Japan Digest #364

1.        Kishida’s Approval Rating Continues To Slide


According to NHK’s monthly survey that was conducted on July 7 through 9, Kishida Cabinet’s approval rating went down from June by 5 points to 38%. 

Its disapproval rating went up by 4 points to 41%.

Other key findings are as follows:  


Do you agree or disagree to the government policy to release to the sea the treated water that include radioactive material like tritium coming from the Fukushima Daiichi Nuclear Power Plant after diluting them to clear the safety standard?                    Agree 35%       Disagree 20%              Difficult to answer 40%  


Do you agree or disagree to allow exports of lethal weapons, which is being discussed within the ruling parties right now? 

Agree 24%       Disagree 63% 


How do you expect the Kishida Administration’s 3 trillion yen worth countermeasure against declining number of children to play out? 

Should be quite effective 7%     Effective to some extent 26%     Not much 41%    Not at all 21%  


Do you think the new law to promote understanding of minority people like LGBTQ that was passed at the Diet last month will resolve discrimination? 

Very much so 3%    To some extent so 37%     Not much 38%    Not at all 11%


2.   Cooperation Between Japan And NATO Nations To Deepen


PM Kishida visited Lithuania on July 12 and participated in the NATO Summit.

He had a separate meeting with the Secretary General Stoltenberg and jointly announced Individually Tailored Partnership Programme (ITPP). 

These documents identify 16 areas of cooperation in the following four security priorities: 


New Disruptive Technologies such as Disinformation and AI, etc. 


Ocean Security    


3.   Japan And EU Cooperate To Secure Rare Metal


Japan and EU signed an MoU on July 6 to cooperate with each other by complementing mutual supply chain of rare metal such as lithium, cobalt, nickel and so forth.

This is intended to mitigate the dependence on Chinese supply chain and strengthen mutual economic security.

The two also concluded an MoU on July 4 to strengthen the collaboration in the field of semiconductor supply chain.


4.  Japan To Loosen Exports Of Weapons


In 2014, then Abe Cabinet lifted the long-lasting arms export ban policy by releasing a new policy called Three Principles of Defense Equipment Transfer.

This enables arms exports to allied and friendly nations.

However, the administrative interpretation of the policy is such that any lethal weapon’s exports are not allowed, and only the defense articles in the following five applications can be exportable:

Search and rescue




Mine sweeping

Any fire powers including barrels and guns onboard need to be removed, for example, from mine sweeper before exports are made. 

Yomiuri reported this week that a working team formed by the ruling LDP and New Komei’s members would recommend a new guideline to explicitly allow exports of defense articles with weapons as long as their applications fall under the said five fields. 

The working team will also discuss the possibility to enable exports of internationally co-developed defense equipment to a third country, which is not allowed at this moment, Yomiuri reported.


5. Fukushima Positioned To Be A Model Prefecture To Commercialize Hydrogen Supply In 2026 


Back in 2020, New Energy and Industrial Technology Development Organization (NEDO) established Fukushima Hydrogen Energy Research Field (FH2R) at Namie-cho of Fukushima Pref., which had been devastated by the Fukushima Daiichi Nuclear Power Plant problem caused by the Eastern Japan Great Earthquake and tsunami of March 11, 2011.

FH2R, since then, has been conducting experiment to demonstrate hydrogen generation and supply technologies. 

Yomiuri reported this week that the Japanese government began studying the feasibility of commercializing the hydrogen to be generated by FH2R starting in 2026.

In parallel, hydrogen stations will be established in the prefecture as many as twenty. 

Also, introduction of FCVs and fuel cell buses as well as newly developed fuel cell trucks will be accelerated in Fukushima so that the prefecture is positioned to be a model prefecture of hydrogen based zero emission society. 


6. Japan To Establish Strategic Dialogue With Saudi Arabia 


Yomiuri reported today that taking the opportunity of PM Kishida’s visit to Saudi Arabia on July 16, the two nations would agree to establish a foreign minister level “Strategic Dialogue”. 

The first dialogue will be held in Saudi Arabia in September and Foreign Minister Hayashi will be dispatched for it.  

In parallel, the Japanese government institutionalizes a periodic foreign minister meeting with the GCC member countries (UAE, Oman, Kuwait, Qatar and Bahrain) . 

China is exhibiting diplomatic influence in the Middle East region such as brokering a thaw between Saudi Arabia and Iran these days. 

Japan that heavily relies on the oil and gas of the region should have higher diplomatic presence in the Middle East, the paper suspected as the background of the government move.