Afternoon Alert   -   Thursday, December 2, 2021
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All broadcasters except TV Asahi led with reports that Prime Minister Kishida told the press this morning that the Transport Ministry’s instructions to airlines on Wednesday to stop accepting reservations from all passengers, including Japanese, for international flights to Japan in response to the spread of the Omicron variant overseas have caused public confusion. Kishida said he has now instructed the ministry to adequately take into account Japanese nationals' wishes to return to Japan. Chief Cabinet Secretary Matsuno separately told reporters that the ministry suspended today the instructions for the blanket suspension of reservations and told airlines to give adequate consideration to Japanese nationals who wish to return home. TV Asahi gave top coverage to snowfall in Tohoku and Hokkaido.


U.S. military says F-16 jettisoned tanks due to low engine oil pressure

NHK reported on its noon news program that concerning the incident on Tuesday in which a Misawa-based F-16 jettisoned two fuel tanks during flight training, the U.S. military told the Misawa city government on Wednesday that the pilot jettisoned the tanks in response to a warning that the engine oil pressure was dropping. The U.S. military also said that the pilot took the action based on the judgment that it would become difficult for the aircraft to continue flying and that he jettisoned the tanks in line with the flight manual and after confirming conditions on the ground. According to the municipal government, the U.S. military also said its flight manuals instruct pilots to jettison fuel tanks over bodies of water or nonresidential areas when they experience engine trouble. The network said the U.S. military has established a committee to investigate the cause of the incident and is making efforts to find the tank that has yet to be located.

Japan starts to extend range of its missiles to over 1,000 km (Nikkei Asia)

Ire in Aomori after U.S. jet fighter ditches two fuel tanks (The Asahi Shimbun)

TMPD holds first strategy meeting on economic security (Sankei)

Taiwan contingency also one for Japan, Japan-U.S. alliance: Abe (Kyodo News)

Editorial: Russia’s anti-satellite missile test dangerous, irresponsible (Japan Forward)

Editorial: China and Russia’s military flights gauging Japan’s defense preparedness (Japan Forward)


Concerns grow about new COVID-19 variant derailing Japan’s diplomacy

Jiji reported that Japanese diplomats are bracing for the looming possibility of diplomatic events that Prime Minister Kishida and Foreign Minister Hayashi plan to attend being canceled on account of the gradual spread of the Omicron strain of COVID-19 around the world. Hayashi’s international diplomatic debut never materialized because an in-person WTO ministerial conference planned for late November in Geneva was called off due to travel restrictions imposed by the Swiss government. The G7 foreign ministerial meeting scheduled for next week in Liverpool, which is intended to strengthen the group’s cooperation with ASEAN to counter China’s presence, may also be canceled depending on the spread of the variant in Europe. The wire service said that while Kishida is eager to visit the U.S. for a summit with President Biden by early January, the prospects for a Washington session are becoming increasingly uncertain, given that many governments, including the Biden administration, may be tempted to restrict diplomatic exchanges even at a high level in a bid to prevent the infiltration of the Omicron variant. Chief Cabinet Secretary Matsuno told the press yesterday that no decision has been made yet on the premier’s trip to the United States.

U.S., S. Korea agree on importance of 3-way cooperation with Japan (Kyodo News)

Japan scraps plan to send ex-PM Abe to Malaysia amid Omicron concerns (Kyodo News)

AUKUS sub deal triggers debate on nuclear safeguards (Nikkei Asia)


JBIC to invest up to 220 billion yen for Russian LNG project in Arctic Circle (Mainichi)

EXCLUSIVE: Japan’s food exports certain to top 1 t. yen in 2021 (Jiji Press)

New U.S. trade strategy for Asia focuses more on allies than TPP with eye to counter China (Mainichi)

Keidanren to urge firms to raise wages to achieve new capitalism (Jiji Press)

Anti-terrorism plan for Tokai No. 2 plant approved (NHK WORLD)

Japan company sues U.S. Zoom for trademark infringement (Jiji Press)

Japan new auto sales down 14.4 pct in Nov. (Jiji Press)


Prime minister’s schedule on December 1, 2021 (Sankei)

New CDP leaders brings youth and a fresh face but still face old problems in rebuilding party (The Japan Times)

Japan needs stronger defenses, more frequent security reviews: Abe (Nikkei Asia)

Empty center: Doughnut effect shapes political rift in Japan, U.S. (Nikkei Asia)

Editorial: Granting foreign residents referendum voting rights should not be taken lightly (The Japan News)

City ordinance bill to let foreign residents vote in local referendums creates a stir in Musashino, Tokyo (The Japan News)

LDP wary that expansion of specified skilled worker program would lead to more immigrants (Sankei)

LDP-dominated Yamaguchi, Wakayama, Okayama to be allotted fewer LH constituencies (Nikkei)

Infographic: Allocation of Lower House seats using Adams’s method (Tokyo Shimbun)

Can CDPJ become become a responsible party capable of taking power? (Nikkei)

Nippon Ishin to receive 100 million more in gov’t subsidies in 2021 (Yomiuri)

LDP’s Aso becomes chairperson of Nakasone Peace Institute (Yomiuri)

Editorial: New leader of Japan’s opposition CDP faces rocky road to rejuvenate party (The Mainichi)


Complaint by Sri Lankan woman’s family accepted (NHK WORLD)

Buzzwords in Japan 2021: Ohtani and Tokyo Olympics loomed large (The Japan Times)

Cartoon: Kishida rolls up the borders (Sankei)


U.S. diplomatic document shows DOD led discussions on return of Futenma (Okinawa Times)

U.S. Embassy Tokyo Media Analysis and Translation Team