Afternoon Alert   -   Thursday, September 9, 2021
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All broadcasters led with reports saying that the GOJ's subcommittee on the novel coronavirus approved this morning the extension of the state of emergency for Tokyo and 18 other prefectures until Sept. 30. The state of emergency issued for Miyagi and Okayama will be shifted to a quasi-state of emergency.


Defense Minister Kishi, new USFJ Commander Rupp confirm further strengthening of alliance

NHK reported online that Defense Minister Kishi met with the new USFJ Commander, Lt. Gen. Rupp, at the Ministry of Defense this morning. At the beginning of the meeting, Kishi reportedly expressed his condolences to the families of the U.S. service members who were killed in the terrorist attack near the Kabul airport. "I hope to swiftly build a relationship of trust with the commander in order to work together to further strengthen the U.S.-Japan alliance," he added. Lt. Gen. Rupp reportedly responded by expressing his wish to build upon the trust relationship forged by his predecessors. According to the network, the two officials also exchanged views on how to respond to China's maritime advancement and agreed to promote cooperation between the SDF and the U.S. military and further strengthen the alliance.

Chinese ships spotted near Senkakus for 31st consecutive day (Sankei)

2 Chinese destroyers pass through Miyako Strait (Jiji Press)

Former GSDF Chief of Staff: Japan, U.S. should reconsider division of defense duties (Nikkei)

U.S. Space Force chief convinced China would use satellite killers (Nikkei Asia)

Aircraft carrier’s visit shows Britain’s commitment: envoy (Jiji Press)

British cutting-edge aircraft carrier visits Japan, but sustaining presence a challenge (Sankei)

How can Japan boost deterrence in an era of “defense without weapons”? (Nikkei)


EU to close border to Japanese citizens again

Yomiuri wrote that the EU decided on Wednesday to prohibit the entry of passport holders of Japan, Albania, Serbia, and two other nations on account of the resurgence of COVID-19, noting that the border has been open to Japanese nationals since June due to the improvement in the infection situation. The EU reportedly reviewed its regulations on foreign entrants in response to the rampant spread of the Delta strain around the world.

Expert: Russian man who swam over from Kunashiri may just be Japan nerd (Shukan Shincho digital)

Russian man “swam for 23 hours” from Kunashiri to Hokkaido (Hokkaido Broadcasting Co. digital)

Japanese gov’t rep in contact with Taliban: CCS Kato (Nikkei)

Japan vows full support for ASEAN’s Myanmar envoy to resolve crisis (Kyodo News)

Commentary: It’s in America’s interests to court ASEAN (The Japan Times)

Editorial: Taliban’s actions to be tested in Afghanistan’s new government (The Japan News)


Future of nuclear power looms over Japan’s LDP leadership race (Nikkei Asia)

After 20 years, Japan still stuck in deflationary mindset: Kuroda (Nikkei Asia)

Monetary easing to continue after COVID: BOJ Gov. Kuroda (Nikkei Asia)

METI solicits public comment on revised Basic Energy Plan (Nikkei)

INTERVIEW: TEPCO eyeing floating wind farms in 2nd half of 2020s (Jiji Press)

Japan’s pandemic-linked biz failures in Jan.-Aug. top 1,000 (Jiji Press)

Japan economy watcher sentiment worsens in August (Jiji Press)

Farm ministry to help boost organic farming in Japan (Jiji Press)

Japan govt to raise imported wheat prices by 19 pct (Jiji Press)


Kono decides to run in LDP presidential race

NHK reported this afternoon that Administrative Reform Minister Kono has decided to run in the LDP presidential election slated for later this month. The network said Kono is expected to hold a press conference on Friday to formally announce his candidacy.

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

Abe protege Takaichi to contend election with hawkish China agenda (Nikkei Asia)

Fumio Kishida steps into the ring for the second time in a year (The Japan Times)

Fumio Kishida looks to address income disparities with shift from neoliberalism (The Japan Times)

The LDP’s outspoken ‘maverick’ steps up to fight for the party’s top spot (The Japan Times)

Opposition parties sign joint policy pact ahead of fall election (The Asahi Shimbun)

With Suga stepping off stage, CDPJ turns to JCP for election boost (Asahi)

Japan Digital Agency sets up expert panel (Jiji Press)

Different generations have different ideas about what “reformist” means: Waseda prof. Endo Masahisa (Asahi)


Japan’s research capabilities steadily deteriorate (Nikkei)


Top health expert says GOJ subcommittee proposed “booster shots”

NHK reported that Chairman Omi of the GOJ's subcommittee on the novel coronavirus told reporters today that in addition to approving the GOJ plan to extend the state of emergency for 18 prefectures until the end of this month, the subcommittee proposed that the government consider administering third doses of COVID-19 vaccine as "booster shots." Omi reportedly said: "We want the government to further promote vaccination and consider administering booster shots, or third doses.... In addition, the government should focus on reducing the number of people with mild or severe symptoms in order to reduce the burden on medical institutions. We want the government to not only test people who are feeling unwell but also swiftly provide treatment to prevent them from becoming seriously ill if they test positive for COVID-19, such as antibody cocktail treatment, especially for elderly people and those with preexisting conditions."

Meanwhile, concerning the government's plan to relax restrictions on people's activities, Omi reportedly said: "Some people tend to think that various restrictions should be lifted immediately, but we cannot relax restrictions unconditionally.... The lifting of the state of emergency is a precondition for relaxing restrictions on people's activities. People's activities should not be relaxed under a state of emergency."

Japan to cut quarantine to 10 days for vaccinated travelers (Nikkei Asia)

Infographic: Maps of government’s plan for COVID measures (Sept. 9, 2021) (NHK digital)

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

Infographic – Cumulative total no. of COVID-19 cases in Japan (Sept. 8, 2021): 1,606,436 (NHK digital)


Korean students denied COVID-19 financial aid call for fair access (The Asahi Shimbun)

Japan machine maker’s CEO sues govt, claiming illegalprobes (Jiji Press)

Citizens urge 8 parties to back U.S. no-first-use nuke policy (The Asahi Shimbun)


Ginowan legislature protests release of toxic water from Futenma base

Ryukyu Shimpo and Okinawa Times wrote that on Wednesday the Ginowan municipal assembly adopted a unanimous motion in protest of the U.S. military’s Aug. 26 discharge into the local sewage system of water contaminated with PFOS and other harmful substances after treating it. The legislature reportedly voiced “strong resentment” against what it called the “unilateral release,” urging the Futenma base authorities not to do it again and instead incinerate contaminated water and use foam extinguisher that does not contain PFAS-related agents. While the U.S. side has insisted on the safety of the released water, the resolution stressed that this cannot be verified and that even if the water had been treated properly, “concerns would have remained about damage caused by bad publicity.” Assembly representatives plan to visit the U.S. Consulate General in Naha today to deliver the motion in person.

Yaeyama High School student’s final paper praised by prestigious U.S. university (Okinawa Times)

U.S. Embassy Tokyo Media Analysis and Translation Team