Afternoon Alert   -   Thursday, March 17, 2022
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All broadcasters continued to give extensive coverage to the damage caused by the powerful earthquake that hit the southern Tohoku region late last night. Most networks reported that three people were confirmed to have been killed, although Chief Cabinet Secretary told the press this morning that public authorities are investigating the deaths of four individuals in relation to the quake. NHK added that 199 people were injured in the temblor.


G7 foreign ministers to discuss Ukraine remotely tonight

NHK reported that coordination is underway between the G7 members for their top diplomats to hold a virtual meeting tonight to share the latest information on the war in Ukraine. In addition to gaining a clearer picture of the situation there, the participants are expected to exchange views on the status of support for Ukraine and sanctions against Russia, such as the revocation of its most favored nation status, that each member has implemented or plans to implement. This will be the seventh time for the G7 foreign ministers to hold virtual discussions on the Ukraine crisis this year.

President Biden vows to defeat Putin

NHK reported on remarks delivered by President Biden on Wednesday regarding additional aid for Ukraine. The broadcaster focused on his statement saying: “What’s at stake [in the war in Ukraine] are the principles that the United States and the united nations across the world stand for. It’s about freedom…. It’s about making sure Ukraine never — will never be a victory for Putin.” He reportedly explained that additional assistance for Kyiv will include military equipment, such as drones and anti-armor systems. According to the network, the President told the press on a separate occasion on the same day that the Russian leader is a “war criminal.” The network added that according to White House Press Secretary Psaki, the President was speaking from his heart about what he has seen on the news about the “barbaric actions by a brutal dictator.”

On President Biden's description of the Russian leader as a "war criminal," Chief Cabinet Secretary Matsuno reportedly told the press this morning: "We are aware of the President's remark. Prosecutors at the International Criminal Court (ICC) have launched investigations on war crime charges in relation to the situation in Ukraine. Our government has also referred the matter to the ICC on the grounds that war crimes have been committed. We will be paying close attention to the ICC probe." The government spokesperson also commented on the International Court of Justice’s issuance of a provisional order demanding that the Putin administration suspend military operations in Ukraine immediately by saying: “Since the provisional order is legally binding, Russia needs to heed it. Moscow must comply with it without fail.”

Japan gov’t creates liaison team to accept Ukrainians (Jiji Press)

Taiwan rep. in Japan calls for cooperation with Japan on Ukraine (Asahi)

Japan revokes Russia’s ‘most favored’ status over Ukraine (Nikkei Asia)

Careful analysis of Russia’s decision to invade Ukraine critical: Kawano (Yomiuri)

Editorial: China should be condemning Russia’s aggression, but it simply can’t (Japan Forward)

Editorial: China has a responsibility to stop Russian aggression (Nikkei Asia)

About a fifth of major Japanese firms suspend operations in Russia, Teikoku Databank poll (NHK WORLD)

Editorial: With Chernobyl power outage, Russia can run away with nuclear fuel (Japan Forward)

Cartoon: Putin shows FSB the door (Sankei)


SDF launches cyber defense unit

NHK reported on the official establishment today of an SDF unit tasked with defending the nation’s cyberspace from adversaries, saying it was previously called the unit for command, control, and communications. The team now comprises 540 personnel tasked with training human resources, supporting practical training, and managing information and communication networks. “The launch marks a major step toward establishing Japan’s superiority in the cyber domain at a time when the security environment is becoming increasingly severe,” said Defense Minister Kishi. “We are committed to strengthening our cyber defense capabilities.”

SDF scrambles fighters against Chinese drone over East China Sea

NHK took up a Defense Ministry announcement that the ASDF mobilized fighters against a Chinese drone that entered the nation’s air defense identification zone over the East China Sea on Wednesday afternoon. The fighters were scrambled in response to a BZK-007 that the PLA operates for reconnaissance purposes. This was reportedly the first time for the SDF to spot this type of aircraft flying in the vicinity of Japan. While noting that the UAV did not violate Japan's territorial airspace, Chief Cabinet Secretary Matsuno told the press this morning that Japan will respond resolutely to such flights to safeguard the nation’s territorial land, airspace, and waters. He added that Japan is watching China’s military activities with "great interest," as the PLA is accelerating the domestic development of various types of drones.

Japan’s SDF launches new cyber-defense unit (Kyodo News)

U.S. military conducts carrier-based air demonstration in Yellow Sea (Mainichi)

4 Chinese govt ships sail in Japanese waters off Senkakus (Jiji Press)

LDP discusses “nuclear-sharing” (Nikkei)

Japan’s fiscal woes make discussions on nuclear deterrence urgently necessary (Nikkei)


Concerns grow about weak yen’s impact on Japan economy (Jiji Press)

Government changeover in South Korea brings relief to Japan, ROK chipmakers (NIKKEI Business Daily)

Editorial: Steady pay increases needed to help support livelihoods (The Japan News)

Editorial: Japan’s auto industry needs shake-up after latest case of emissions data fraud (The Mainichi)


Prime minister’s schedule on March 16, 2022 (Sankei)

Japan ruling bloc, DPFP agree talks on gas tax cut (Jiji Press)

Science Council President meets with CCS Matsuno for first time (Mainichi)

Political parties step up efforts to increase number of women in Diet (Asahi)

Message by Prime Minister KISHIDA Fumio at “The Tokyo Conference 2022: How do we restore democracy and multilateralism moving towards a post-COVID-19 world?” (Kantei Website)


56% want ruling, opposition parties to be evenly matched in Upper House after election, Nihon Yoron Chosakai poll (Tokyo Shimbun)


Toyota and others set up help agency for their migrant employees (Nikkei Asia)

Japan abductees’ kin urge gov’t to quickly realize victims’ return (Kyodo News)

Prosecutors appeal Tokyo court’s ruling for ex-Nissan exec Kelly (Kyodo News)

Japan’s COVID quasi-emergency to completely end: PM Kishida (Kyodo News)

Japan foreign arrivals in Feb. over 99% lower than pre-pandemic level (Kyodo News)

Majority in Hokkaido backs 2030 Winter Olympic bid: poll (Jiji Press)

Companies will perhaps no longer be asked to identify COVID-19 close contacts (Jiji Press)

Japanese municipalities step up preparations for teen booster shots (The Japan Times)

Editorial: Preserve, utilize valuable firsthand data on Great East Japan Earthquake (The Japan News)

List of all 125,000-plus WWII Japanese American internment detainees nears completion (The Mainichi)


Ginowan mayor to visit Yokota AB

Ryukyu Shimpo reported that Ginowan Mayor Matsukawa is making arrangements to visit Yokota AB for a meeting with the USFJ commander in April or May to request the swift closure and return of MCAS Futenma and call attention to the "excessive" base-hosting burden on the city. The paper said the mayor is also planning to pay a visit to the U.S. Ambassador to Japan. The daily added that Matsukawa, who visited the United States as mayor for the first time in 2019, canceled his U.S. visits in 2020 and 2021 due to the COVID-19 pandemic. This will reportedly be his first visit to the USFJ headquarters.

Okinawa Prefecture to accept Ukrainian refugees (Ryukyu Shimpo)

U.S. Embassy Tokyo Media Analysis and Translation Team