Afternoon Alert   -   Wednesday, December 1, 2021
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All broadcasters led with reports on the administration of COVID-19 booster shots to medical practitioners starting today.


DM Kishi tells staff to urge U.S. to suspend F-16 flights until safety is confirmed

NHK reported that the Ministry of Defense convened an executive meeting today following the incident in which an F-16 fighter jet belonging to the U.S. Misawa Air Base made an emergency landing at Aomori Airport after jettisoning two fuel tanks on Tuesday. According to the network, Defense Minister Kishi ordered his staff to urge the U.S. side to suspend F-16 flights until safety is confirmed and provide sufficient information to the ministry and the local community. Kishi also directed his staff to work closely with the U.S. to collect and analyze information on the incident. The network said State Minister of Defense Oniki was sent to inspect the scene of the incident and an MOD official conveyed to the USFJ commander that the incident was extremely regrettable and asked the U.S. side to investigate the cause and take preventive measures.

Former PM Abe: Taiwan contingency is contingency for U.S.-Japan alliance

Fuji TV reported at noon that former Prime Minister Abe delivered a speech at an online forum hosted by a Taiwan think tank during which he issued a strong warning to China by saying: "A contingency in Taiwan would be a contingency in Japan. In other words, it would also be a contingency for the U.S.-Japan alliance. People in Beijing, especially President Xi Jinping, should never misunderstand this point." Abe also reportedly stressed: "Japan, Taiwan, and the people of democratic nations must continue to repeatedly urge President Xi Jinping and others not to choose the wrong path."

USFJ members still exempt from border control measures

NHK Okinawa reported this morning that while the Japanese government banned new foreign entrants in principle to prevent the new Omicron variant from entering Japan, it learned that USFJ members and persons connected to them are still allowed to arrive in Japan and travel to Okinawa after staying in Tokyo or at Yokota AB for three days. The network said that according to the USFJ headquarters, quarantine measures for USFJ members and persons connected to them entering Japan were eased this month. Those who have been fully vaccinated and have negative test results based on samples collected no more than 24 hours before departure can board domestic flights after staying near Tokyo or at Yokota AB for three days upon arrival and testing negative again. In addition, a limited number of USFJ members arriving at Haneda Airport have been allowed to board connecting flights to Naha eight hours after arrival starting on Nov. 12. Self-quarantining at the final destination is reportedly required in both cases.

The network added that even after the GOJ banned all new foreign entrants in response to the new Omicron variant, these relaxed quarantine measures for USFJ members and persons connected to them remain in place. A public affairs officer of the USFJ headquarters reportedly said the USFJ will continue to cooperate with the Japanese government in its border control measures.

Gov’t to deploy one ship instead of two to Middle East to consolidate operations (Nikkei)

Japan may launch economic security think tank in FY 2023 (Jiji Press)

Gov’t faces challenges in promoting economic security law (Asahi)

U.S. Marine Corps to airlift cutting-edge rocket launcher within Japan (Sankei)


Japan confirms second case of Omicron variant

NHK reported that according to a government source, a second case of the Omicron variant of COVID-19 has been confirmed in Japan. The network said a foreign man who arrived in Japan at the end of November was found to be infected with the new variant.

GOJ to deny foreign resident re-entry from ten nations and regions due to Omicron

NHK and Fuji TV reported at noon that Chief Cabinet Secretary Matsuno announced today that the GOJ has decided to refuse the re-entry of foreigners with residency status from South Africa and nine other nations in principle starting on Thursday as part of enhanced border control measures against the Omicron variant of COVID-19. Matsuno reportedly told the press: "We have decided to refuse the re-entry of foreigners with residency status from the ten designated nations and regions unless there are special circumstances." In addition, NHK said that Sweden, Spain, Nigeria, and Portugal were added to the list of nations from which Japanese returnees will be required to stay at government-designated facilities for three days. The network said the number of such nations has been expanded to 48.

Cartoon: The challenge of the water’s edge (Tokyo Shimbun)

France issues arrest warrant for Japanese woman over parental kidnap (Kyodo News)

Plea bargaining places heavy burden on those cooperating (Nikkei)

Ex-navy officer recalls attack on Pearl Harbor, conversion against war (The Japan News)

Japan’s 1st Omicron variant case rekindles anxiety among businesses (Kyodo News)

Japan’s population drops 0.7 pct: 2020 census (Jiji Press)

Infographic: Trends in total population, 1920 – 2020 (Tokyo Shimbun)

Infographic: Trends in working-age population, 1920 – 2020 (Nikkei)

Editorial: Japan must take cautious, thorough response to omicron variant threat (The Mainichi)

Osaka governor cancels visit to Dubai Expo (Jiji Press)

Japanese Princess Aiko comes of age at 20 (Jiji Press)

Entry control eased in Fukushima Daiichi host town (NHK WORLD)


Japan, U.S., EU trade ministers vow to fight “non-market” practices (Kyodo News)

Japan urges its nationals to leave Ethiopia (Yomiuri)

Biden’s China playbook: Cooperation or confrontation? (Nikkei Asia)

Pearl Harbor 80 years on: Lessons and legacies (Nikkei Asia)

Japan to continue funding Russian gas project: Hagiuda (Mainichi)

Editorial: Where will new German government go with Merkel’s policy directions? (The Japan News)


Japanese and Taiwanese experts discuss TPP, semiconductors at int’l symposium (Mainichi)

Japan’s shrinking labor pool sharpens quest for productivity (Nikkei Asia)

Japan to give internet users more control of their browsing data (Nikkei Asia)

Japan to bolster domestic vaccine production (NHK WORLD)

Keidanren head: Japan should accelerate growth strategy (The Japan News)


Prime minister’s schedule on Nov. 30, 2021 (Sankei)

Profile: Opposition leader Izumi is “realist” on foreign policy, nuclear power (Kyodo News)

New Japan opposition leader seeks to battle LDP on policy (Nikkei Asia)

Editorial: CDPJ must strive to rebuild under new leader with constructive policies (The Japan News)

Editorial: CDP’s 1st task with makeover is to create viable track record (The Asahi Shimbun)

Japan’s main opposition party seeks to rebuild under new leader Kenta Izumi (The Japan Times)

Komeito to establish intraparty organization to discuss economic security (Nikkei)

Commentary: Center-left Kishida endorses bold moves in security realm (The Japan Times)

Japan Lower House max vote-value gap tops 2 times (Jiji Press)

Cartoon: The very picture of a fight in a cup (Asahi)


U.S. military operates Ospreys at Naha port despite protests from local governments

Okinawa Times and Ryukyu Shimpo reported that three MV-22s flew out of Naha Military Port and landed at MCAS Futenma on Tuesday afternoon, saying that the operation disregarded requests from the Okinawa prefectural and Naha municipal governments that the aircraft not be flown out of the port facility. The three Ospreys had been sealifted to Okinawa last week to replace the three tilt-rotor planes that were transported from the seaport to the U.S. mainland for maintenance. Governor Tamaki and Mayor Shiroma protested the latest flights on the grounds that an agreement between the two governments states that the Naha Military Port shall be used primarily as a harbor facility and for oil storage. The papers expressed concern that the U.S. military will continue to use the seaport as a platform for flights by Ospreys or other military aircraft.

However, the Okinawa Defense Bureau did not take issue with the operation of the Ospreys there, saying that the use of the seaport by aircraft does not constitute a violation as long as the flights are “compatible” with the primary purpose of the facility's usage as described in the accord. An unnamed Futenma spokesperson reportedly commented on the flights by saying: “All aircraft operations by the Marine Corps are in line with longstanding bilateral agreements between the two governments. The flights were standard procedure and in accordance with similar agreements.”

U.S. Embassy Tokyo Media Analysis and Translation Team