Afternoon Alert   -   Monday, August 2, 2021
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Broadcasters led with reports on the expansion of the state of emergency to cover Tokyo, Okinawa, Kanagawa, Saitama, Chiba, and Osaka starting today (NHK, NTV, TV Asahi) and a 50-year-old COVID-19 patient in an ambulance who was turned away by about 100 hospitals before being admitted to one about eight hours after the emergency call (TBS). Fuji TV covered the Tokyo Olympic Games.


Kato comments on Iran’s alleged attack on Japanese tanker

NHK reported on an attack against a tanker owned by a Japanese firm in waters off Oman on July 29 in which two crew members, one British and the other Romanian, died. The network said while Israeli Prime Minister Bennett claimed in a press conference on Sunday that Iran attacked the tanker using an unmanned aircraft, the Iranian side denied any involvement. The network added that tensions between the two nations are likely to intensify. The network said that on Sunday Secretary of State Blinken released a statement saying that the United States is "confident that Iran conducted this attack, which killed two innocent people, using one-way explosive UAVs" and strongly condemned the attack. The Secretary also reportedly said in the statement: "We are working with our partners to consider our next steps and consulting with governments inside the region and beyond on an appropriate response, which will be forthcoming."

Meanwhile, Chief Cabinet Secretary Kato reportedly told the press this morning: "We are deeply concerned about this incident that interfered with freedom of navigation amid high tensions in the Middle East. We strongly condemn such an attack....For Japan, which relies on the Middle East for 90% of its crude oil imports, peace and stability in the region is extremely important. A stable supply of crude oil from the Middle East is essential for the stability and growth of the world economy, including the Japanese economy. We will continue to make proactive diplomatic efforts toward relaxing tensions and stabilizing the situation in the Middle East."

A-bomb survivors play “profound role” in COVID pandemic: U.S. scholar (Kyodo News)

Commentary: Lessons from ‘two Nixon shocks’ of 1971 still valid for Japan (Nikkei Asia)

Austin shores up vital US-Philippine ties on Southeast Asia trip (Nikkei Asia)

Vaccines from Japan arrive in Sri Lanka (NHK WORLD)

Japan inks $8 mil. in aid to Mongolia over COVID-19 (Kyodo News)

Editorial: The U.S.-China downward spiral will only get worse (The Japan Times)

Editorial: China’s tech firms in danger of becoming tools of Communist Party (The Japan News)

North Korean economy shrinks 4.5%, worst slump under Kim Jong Un (Nikkei Asia)

N. Korean leader Kim’s sister raps U.S.-South Korea military drills (Kyodo News)

Editorial: Sanction Moscow for Russian premier’s landing on Japan’s Northern Territories (Japan Forward)


Chinese ships spotted near Senkakus for fifth consecutive day (Sankei)

Diet rarely discusses cyberdefense (Nikkei)

ASDF scrambles against Russians increased in June (Asahi)

Japan, U.S. airborne troops conduct first joint parachute jump training overseas (Sankei)

Chinese coast guard ships leave for North Pacific Ocean for patrol (Kyodo News)

Demand for cyber insurance on rise in Japan (Jiji Press)


JAEA resumes operation of next-generation nuclear reactor (Yomiuri)

Japanese banks participate in Russian LNG project in Arctic (Mainichi)

Japan’s JGC and Cosmo to begin jet biofuel production in 2025 (Nikkei Asia)

Feature: Japan firms worried about business impact as Myanmar unrest grows (Kyodo News)

Editorial: Vaccine passports should spur local business, not just international travel (Japan Forward)


Prime minister’s schedule on July 30, 2021 (Sankei)

Prime minister’s schedule on July 31, 2021 (Sankei)

Prime minister’s schedule on Aug. 1, 2021 (Sankei)

Media mix: The risk of vote-splitting makes casinos more likely in Yokohama (The Japan Times)

Main events scheduled for Aug. 2-8 (Kyodo News)

Inside Japanese politics: Japan’s ‘post-Olympics’ curse looms large for embattled Suga (Nikkei Asia)

Aug. 22 Yokohama mayoral election drawing keen attention (Jiji Press)

LDP Chief term to sway election timing: Suga (Jiji Press)

Expert panel head warns PM of coronavirus crisis (NHK WORLD)

Editorial: Unfounded optimism about pandemic making things worse (The Asahi Shimbun)

Editorial: Japan gov’t should rethink stance, boost measures to battle 5th wave of virus (The Mainichi)

Japan’s ex-PM abe to be reinvestigated over scandal (Jiji Press)

Editorial: Reinvestigation into Abe scandal should address citizens’ concerns (The Japan News)


Trend in five-poll average Cabinet support rate and Cabinet support rate in Social Survey Research Center poll (Saitama University Social Survey Research Center)

Highlights of July 2021 Jiji Press Public Opinion Poll (Jiji Press Public Opinion Poll Bulletin)


Japan’s government to study hydrogen storage at airports (The Japan News)

MOE to postpone decision on carbon pricing (Nikkei)

TEPCO to raise fish in treated radioactive water (Jiji Press)

METI to promote energy efficiency at large-scale data centers (Nikkei)

Japan space center joins push to settle Mars and beyond (Nikkei Asia)

Japanese private rocket launched successfully (Jiji Press)

JAXA seeks to recruit, nurture more female workers (Nikkei)


Japan scraps plan to use private English tests for unified exam (Jiji Press)

Editorial: Entrance exam reform doomed by failure to listen to test-takers, schools (The Japan News)


Additional 17 people involved with Games test positive for COVID-19

TBS reported at noon that an additional 17 people related to the Tokyo Olympics, including volunteers and members of the media, tested positive for COVID-19. Three foreigners who arrived 14 days ago, but no athletes, were among the 17. According to the network, this brings the total number of people involved with the Games who tested positive for the virus to 276.

Belarusian sprinter seeks protection at Haneda Airport

NHK, NTV, TBS, and TV Asahi reported at noon that a Belarusian athlete, Krystsina Tsimanouskaya, who was supposed to compete in a 200-meter sprint today, sought protection from the Japanese police at Haneda Airport on Sunday after being taken to the airport against her wishes by her team following her complaints about the national coaching staff on social media. She is reportedly hoping to request asylum in a European nation. The networks said that although the Belarusian Olympic Committee said in a statement on Sunday that coaches had decided to withdraw Tsimanouskaya from the Games on the advice of doctors, who were concerned about her "emotional, psychological state," opposition party members in Belarus pointed out on social media that President Lukashenko had ordered her repatriation.

Crown Prince Akishino to attend Olympics closing ceremony (Jiji Press)

Olympic athletes pained by online bashing, mental health care sought (Kyodo News)

Tokyo Olympics CEO says COVID cases at Olympics “within expectations” (Kyodo News)

Expert calls for talks to establish lockdown law in Japan (Jiji Press)

Young people told to get shots that are largely unavailable (The Asahi Shimbun)

Infographic: Five COVID-19 indicators for 11 key prefectures (July 29, 2021) (NHK digital)

Infographic: Status of gov’t indicators for COVID-19 in Tokyo (Aug. 1, 2021) (Tokyo Shimbun)

Infographic: 937,293 persons in Japan confirmed to be infected with COVID-19 (Aug. 1, 2021) (NHK digital)

Olympic volunteers voice dismay over way event is run (The Asahi Shimbun)

Editorial: Athletes getting a raw deal as Games pass midway point (The Asahi Shimbun)

Japan governors seek restraints on travel in summer (Jiji Press)

Japan expands COVID emergency as experts debate Olympic factor (Nikkei Asia)

Editorial: Olympics must not be blamed for people letting their guard down (The Japan News)

Hiroshima Declaration to call for consensus on nuke abolition (Jiji Press)

Tokyo Olympics not to observe moment of silence for A-bomb victims (Kyodo News)

Life expectancy hits record high again for Japanese men, women (Jiji Press)

Cartoon: Tottering (Kanagawa Shimbun)


Japan’s COVID test bureaucracy leaves returning citizens stranded (Nikkei Asia)

Expert calls for talks to establish lockdown law in Japan (Jiji Press)

Young people told to get shots that are largely unavailable (The Asahi Shimbun)

Infographic: Five COVID-19 indicators for 11 key prefectures (July 29, 2021) (NHK digital)

Infographic: Status of gov’t indicators for COVID-19 in Tokyo (Aug. 1, 2021) (Tokyo Shimbun)

Infographic: 937,293 persons in Japan confirmed to be infected with COVID-19 (Aug. 1, 2021) (NHK digital)

Editorial: Take thorough precautions to protect children from coronavirus infection (The Japan News)

Japan starts vaccinating returnees against coronavirus (Jiji Press)


OIG releases document on delay in DOD’s addressing PFAS risk at military installations

Okinawa Times wrote from Washington that according to a document released by the DOD Office of Inspector General (DOD OIG) on July 22, the Pentagon included PFOS and PFOA on its watch list of chemicals of concern and issued a risk alert in 2011. However, the department did not develop an action plan until 2016 because a Pentagon council discussing the issue did not endorse the alert. According to the paper, the document pointed out that the continued use of foam extinguisher containing PFAS may have compromised the health of military personnel and the environment. The paper wrote that the document was put together in response to a request from a group of 31 members of Congress in 2019 that the DOD OIG undertake a review of the department’s use of PFAS at military sites. Rep. Rashida Tlaib, a member of the Congressional PFAS Task Force, told Okinawa Times on July 23 that the document is the first step toward understanding what happened at the Department of Defense, which has been slow to take action. The paper alleged that the department’s rigid bureaucracy is behind the slow response.

Okinawa government lodges protest with U.S. consul general against incidental fall of suspended container (Okinawa Times)

Air Force base worker in Okinawa arrested for alleged attempted forcible intercourse (Okinawa Times, Ryukyu Shimpo)

Consulate General Naha public affairs staff member featured in exchange gathering (Okinawa Times)

U.S. Embassy Tokyo Media Analysis and Translation Team