Afternoon Alert   -   Thursday, October 21, 2021
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Broadcasters led with reports on the first hearing held today of the CEO and the employee of a bus operator over a fatal accident that occurred seven years ago (NTV), the Tokyo government's plan to lift the current restrictions on restaurants and bars starting next Monday, including the restriction on the number of customers allowed to dine together on the condition the customers show proof of vaccination (TBS, Fuji TV), and former Justice Minister Kawai's decision to drop his appeal against a district court ruling that found him guilty of buying votes for his wife in the 2019 election, finalizing his three-year prison term (TV Asahi).


Ambassador-nominee Emanuel expresses hope to boost alliance with Japan

NHK, NTV, and TV Asahi reported on Wednesday's congressional hearing for former Chicago Mayor Rahm Emanuel, who has been nominated by President Biden as the next U.S. Ambassador to Japan. NHK said Ambassador-nominee Emanuel stressed the importance of the U.S.-Japan alliance in dealing with China, which the Biden administration views as the most serious competitor against the United States. NTV said Emanuel expressed strong concern about China by saying: "China aims to conquer through division." Emanuel also reportedly expressed his intention to further strengthen the bilateral alliance if he is confirmed by saying: "For more than 60 years the partnership between the United States and Japan has been the cornerstone of peace and prosperity in a free and open Indo Pacific.... If confirmed, my top priority would be to deepen these ties." NHK added that Emanuel served as White House Chief of Staff under the Obama administration and enjoys close ties with President Biden.

Newspapers and wire services also covered the Senate hearing, with Jiji and Kyodo focusing on remarks made during the session by former Ambassador to Japan Hagerty in which he pressed Emanuel to address the plight of former Nissan executive Greg Kelly if he assumes the post. Senator Hagerty called Japan’s judicial system “outdated,” emphasizing that the businessman from his home state of Tennessee has been subjected to what he called “unfair and cruel treatment” for several years. Hagerty urged the nominee to lobby the Japanese side to swiftly release Kelly. Emanuel reportedly stated in reply that he will deal with the matter as a “top priority.”

Yomiuri reported online that Emanuel commented on the soured relations between Japan and South Korea by saying he will focus on 21st century issues rather than 20th century issues. The paper added that he also said China, Russia, and North Korea are "trying to find cracks and fissures in the United States’ alliance with Japan and its trilateral alliance with Japan and South Korea."

Mainichi also reported online that Senator Menendez, the chairman of the Senate Foreign Relations Committee, expressed dissatisfaction at Emanuel's confirmation hearing with Japan’s handling of the Hague Convention on the Civil Aspects of International Child Abduction. The paper wrote that Emanuel reportedly responded by saying the convention should be implemented.

Ex-U.S. envoy Hagerty slams Japan’s justice system over Nissan case (Kyodo News)

Chinese people’s impression of Japan worsens, Genron NPO survey (Jiji Press)

Former U.S. Ambassador Hagerty calls for release of former Nissan Motor director Kelly (Jiji)

Next 3 years with Japan will determine U.S. posture for 3 decades: Rahm Emanuel (Nikkei Asia)

Mitsubishi Heavy appeals asset sale order in S. Korea (Jiji Press)

U.S. envoy to Japan nominee vows to deepen ties amid China challenge (Kyodo News)

Editorial: In-person leadership matters at the coming G20, COP26 meetings (Japan Forward)


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

Japan naming and shaming suspects linked to state-sponsored cyber-attacks (The Japan News)

Commentary: The LDP says it will double Japan’s defense spending. Can they? (The Japan Times)

North Korea’s new SLBM prompts Japan to consider seeking strike capability (The Japan Times)

North Korea boosts surprise attack ability with wider range of missiles (Nikkei Asia)

Japan believes N.Korea missile is a new SLBM (NHK WORLD)

Editorial: Japan must review its crisis management amid growing threat from North Korea (The Japan News)

China’s reaction to six nation joint naval exercises proves their point (Japan Forward)

Japan FSA starts exercises to prepare for cyberattacks (Jiji Press)


Taiwan’s top negotiator expects Japan’s support for TPP bid (Sankei)

Japan to probe TEPCO more over n-plant security flaws (Jiji Press)

New chief a compromise by two disputing groups in Rengo (NIKKEI Business Daily)

Unions shift political support over nuclear energy policies (The Asahi Shimbun)

Japan to introduce 10 million kW of offshore wind power by 2030 (Nikkei)

Price of imported beef expected to rise toward year-end (Nikkei)

Mitsubishi Chemical pledges net-zero emissions by 2050 (Nikkei Asia)

Japan logs trade deficit of 389.8 b. yen in April-Sept. (Jiji Press)

Japan’s Sept. car exports down 40% amid parts supply crunch (Kyodo News


Prime minister’s schedule on Oct. 20, 2021 (Sankei)

Column: The making of the Yano article in Bungeishunju (Mainichi)

INTERVIEW: LDP alarmed by CDP-JCP election cooperation (Jiji Press)

INTERVIEW: CDP Edano raps LDP-led govt, keen to take power (Jiji Press)

INTERVIEW: Komeito chief touts ruling camp’s ability to realize policies (Jiji Press)

INTERVIEW: JCP seeks to reform politics via change of govt (Jiji Press)

INTERVIEW: Nippon Ishin wants to chip away at LDP dominance (Jiji Press)

INTERVIEW: DPFP aims to revive tension in politics via election (Jiji Press)

Editorial: Japan’s parties must present clear plans to hit net-zero CO2 emissions by 2050 (The Mainichi)

CDP presses Okinawa base issue, LDP targets recovery (The Asahi Shimbun)

Editorial: Parties need to offer clear vision for foreign and security policy (The Asahi Shimbun)

Cartoon: Looking for a few good men and women (Sankei)

Only My Number card accepted to get smartphone vaccine passport (The Asahi Shimbun)


Japan’s LDP on course to keep majority in lower house, Kyodo News poll (Kyodo News)

Japan ruling coalition within majority reach in election, Nikkei poll (Nikkei Asia)


Tokyo considering asking customers to present proof of vaccination when dining in groups

NHK and TBS reported on the finding that the Tokyo Metropolitan Government is planning to call on people to present proof of vaccination or negative test results when dining at restaurants and bars in groups of five or more as a measure to prevent another resurgence of COVID-19. TBS said the Tokyo government is currently asking bars and restaurants whose COVID-19 prevention and mitigation protocols have been certified to stop serving alcohol at 8 p.m. and close at 9 p.m. and allow up to four customers to dine together through Oct. 24. The network said Tokyo is planning to lift its restrictions on the serving of alcohol and business hours of bars and restaurants starting next Monday. The networks said the Tokyo government is expected to make a formal decision on the matter this evening.

New multilingual vaccine sites open to cater to foreign residents in Japan (The Japan Times)

Foreign visitors to Japan remained in trough in Sept. (Jiji Press)

Only My Number card accepted to get smartphone vaccine passport (The Asahi Shimbun)

Only My Number card accepted to get smartphone vaccine passport (The Asahi Shimbun)


Futenma-based helicopter makes emergency landing on neighboring island

Ryukyu Shimpo and Okinawa Times reported that a Futenma-based helicopter made what the papers referred to as an emergency landing on Wednesday evening at an airport on Aguni Island, located some 60 km northwest of Naha. No injuries or damage were reported. The CH53-E reportedly landed at the unattended airport when a problem occurred with its flight control system. The local municipality asked the Okinawa Defense Bureau to file a protest with the U.S. military, with Mayor Takara reportedly saying the mishap caused anxiety among residents. According to Ryukyu Shimpo, a U.S. service member at the scene stopped a local policeman from taking photos of the grounded aircraft.

U.S. Embassy Tokyo Media Analysis and Translation Team