Japan Digest #363

1.        Kishida’s Approval Rating Dove In A Month


Yomiuri’s monthly survey that was conducted on May 23 through 25 revealed that the Kishida Cabinet’s approval rating went down by 15 points to 41%, while the disapproval rating went up by 11 points to 44%. 

The previous survey was done during the period of the G7 Hiroshima Summit that PM Kishida chaired. 

The 15 points declination of approval rating in a month is the largest ever since Kishida took the office in October 2021. 

A Japanese tendency of heating up quick and cooling down quick is cited as one reason, while one of Kishida’s sons, who worked as one of formal secretaries of PM used PM’s house with personal affairs was another reason of the declination of the approval rating, followed by a series of mishandling of privacy information saved on My Number Card, a sort of digitized Social Security Number card. 

One interesting result of the survey was about a political party that is most expected to be a leading opposition party against the ruling LDP. 

40% of the respondents chose Japan Restoration Party, followed by CDPJ (26%), which is so far the largest number of Diet members after LDP.


2.   LGBT Law Enacted


The past regular Diet session passed a law to promote public understanding of LGBT people, and the law was enacted on the 23rd of June. 

The Japanese government opened a department at the Cabinet Office on the same day to implement a basic plan that the government is going to make to promote the public understanding of LGBT.

Originally, supporters and promoters of LGBT Law aimed at more liberal version explicitly recognizing the right of same sex marriage and so forth. 

However, conservative group members of the ruling LDP and their supporters stressed the importance of retaining normal family’s value opposing the original version of the law. 

Latest law suits in five local district courts where plaintiffs claimed that the government position that it doesn’t provide the same legal protection to same sex marriage couples is unconstitutional resulted in the plaintiffs’ victories.

All the cases are anticipated to be fought through the Supreme Court.


3.   Economic Security Considerations Led JIC To Acquire JSR


The board of directors of JSR, which keeps around 30% share of the world photoresist market announced this week that it would accept an acquisition offer from Japan Investment Corporation (JIC) that was founded by the government in 2018 for the purpose of supporting to strategically incubate and strengthen specific industries.  

JIC is planning a TOB deal in the end of the year to acquire around two thirds of JSR's listed share by roughly 900 billion yen.

Photoresist is used as a key material to manufacture substrate of semiconductors.

The government of Japan positions semiconductor as a critical item in terms of economic security, and set a priority to strengthen semiconductor's supply chain in Japan.

JIC's acquisition of JSR will facilitate the company to quickly and smoothly invest in where JSR needs to grow and the Japanese semiconductor industry to restructure itself faster.        


4.  Three Universities Put On Short List Of Ten Trillion Yen University Fund’s Beneficiary


In order to boost the quality of research at universities, the government of Japan established University Fund as large as 10 trillion yen. 

The fund is managed by Japan Science and Technology Agency, who entrusts financial institutions to operations the fund to earn revenue of 300 billion yen as an annual target.

The revenue will become subsidy for top universities to be selected annually to build research facilities, hire top researchers and financially support students registered for doctor degree.

Yomiuri reported this week that the Ministry of Education, Culture, Sports, Science and Technology selected Tokyo University, Kyoto University and Tohoku University on its short list of this program’s first year selection. 

One or two universities will eventually be selected as the first recipients for this first year of the subsidy in this fall, the paper reported.