Afternoon Alert   -   Wednesday, August 4, 2021
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Most broadcasters led with reports on mounting criticism from both the ruling and opposition parties of the government's new policy limiting hospitalization of COVID-19 patients to those who are seriously ill, need breathing support, or have underlying conditions. TBS's noon news program was preempted by coverage of the Tokyo Olympics.


South-North hotline restoration ordered by Kim Jong Un (Akahata)

Editorial: Intl community must stop Myanmar military from growing in arrogance (The Japan News)

Editorial: Int’l pressure needed now to end chaos, tyranny seizing Myanmar (The Mainichi)

Japan to provide Thailand, Laos with oxygen concentrators (Jiji Press)


National Security Secretariat chief confirms close cooperation with India

NHK reported on Tuesday that National Security Secretariat Secretary General Akiba spoke over the phone with his Indian counterpart Ajit Doval on Tuesday for the first time since he took office last month. The network said after Indian National Security Advisor Doval congratulated Akiba on his recent appointment, the two officials exchanged views on cooperation between Japan and India, further promoting a free and open Indo-Pacific, and cooperation with likeminded nations, including the Quad. They also reportedly agreed to continue to work closely together.

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

GSDF missile unit to be deployed to Ishigaki Island under FY2019-2023 Medium-Term Defense Program (Yomiuri)


Opinion poll & results for Nihon Yoron Chosakai poll on peace (Tokyo Shimbun)


Japan food exports top 500 billion yen for 1st time in Jan.-June (Jiji Press)

Solar power costlier than nuclear energy in 2030: New estimate (Jiji Press)

Commentary: Can Japan break away from its ‘digital defeat’? (The Japan Times)

Mitsubishi Chemical plans $915m US plant as Buy American pressure rises (Nikkei Asia)

China firm to build 50 bil. yen battery plant for Nissan EVs in Japan (Kyodo News)


Nikai still going strong, but some criticize him for long tenure as LDP secretary-general (Yomiuri)


Japan seeks ways to boost students’ English speaking-writing skills after abandoning private sector tests (Nikkei)


Top health expert calls for discussion of nationwide state of emergency

NHK reported that Omi Shigeru, chairman of the GOJ subcommittee on the new coronavirus, said at the Lower House Health, Labor, and Welfare committee today that whether to expand the state of emergency to all of Japan should be taken up for discussion. Omi reportedly said the current rapid spread of the virus is undoubtedly due to the Delta variant, adding that people are also "getting used to" the new coronavirus and the state of emergency measures. Omi also reportedly pointed out that the political leaders have not necessarily conveyed a forceful and unified message.

Additional 29 people linked to Tokyo Games test positive for COVID-19

NTV, Fuji TV, and TV Asahi reported that the Tokyo Olympic and Paralympic organizing committee announced that a single-day record of 29 people linked to the Tokyo Games, including four athletes, tested positive for COVID-19 today. According to the networks, three of the four athletes are members of the Greek artistic swimming team. They reportedly withdrew from the duet program on Aug. 3. The Greek team is also expected to withdraw from the team event slated to begin on Aug. 6.

Editorial: Will policy to limit hospitalizations help to contain pandemic? (The Japan News)

Editorial: New COVID-19 hospital policy could prove fatal to some patients (The Asahi Shimbun)

Despite Suga’s pledge, only 75% of seniors got both jabs (The Asahi Shimbun)

Infographic: Five COVID-19 indicators for 12 key prefectures (Aug. 2, 2021) (NHK digital)

Infographic: Status of gov’t indicators for COVID-19 in Tokyo (Aug. 3, 2021) (Tokyo Shimbun)

Infographic: 957,698 persons in Japan confirmed to be infected with COVID-19 (Aug. 3, 2021) (NHK digital)


Belarusian athlete departs Japan for Poland

All networks reported that Belarusian sprinter Krystsina Tsimanouskaya left Narita at about 11 a.m. today for Poland, where she was granted asylum. She had refused to return home, saying she was being forced to return to Belarus after she posted comments critical of the Lukashenko government on social media.

Ministry for first time names arrivals who broke virus rules (The Asahi Shimbun)

Germany and Hong Kong now recognize Japan’s vaccine passports (The Japan Times)

Cartoon: Suga in a bubble (Asahi)


GSDF electronic warfare unit to be stationed on Japan’s westernmost island

Okinawa Times and Ryukyu Shimpo reported that Defense Minister Kishi told the press yesterday that arrangements are being made to deploy an electronic warfare unit to the GSDF camp on Yonaguni Island in FY2023. Pointing out that by March next year similar units will be deployed to two other installations in the island prefecture, the papers said the third platform on the westernmost isle is intended to beef up the defense of the island chain between southern Kyushu and Yonaguni.

U.S. Embassy Tokyo Media Analysis and Translation Team