Afternoon Alert   -   Wednesday, December 15, 2021
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Broadcasters led with reports on the finding that the Ministry of Land, Infrastructure, Tourism, and Transportation had been instructing officials to change some of the statistical data indicating the volume of construction work ordered nationwide for the past eight years (NHK, NTV, TBS, TV Asahi) and the GOJ's plan to explain to local municipalities today its guidelines for the 100,000-yen COVID-19 relief payments for families with children (Fuji TV).


U.S., Japan making arrangements to hold “2+2” meeting in early January

NHK reported this morning that according to a government source, arrangements are underway for Foreign Minister Hayashi and Defense Minister Kishi to visit the U.S. in early January for a "2+2" meeting with Secretary of State Blinken and Secretary of Defense Austin in Washington on Jan. 7. The network said the Japanese government is hoping to share concerns with the U.S. over China's maritime advancement and reaffirm the importance of peace and stability in the Taiwan Strait. The network added that the U.S. and Japanese officials are expected to confirm that Japan will shoulder a greater share of the cost of stationing U.S. troops in Japan and further deepen bilateral security cooperation. They are also expected to exchange views on global challenges, such as COVID-19 and climate change.

Japan, US eye 2-plus-2 talks in January (NHK WORLD)

Interview with former ambassador to Japan, William Hagerty (Sankei)

Beijing worried U.S. would collapse after Jan. 6: Woodward and Costa (Nikkei Asia)

Opinion: Japan should become the guardian of freedom and democracy in Asia (Nikkei)

Editorial: China still lacks transparency 20 years after joining WTO (Nikkei Asia)


Japan to see if S. Korea can meet high standards of TPP: spokesman (Kyodo News)

Japan govt. wants domestic-built LNG fuel tanks (NHK WORLD)

82.5 pct of firms in Japan worried about pricey materials (Jiji Press)


Chinese ships spotted near Senkakus for 13th consecutive day (Sankei)

Japanese workers’ treatment at US bases raises Defense Ministry responsibility questions (The Mainichi)

Expand alliance from strategy to tactics: former GSDF Western Army Commander Motomachi (Sankei)

GSDF and Marine Corps search for new ways to cooperate through EABO (Sankei)

Japan to require naming of countries hosting servers with user data (Jiji Press)


Prime minister’s schedule on Dec. 14, 2021 (Sankei)

Gist of interpellations at Lower House budget committee meeting, Dec. 14, 2021 (Yomiuri)

Infographics: Trends in political party membership (Nikkei)

Editorial: Hasty plan to provide benefits for families led to confusion at municipalities (The Japan News)

Editorial: Japan’s 100,000-yen handout for kids courting chaos (The Mainichi)

Japan to change name of planned child agency to include “families” (Kyodo News)

Kishida vows not to host cherry blossom-viewing party (Jiji Press)


Accurate understanding of public opinion critical for effective foreign and security policy (Nikkei)

74% of voters frustrated by political situation in Japan, Yomiuri-Waseda Univ. poll (The Japan News)


Japan to start digital immigration procedures Mon. (Jiji Press)

Some arrivals at Narita in quarantine in regional areas (Jiji Press)

Screening of documentary on ‘home custody’ system called off (The Asahi Shimbun)

Final letters of Sri Lankan who died in detention published in book (The Asahi Shimbun)

Editorial: More Omicron cases a call to battle stations for next wave (The Asahi Shimbun)

Cartoon: The jury is still out on Kishida (Tokyo Shimbun)


U.S. military says fire extinguishing foam released on Dec. 10 contained no PFAS

Ryukyu Shimpo wrote that concerning the fire extinguishing foam released at the Kadena Air Base during a safety test performed on Dec. 10, the U.S. Air Force and the Defense Ministry’s Okinawa bureau told the paper on Monday that its main components were ethylene glycol and sulphur compounds and it did not contain PFAS. The paper wrote, however, that the product could still “pose a risk to waterborne life” if it flowed into rivers and the ocean. According to the paper, the Air Force reportedly said it took measures to prevent the foam from leaking out of the base, including erecting barriers in front of nearby drainage channels, and that no leakage has been confirmed outside the base.

Okinawa governor comments on Futenma relocation (Okinawa Times)

Former Ginowan Mayor Sakima expresses intention to run in 2022 gubernatorial election (Ryukyu Shimpo)

Four men affiliated with U.S. military arrested for DUI (Okinawa Times)

U.S. Embassy Tokyo Media Analysis and Translation Team