Afternoon Alert   -   Monday, August 30, 2021
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Broadcasters led with stories on U.S. media reports that the U.S. drone strike against a vehicle carrying explosives near the Kabul airport on Sunday killed nine civilians, including six children (NHK, NTV, TV Asahi), growing concern about Moderna's COVID-19 vaccine following the discovery of foreign substances in doses from a lot in Gunma (TBS), and the launch of a new system in Tokyo for people aged 16 to 39 to make appointments for vaccines (Fuji TV).


North Korea apparently resumes operation of Yongbyon nuclear reactor

NTV and TV Asahi reported on an article carried by the Wall Street Journal on Sunday saying that North Korea appears to have resumed operation of its plutonium-producing reactor at Yongbyon in early July. According to the networks, the U.S. paper cited the IAEA's annual report on North Korea's nuclear activities, which said: “Since early July, there have been indications, including the discharge of cooling water, consistent with the operation of the reactor." TV Asahi added that the Yongbyon reactor appeared to have been inactive from December 2018 until the beginning of July 2021.

Afghan man calls for Japan gov’t help to leave Kabul with family (Kyodo News)

First Lady attends dedication of “Inouye Room” in U.S. Ambassador’s residence (Mainichi evening edition)

Russian man from Kunashiri reportedly refused political asylum (Mainichi)

Taiwan says security talks with Japan focused on TSMC investment (Nikkei Asia)

Taiwan donates face masks to Japan in return for vaccines (Jiji Press)

Commentary: As U.S. retreats from policeman role, rest of world pressed to fill void (Nikkei Asia)

Japan evacuation from Afghanistan foiled by foot-dragging (Nikkei Asia)

Editorial: Barbaric terrorist attack in Kabul exploited poorly run evacuation (The Japan News)

Editorial: U.S. must delay Afghanistan exit, get many more people out (The Asahi Shimbun)

Commentary: COVID shatters cycle of elections and growth — except in China (Nikkei Asia)

Japan names new ambassadors to Ukraine, Pakistan, 9 other countries (Kyodo News)


Japan and U.S. wrestle over Kioxia and future of chip security (Nikkei Asia)

Gov’t to monitor LNG backlog to prepare for possible electricity shortages in winter (Nikkei)

Kajiyama: Help on the way for Japan auto industry (NHK WORLD)

Companies increasingly required to check human rights violations when signing M&As (NIKKEI Business Daily)

Fukushima fishermen urge govt to secure consumer trust (Jiji Press)

Gov’t, TEPCO decide to release treated water off-shore (Mainichi)

ASEAN supply chain woes drive up food prices in Japan (Nikkei Asia)

From ramen and tofu to Hi-Chew, Japanese food brands boost US investment (Nikkei Asia)

As Tesla eyes entry, Daikin’s ‘pay-per-day’ AC takes off in Africa (Nikkei Asia)


LDP policy chief Shimomura decides not to run for party president

NHK reported that LDP Policy Research Council Chairman Shimomura, who was considering running in the LDP presidential election, has decided not to run following a meeting with Prime Minister Suga at the Kantei this morning. According to the network, Suga instructed Shimomura to think about additional economic measures in light of the ongoing spread of COVID-19. The network said the premier pointed out that it would be difficult for Shimomura to stay in his current post if he were to run for LDP president. The network said Shimomura subsequently held talks with former LDP Secretary General Hosoda, who heads the faction Shimomura belongs to, and former Prime Minister Abe, and made the decision to give up on running for party president as he needs to fulfill his current duties. Shimomura is expected to formally announce his decision as early as this afternoon.

Prime minister’s schedule on Aug. 27, 2021 (Sankei)

Prime minister’s schedule on Aug. 28, 2021 (Sankei)

Prime minister’s schedule on Aug. 29, 2021 (Sankei)

Main events scheduled for Aug. 30-Sept. 5 (Kyodo News)

Lower House election following expiration of term becoming realistic (Sankei)

Kishida kicks off campaign for LDP presidency (Nikkei)

Gloves off: Kishida vows to replace Japan kingmaker Nikai if elected (Nikkei Asia)

LDP’s Kishida proposes huge economic stimulus (Jiji Press)

Ishiba suggests possible bid for LDP leadership (Jiji Press)

DPFP will cooperate with ruling camp depending on the situation: party head (Nikkei)

Tawa to lead Cabinet Office as vice minister (Yomiuri)

Japan digital agency to start with 600 officials (Jiji Press)

Editorial: LDP presidential election a platform to question credentials of Japan’s PM (The Mainichi)

Opinion: The best news Japan has had in years can save Yoshihide Suga (Nikkei Asia)


Japanese disapproval of Suga’s COVID response hits near-record high, Nikkei poll (Nikkei Asia)

Suga Cabinet’s support rate hits new low of 26% as 70% fear medical collapse, Mainichi poll (The Mainichi)

42% say U.S. military’s withdrawal from Afghanistan “unavoidable,” Mainichi poll (Mainichi)

Opinion poll & results from Mainichi Shimbun (Mainichi)


4 China Coast Guard ships enter Japanese waters off Senkakus (Jiji Press)

Chinese ships left Japanese territorial waters on Aug. 28 (Sankei)

Japan to set up office to crack down on foreign fishing boats (Jiji Press)

EXCLUSIVE: Japan to develop drone flight management system (Jiji Press)

Rupp Assumes Command of U.S. Forces in Japan (Jiji Press)

Japan rushes to improve SDF capabilities to rapidly deploy to remote islands (Nikkei)

Editorial: Japan-British exercises illustrate determination to maintain order (The Japan News)

Commentary: Japan has no time to waste in boosting its cyberdefenses (The Japan Times)


Gov’t to send decarbonization experts to municipalities from FY2022 (Nikkei)

INTERVIEW: Noguchi shows hopes for private space exploration (Jiji Press)


Teach toddlers English: Japan educator campaigns for early start (Nikkei Asia)


Japan to probe links between two deaths and suspended Moderna jabs (Nikkei Asia)

Many firms in Japan not pushing workers to get vaccines (Jiji Press)

Staff shortages and delta threaten Japan’s highly successful record of treating severe COVID-19 cases (The Japan Times)

Demand among youths outstrips supply at vaccine site in Shibuya (The Asahi Shimbun)

Editorial: Authorities, parents must be vigilant as virus affects start of school term (The Japan News)

Foreign matter found in Moderna vaccine in Gunma (Jiji Press)

Infographic: Status of gov’t indicators for COVID-19 in Tokyo (Aug. 29, 2021) (Tokyo Shimbun)

Infographic – Cumulative total no. of COVID-19 cases in Japan (Aug. 29, 2021): 1,460,026 (NHK digital)


2 pct of adults in Japan seen having gambling-linked problems (Jiji Press)

Sight-impaired Paralympian hit by autonomous bus in athletes’ village (Kyodo News)

Child abuse cases top 200,000 in Japan in FY 2020 (Jiji Press)

Babies under 1 make up half of child abuse deaths in Japan (Jiji Press)

Tokyo, LA agree to accelerate exchange (Nikkei)

Editorial: Use European systems as examples in considering proof of vaccination (The Japan News)

Caves on island off Henoko hold limestone ‘jewel box’ of structures (The Asahi Shimbun)

Cartoon: With friends like this,… (Asahi)


Restricting discharge of treated water from U.S. bases difficult due to lack of clear regulations

Sunday’s Okinawa Times reported on the U.S. military's release into the local public sewage system on Thursday of contaminated water it had stored in underground tanks at the Futenma Air Station after treating it. The paper wrote that although the U.S. military explained that it had treated the water to meet Japan’s safety standards by using equipment brought in from the U.S. mainland, the city government of Ginowan, which controls the public sewage system, said that it could not approve of the discharge. The paper wrote that it is difficult for the local authorities to restrict the release of treated water from a U.S. military facility because there are no clear regulations on the matter under existing laws.

Documents show U.S. military failed to disclose PFAS leakage from Futenma in 2019, 2020 (Okinawa Times)

Okinawa assembly members protest attempted sexual assault by U.S. base worker (Okinawa Times)

Effectiveness of patrolling Okinawa streets to prevent incidents involving U.S. military personnel questionable (Ryukyu Shimpo)

U.S. Embassy Tokyo Media Analysis and Translation Team