Afternoon Alert   -   Wednesday, September 29, 2021
The following information reflects the reporting of the cited news media and does not reflect the opinions of the U.S. Embassy in Tokyo. Japan Media Highlights is intended for USG use only and should not be forwarded. Visit the website here. For more information, contact TokyoMATT@state.gov.


All broadcasters led with reports on the LDP presidential election.


Kishida wins LDP presidential race

All networks reported this afternoon that former Foreign Minister Kishida was elected LDP president this afternoon in a runoff against Administrative Reform Minister Kono in the LDP presidential election. Kishida won 257 votes in the runoff, while Kono took 170. In the first round of voting, Kishida won 256 votes, Kono obtained 255, former Internal Affairs and Communications Minister Takaichi garnered 188, and LDP Executive Acting Secretary-General Noda got 63. The networks said Kishida is set to be elected Japan's 100th prime minister at an extraordinary Diet session to be convened on Oct. 4. NHK noted that Kishida is scheduled to hold a press conference at around 6 p.m. today as the new LDP president.

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

Commentary: Japan’s 100th prime minister must bring big ideas for nation’s future (Nikkei Asia)

LDP support rate rebounds with Suga’s resignation and lead-up to presidential race (Nikkei)

PM Suga to launch policy study group after stepping down (Nikkei)

Suga says split of health, labor, welfare ministry inevitable (Jiji Press)

Suga touts achievements, rues short tenure in final press conference (Kyodo News)

Strength of in-house groups in House of Representatives (Yomiuri)

Commentary: Taro Kono faces intractable opposition – from his own party (The Japan Times)

Editorial: Politics led by old men won’t address Japan’s gender gap (The Mainichi)


DPRK missiles becoming more difficult for Japan to intercept

All networks reported at noon that the North Korean newspaper Rodong Sinmun reported this morning that North Korea carried out its first test-launch of a newly developed hypersonic missile called Hwasong-8 on Tuesday morning, saying that this is believed to be the short-range missile that North Korea fired on Tuesday.

Fuji TV commentator Nose Nobuyuki pointed out that it has become more difficult for Japan to intercept North Korean missiles using its missile defense system, saying: "This upper part of the missile with wings is called a hypersonic glide vehicle. This travels toward the target along an irregular trajectory at a hypersonic speed of Mach 5 or more... The ballistic missiles that have posed a threat to Japan up until now follow regular trajectories until they land on their targets. Hypersonic missiles, however, travel toward their targets while moving from side to side and up and down after being launched." Nose reportedly said this will make it extremely difficult to launch interceptor missiles because a predictable target is a prerequisite to using a missile defense system.

U.S. Senate split on nominee for ambassador to Japan (Asahi)

Gov’t protests ROK court ruling ordering sale of Mitsubishi Heavy assets (Yomiuri)

Public sentiment toward Japan improves in South Korea, Genron NPO poll (Jiji Press)

EU commissioner visits Japan and South Korea to discuss Chips Act (Nikkei Asia)

Commentary: After U.S. withdrawal from Afghanistan, Japan has a role to play (The Japan Times)

Editorial: Leaders’ summit shows the Quad is central in region’s peace, prosperity (Japan Forward)

Interview with Kono Yohei: The tense U.S.-China relationship and Japan’s diplomatic path (Sekai)


Chinese ships spotted near Senkakus for 15th consecutive day (The Asahi Shimbun)


Japan accelerates moves against money laundering (Nikkei)

Japan’s largest labor body likely to have 1st-ever female president (Kyodo News)

Study on economic effects of climate change urged at BOJ July meeting (Jiji Press)

Japan’s NTT aims for carbon neutrality by 2040 (Nikkei Asia)

Japan to discuss establishing spot rice market (Jiji Press)


MOE to collect data on maritime areas thought suited to offshore wind power (Mainichi)


Places at 46% of private Japanese universities not filled in 2021 (Kyodo News)


Editorial: Review, improve measures after lifting state of emergency / Expand inoculations to boost economy (The Japan News)

Editorial: Lifting of state of emergency must not trigger start of ‘sixth wave’ (The Asahi Shimbun)

Japan leans on governors to prevent post-emergency COVID-19 rebound (The Japan Times)

COVID nasal spray vaccine set to enter clinical trial in Japan (Nikkei Asia)

Japan to triple COVID-19 medical fees for home visits (Jiji Press)

Infographic: Status of gov’t indicators for COVID-19 in Tokyo (Sept. 28, 2021) (Tokyo Shimbun)

Infographic – Cumulative total no. of COVID-19 cases in Japan (Sept. 28, 2021): 1,698,344 (NHK digital)


Editorial: Inhumane stance on immigration control needs urgent review (The Asahi Shimbun)

Organizers to discuss sharing of Tokyo Games deficit (Kyodo News)

Tokyo logs net population outflow for 4th straight month (Jiji Press)


Defense Ministry begins transporting contaminated water out of MCAS Futenma for incineration

Okinawa Times wrote that the Ministry of Defense began on Monday transporting water containing PFOS and other chemicals out of the Futenma Air Station for incineration at a private facility. The paper wrote that the U.S. side has explained that following the Aug. 26 discharge of PFOS-contaminated water that the Marines had treated using their own methods into the public sewage system, about 360,000 liters of the contaminated water is still stored at the base. Although it is not clear when the transportation of the water will be complete, the ministry is reportedly planning to finish it as soon as possible. According to the paper, Ginowan Mayor Matsugawa explained the situation at a city assembly session on Tuesday. Ryukyu Shimpo ran a similar report.

In a related story, Okinawa Times wrote that in response to the detection of PFOS and other chemicals in rivers and springs near U.S. military facilities, the Okinawa Prefectural Government has decided to increase the frequency of its water quality surveys at four springs near the Futenma base from twice a year to once a month until next March. The paper wrote that the move is aimed at supporting efforts to identify sources of contamination.

U.S. Embassy Tokyo Media Analysis and Translation Team