Afternoon Alert   -   Wednesday, August 18, 2021
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All broadcasters continued to give top coverage to the heavy rains in western Japan, warning again of possible floods and mudslides through tomorrow.


G7 leaders to discuss Afghan situation next week

All TV networks reported that British Prime Minister Johnson and President Biden agreed during a teleconference on Tuesday to hold an online G7 summit next week to discuss the political upheaval in Afghanistan. The UK is the G7 chair this year.

Visa-free visits to four Northern Islands canceled again this year (Asahi)

Tokyo protests to Seoul over S. Korean lawmaker’s visit to Takeshima (Kyodo News)

Asia struggles with vaccine passports as delta challenges region (Nikkei Asia)

From the ashes of Afghanistan, a ‘Biden Doctrine’ emerges (Nikkei Asia)

Commentary: U.S. retreat from Afghanistan threatens China and Russia (Nikkei Asia)

China trumpets U.S. decline, but Asia’s lessons from Afghan chaos hard to discern (The Japan Times)

Tokyo shocked at Taliban victory, failure of years of support (The Asahi Shimbun)

Editorial: ‘Fall of Kabul’ is defining failure in misguided US ‘war on terror’ (The Mainichi)


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

Commercial TV broadcasters air more than 10 programs on SDF (Akahata)


EXCLUSIVE: Japan mulling extending 5G tax breaks (Jiji Press)

CDPJ’s Tajima: Assess the circumstances of semiconductor industry decline (Nikkei)

Editorial: Take effective measures to shore up economy amid pandemic uncertainty (The Japan News)

Infographic: No. of foreign workers, by visa category (Nikkei)

Infographic: Tax revenues and government expenditures, FY1985 – FY2020 (Asahi)


Suga extends COVID-19 state of emergency by 12 days for political reasons

On the GOJ’s official decision on Tuesday to extend the ongoing coronavirus state of emergency through Sept. 12, Asahi and Nikkei claimed that Prime Minister Suga chose to extend the declaration by 12 days to give himself the option of dissolving the Lower House for a snap election before Sept. 17 when the campaign period for the LDP presidential election is expected to begin. The premier is reportedly sticking to his original plan of seeking reelection uncontested in the LDP race by winning the general election first. He allegedly believes that an LDP victory in the general election would quell his party critics, whose number has been growing in view of the plunge in his approval rate, and ensure an uncontested presidential race. As the prime minister has stated repeatedly that a national election must not be held under a state of emergency, Suga allegedly dismissed a proposal for a three-week extension through Sept. 20 made by Economic and Fiscal Policy Minister Nishimura so that he can maintain his grip on power and call a snap election ahead of the start of the LDP race, which can be delayed once the general election campaign begins. The papers added that Suga’s political gambit may not work in the face of the relentless surge in infections, with an unnamed cabinet minister saying: “Dissolving the lower chamber in September will be impossible. The prime minister should rethink his reelection strategy.”

Prime minister’s schedule on Aug. 17, 2021 (Sankei)

LDP considering to vote Sept. 29 to decide party president, sources say (The Asahi Shimbun)

Suga unlikely to call election in early Sept., late Nov. possible (Kyodo News)

Defeat in Yokohama mayoral race might deal fatal blow to Suga (Yomiuri)

Casino resort ups the ante in Yokohama mayoral race (The Asahi Shimbun)

Editorial: Yasukuni visits raise concerns about Suga’s views of history (The Asahi Shimbun)

Commentary: Making the most of Japan’s new weapon in the digital war (The Japan Times)


Cabinet support among young generation plummets to 30%, Kyodo News poll (Tokyo Shimbun)


Japanese aviation industry gets serious about going green (Jiji Press)

INTERVIEW: Japan firm aims to supply euglena-based jetfuel to Asia (Jiji Press)


Sri Lankan family: Papers were mostly blacked out (NHK WORLD)

Women make up 38.5 pct of Japan govt general-staff exam passers (Jiji Press)

Ratio of female managers stays low at Japan firms (NHK WORLD)


Editorial: Govt must take all possible measures to secure medical system (The Japan News)

Infographic: Status of gov’t indicators for COVID-19 in Tokyo (Aug. 17, 2021) (Tokyo Shimbun)

Infographic: 1,183,398 persons in Japan confirmed to be infected with COVID-19 (Aug. 17, 2021) (NHK digital)


Ginowan protests latest mishap involving Futenma aircraft

Okinawa Times and Ryukyu Shimpo wrote that Ginowan Mayor Matsukawa visited Camp Foster on Tuesday and lodged a protest over the recent incident in which components fell off a Futenma-based Osprey. Col. Neil Owens, director of Marine Corps Installations Pacific Government and External Affairs, reportedly apologized for “causing anxiety” among the local community. On the delay in notifying the Japanese side of the incident, the U.S. military official promised to make efforts to provide timely notification in the future. He stressed that Osprey operations will continue at night as well as during the day, adding that all the tilt-rotor planes at the installation underwent a safety inspection following the mishap.

Okinawa unlikely to file suit over GOJ’s rejection of withdrawal of permit for coral reef transplantation (Okinawa Times)

Nago assembly member Kishimoto to run for mayor (Okinawa Times, Ryukyu Shimpo)

U.S. Embassy Tokyo Media Analysis and Translation Team