Afternoon Alert   -   Friday, August 13, 2021
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All broadcasters led with reports on a special heavy rain warning issued for the city of Hiroshima today.


Cabinet ministers visit Yasukuni

NHK reported that Economic Revitalization Minister Nishimura visited Yasukuni Shrine this morning ahead of the Aug. 15 anniversary of the end of World War II. Nishimura reportedly explained to the press that he made a cash offering to the shrine at his own expense and signed the guest book as House of Representatives Member Nishimura Yasutoshi. He reportedly said: "This year, the August 15 anniversary of the end of WWII falls on a Sunday. I visited the shrine in silence early this morning as it might become crowded on Sunday." He also reportedly said he prayed for the souls of the war dead and pledged that Japan will never repeat the tragedy of war and that he will further advance Japan's path as a pacifist nation. The network later reported that Defense Minister Kishi also paid a visit to Yasukuni Shrine this afternoon.

Fewer Diet members participating in group visits to Yasukuni Shrine (Sankei)

Prime minister’s schedule on Aug. 12, 2021 (Sankei)

Suga eases workload for summer, but won’t take day off (The Japan Times)

Japan Lower House Speaker Oshima to retire from politics (Jiji Press)


Did President Biden’s surprise teleconference come as a relief to embattled PM Suga? (Fuji TV digital)

Editorial: ASEAN must unify, reassert itself for the sake of regional stability (The Japan News)

U.S., Japan, other Quad members discuss Taiwan’s “peace and security” (Kyodo News)

Japan calls for Australia’s leadership in Indo-Pacific (Jiji Press)

Political solution difficult for Afghanistan, Pakistan PM (Mainichi)


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

Japan issues exclusion orders to 80 Chinese fishing ships in 2021 (Jiji Press)

Defense Ministry seeking ‘drastic’ increase in fiscal 2022 budget (The Asahi Shimbun)


INTERVIEW: TEPCO unit to promote household solar power biz (Jiji Press)

Japan FTC launches probe into IPO pricing (Jiji Press)

90% of firms see Japan economy growing in 2022 COVID recovery hopes, Kyodo News poll of 111 major companies (Kyodo News)


Oil spills from freighter that ran aground at northeast Japan port (Kyodo News)

Japanese government to create “Green GDP” as economic indicator (Nikkei)


GOJ to formally decide to place more prefectures under state of emergency

Fuji TV reported at noon that according to multiple GOJ sources, the Japanese government is expected to formally decide as early as next week to add more prefectures, including Ibaraki and Fukuoka, to the list of prefectures placed under a state of emergency in response to the rapid spread of the novel coronavirus. Meanwhile, the network said there is a prevailing view that the current state of emergency declaration for Tokyo and five other prefectures will need to be extended beyond Aug. 31. The network added that Prime Minister Suga is planning to discuss the matter with relevant members of the Cabinet this afternoon.

Tokyo’s hospitals under strain as latest COVID-19 wave hits older people harder (The Japan Times)

Japan eases quarantine procedures for countries including U.K. and Pakistan (The Japan Times)

Business owners, experts share their views on mandatory vaccination in Japan (Nikkei)

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

Infographic: Status of gov’t indicators for COVID-19 in Tokyo (Aug. 12, 2021) (Tokyo Shimbun)

Infographic: 1,090,260 persons in Japan confirmed to be infected with COVID-19 (Aug. 12, 2021) (NHK digital)


Video shows dead Sri Lankan woman treated like animal: family (Jiji Press)

Editorial: Change awareness of immigration officials to prevent deaths of foreign detainees (The Japan News)

Japanese companies check supply chains for human rights abuses (Nikkei Asia)


Okinawa university marks 17th anniversary of helicopter crash on campus

Okinawa Times front-paged a report on the 17th anniversary today of the crash of a Futenma-based CH-53D helicopter on the campus of Okinawa International University in Ginowan in 2004. The university is planning to hold a virtual meeting this afternoon and call for the closure of MCAS Futenma. Ginowan Mayor Matsukawa is planning to post on Ginowan's official website a message insisting that the base, which is located in the city center, should not remain in its current location indefinitely. The mayor is also planning to reiterate his resolve to realize the Futenma base’s return to Japan for the future of its young people, adding that he will take every possible measure to remove the danger at Futenma until the base is returned. The paper claimed that the “safe operation of aircraft” pledged by the GOJ and the U.S. military has become a dead letter with at least 36 crashes or emergency landings involving Futenma-based aircraft in the past 17 years. Ryukyu Shimpo wrote that although the momentum to remove the danger at Futenma grew after the helicopter crash in 2004, accidents involving Futenma-based aircraft, including Ospreys and large transport helicopters, have continued to occur.

Arrested U.S. Army base worker also indicted for theft in Aug. 2020 (Okinawa Times)

Request to transplant coral in different area to be re-submitted to Okinawa Prefecture (Ryukyu Shimpo)

U.S. Embassy Tokyo Media Analysis and Translation Team