Afternoon Alert   -   Thursday, December 23, 2021
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All broadcasters gave top coverage to Prime Minister Kishida’s speech to a gathering of business leaders in Tokyo today during which he stressed that the government will take measures against the Omicron variant of the novel coronavirus, including strengthened border controls, testing, and early treatment of patients, to prepare for the expected spread of the new variant in Japan.


Commentary How Japan-North Korea relations changed under Kim Jong Un (The Japan Times)

Bush demanded Japan send ‘forces’ for 1990 Gulf crisis, declassified documents confirm (The Japan News)

Editorial: Hong Kong ‘election’ takes its democracy closer to one-party China (Nikkei Asia)


Chinese ships spotted near Senkakus for 21st consecutive day (Sankei)

Editorial: Cluster outbreak at U.S. base in Okinawa (Mainichi)

Japan urges U.S. to discipline troops in Okinawa (Jiji Press)

Editorial: Monitor change in nature of expenses for stationing U.S. military in name of strengthening alliance (Asahi)

U.S. expects Japan to build up defense capabilities to handle Taiwan issue (Mainichi)


20 major firms to invest in Osaka casino resort project (The Asahi Shimbun)


Prime minister’s schedule on Dec. 22, 2021 (Sankei)

Commentary: Not a cleanup hitter, Kishida still aims for home run on economy (Nikkei Asia)

Strength of in-house groups in House of Representatives (Yomiuri)

Editorial: Diet will have its hands full after the year-end break (The Asahi Shimbun)

Review launched into rules governing facial recognition data (The Asahi Shimbun)

Diet schedule from January 2022 to January 2023 (Nikkei)


Nissan, Sumitomo to help Japan cities reach net-zero goals (Nikkei Asia)

Quantum computing: Japan takes step toward light-based technology (Nikkei Asia)

Tottori sand dunes serving as site for AR-based experiment for lunar development (NIKKEI Business Daily digital)


Japan health ministry refuses to approve new Alzheimer’s drug (Kyodo News)

As Japan braces for omicron, authorities prepare to quarantine close contacts (The Japan Times)

Infographic: Possible trends in daily Omicron cases in Tokyo, estimated using AI (Tokyo Shimbun)

Editorial: Contain spread of omicron variant to prevent a 6th wave of infections (The Japan News)

Japan to set aside 2.5 b. yen for Fukushima research hub (Jiji Press)

Emperor Emeritus Akihito turns 88 (Jiji Press)

Tokyo Games total cost at 1.45 trillion yen, no extra funds needed (Kyodo News)

Opinion: Solidarity was key to the success of Tokyo 2020 games (Nikkei Asia)

195 foreign nationals on temporary release found to be on the run (Sankei)

30% of foreigners refusing to leave Japan have criminal records (The Japan News)


Members of infected unit at Camp Hansen did not undertake PCR tests before departing U.S.

Okinawa Times and Ryukyu Shimpo led with reports on press remarks made on Wednesday by Foreign Minister Hayashi concerning the recent COVID-19 cluster infection at Camp Hansen. Hayashi disclosed that members of a U.S. military unit that experienced an outbreak of the virus did not undergo PCR tests before departing the United States and said that he spoke by phone with Lt. Gen. Rupp, the commander of U.S. Forces Japan, on Wednesday and expressed strong regret at the cluster infection at the camp. Lt. Gen. Rupp reportedly told Hayashi that members of the unit were not tested either before departing the United States or upon arriving in Japan on the condition that they were fully vaccinated. The service members instead underwent the tests five days after their entry to Japan. The papers wrote that the commander said that he takes the cluster infection at the camp seriously and that the USFJ is planning to have all SOFA personnel bound for Japan receive PCR tests prior to departure.

U.S. servicemembers suspected of smuggling cannabis (Ryukyu Shimpo)

U.S. Embassy Tokyo Media Analysis and Translation Team