JAPAN MEDIA HIGHLIGHTS
Afternoon Alert   -   Wednesday, June 29, 2022
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HEADLINES

Broadcasters led with reports on the heat wave across Japan, with a "heat stroke alert" being issued in 21 prefectures (NTV, Fuji TV, TV Asahi), and an announcement by the Japan Meteorological Agency that the shortest rainy season on record ended in southern Tohoku today (NHK, TBS).

INTERNATIONAL

ROK media reports on government idea to launch fund for forced labor victims

Kyodo reported from Seoul on local media stories saying that the Yoon administration is weighing several ideas to resolve the dispute with Japan over former requisitioned workers, such as the establishment of a 30-billion-won ($23 million) fund by Japanese and South Korean companies to pay compensation to the wartime forced labor victims. The ROK Foreign Ministry will reportedly launch a taskforce involving government officials, supporters of the victims, and academics to seek their advice on the idea. The Yoon administration is reportedly looking to start high-level discussions with the Japanese side soon after the Upper House election on July 10 with the goal of improving bilateral relations expeditiously.

Local media uncertain about viability of proposed price caps on Russian oil

All national papers other than Sankei highlighted the G7 agreement on exploring ways to impose price caps on Russian petroleum in an attempt to limit Moscow’s ability to finance its war in Ukraine, wondering whether it is possible to establish a viable mechanism. According to Asahi, an unnamed senior GOJ official voiced skepticism by saying: “Russia probably will not sell oil at a price set by the G7 and their partners.” He was reportedly worried that the proposal may do more harm than good because Russia might decide to reduce its oil exports in retaliation for the imposition of price caps, which would propel a further rise in market prices. Projecting that global petroleum prices may increase if emerging nations choose to reach out to alternative suppliers, such as oil producers in the Middle East, Yomiuri opined that obtaining cooperation from China, India, and other emerging economies will hold the key to devising a workable scheme. Nikkei pointed out that European shipping agents have already reacted strongly to the idea of using shipping insurance to put price caps on Russian products. The business daily also noted that lowering oil prices artificially would end up encouraging the consumption of fossil fuels and aggravating global warming.

Prime Minister Kishida, President Yoon briefly meet in Spain

NHK reported that the Blue House announced today that ROK President Yoon, who is currently visiting Spain for the NATO summit, briefly met with Prime Minister Kishida. The network said this was the first time for the leaders to meet in person since the inauguration of President Yoon in May. According to the announcement by the Blue House, Kishida and Yoon talked for three or four minutes when they attended a gala dinner hosted by the Spanish king on Tuesday. Kishida reportedly approached Yoon and congratulated him on his election to the presidency and the victory of the ruling parties in the general election on June 1. Yoon reportedly responded by wishing Kishida a good outcome in the Upper House election and saying that he plans to swiftly resolve the pending issues between the two nations after the election and move forward in a future-oriented manner. In response, Kishida reportedly told Yoon: "I am aware that President Yoon is making efforts to improve the Japan-ROK relationship. Let's make efforts to develop a sounder relationship." TBS, Fuji TV, and TV Asahi carried similar stories.

Japan PM airs hope for summit with China’s Xi (Kyodo News)

Ukrainian envoy to Japan calls Russian missile strike “pure terrorism” (Jiji Press)

Opinion: Overcome politics that block efforts to ban nuclear weapons (Mainichi)

Japan gov’t paper calls for strengthening supply chains (Jiji Press)

Japan-ROK relationship under “Prosecutor Yoon Suk-yeol” (Nikkei)

South Korea struggles to decouple from Japan in key chipmaking materials (Nikkei Asia)

SECURITY

U.S., Taiwan hold strategic dialogue to discuss provision of arms

Nikkei wrote from Washington that it has learned from informed sources that the United States and Taiwan held a bilateral strategic dialogue between their security officials in the United States last week under a regular framework known as the "Monterey talks." The paper speculated that Washington and Taipei discussed the details of the United States’ plans to provide weapons amid China’s increasing military pressure on Taiwan. According to the paper, neither party publicly discloses plans for the talks or their details as a general rule. The paper wrote that the Biden administration has repeatedly stated that it will support Taiwan’s efforts to strengthen its capabilities for self-defense and that the U.S. Congress approved in early June $120 million in arms sales to Taiwan.

Chinese ships spotted near Senkakus for 74th consecutive day (Sankei)

90% of crimes committed by U.S. forces personnel not prosecuted (Akahata)

Infographic: Defense-related expenses (initial budget) since 2012 (Mainichi)

MSDF’s participation in joint exercises doubled in last 4 years (Nikkei evening edition)

ECONOMY

Kishida refers to “maximum use of nuclear energy”

Yomiuri wrote that during a press conference in Germany on Tuesday following the conclusion of the G7 summit, Prime Minister Kishida mentioned the importance of reactivating offline atomic reactors swiftly in order to deal with the looming power shortage. “We will use nuclear energy as much as possible by accelerating safety inspections” by the Nuclear Regulation Authority (NRA), the prime minister was quoted as saying. He emphasized that the maximum utilization will be premised upon ensuring the safety of nuclear reactors based on NRA rules and regulations, explaining that the regulatory entity is committed to expediting the safety screening process for restarting operations.

No signs Japan any closer to securing stable electricity supply (The Japan News)

POLITICS

Prime minister’s schedule on June 28, 2022 (Sankei)

Japan FTC cites examples of illegal cloud service practices (Jiji Press)

FOCUS: Rising prices key focus in election but no party has silver bullet (Kyodo News)

Efforts underway to boost Upper House poll voter turnout (Jiji Press)

Japan election platforms show split on amending pacifist constitution (Nikkei Asia)

Editorial: Parties should engage in realistic policy discussions on economy, finance (Asahi)

Personnel change at MOFA (Mainichi)

Cartoon: It’s Greek to the people (Akahata)

SCIENCE

205 applicants pass preliminary tests in JAXA astronaut recruitment (NHK WORLD)

Former astronaut Noguchi to become IHI Corp. advisor (Mainichi)

EDUCATION

Weakened yen hammers Japanese students in U.S. (The Asahi Shimbun)

SOCIETY

MSDF rescues American family from crippled yacht off Okinawa

NHK reported online that the MSDF rescued an American family of three from their crippled yacht in waters off Okinawa on Tuesday. According to the network, the yacht, ALIYAH, went dead in the water after it was dismasted in bad weather in waters about 770 km off the main island of Okinawa. The 11th Regional Coast Guard Headquarters reportedly said that an American man, a Filipino woman, and a six-year-old child who were on the yacht were rescued by an MSDF US2 seaplane at about 5 p.m. on Tuesday. The yacht reportedly left a port in the Philippines on June 18 and was heading to California. The network said none of the family members were injured, and they arrived at Naha Airport at around 7 p.m. on the same day.

Infographics: Trends in live births, total fertility rate, never-marrieds (Sankei)

Rally against transgender hate held in Tokyo to highlight legal challenges (The Mainichi)

Abortion legal and apolitical in Japan, but cost and consent present barriers (The Japan Times)

Japan police arrest record cannabis cases in 2021 (Jiji Press)

Govt. to lift evacuation order for part of Fukushima’s Okuma Town (NHK WORLD)

OPINION POLLS

Japan’s ruling LDP holds highest preelection support at 28%, Kyodo News second trend survey (Kyodo News)

Kyodo News second trend survey from Tokyo Shimbun (Tokyo Shimbun)

OKINAWA LOCAL PRESS

Okinawa leader under fire after contracting coronavirus

The two major Okinawa papers reported on Okinawa Governor Tamaki’s testing positive for COVID-19 on Tuesday, which will force him to remain in self-isolation and refrain from official duties at least through July 7, saying that since he attended a prefectural assembly session for an hour or so on Monday night even after he learned that one of his family members had tested positive for the virus earlier in the evening, most assembly members, irrespective of party affiliation, criticized the governor for failing to abide by proper infection prevention protocols. The prefectural leader, who had engaged with the family member in question on Sunday evening without wearing a mask, was judged to be a close contact only after the legislature adjourned for the day. The prefectural assembly reportedly decided to postpone the closing of the summer session by three days through July 15 so as to accommodate the Q&A sessions that have to be canceled due to the governor’s illness. Local politicians close to the governor were shocked by his “careless” conduct and disappointed by the fact that he will not be able to campaign for All Okinawa Coalition candidate Iha, who is seeking another term in the July 10 Upper House election. On the other hand, LDP officials were buoyed by what they saw as Tamaki’s “failure in crisis management.” Tamaki issued last night a comment expressing a “deep apology” for causing anxiety and inconvenience.

JAPAN MEDIA HIGHLIGHTS
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