Afternoon Alert   -   Monday, December 27, 2021
The following information reflects the reporting of the cited news media and does not reflect the opinions of the U.S. Embassy in Tokyo. Japan Media Highlights is intended for USG use only and should not be forwarded. Visit the website here. For more information, contact TokyoMATT@state.gov.


All broadcasters led with reports on the record snowfall in the northern Kinki region.


GOJ adopts new term to replace “consideration budget”

Kyodo on Saturday highlighted the GOJ’s adoption of a new term, “budget to enhance resilience of the alliance," for host nation support (HNS), Japan's share of the cost of stationing U.S. troops. An unnamed senior GOJ official reportedly strongly urged the press earlier this month to stop using the term “consideration budget” on the ground that it is misleading. “Japan regards the U.S.-Japan alliance as the cornerstone [of its foreign and security policy],” the official was quoted as saying. “We fully understand the necessity of the [HNS] budget and bear the costs willingly.” Defense Minister Kishi also stressed that the new term, reportedly coined by someone in the North American Affairs Bureau, represents Tokyo's resolve to make the alliance more resilient. The report said, however, that even LDP officials are doubtful about the new term, with an unnamed influential member of the party’s defense policy clique saying: “The administration played up its generosity to the United States while underscoring to the Japanese public the necessity of the expenses for the alliance. It spoke with a forked tongue.” Kyodo added that Japan is known for rephrasing military terms in a bid to shape public impressions, explaining that the Imperial Japanese Army described incursions into China as “incidents” while the MSDF’s de facto aircraft carrier is described as an “escort ship carrying helicopters.” The two laws lifting the ban on collective defense that were enacted in 2015 were termed "peace and security legislation."

Okinawa police joined SDF, JCG to practice defense of Senkakus

Kyodo reported on three-party training between the Okinawa police, the GSDF, and the Japan Coast Guard that was held on Nov. 20 and 21 on a deserted outcrop in Nagasaki Prefecture. According to several GOJ sources, the drill was based on a scenario of recapturing the Senkaku Islands occupied by Chinese militias disguised as fishermen. When the training was officially announced, however, the Cabinet Secretariat had reportedly explained that it did not envisage a certain island or nation. Members of the Okinawa police unit tasked with “patrolling the national border” teamed up with Naha-based JCC agents and GSDF amphibious troops in the training, which reportedly involved landing by boats and helicopters.

Iwakuni base worker confirmed to be infected with Omicron (Mainichi)

Chinese ships spotted near Senkakus for 23rd consecutive day (Sankei)

Japan, U.S. draft operation plan for Taiwan contingency: sources (Kyodo News)

Japan and Australia to sign armed forces agreement next month (The Japan News)

Editorial: Gain Japanese people’s understanding for increased burden of hosting U.S. military (Nikkei)

Japan, U.S. to collaborate on countermeasures against ransomware (The Japan News)

Defense info possibly leaked in cyberattack on Mitsubishi Electric (Jiji Press)

Japan to extend special law for Okinawa by 10 years (Jiji Press)

Zenchuro protests harassment/unpaid wages at Camp Zama (Kanagawa Shimbun)

MSDF, JCG hold joint drill simulating Chinese intrusion near Senkakus (The Japan News)

Japan to withdraw MSDF destroyer from Middle East (Jiji Press)


Japan to weigh limits on surveillance tech exports with U.S., EU (Nikkei Asia)

Japan, South Korea should cooperate in economic security: advisor to ROK’s opposition presidential candidate (Nikkei)

Editorial: Continuous Japan-China dialogue needed amid Beijing Games confusion (The Mainichi)

Editorial: Despite absence of officials at Games, dialogue with China vital (The Asahi Shimbun)

Commentary: Biden’s democracy summit raises questions about consistency (Nikkei Asia)

Editorial: Enhancing Kim Jong Un’s dictatorship cannot lead to a brighter future for North Korea (Japan Forward)

Editorial: Russia’s mistaken sense of national greatness only heightens threat (The Japan News)

Cartoon: The “boycott” event (Tokyo Shimbun)


Hush money: Japan to pay companies to keep sensitive patents secret (Nikkei Asia)

Japan and China partner on clean alternative for natural gas (Nikkei Asia)

Commentary Japan needs to tackle economic security head-on (The Japan Times)

Shoddy welding work throws spanner into nuclear plant (The Asahi Shimbun)

Japan to ship Monju’s sodium to Britain from FY 2028 (Jiji Press)

Editorial: Establish system to prevent surveillance tech being misused for human rights abuses (The Japan News)

Editorial — Going nowhere: Central banks face inflation fears (The Japan Times)

Turkey’s geography lures Japanese electronics contractor Kaga (Nikkei Asia)

Japan gov’t projects 3.2 pct economic growth for FY 2022 (Jiji Press)

Japan’s government bonds expected to be 1.8 times GDP (Jiji Press)

Japan stays at 19th in per capita GDP in 2020 (Jiji Press)

Editorial: Creating data rules can aid digital economy but WTO must also reform (The Japan News)

8 Japan automakers’ domestic output down 4.7 pct in Nov. (Jiji Press)


Chinese secretary and money entrap LDP “candidate for Cabinet minister” (Shukan Bunshun)

Editorial: Draft budget shows lack of focus, no fiscal discipline (The Asahi Shimbun)

Prime minister’s schedule on Dec. 23, 2021 (Sankei)

Prime minister’s schedule on Dec. 24, 2021 (Sankei)

Prime minister’s schedule on Dec. 25, 2021 (Sankei)

Prime minister’s schedule on Dec. 26, 2021 (Sankei)

Main events scheduled for Dec. 27-Jan. 2 (Kyodo News)

Matsuno Hirokazu, a Cabinet head who makes no enemies (Nikkei)

Japan’s hawkish hopeful Takaichi ponders path to prime minister (Nikkei Asia)

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

Former health minister Nemoto to be acting chairperson of Kishida faction (Nikkei)

Japan’s Foreign Ministry names Economic Bureau’s new director general (Kyodo News)

Deputy gov. fined over Japan foreign minister-linked election case (Kyodo News)

YIES: Kishida calls for public-private partnership to realize ‘new form of capitalism’ (The Japan News)

Focus: Japan record budget plan unlikely to provoke debate on fiscal health (Kyodo News)

Editorial: Has govt’s record-high budget been scrutinized for efficient spending? (The Japan News)

Japan eyeing 95.7 billion yen for strategic materials in FY 2022 (Jiji Press)

Kishida to appoint 10,000 personnel to promote digitalization (Jiji Press)

Abe urges Kishida to maintain Abenomics (Jiji Press)

Interview: CDP chief vows to win more Upper House seats (Jiji Press)


Japan’s Kishida sees approval rating climb to 65%, Nikkei poll (Nikkei Asia)

69% say govt’s decision to not send officials to Beijing Games appropriate, Nikkei poll (Nikkei)


Japan plans to oblige firms to set targets for nonfossil energy use (Jiji Press)

Japan mulling permit system for unmanned autonomous driving (Jiji Press)


Families of Japanese abductees regret death of Iizuka (Jiji Press)

Zushi police commend U.S. citizen for rescuing man in car accident (Kanagawa Shimbun)

Japan’s Justice Ministry eyes more flexible use of labor, education to rehabilitate prisoners (The Japan News)

Japan’s overall crime down, but phone scams rise (NHK WORLD)

Nearly all Japan’s school boards scrap gender field on applications (Kyodo News)

Sri Lankan woman’s detention footage shown to lawmakers (Jiji Press)

Use of advanced technologies touted as legacy of Tokyo Games (Jiji Press)

Editorial: Japan needs flexible response as omicron community spread confirmed (The Mainichi)

Editorial: Decision on 2022 Games delegation reasonable, but not clearly expressed (The Japan News)

Hiroshima accepts narrower eligibility for hibakusha aid (The Asahi Shimbun)

Editorial: Tokyo Olympics report lacking vital rigorous assessment (The Asahi Shimbun)

DIPLOMATIC DOCUMENTS: Diplomatic secret mission sounded out Soviet’s move in Gulf crisis (The Asahi Shimbun)

Prewar accounts blame ‘mood of the time’ for start of Pacific War (The Asahi Shimbun)

Editorial: Japan-related news picks show power of sports amid pandemic stagnation (The Japan News)


Japan’s security environment rapidly deteriorating: Top GSDF official (Okinawa Times)

U.S. Embassy Tokyo Media Analysis and Translation Team