Afternoon Alert   -   Tuesday, December 21, 2021
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Broadcasters led with reports on an earthquake that hit Nemuro, Hokkaido, at about 11:53 a.m. today (NHK), the incident of arson at an Osaka mental clinic in which 25 people died (NTV, Fuji TV), and the execution of three death-row inmates this morning (TBS, TV Asahi).


Commentary: Appointment of Emanuel reflects U.S. emphasis on Japan (Mainichi)

U.S. urges Japan not to join nuclear ban treaty meeting: sources (Kyodo News)

Japanese NGO meets govt. ahead of NPT review talks (NHK WORLD)

DPRK beefs up nuclear and missile units (Sankei)

Editorial: N. Korea remains isolated 10 years after Kim Jong Un took power (The Asahi Shimbun)

Japan makes protest in working-level maritime talks with China (Jiji Press)

Editorial: ‘Chinese-style’ poll deprived H.K. residents from expressing their will (The Japan News)


Japan enacts bills to support semiconductor production at home (Jiji Press)

Ministry to issue rare guidance to JR Tokai on maglev project (The Asahi Shimbun)

Osaka aims to open casino resort in FY 2029 (Jiji Press)


U.S. service member at Camp Hansen arrested for DUI

Fuji TV reported at noon that a U.S. service member stationed at Camp Hansen, where 186 cases of COVID-19 have been confirmed, was arrested Monday evening for driving under the influence. The network said that as an additional four people who work at the base tested positive for the Omicron variant, the new variant may be spreading on the base. The network added that the arrest came just after Chief Cabinet Secretary Matsuno's announcement on Monday that the GOJ urged the U.S. side to take more stringent measures against COVID-19 at the base.

Japan to allocate ¥20 billion each year for training equipment as part of ‘sympathy budget’ for U.S. troops (The Japan News)

2 China govt ships enter Japanese waters near Senkakus (Jiji Press)

Editorial: Immediately fill the gap in U.S. military bases’ COVID-19 “containment” measures (Asahi)

MOD developing measures to order businesses to change defense equipment parts suppliers (Sankei)

U.S. Navy sailor arrested on suspicion of breaking into school (Kanagawa Shimbun)


Prime minister’s schedule on Dec. 20, 2021 (Sankei)

Gist of interpellations at Upper House budget committee meeting, Dec. 20, 2021 (Yomiuri)

Interview: Suga ‘surprised’ by Biden’s swift commitment to Senkakus (Nikkei Asia)

Gov’t provides 7.9 billion yen in subsidies to eight political parties (Nikkei)

Editorial: Musashino City Council: Listen to citizens, act in interest of national security (Japan Forward)


Support for Kishida Cabinet rises 3.2 points to reach 66%, Japanese split on diplomatic boycott, Sankei-FNN joint public opinion poll (Sankei)

Opinion poll & results from Sankei Shimbun (Sankei)

Opinion poll & results from Mainichi Shimbun (Mainichi)

Kyodo News opinion poll & results from Tokyo Shimbun (Tokyo Shimbun)


JAXA starts recruiting astronauts for 1st time in 13 years (Jiji Press)


Shionogi’s new COVID pill appears to ease omicron symptoms (Nikkei Asia)

Japan govt makes checklist on unconscious gender biases (Jiji Press)

How Twitter moderates content in Japan (The Japan Times)

Editorial: Communities, workplaces should help foreign residents get inoculated in Japan (The Japan News)


Two-way phenom Ohtani scores twice in year’s top buzzwords (All national papers , All TV networks)

“Women who want both kids and a career are greedy.” Huh? (Tokyo Shimbun)

In surprising twist, video-focused SNS leads youths to printed books (Asahi , NHK)


Okinawa alarmed by massive cluster infection at Camp Hansen

The two major Okinawa papers gave extensive coverage to the continued rise in COVID-19 cases among community members of Camp Hansen, highlighting Governor Tamaki’s plan today to press the III MEF Commander, Lt. General James Bierman, to prohibit service members from visiting Okinawa from the U.S. mainland for the time being, impose a ban on outings by Hansen community members, and conduct PCR tests for all of them.

The chief representative of the Okinawa chapter of the national base workers union visited the Okinawa Defense Bureau on Monday and called for measures to ensure that military personnel be subject to strict Japanese quarantine protocols. The union official underscored that the SOFA stands in the way of enforcing effective measures to stem coronavirus infections on base, saying that ahead of the detection of initial cases of the cluster infection, union members at Hansen witnessed arriving personnel from overseas roaming around the installation without wearing masks even though they were supposedly in quarantine for two weeks.

The governor and other local officials are reportedly alarmed by what they view as the “absence of a sense of crisis” among the U.S. military over the rapid spread of the virus at Hansen, with Ryukyu Shimpo claiming that the GOJ also fails to share Okinawa’s concern about the growing outbreak within the U.S. military.

According to the papers, Chief Cabinet Secretary Matsuno told the press yesterday that the GOJ has already asked the U.S. military “strongly” to step up COVID-related restrictions on military members’ activities on and off base. The U.S. side reportedly promised to take measures that will be "compatible with the Japanese government policy" on combating the pandemic.

Capt. Dziekan takes office as commanding officer of Commander Fleet Activities Okinawa (Okinawa Times)

U.S. Embassy Tokyo Media Analysis and Translation Team