Afternoon Alert   -   Monday, August 9, 2021
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All broadcasters led with reports that Typhoon Liput has turned into an extratropical cyclone and has brought strong winds and heavy rain to Shimane, Hiroshima, and other parts of Japan.


Secretary Blinken, FM Motegi reaffirm commitment to further strengthen alliance

NHK reported online on Saturday that Secretary of State Blinken and Foreign Minister Motegi held a teleconference for about 30 minutes on Friday evening on such issues as China's human rights abuses in Xinjiang. They reportedly reaffirmed their commitment to further strengthen the U.S.-Japan alliance and work closely toward realizing a free and open Indo-Pacific.

Noting that Japan expressed concern over China's human rights violations in Xinjiang and the situation in Hong Kong during the foreign ministers' meeting of the East Asia Summit on Aug. 4, prompting China to react sharply by calling the remarks foreign interference, the network conjectured that Blinken and Motegi held the teleconference in response to China's reaction. The network added that according to a press release by the State Department, the Secretary also "thanked Foreign Minister Motegi for Japan’s commitment to hosting safe and secure Olympic and Paralympic games."

Amb. Linda Thomas-Greenfield: The Olympics were a symbol of the Japanese people’s resilience (Yomiuri)

Q&A: Interview with Ambassador Linda Thomas-Greenfield (Yomiuri)

Olympics signaling Japan’s overcoming of adversity: U.S. envoy (Jiji Press)

U.S. envoy hails Tokyo Olympics as overcoming great adversity (Kyodo News)

North Korea prepares to resume trade with China (Nikkei Asia)

Italian Ambassador says Olympics with no spectators was only viable choice for Japan (Sankei)

China tightens grip on key components of tech economy (Nikkei Asia)

Commentary: Cashless pioneer China extends lead with digital yuan (Nikkei Asia)

Commentary: Despite Moon’s claims, South Korea still relies on Japanese chip materials (Nikkei Asia)

North Korea flouts UN sanctions 3 years on (Nikkei Asia)

Japan urges Belarus to stop repression of citizens (Jiji Press)

Editorial: Stand with the people of Myanmar (The Japan Times)

Commentary: Tokyo too preoccupied to worry about attack on oil tanker (The Japan Times)

Interview: Hisashi Owada: Education vital for international order based on cooperation (The Asahi Shimbun)


Cost of refurbishing F-15 fighters to increase by 23% to 398 billion yen (Yomiuri)

Commentary: The emerging threat of ROK’s missiles (Sankei)

Editorial: Gov’t should address local community’s concerns about Mageshima base plan (Asahi)

EXCLUSIVE: Japan govt to forgo booking costs for new Aegis ships (Jiji Press)


U.S. goal of 50% electric vehicles to pose challenges for Japan’s automakers (Mainichi)

Chinese car makers gearing up to compete in Japanese market (The Asahi Shimbun)

Japan’s public pension fund earns 4.9 t. yen in April-June (Jiji Press)

English services to be offered to foreign financial institutions entering Japan (The Japan News)


Olympics unlikely to turn around public disapproval as Suga had hoped

Kyodo reported that although the Suga administration went ahead with hosting the Olympic Games based on the assessment that Japanese people would probably forget their opposition amid the excitement of Japanese athletes' stellar performance once the Games got started, Japan's “gold medal rush” apparently failed to turn around the prime minister's falling popularity in the face of what he himself referred to as an “unprecedented surge” in COVID-19 cases throughout the 17-day sporting event. Although Suga completely dismissed on Aug. 8 the prevailing view that the Olympics were at least partly responsible for the resurgence, most public health experts believe that many people lowered their guard against the virus by citing the Games as an excuse not to comply with government calls to stay home. Some GOJ officials are still hoping that more people now support the decision to hold the Olympics and that such sentiment will help boost the prime minister’s popularity, but others are afraid that since people are likely to shift their focus to the COVID-19 situation now, Suga may end up in dire straits if public disapproval of the administration’s handling of the pandemic grows.

Suga supports anti-casino candidate in Yokohama mayoral race

All national dailies reported on the official kickoff on Sunday of the Yokohama mayoral election campaign, saying that although the local LDP chapter has chosen not to endorse any particular candidate, Prime Minister Suga, who represents a Yokohama district, has made it clear that he backs former cabinet minister Okonogi Hachiro even though the ex-LDP Diet member is a staunch opponent of incumbent Mayor Hayashi’s bid to host an integrated resort featuring a casino, one of the prime minister's signature policies. As LDP municipal assembly members are divided over who to support in the eight-contestant race where the casino initiative looms large, Suga has allegedly decided to support Okonogi, who is the son of his political mentor and has been his close ally for decades, in order to prevent an anti-casino former academic fielded jointly by the Constitutional Democratic Party of Japan and other opposition parties from clinching the mayoral post of his home turf. As the ruling LDP has suffered one setback after another in national and key local elections since Suga took office last autumn, the papers projected that the premier’s grip on power may weaken further if the opposition candidate wins. Mayor Hayashi and another candidate are in favor of hosting a gambling facility, while the remaining six contestants are opposed to the idea.

Prime minister’s schedule on Aug. 6, 2021 (Sankei)

Prime minister’s schedule on Aug. 7, 2021 (Sankei)

Prime minister’s schedule on Aug. 8, 2021 (Sankei)

Main events scheduled for Aug. 9-15 (Kyodo News)

Inside Japanese Politics: Yokohama election tests Japan’s casino push amid COVID headwind (Nikkei Asia)

Japan’s casino resort candidates put finishing touches on bids (The Japan Times)

Suga’s easy reelection hopes clouded by potential opponents (Jiji Press)

Media Mix: Let them eat pancakes: A new film looks at Yoshihide Suga’s brand of politicking (The Japan Times)

Suga omits part of speech at Hiroshima ceremony (The Japan News)

Independents consistently make up over 30% of opinion poll respondents (Nikkei)


Poll: 61% glad that Tokyo Olympics were held

TBS reported at noon on the results of its opinion poll conducted over the weekend, which found that 61% of respondents said they were glad that the Tokyo Olympics were held. However, a total of 60% thought that holding the Olympics led to the further spread of the virus. In addition, 69% said the Tokyo Paralympics should be held without any spectators.

Meanwhile, public support for the Suga Cabinet fell 10.1 points from last month to a record low of 32.6%, and nonsupport rose 9.2 points to 63.5%. Concerning the government measures against COVID-19, 62% expressed disapproval, while 29% expressed support, up 9 points from last month. On the state of emergency that was expanded to include six prefectures, 49% said the measure was too lax, 41% said it was appropriate, and 6% said it was too strict. As many as 76% said the state of emergency declaration will have no or little effect. On the new government policy on the hospitalization of COVID-19 patients, 36% said it was understandable, while 59% said it was not.

Opinion poll & results from Asahi Shimbun (Asahi)


Editorial: Battered by floods, will Germany go to extremes on decarbonization? (The Japan News)


Suga voices gratitude for successful Olympics

Kyodo wrote that Prime Minister Suga posted a video on the Kantei Twitter account this morning expressing appreciation for the successful completion of the Tokyo Olympics amid the coronavirus pandemic. “We were able to fulfill our obligations as a host nation and pass the baton to the Paris Olympics thanks to the understanding and support of the people,” he was quoted as saying. “I am truly grateful.” He also thanked all the athletes for conveying hope, dreams, and inspiration to people around the world, including children and youth.

In a related story, Jiji reported on remarks made to the press earlier in the day by CEO Muto of the Tokyo Olympic organizing committee, who underscored that the Games were held successfully despite the coronavirus outbreak. "The prevention and mitigation protocols worked well overall. We proved that we could do it if we tried. I think the people felt empowered," he was quoted as saying, adding that more people are now saying it was good that the Olympics were held.

Member of Ghana’s Paralympic team tests positive for COVID-19

Fuji TV reported that one member of Ghana's Paralympic team was found to be infected with COVID-19 after undergoing PCR testing at Narita Airport on Aug. 8. The team reportedly arrived in Fukushima this morning for a pre-Paralympic training camp. According to the network, the member who tested positive is a man in his 30s who supports a powerlifting athlete and is currently being isolated. Since the other nine members of the team are regarded as having been in close contact with the man while on the flight to Japan, they will be required to self-quarantine at a hotel for three to five days.

Officials to be penalized for death of Sri Lankan (NHK WORLD)

Japan to show Sri Lankan woman’s video to bereaved family (Jiji Press)

Employers not investigated in 20% of cases of missing trainees (The Asahi Shimbun)

Editorial: A full accounting of the Tokyo Olympics must be the next step (The Asahi Shimbun)

Tokyo Olympics close as Japan weighs legacy of pandemic Games (Nikkei Asia)

Experts make mixed evaluations of controversial Tokyo Olympics (Jiji Press)

World watches bright, dark sides of Tokyo Games (Jiji Press)

View from Osaka: Kansai looks to lessons from Olympics for own international events (The Japan Times)

Tokyo Paralympics crowds unlikely as delta drives COVID surge (Nikkei Asia)

Editorial: Hiroshima anniversary is a good time for Japan to set its own course (Japan Forward)

Editorial: A-bomb victim Japan should lead efforts to ban nuclear arms (The Asahi Shimbun)

Editorial: Time to share horrors of nuclear weapons as Japan observes A-bomb memorial day (The Mainichi)



More than 100 million doses of COVID-19 vaccine administered in Japan

Fuji TV reported at noon on the finding from multiple GOJ sources that the number of COVID-19 vaccine doses administered in Japan has topped 100 million. The network added that about 1.2 million doses of COVID-19 vaccine are being administered per day in Japan, adding that Prime Minister Suga is hoping that more than 40% of the public will have received their second shots by the end of August.

Where is Japan’s COVID hot spot? In Tokyo, 60% infected at home (Nikkei Asia)

Japan studying giving 3rd coronavirus vaccine shots next year (Kyodo News)

Editorial: Expand overnight patient lodgings to deal with 5th wave of infections (The Japan News)

Infographic: Five COVID-19 indicators for 19 key prefectures (Aug. 5, 2021) (NHK digital)

Infographic: Status of gov’t indicators for COVID-19 in Tokyo (Aug. 8, 2021) (Tokyo Shimbun)

Infographic: 1,032,961 persons in Japan confirmed to be infected with COVID-19 (Aug. 8, 2021) (NHK digital)

Translation apps facilitate smooth operations at COVID-19 vaccination sites in Japan (The Japan News)

Home oxygen gear in demand as Japan limits COVID hospitalizations (Nikkei Asia)

Editorial: Japan gov’t cannot shirk responsibility to protect lives amid 5th virus wave (The Mainichi)


Coral reef transplantation work off Camp Schwab resumed

The Saturday editions of the two major Okinawa papers wrote that the Okinawa Defense Bureau resumed on Friday the transplantation off Camp Schwab of coral reefs for the FRF construction after the agriculture minister issued a stay of execution on Thursday in response to Governor Tamaki’s revocation of the permit for transplantation. According to the articles, the governor immediately issued administrative guidance calling for the operation to be halted on the grounds that it violates the terms and conditions of the permit. The dailies said the resumption flew in the face of the global commitment to protect the environment and safeguard biodiversity, criticizing the GOJ for moving ahead with the force realignment plan at all costs.

U.S. military dismissive of Okinawa’s plan to protest alleged sexual assault by base worker (Okinawa Times, Ryukyu Shimpo)

U.S. Embassy Tokyo Media Analysis and Translation Team