until June 20 (NHK, TBS).


Singapore lifts restrictions on food imports from Japan

NHK reported that Singapore has lifted its restrictions on imports of Japanese food products that had been imposed after the Fukushima nuclear accident. The network said Singapore had been requiring Japan to submit radiation test reports for fishery products from Fukushima and elsewhere as well as documents stating the origins of all food products from Japan. According to MAFF, Singapore lifted these restrictions as of today. The network added, however, that 14 nations and regions, including China, South Korea, and Taiwan, continue to impose restrictions on imports of food from Japan. Farm Minister Nogami reportedly told the press today: "We will continue to tenaciously urge all levels of government in the remaining nations and regions to ease or remove the restrictions based on scientific grounds."

Chinese foreign minister meets with North Korean envoy

NHK reported on an announcement by the Chinese Foreign Ministry that Chinese Foreign Minister Wang met with new North Korean Ambassador to China Ri Ryong-nam on Thursday. The two officials reportedly agreed to deepen bilateral cooperation with regard to the situation on the Korean Peninsula. Wang also reportedly told Ri that China will continue to provide assistance to North Korea, which has been hit hard by stagnant trade as a result of its coronavirus measures. The network said this is the first time for the two officials to meet since Ri assumed his post in March. Noting that the Biden administration values the trilateral framework between the U.S., Japan, and South Korea in dealing with North Korea while also seeking ways to hold dialogue with the North, the network said China appears to be keeping U.S. moves in check by demonstrating its presence as North Korea's supporter.

The case against appointing “Rahmbo” Emanuel as U.S. Ambassador to Japan (Asahi digital)

TPP ministers to discuss Britain’s membership (Jiji Press)

Japan and EU name Taiwan in joint statement for first time (Nikkei Asia)

Editorial: WHO must reject Beijing’s pressure to exclude Taiwan (Japan Forward)

5 years on: Slow, steady shift in U.S. opinion on nukes (Jiji Press)

Editorial: Strong U.S.-South Korea ties needed (Nikkei)

Japan grabs more international posts, but China is gaining fast (Nikkei Asia)


Chinese ships spotted near Senkakus for 104th consecutive day (Sankei)

Missile tests for sea-based Aegis system to further bloat price tag (The Asahi Shimbun)


Japan draws up new strategy to boost food exports (NHK WORLD)

Asahi Shimbun logs record net loss amid virus crisis (Jiji Press)

BOJ assets quadruple to $6.5 tril. under Kuroda’s aggressive easing (Kyodo News)


Prime minister’s schedule on May 27, 2021 (Sankei)

Suga’s top-down management style under scrutiny after series of rapid policy shifts (The Japan Times)


Can Japan and Toyota win the solid-state battery race? (Nikkei Asia)


Japan weighs letting undergrads use credits gained in high school (Nikkei Asia)


MHLW says 85 people have died after receiving COVID-19 vaccine

NHK reported that the Health Ministry announced on Wednesday that out of the approximately 6,016,200 people in Japan who received the Pfizer vaccine as of May 21, 85 people between the ages of 25 and 102 have died. According to the network, 78% of them were 65 or older and died of hemorrhagic stroke or cardiac arrest. The ministry either could not find a link between their deaths and the vaccine or is still investigating the cases due to limited information. In addition, a total of 146 people had anaphylactic reactions as of May 16, which is about 1 in 41,900 cases. The network said the Health Ministry is planning to continue vaccinating people as it has concluded that there are no serious concerns about the vaccine.

Olympic Minister Marukawa rebuts U.S. experts’ view on anti-coronavirus rules

NHK reported that Olympic Minister Marukawa commented on an article published in a medical journal on Tuesday by a group of U.S. public health experts saying that the anti-coronavirus rules for the Tokyo Games' participants are insufficient. Marukawa rebutted the article by saying: "The article appears to be based on obvious factual errors or misunderstandings. The playbooks outlining anti-coronavirus rules say the participants will be tested daily in principle." She went on to say: "I understand that the article does not call for the cancellation of the Games but points out the need for urgent actions in order to be able to hold them. We will provide thorough explanations so that experts at home and abroad will have an accurate understanding of our anti-coronavirus measures."

Health ministry errors led to reports of 300 Japan arrivals breaking quarantine rules daily (The Mainichi)

Japan steps up efforts to keep Indian variant out as cases rise (The Asahi Shimbun)

Fujifilm unit launches kit to detect Indian variant (Jiji Press)

What’s behind false rumors that foreigners are entering Japan for free COVID-19 treatment? (The Mainichi)

What you need to know about the latest changes to Japan’s border control measures (The Japan Times)

Infographic: Five COVID-19 indicators for 18 key prefectures (May 26, 2021) (NHK digital)

Infographic: Status of gov’t indicators for COVID-19 in Tokyo (May 27, 2021) (Tokyo Shimbun)

Infographic: 735,496 persons in Japan confirmed to be infected with COVID-19 (May 27, 2021) (NHK digital)

Japan high court backs bathroom restriction on trans official (Jiji Press)

Editorial: Japan’s ruling party must outlaw LGBT discrimination, recognize rights (The Mainichi)

Advocacy groups ask Japan gov’t to rethink harsher anti-cannabis law (Kyodo News)

Editorial: Japan’s World Heritage sites require fine balance of preservation and use (The Japan News)


Universities across Japan receive bomb threats (Tokyo Shimbun)

Japan parties agree on postal voting by coronavirus carriers (Jiji Press)

Editorial: Don’t give up on Tokyo Games! (Sankei)

Expert: To hold Olympics, Tokyo cases must fall below 100 a day (The Asahi Shimbun)

Scientists see flaws in IOC virus measures for Tokyo games (Jiji Press)

Organizing committee official stresses economic benefits of Tokyo games (Jiji Press)

EXCLUSIVE: Japan to promote flows of people to regional areas (Jiji Press)

Exclusive: Japan to offer gov’t officials leave for vaccinations (Jiji Press)

Why Japan’s young are bearing the psychological brunt of the pandemic (The Japan Times)

Cartoon: Eyes wide shut (Sankei)

U.S. Embassy Tokyo Media Analysis and Translation Team