Afternoon Alert   -   Tuesday, December 14, 2021
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Broadcasters led with reports on the GOJ's plan to provide local municipalities an explanation of the 100,000-yen cash handouts before passing the supplementary budget (NHK), the first snowfall of the year in Yokohama this morning (NTV, Fuji TV), fraudulent billing by a subsidiary of major travel agency HIS for the GOJ's Go To Travel campaign (TBS), and a house fire in Tokyo (TV Asahi).


Kishida dismisses possibility of sending observers to conference on nuclear weapons ban treaty

NHK reported on remarks made at the Diet earlier in the day by Prime Minister Kishida, who rejected a call by an opposition lawmaker for Japan’s participation as an observer in the first Meeting of States Parties to the UN Treaty on the Prohibition of Nuclear Weapons scheduled for March. In response to a statement made by former Foreign Minister Okada that the session would present Japan with a great opportunity to demonstrate its position on nuclear disarmament and remind the world of the real-life consequences of atomic bombing, the prime minister said: “We have been repeatedly confronted with and devastated by the cold reality that nothing changes without actions by the nuclear states. If Japan were to take part in the conference without forging a relationship of trust with President Biden and the United States first, the relationship of trust, which is crucial, would be undermined and that would make nuclear disarmament even more difficult.” Speaking of his desire to hold talks with the U.S. leader at an early date, the premier stressed that he is committed to building a relationship of trust with the President without fail from the standpoint of creating a world without nuclear weapons.

Former PM Abe issues warning to China at Taiwan-hosted forum

TBS and Fuji TV reported at noon that former Prime Minister Abe said in a video message for an Indo-Pacific security symposium hosted by a Taiwan think tank that China should refrain from territorial expansion and provocative actions. He reportedly added that China would undermine its own interests if it chose not to do so. During a symposium attended by lawmakers of Japan, the United States, and Taiwan, Abe also warned China by saying: "If a huge economy such as China were to attempt a military adventure, it could be suicidal." He also reportedly stressed that Japan and the United States should make efforts to have Taiwan participate in the WHO and other international organizations. Fuji TV said Taiwan President Tsai also attended the forum and thanked Abe for "expressing support for Taiwan's security and democracy."

Editorial: All eyes on Japan as it dilly-dallies on Beijing Olympics boycott (Japan Forward)

Japan, France begin informal talks on access deal for joint drills (Kyodo News)

Japan offers sympathy after deadly U.S. tornadoes (Jiji Press)

Russia’s “hardline” approach and pro-Russian state minister cast shadow over MOFA (Sentaku)

Editorial: U.S.-hosted summit highlights urgent need to bolster democracy’s foundations (The Japan News)

Editorial: G7 must reaffirm unity to maintain free and open international order (The Japan News)


Commentary: Will closer monetary-fiscal policy coordination lead to fiscal dominance? (The Japan Times)

Editorial: Wealth distribution, decarbonization obscured in Japan’s FY2022 tax reform plan (The Mainichi)

Japan big makers’ sentiment flat: Dec. BOJ Tankan (Jiji Press)

Scandals lead to supply shortages for 3,100 drugs in Japan (The Asahi Shimbun)


Chinese ships spotted near Senkakus for 12th consecutive day (Sankei)

Ransomware on rampage across myriad sectors of Japan (The Japan News)

3 years after start of Henoko reclamation work, 30% of coastal area converted into land (The Japan News)

High concentrations of PFAS detected at three U.S. military facilities in Kanagawa (Kanagawa Shimbun)


Prime minister’s schedule on Dec. 12-13, 2021 (Sankei)

Gist of interpellations at Lower House budget committee meeting, Dec. 13, 2021 (Yomiuri)

Japan’s foreign minister should visit China: Taro Kono (Nikkei Asia)

Infographic: Cabinet support rates for prime ministers at time of inauguration and two months later (Nikkei)

Musashino assembly panel OKs bill on foreigner voting rights (Jiji Press)

Who you gonna call? Kishida says no ‘ghosts’ at new residence (The Asahi Shimbun)


50% support Kishida Cabinet, 26% do not, NHK public opinion poll (NHK digital)

60% want COVID-19 booster shots to be administered early, NHK public opinion poll (NHK digital)

Political party support rates, NHK public opinion poll (NHK digital)


Keidanren to strengthen human rights guidelines for companies (Jiji Press)

Japan to start using digital vaccination certificates Dec. 20 (Jiji Press)

Study finds Go To Travel was likely behind case spike in Hokkaido (The Asahi Shimbun)

Feature: Two LGBTQ rights activists of different faiths find common ground (Kyodo News)

Japan to simplify entry process for wealthy travelers (Kyodo News)


Flights at MCAS Futenma at near record level

Okinawa Times reported on the fourth anniversary on Monday of the incident in which a window frame fell from a Futenma-based CH-35E onto a local schoolyard, highlighting data showing that the number of military flights at the installation, including those by transient aircraft, in the first half of this fiscal year was 9,800, nearly at the level of the record figure in FY2020. The paper noted that training and flight operations at the U.S. facility have become more diverse and intense perhaps in response to China’s robust military operations in the East China Sea, including in the Taiwan Strait, thus rendering the agreement to “avoid flights over densely populated areas as much as possible” practically irrelevant. Governor Tamaki commented on the anniversary by saying: “The burden of the base on residents has not been lightened…. It is unreasonable to disproportionately impose training on Okinawa by citing the possibility of a contingency across the Taiwan Strait.”

Man who claims to be U.S. Marine arrested for hit and run in Okinawa City (Okinawa Times)

U.S. Embassy Tokyo Media Analysis and Translation Team