Afternoon Alert   -   Friday, March 18, 2022
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All broadcasters led with reports on the recovery efforts being made by individuals and public entities in Miyagi and Fukushima following the strong earthquake there on late Wednesday evening, including repairing the derailed Tohoku Shinkansen bullet trains and rebuilding damaged infrastructure and homes.


G7 foreign ministers agree to maintain pressure on Russia

NHK reported on an emergency virtual meeting held between the G7 foreign ministers for about an hour and half starting at 9:30 p.m. on Thursday (Japan time). Foreign Minister Hayashi told reporters afterward that the G7 nations condemned Russia’s invasion of Ukraine and Belarus’s involvement in the aggression and reaffirmed the G7’s continuing to pressure Russia to immediately stop its attacks against Ukraine. Hayashi reportedly added that he and his G7 counterparts agreed to set up a special support group to strengthen their assistance for Moldova and other countries near Ukraine that are accepting evacuees from Ukraine in cooperation with international organizations.

Japan to slap new sanctions on Russian defense officials, other individuals and entities

NHK reported that the GOJ agreed at a cabinet meeting this morning on additional sanctions on Russia, including freezing the assets of 15 individuals, including senior Russian Defense Ministry officials, and nine entities connected with the Russian defense industry. Chief Cabinet Secretary Matsuno told reporters that the GOJ decided to take additional steps in line with Prime Minister Kishida's policy of strengthening Japan's sanctions on Russia and taking appropriate measures in coordination with the other G7 members and the international community.

Japan starts banning exports of 57 items to Russia, Belarus today

NHK reported that Japan imposed a ban today on exports of 57 general-purpose products to Russia as part of its additional sanctions on the nation. The 57 items are products used for a wide range of industrial purposes, including high-power diesel engines for trucks and tractors, semiconductors for control systems for industrial machinery, equipment to produce semiconductors, communication equipment, and sensors. This export ban also applies to Belarus. The network said Japan banned exports of more than 230 military-use products, including machine tools and carbon fiber, after the nation’s annexation of Crimea in 2014 and decided to expand the ban to include 57 general-purpose products in response to Russia’s invasion of Ukraine. The broadcaster speculated that the government is hoping to apply pressure on Russia and Belarus by inflicting damage on their military industries.

Ukraine’s Zelenskyy may address Japanese Diet next week

NHK reported that LDP Diet Affairs Committee Chairperson Takagi and his Constitutional Democratic Party of Japan counterpart Mabuchi agreed this morning to make arrangements to honor Ukraine’s request for President Zelenskyy to be given an opportunity to virtually address the Japanese Diet next week. The network said the committees on rules and administration of both houses of the Diet will expedite discussions on the details of the speech, including the venue. Takagi told the press after the meeting that it is important to arrange the event as soon as possible.

GOJ confirms coordinated inter-agency support for Ukrainian evacuees

All networks reported on a GOJ meeting this morning to discuss Japan’s support for people wishing to enter Japan from Ukraine that was chaired by Chief Cabinet Secretary Matsuno and attended by Foreign Minister Hayashi, Justice Minister Furukawa, and other relevant cabinet ministers. During the meeting, the government confirmed its integrated efforts to provide assistance to Ukrainian evacuees swiftly and extensively. As specific measures, the government is planning to streamline the process of issuing visas and providing housing and other support to the evacuees in coordination with local governments and private businesses. The Kishida administration will set up a new taskforce chaired by Assistant Chief Cabinet Secretary Takizaki to coordinate among relevant government agencies. Matsuno told the participants to make utmost efforts to provide support for those who have fled difficult circumstances in their home country and come to Japan to seek help.

Roundup of newspaper editorials on Japan’s Russia strategy (Sankei)

Kishida to meet Modi for summit as Quad partners discuss Ukraine (Nikkei Asia)

Can the threat of sanctions firepower prevent a Taiwan crisis? (Nikkei Asia)

Japan historians urge Japan, China, India to go between Russia, Ukraine (Jiji Press)

Ex-Hiroshima mayor urges Putin not to use nuclear weapons in Ukraine (Kyodo News)

Ukraine asks Japan for satellite data amid Russian invasion (Nikkei Asia)

Ukraine’s thriving tech firms join cyber resistance against Russia (Nikkei Asia)

Japan’s plan to set up diplomatic mission in China’s Wuhan stalled (Kyodo News)

Japan, Saudi Arabia to work toward stabilizing crude oil markets (Kyodo News)

Gov’t to assist Africa in procuring vaccines (Yomiuri)


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

Cyberattacks hit year-high in February–March, Teikoku Databank poll (Nikkei)

Japan to deal with potential armed attacks on nuclear power stations by strengthening defense capability: PM Kishida (Tokyo Shimbun)

Japanese military expert: Russian troops seek to cut off capital to avoid urban fighting (The Japan News)

Peace group criticizes U.S. Navy’s construction of advanced training facility at Yokosuka base (Akahata)

Japan Lower House OKs bill for SDF’s foreigner-only transport (Jiji Press)


Bridgestone Americas temporarily halts operations due to cyberattack

NHK reported that Bridgestone Americas, the U.S.-based subsidiary of the Japanese tire and parts manufacturer Bridgestone Corporation, suspended operations at several of its plants for about a week in late February due to a cyberattack. The company noticed unauthorized access to its network on Feb. 27 and disconnected many of its manufacturing and retreading facilities in the Americas. Operations at multiple plants in the region were suspended for as long as one week. The network said a hacker group called LockBit 2.0 has claimed involvement in the attack.

Focus of Diet deliberation of economic security bill is on areas subject to regulations (Nikkei)

Osaka prefecture and city unresponsive to residents’ views opposing IRs (Asahi)

Editorial: Uncertainty makes flexibility vital as Federal Reserve raises its rates (The Japan News)


Prime minister’s schedule on March 17, 2022 (Sankei)

Gist of interpellations at Upper House budget committee meeting, March 17, 2022 (Tokyo Shimbun)

No results from Abe’s conciliation toward Putin: Kishida (Jiji Press)

Former NSS chief Kitamura incurs ex-NPA bureaucrats’ enmity (Sentaku)


Japan eyes 6G lead with global standards backed by Toyota, others (Nikkei Asia)

JAXA to launch moon lander in FY2022 (Sankei)

Japanese gov’t to consider relaxing antimonopoly law to promote decarbonization (Nikkei)

Flying taxis set to take off on 8 routes at Osaka World Expo (Nikkei Asia)


Editorial: Japan’s public, private sectors should check preparations for quake damage (The Mainichi)

Editorial: Be alert, prepare for aftershocks following powerful earthquakes (The Japan News)

Editorial: Imminent lifting of curbs no reason to let your guard down (The Asahi Shimbun)

70 pct of health care workers in Japan want to quit jobs (Jiji Press)

Japan’s Princess Aiko meets press for 1st time ever (Jiji Press)


Okinawa governor to ask USFJ to keep mask mandate in place both on and off base

Okinawa Times and Ryukyu Shimpo reported on the finding that the USFJ lifted its mask mandate inside U.S. bases on March 14 in line with CDC guidelines. The Okinawa prefectural government reportedly convened a meeting on measures against the new coronavirus on Thursday and discussed the infection situation in the prefecture as well as the lifting of the mask mandate by the USFJ. Governor Tamaki reportedly told the press on Thursday that the coronavirus outbreak in the prefecture "has not been brought under control" and said he will ask the USFJ to continue to keep the mask mandate in place both on and off base. Tamaki also reportedly said: "We can't say the outbreak has been completely brought under control within U.S. bases. A subvariant of Omicron has been confirmed in the prefecture, and the infection situation remains unpredictable." Meanwhile, the daily wrote that MOFA asked the USFJ headquarters on Monday to continue recommending that U.S. service members and base employees wear masks.

Okinawa municipalities protest F-35A operations at Kadena (Okinawa Times)

U.S. Embassy Tokyo Media Analysis and Translation Team