JAPAN MEDIA HIGHLIGHTS
Afternoon Alert   -   Tuesday, December 7, 2021
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HEADLINES

Broadcasters led with reports on the Biden administration's announcement on Monday that it will not send any diplomatic or official representatives to the Beijing Olympics and Paralympics (NHK, NTV, TBS, Fuji TV) and the arrest of a man for setting fire to a house in Koto-ku, Tokyo (TV Asahi).

INTERNATIONAL

Senior GOJ officials comment on U.S.’s diplomatic boycott of Beijing Games

All networks reported extensively at noon on the Biden administration's announcement on Monday that the United States will not send any diplomatic or official representatives to the Beijing Olympics and Paralympics that will begin in February given China’s “ongoing genocide and crimes against humanity in Xinjiang and other human rights abuses.” TBS said that the USG has already explained its decision to its allies, and that it will be up to other nations whether they will follow suit. All networks also reported that the IOC released a comment saying that it will "fully respect" the U.S. decision. A TV Asahi reporter said a senior White House official stressed that the issue of human rights is an important issue that involves American values, adding that the Biden administration made the decision to stage a diplomatic boycott as China's human rights violations have become a top issue across party lines in the United States. The network said the White House is hoping to send a strong message to China through its diplomatic boycott.

Meanwhile, all broadcasters reported that Prime Minister Kishida told the press this morning: "I am aware that the United States announced a diplomatic boycott of the Beijing Olympics and Paralympics. I will decide on Japan's response based on our national interest by taking into consideration the significance of the Olympics as well as our foreign policy. This is our basic stance."

According to NHK, Chief Cabinet Secretary Matsuno told the press this morning: "I am aware of the U.S. government announcement, but I will refrain from commenting on each nation's response to the Beijing Games....Although it remains unclear what a diplomatic boycott actually means, the Japanese government has yet to decide on a response and will do so by considering all the various factors together at an appropriate time. In any case, we hope that the Beijing Games will be held as a celebration of peace based on the principle of the Olympics and Paralympics." When asked whether Washington requested Tokyo to follow suit, Matsuno responded: "We have been closely communicating with the U.S. on various issues, but I will refrain from commenting on every diplomatic exchange."

Foreign Minister Hayashi made a similar statement to the press. When asked whether "various factors" include human rights issues, he reportedly responded: "We believe it is important that freedom, basic human rights, and the rule of law are guaranteed in China, and we have been directly conveying our position to the Chinese side at various levels. We will make the decision by considering such a point as well."

Lawmaker group visits Yasukuni Shrine (NHK WORLD)

EXCLUSIVE: South Korea pres. candidate’s aide shows softer stance on Japan (Jiji Press)

Cartoon: The Beijing spins (Kanagawa Shimbun)

SECURITY

MOD requests cancellation of Okinawa’s rejection of design change

NHK reported this afternoon that following Okinawa's rejection of a request filed by the Defense Ministry to change the design of the Futenma relocation plan in order to begin engineering work to reinforce the soft seabed in the vicinity, the ministry made a request for administrative review today to the Ministry of Land, Infrastructure, Transport, and Tourism, calling for the cancellation of Okinawa's rejection. The MOD reportedly determined that "there are no reasons for the request to be rejected" based on close examination by the Okinawa Defense Bureau. The network said although the MOD has no plan to change its policy to move the Futenma relocation plan forward, the rift between the central and Okinawa governments is likely to further deepen as Okinawa is reacting strongly to the MOD's latest move.

Chinese ships spotted near Senkakus for fifth consecutive day (Sankei)

Infographic: Serious accidents caused by MV-22s nationwide, 2012 – 2019 (Hokkaido Shimbun)

Two female Japanese workers at Camp Zama apply for workers’ compensation (Kanagawa Shimbun)

Editorial: Gov’t and Okinawa must work toward holding dialogue (Nikkei)

ECONOMY

Japan govt adopts legislation for chip plant subsidies (Jiji Press)

South Korea, Japan to be united by 1st free trade pact in February (Nikkei Asia)

EXCLUSIVE: Japan eyeing tax breaks to expand food exports (Jiji Press)

POLITICS

Prime minister’s schedule on December 6, 2021 (Sankei)

Abe faction and “Kochikai” factions make up majority of LDP Diet members (Nikkei)

Ishihara loses Diet seat, wins appointment as special advisor to the cabinet (Asahi)

Editorial: Kishida must indicate specific steps for realizing goals in policy speech (The Japan News)

In speech, Kishida lays out bold plans for health, economic and defense policies (The Japan Times)

Trade Minister Hagiuda elected as LDP Tokyo chapter head (Mainichi)

Japan submits record extra budget to parliament for economic package (Kyodo News)

OPINION POLLS

89% support government response to omicron variant, Yomiuri survey (The Japan News)

SCIENCE

JAXA provides samples from asteroid to NASA (NHK WORLD)

SOCIETY

U.S. Embassy warns of racial profiling by Japanese police

Kyodo filed a report on a tweet posted on Monday by the U.S. Embassy American Citizens Service regarding alleged racial profiling by local police. “The U.S. Embassy has received reports of foreigners…. questioned by Japanese police in suspected racial profiling incidents,” the tweet reportedly said. According to an unnamed embassy spokesperson cited by the wire service, the Embassy has received “several, credible reports” from foreigners, including Americans, on police questioning apparently based on racial profiling. The story added that the details of the alleged cases are unknown.

Interview: Pema Gyalpo, boycott the Beijing Olympics for Japan’s honor (Japan Forward)

Ghosn asserts ex-aide’s innocence (Jiji Press)

LDP division urges gov’t response to missing Chinese tennis player (Asahi)

Diary: Hirohito prepared for U.S. war before Pearl Harbor attack (The Asahi Shimbun)

Editorial: Boosting local enthusiasm will be vital to realizing 2nd Sapporo Games (The Japan News)

OKINAWA LOCAL PRESS

Ceremony marking semicentennial of Okinawa’s return to be held in Tokyo

Okinawa Times and Ryukyu Shimpo front-paged remarks made during a prefectural assembly session on Monday by Vice Governor Jyahana on Okinawa’s reversion to Japanese administration in 1972. The official disclosed that the prefectural government is looking to organize an event in Tokyo on the 50th anniversary on May 15, in addition to a ceremony in Okinawa. “Ambassadors or representatives of foreign embassies and all prefectural governors might be able to attend a ceremony held in the nation’s capital,” the vice governor was quoted as saying. He added that discussion of the idea is already underway with the Cabinet Office.

Gov’t responds differently to U.S. aircraft incidents in Aomori and Okinawa (Okinawa Times)

Kitanakagusuku assembly sends letter of protest over dropped water bottle (Ryukyu Shimpo)

JAPAN MEDIA HIGHLIGHTS
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U.S. Embassy Tokyo Media Analysis and Translation Team