Japan Digest #366

1.        Kishida’s Approval Rating Continues To Slide


NHK conducted a monthly survey from August 11 through 13, which revealed that the Kishida Cabinet’s approval rating went down by 5 points from July to 33%, while its disapproval rating went up by 4 points to 45%.  

This approval rating ties to his lowest that was marked in November last year and in January this year. 

It seems the never-ending media reports about the problems being discovered by local governments and healthcare organizations with regard to their systems to apply My Number Card in place of the existing healthcare ID card is causing serious damage on public confidence and trust of the Kishida Administration. 

Other findings out of this survey are as follows: 


Do you think it appropriate that the government decided to release to the ocean the treated water from the Fukushima Daiichi Nuclear Power Plant after diluting its radioactive contents to comply with the IAEA’s safety standard?         Appropriate  53%         Not appropriate  30%    Don’t know  17% 


This fiscal year’s minimum hourly wage went up to 1,004 yen per hour, topping the 1,000-yen line for the first time. Do you think this minimum wage appropriate?    

Appropriate  62%         Not appropriate  24%    


Are you interested in the Osaka/Kansai Expo to be held in 2025?         Very much so  9%    To some extent yes  26%         Not much  32%            Not at all  27%  


Which political party do you support?    LDP  34.1%      Japan Restoration  4.8%    CDPJ  4.7%     New Komei  3.4%        Communist  2.7%


2.   Japan Started Releasing The Treated Water


At 1 pm on Thursday the 24th, the Kishida Administration started releasing the treated water off the coast of Fukushima that had been pooled since the Fukushima Daiichi Nuclear Power Plant accident, which was caused by the East Japan Great Earthquake and Tsunami of March 11, 2011. 

The water used at the nuclear power plant is being treated by the Advanced Liquid Processing System (ALPS). 

In April of 2021, then administration asked the International Atomic Energy Agency to monitor and study if the ALPS meets the international safety standard that IAEA defined.

Mr. Rafael Mariano Grossi, Director General of the International Atomic Energy Agency visited Japan early July, and delivered IAEA’s report that concluded that the treated water is safe for release.

Although the report provides transparency and accountability as well as scientific background, China is now strongly opposing the act of the Japanese government and threatening with some penalty to be imposed on imports of foods from Japan. 

In the meantime, South Korean President Yoon Suk Yeol and his administration accepted the IAEA’s report as it’s written, and plan to cause no issue over imports of Japanese foods.



3.   Japan To Encourage Japanese Language School Graduates To Get A Job In Japan


Currently, foreign students who graduated a university and came to Japan to study at a Japanese language school could stay in Japan one full year after graduating the Japanese school for job hunting only if the school is qualified by the Immigration Breau to be a well-operated school for the past three consecutive years, and the student is qualified by the Japanese school as a model student.  

Even if a Japanese school tightly controls its students, there is still a chance that some students, in their private life, might break the immigration rules, which easily disqualifies the school. 

Then, good students of the school would lose the opportunity of job hunting in Japan after the graduation. 

Knowing the demographic and labor market problems of Japan, the government recently solidified a policy to loosen the qualification rule of Japanese schools so that good students will be able to be given the one-year moratorium for job hunting in Japan. 

There are more than 800 Japanese language schools and more than 20,000 Japanese language school graduates every year.


4.  Japan And ASEAN To Cooperate For Urban Mines


The government of Japan and ASEAN announced on August 22 in Indonesia that the two would cooperate with each other to retrieve and reuse copper and rare metal out of so-called “urban mines” meaning used electronic devices.  Japan is expected to provide ASEAN with certain technologies to retrieve copper and rare metal from used devices and to process them for reuse so that the ASEAN nations will be able to establish a circular supply-chain of material locally. 

It is positioned under Japan-ASEAN Circular Economy Initiative, Yomiuri reported.