Afternoon Alert   -   Thursday, August 26, 2021
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Broadcasters led with reports on the LDP's plan to decide today to hold the LDP presidential election on Sept. 29 (NHK, TBS), the extreme heat in western and eastern Japan (NTV, Fuji TV), and the GOJ's decision to cancel today's appointments at certain vaccination centers following the finding that foreign substances were found in some doses of the Moderna vaccine (TV Asahi).


Japan’s Motegi meets U.S. Second Gentleman (Jiji Press)

U.S. vice president’s husband voices support for Paralympics to Suga (Kyodo News)

Afghan interpreter confides to Mainichi fears of Taliban execution: ‘We’re left behind’ (The Mainichi)

Editorial: Intl community must unite to urge Taliban to respect human rights (The Japan News)

Editorial: Japan’s heavy moral responsibility to get needy out of Afghanistan (The Asahi Shimbun)

Editorial: Afghans at risk of Taliban wrath must be evacuated, too (The Asahi Shimbun)


Kishida officially announces candidacy for LDP presidency

NHK reported that former Foreign Minister Kishida officially announced his candidacy for the LDP presidency this afternoon after the LDP decided to hold its presidential election on Sept. 29.

Prime minister’s schedule on August 25, 2021 (Sankei)

Suga calls for quiet LDP leadership race (Jiji Press)

As his appeal wanes, can Suga be more than a caretaker prime minister? (The Japan Times)

Amari continues to exercise influence as policy guru in Nagatacho (Nikkei)

Hitotsubashi Professor Yoko Ishikura to lead Japan digital agency (Nikkei Asia)

Japan FY 2022 budget requests to top 110 tril. yen for 1st time (Kyodo News)

MOF eyeing record debt-serving cost for FY 2022 (Jiji Press)

Japan to spend 1 t. yen to buy more coronavirus vaccines (Jiji Press)

Japan farm ministry to seek 16 pct budget increase (Jiji Press)

EXCLUSIVE: Education Min. to seek 5.9 t. yen in FY ’22 budget (Jiji Press)


Chinese ships spotted near Senkakus for 17th consecutive day (Sankei)

UK carrier Queen Elizabeth holds maiden drill with Japan’s SDF (Nikkei Asia)

EXCLSUIVE: Japan FSA to set up new division for economic security (Jiji Press)

MSDF former admiral: Cooperation with U.S. presents Japan with conundrum (Mainichi)


JBIC expects no outstanding balance in coal-fueled power plants in FY 2040 (Asahi)

About 30% of semiconductors on market found to be counterfeit (Mainichi)

Geothermal hunt heats up in Japan, from ski country to hot spring areas (Nikkei Asia)

Japan’s Fuji Electric gives $360m boost to power chip business (Nikkei Asia)

MHLW releases draft guidelines for pharmaceutical industry (Nikkei)

Japan unlikely to hit GDP target after emergency expansion (Jiji Press)

Japan food self-sufficiency rate hits record low (Jiji Press)

Infographic: Trend in food self-sufficiency rate, FY1965 – FY2020 (Mainichi)


Toshiba reports milestone in quantum cryptography (NHK WORLD)

Japan firms accelerating shift away from plastic use (Jiji Press)


Over 800 vaccination sites asked to suspend use of Moderna vaccine

NHK reported that following the discovery of foreign substances in some unused vials of the Moderna vaccine, the Health Ministry has been contacting 863 vaccination sites across Japan that have received vials of the vaccine manufactured in the same factory as the contaminated ones to ask them to suspend the use of those vials. According to the network, the vials in question were manufactured in a factory in Spain and shipped to Japan starting in late July. Although the ministry did not disclose the names of the vaccination centers that have been affected, they include large-scale vaccination centers operated by local municipalities and workplace vaccination sites. The ministry is planning to send replacement vaccines to the vaccination sites to minimize the impact on Japan's vaccination rollout. The network added that Takeda Pharmaceutical, which handles the distribution of Moderna vaccines in Japan, has asked the U.S. company to identify the foreign substances and explain how the vials were contaminated.

Kanagawa decides to limit in-person high school classes until Sept. 12

TV Asahi reported at noon that Kanagawa Prefecture has decided to limit the number of days public high school students will be allowed to go to school to once or twice a week until Sept. 12, when the state of emergency is scheduled to end. Governor Kuroiwa reportedly said: "Classrooms and places where children gather are likely to become the center of the spread of infection, so we decided to take quick action." According to the network, high school seniors will be allowed to go to school twice a week and juniors and below will be allowed to go once a week. The students will attend classes online on the days when they don't go to school. The network said although only 63 students at public schools in Kanagawa tested positive for COVID-19 in June, the figure for this month was 539 as of Aug. 19.

Schools most common sites of infections for 16- to 18-yr-olds (Jiji Press)

Editorial: Reinforce medical care services as coronavirus emergency widens (The Japan News)

Infographic: Status of gov’t indicators for COVID-19 in Tokyo (Aug. 25, 2021) (Tokyo Shimbun)

Infographic: 1,368,822 persons in Japan confirmed to be infected with COVID-19 (Aug. 25, 2021) (NHK digital)

Shionogi to supply coronavirus drug for 10 m. people (Jiji Press)


Infographic: Trend in the no. of foreigners in Japan, 2015 – 2020 (Nikkei)

In rare move, Japan prepares to offer refuge to Afghans (Nikkei Asia)

Doors of Japan’s colleges mostly shut for foreign residents’ children (Nikkei Asia)

Philippines 2nd biggest provider of workers with new visa status (Jiji Press)

JICA offers training seminar for foreign workers stranded in Japan (Asahi)

Nearly quarter of Tokyo households watched Paralympic opening ceremony (Kyodo News)

Japan yakuza boss sentenced to death for ordering murder (Nikkei Asia)


Okinawa, GOJ call for immediate halt to Marines’ discharge of contaminated water

Okinawa Times reported online on the start of a U.S. military operation to discharge PFOS-contaminated water from the Futenma Air Station into the local public sewage system after treating it. In a hastily arranged press conference, Governor Tamaki reportedly voiced “strong resentment” at what he called a unilateral decision to discharge the water, asking the Futenma authorities to suspend the operation immediately. According to the governor, the U.S.-Japan Joint committee had planned to convene a meeting today to discuss how to announce the results of joint research by the U.S. military, the central government, and the prefectural government on the quality of the treated water. “I assume that the GOJ was extremely shocked as well," the governor said. "This is absolutely unacceptable.” The GOJ reportedly asked the USFJ headquarters to call off the operation immediately. According to a GOJ source cited by the daily, the GOJ had not approved the discharge.

Okinawa government lodges protest with U.S. Marines over parts falling off Osprey (Okinawa Times, Ryukyu Shimpo)

Okinawa decides not to sue GOJ for rejecting withdrawal of permit for coral reef transplantation (Okinawa Times)

U.S. Embassy Tokyo Media Analysis and Translation Team