Afternoon Alert   -   Wednesday, October 20, 2021
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Broadcasters led with reports on the eruption of Mt. Aso in Kumamoto (NHK), an announcement by the North Korean media that the DPRK successfully test-fired a new type of SLBM on Tuesday (TBS, Fuji TV, TV Asahi), and a press conference held by Gunma University Hospital on the detection of highly concentrated nitrogen in the water supply after 10 hospitalized newborns were diagnosed with methemoglobinemia (NTV).


U.S. calls on North Korea to engage in dialogue

TV Asahi reported at noon that the U.S. government called on North Korea to engage in dialogue following its launch of a new type of SLBM on Tuesday. The network showed White House Press Secretary Psaki telling the press: "We condemn the DPRK's ballistic missile launch. These launches violate multiple UN Security Council resolutions and are a threat to the region. We call on the DPRK to refrain from further provocations and engage in sustained and substantive dialogue." She also called on the DPRK to swiftly engage in dialogue by stressing that the recent ballistic missile launches by the North "underscore the urgent need for dialogue and diplomacy." Psaki also reportedly stressed that the U.S. offer to meet with North Korean officials anywhere, anytime, without preconditions remains unchanged. The network added that senior officials of the United States, Japan, and South Korea in charge of North Korean issues met in Washington on Tuesday and agreed on continued cooperation toward realizing U.S.-DPRK dialogue and strengthening regional deterrence.

In a related story, all networks reported on an announcement by Rodong Sinmun this morning that North Korea successfully test-fired a new type of submarine-launched ballistic missile (SLBM) on Tuesday.

AUKUS spurs French strategic review with tilt toward Japan, India (Nikkei Asia)

Russia to draw up legislation for disputed isle development (Jiji Press)

CCS Matsuno expresses desire to solve Northern Territories issue (Mainichi)

Afghanistan evacuation reveals limitations of “unarmed” Japanese Embassy (Nikkei)


Chinese ships return to Senkaku area for first time since Oct. 16 (Sankei)

Chinese and Russian navies’ Tsugaru Strait transit highlights growing defense ties (The Japan Times)

Interview with former NSS head Kitamura: Strengthen the Cabinet’s intelligence capacity (Nikkei evening edition)

Infographic: Political parties’ security platforms (Nikkei)


Japan mulling financial aid for data centers (Jiji Press)

BOJ proceeds to second stage of digital currency verification test (Nikkei)

Japan is in fiscal spending phase: Keidanren chief (Nikkei)

Editorial: Nippon Steel case vs Toyota shows it’s time to take the China risk seriously (Japan Forward)

U.S. gov’t urges Kawasaki Heavy to inspect carriages over derailment (Kyodo News)


As Lower House campaign begins, national security takes new prominence (The Japan Times)

LDP projected to retain majority in election but lose 40 seats (The Japan Times)

Japan parliamentary race hits record low for candidates under 40 (Nikkei Asia)

Party leaders hit the streets as national election campaign starts (The Asahi Shimbun)

Prime minister’s schedule on Oct. 19, 2021 (Sankei)

Single-seat districts exacerbate difficulty in increasing female candidates (Asahi)

Infographic: Trends in no. of Lower House election candidates, 1946–2021 (Mainichi, Nikkei)

Women make up less than 18% of candidates in Japan general election (Kyodo News)

Infographic: Voter turnout rate at Lower House elections since 1949 (Yomiuri)

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

Editorial: Voters must evaluate responsibility of parties’ plans for Japan’s future (The Japan News)

Editorial: Lower House poll can help cure political woes caused by LDP (The Asahi Shimbun)

Vote-value gap exceeds 2 times in Japan’s Lower House (Jiji Press)

Family business? Newcomers face hurdles in Japan’s election (Nikkei Asia)

Editorial: Japan’s parties must face young people’s worries to stop slide into voter apathy (The Mainichi)

Cartoon: The battle for the most pork-barrel spending (Tokyo Shimbun)

Cartoon: The money tree (Asahi)


Japan’s key electronics fair opens with spotlight on low-carbon tech (Kyodo News)


Editorial: Government’s new pandemic measures need fleshing out (The Asahi Shimbun)

Colin Powell, last of the battle-hardened diplomats (Nikkei Asia)

Errors in vaccine database could delay digital certificate plan (The Asahi Shimbun)

Japan’s Empress Emerita Michiko turns 87 (Jiji Press)

IMF official calls on Japan to promote science education for women (Jiji Press)


Defense Ministry to issue vaccination certificates for civilian workers at U.S. bases

Okinawa Times wrote that the Ministry of Defense announced on Tuesday that it would issue certificates for civilian employees who have received COVID-19 vaccines at U.S. bases in Japan to use as proof of vaccination when entering foreign countries. The ministry’s local offices will accept applications for the certificates. The paper wrote that the governments of the United States and Japan agreed in June that the U.S. military would provide COVID-19 vaccines to base workers who wished to receive them. However, the workers have not been able to obtain vaccination certificates from local municipalities because the vaccination program was not conducted in accordance with Japan’s Preventive Vaccination Law. According to the ministry, about 12,000 employees at U.S. military installations in Japan and some 4,200 of all 9,000 U.S. military base employees in Okinawa have been vaccinated on base.

Kadena town assembly protests accidental firing of training flare (Ryukyu Shimpo)

U.S. Embassy Tokyo Media Analysis and Translation Team