Afternoon Alert   -   Wednesday, December 29, 2021
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TV networks gave top coverage to a minor earthquake in Tokyo before noon (NHK), a fatal traffic accident in Kanagawa this morning (TV Asahi), and congestion at major stations, airports, and highways due to holiday travel (NTV, Fuji TV).


ROK takes issue with Japan’s plan to nominate Niigata gold mine as World Heritage site

NTV reported that the South Korean Foreign Ministry issued a statement on Tuesday calling for Japan to forego its plan to recommend adding the Sado Gold Mine in Niigata Prefecture to the list of UNESCO World Heritage sites. “We urge the Japanese government to withdraw the recommendation immediately since the mine was used as a platform for forced labor,” a ministry spokesperson said in the statement. The official went on to say that Seoul will deal with the matter "resolutely in coordination with UNESCO and the international community to ensure that the site will not be registered without a sufficient description as the location of forced labor.”

Seoul blasts bid by Tokyo for Sado gold mine to be on heritage list (The Asahi Shimbun)

Sado Gold Mine proposed for 2023 World Heritage candidacy (Jiji Press)

Pacific island nations probe digital currencies with Tokyo startup (Nikkei Asia)

Your predictions for Asia in 2022 (Nikkei Asia)

Japan PM urges S. Korea to abide by 2015 agreement on “comfort women” (Kyodo News)


Major North Korean spy uses Japanese cellular phone number (Tokyo Shimbun)

Chinese ships return to Senkaku area for first time since Dec. 24 (Sankei)

Japan moving to join ASEAN defense hotlines (NHK WORLD)

Scrambles against China increase five-fold from half year ago (Sankei)

Editorial: Will nation support accelerated pace of defense budget increase? (Asahi)


Japan OKs plan to fight reputational damage over water release (Jiji Press)

Japan Nov. jobless rate rises to 2.8 pct (Jiji Press)

CCP executive expects Japan’s support in joining TPP (Mainichi)

Japanese companies switch to ‘software-driven’ business models (Nikkei Asia)

Japan telecom giant NTT to check suppliers for human rights abuses (Kyodo News)

Japan automakers to fit cars with level 2 self-driving tech by 2022 (Nikkei Asia)


Prime minister’s schedule on Dec. 28, 2021 (Sankei)

As NPT “intermediary,” Japan is at crucial stage (Mainichi)

Editorial: Musashino City Council did the right thing in rejecting foreigner voting (The Japan Times)

Kishida tells ministries to report key measures in advance (Jiji Press)


Editorial: Top overseas news stories for 2021 reflect pandemic’s continued shadow (The Japan News)

Japan narrows definition of in-flight omicron close contacts (The Japan Times)

Japan to secure 2.3 m. people for local digitalization (Jiji Press)

Japan’s Princess Kako turns 27, wishing for sister’s happiness (Jiji Press)

Editorial: New ‘black rain’ guidelines leave atomic-bombed cities divided (The Asahi Shimbun)


Omicron gradually spreading to various U.S. bases in Okinawa

The two major Okinawa dailies took up the announcement made by the prefectural government on Tuesday that an Okinawa resident in her 40s who works at Kadena AB has tested positive for the Omicron strain of the coronavirus, following the confirmation of several Omicron cases at Camp Hansen and Camp Schwab. One of the woman's coworkers is also reportedly suspected of being infected with the variant. The papers expressed alarm at the looming possibility of Omicron being transmitted to various U.S. installations in the island prefecture despite renewed efforts by the U.S. military to prevent further infections, speculating that the variant has spread because the base authorities’ control of personnel arriving from the U.S. mainland was lax in the beginning.

Surveys by three parties all point to high level of toxic chemicals in water at U.S. Army facility (Okinawa Times, Ryukyu Shimpo)

U.S. Embassy Tokyo Media Analysis and Translation Team