1.     Hundreds Of Japanese Evacuated Out Of Wuhan


The Japanese government dispatched a charter plane to Wuhan, China three times this week to bring back 565 Japanese, who had been living or visiting the city where the new coronavirus broke out.

The Ministry of Welfare and Labor announced on the 30th that three people were newly found infected by the virus.

This makes the total number of infected persons in Japan 14 as of the 30th. 

There are still more than 150 Japanese in Wuhan, who had expressed desire to return to Japan.

The government said that based on the Chinese government’s approval, it would keep dispatching a charter aircraft up until the last citizen would be back to Japan.

The government’s emergency response headquarters was established and headed by PM Abe in order to stop the expansion of the infection at the water’s edge. 


2.     New Law To Regulate Mega High Tech Companies Drafted


The government of Japan announced on January 28 that it drafted a new law to regulate giant IT companies operating in Japan.  

If it is approved by the Diet, GAFA, Rakuten, Yahoo Japan and other large IT corporations are obligated to annually report to METI with regard to the status of disclosing to their clients about the factors that dictate the priority of searching results etc., and the status of advance notice of contract amendments.

METI, then, ask a new organization to be composed by well-informed people etc. to evaluate the reports, and eventually make those reports publicly accessible.  

If disclosure and fairness are not sufficient, the Minister of METI shall make recommendation or order to improve its disclosure and fairness.

Originally, the administration had planned to regulate the mega IT companies more severely by articulating prohibition clauses.

However, considering a rapidly changing IT business environment, the administration decided against setting prohibition clauses, expecting those companies to further explore innovations and new services under self-discipline and the close watch by the regulatory bodies.


3.     Highest Number Of Employed And Lowest Unemployment Rate Ever


According to the annual labor force survey results announced on January 31 by the Ministry of Internal Affairs and Communications, seasonally adjusted unemployment rate for December 2019 was 2.2%, which was same as the previous month and the lowest ever.

The number of workers in Japan through the year of 2019 was 67,240,000, which is about 600,000 more than 2018, and the highest ever since its statics was recorded for the first time in 1953.

Despite the fact that the total population has been declining since 2008, more and more women and senior people of 65 years and above had been participating in the workforce, and so had foreign workers.

Last year, 29,920,000 women and 8,920,000 senior people worked in the Japan, and both numbers were highest ever. 


4.     iPS Cardiac Muscle Sheet Successfully Transplanted


Osaka University announced on January 27 that it successfully transplanted induced pluripotent stem cell or iPS cell based cardiac muscle sheets to a patient who is suffering from serious cardiac disease.

The university’s medical team sourced iPS cells, which have been constantly generated by and stored at Kyoto University, and grew the cells to be cardiac muscle.

Then, the team processed the cardiac muscle to be a round-shaped sheet (diameter 4 to 5 centimeter with the thickness of 0.1 mm).

Three of this sheet were transplanted over the surface of the heart of the patient who suffered from ischemic cardiomyopathy in this month.

It seems the patient is in a good condition recovering smoothly so that the patient was able to move back to a regular room.

The team will spend a year to monitor if there is any rejection response and check recovery of the heart itself.

The first area of the application of iPS cell in the medical reproduction treatment was retina, followed by cornea and then for Parkinson disease.


So, this is the fourth area of new application, Yomiuri reported.