JAPAN MEDIA HIGHLIGHTS
Afternoon Alert   -   Monday, December 20, 2021
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HEADLINES

All broadcasters led with reports on the incident of arson at an Osaka mental clinic in which 24 people died.

SOCIETY

GOJ calls for more stringent health measures at U.S. bases in Okinawa

NHK reported that following the confirmation of a large-scale cluster infection at Camp Hansen, Chief Cabinet Secretary Matsuno told reporters this morning that the U.S. side has informed the GOJ that at least 180 people at Camp Hansen had tested positive for COVID-19 as of this morning. Matsuno reportedly added that the U.S. side is taking the matter seriously and is working closely with Okinawa government health officials to trace those who have been in close contact with the infected individuals. He also reportedly said the U.S. side has adopted more stringent health measures, including the wearing of masks, and said: "The Japanese government called for more stringent measures, and the USFJ reiterated that they will take measures consistent with the policy of the Japanese government. The government will make utmost efforts to alleviate the anxiety of the local community."

Kishida offers apology after death of ex-head of abductee group (Jiji Press)

Japan’s omicron travel ban strands caregivers and farmers (Nikkei Asia)

Editorial: Giving foreigners referendum vote step toward inclusive society (The Asahi Shimbun)

Editorial: Safety and security are key to a new Go To Travel campaign (The Japan Times)

Entire route of “reconstruction road” opens in northeastern Japan (Jiji Press)

INTERNATIONAL

U.S. counters China with new Indo-Pacific framework (Nikkei Asia)

10 years in, Kim Jong Un steps out of his grandfather’s shadow (Nikkei Asia)

Youths fear Japan’s joining “developing world”: Kobe Univ. Professor (Asahi)

Editorial: G7 makes clear: Cooperation with China not in ASEAN’s best interest (Japan Forward)

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

Editorial: Federal Reserve urged to curb inflation by speeding up pace of tapering (The Japan News)

ECONOMY

U.S. ban on Xinjiang imports to set off supply chain scramble (Nikkei Asia)

Interview: CBDCs to help lower settlement costs: BOJ Kamiyama (Jiji Press)

Environment minister releases opinion on J-Power’s coal power plant (Nikkei)

Tokyo exodus: Is the capital losing its luster among businesses? (The Japan Times)

China’s FAW to sell $100,000 electric SUV in Japan (Nikkei Asia)

China’s Baoshan ramping up competitiveness in magnetic steel sheets (Nikkei)

SECURITY

Chinese ships spotted near Senkakus for 18th consecutive day (Sankei)

Chinese aircraft’s takeoff from and landing on aircraft carrier “not confirmed” (Yomiuri)

Establishing Japan-China hotline to be delayed further (Sankei)

Japan to require cyber defenses at infrastructure companies (Nikkei Asia)

Japan agency warns of economic security threats from China (Jiji Press)

Japan expanding cooperation with Britain on development of new ASDF fighter jet (The Japan News)

POLITICS

Prime minister’s schedule on Dec. 17, 2021 (Sankei)

Prime minister’s schedule on Dec. 18, 2021 (Sankei)

Prime minister’s schedule on Dec. 19, 2021 (Sankei)

Main events scheduled for Dec. 20-26 (Kyodo News)

Gist of interpellations at Upper House budget committee meeting, Dec. 17, 2021 (Yomiuri)

Japan plans record $944bn budget, marking 10-year spending spree (Nikkei Asia)

Commentary: Looking back on Japan’s secrets protection law (The Japan Times)

INTERVIEW: Abe says atmosphere ripe for constitutional reform (Jiji Press)

Editorial: Lower house panel on Constitution must meet often to deepen debate (The Japan News)

Cartoon: Inflatable GDP doll (Asahi)

Cartoon: Water’s edge strategy succeeds (Tokyo Shimbun)

OPINION POLLS

Poll suggests Kishida failed to impress voters with voucher plan, Kyodo News survey (Kyodo News)

54% support Japan PM Kishida’s Cabinet, 60% seek 100,000-yen handout in cash only, Mainichi poll (The Mainichi)

73% in Japan fear omicron virus variant, 65% want early booster shot, Mainichi poll (The Mainichi)

Kishida Cabinet approval edges down to 44.9 pct, Jiji poll (Jiji Press)

Over 40 pct critical of CDP-JCP cooperation, Jiji poll (Jiji Press)

26.4 pct in Japan back 100,000-yen handout, Jiji poll (Jiji Press)

SCIENCE

Japan joins Arctic race with 1st research icebreaker for region (Nikkei Asia)

Coral comeback? JFE and startup use steel slag to restore reefs (Nikkei Asia)

Editorial: Take lead in creating international rules on space debris (The Japan News)

OKINAWA LOCAL PRESS

U.S. consulate official apologizes for water bottle incident

Saturday’s Okinawa Times wrote that an official in charge of base issues at the Okinawa Prefectural Government visited the U.S. Consulate Naha on Friday and lodged a protest with Principal Officer [sic] Jessica Megill over the incident in November in which a water bottle fell from a Futenma-based MV-22 Osprey onto a residential area. The paper wrote that Megill apologized for the anxiety the incident caused residents.

U.S. civilian base worker sentenced to four years in prison for smuggling cocaine (Okinawa Times)

Adult child of U.S. civilian base worker given six months imprisonment for marijuana possession (Okinawa Times)

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