1. COVID-19 Update In Japan


l  As of 8:30 pm of Thursday the 26th, 1,288 people were infected and 47 were dead in Japan. 


l  Tokyo alone found a sharp increase in the number of infected residents this week, so Tokyo Metropolitan Governor Yuriko Koike held a televised emergent press conference in the evening of Wednesday the 25th, and alerted to the residents of Tokyo that Tokyo is in a brink of an overshoot of the COVID-19 infection.


Citing a worst case scenario of locking down the entire city, she stressed the importance of keeping from going out and of staying home as much as possible.


The governor mentioned April 12 as a sort of a milestone of continuing such self-restriction to avoid the worst case scenario.  


Then, on the following day of March 26, the governor met with PM Abe to ask for concrete protocols to receive support from the central government once PM declares a state of emergency.


She also held a video conference with the governors of Tokyo’s connecting prefectures, namely Kanagawa, Saitama, Chiba and Yamanashi, and asked for cooperation to urge their individual residents not


to commute to Tokyo unless otherwise urgently needed to do so.


l  On March 24, PM Abe held a telephone conversation with Mr. Thomas Bach, President of IOC, and agreed to postpone the 2020 Tokyo Olympic and Paralympic Games until July/August of next year. 


The title of the games remains unchanged, i.e. 2020 Tokyo Olympic and Paralympic Games.


Now, the Tokyo Olympic and Paralympic Organizing Committee members are trying to figure out next year’s availability of the individual facilities that were scheduled to host the games, and additional cost to be incurred as well as releasing the tens of thousands of volunteered registered for now, and collecting new volunteers for the next year.


l  PM Abe announced this week an outline of the governmental economic stimulus package in the amount of 30 trillion yen.


l  On March 26, PM Abe established an Emergency Response Headquarters under the newly effectuated emergency countermeasure law, and ordered to prepare for basic action plans together with its relevant well-informed persons conference so that proper actions shall be taken immediately once a state of emergency is declared.


l  The government announced its Monthly Economic Report for this March that depicts a severe outlook of the domestic economy due to the large scale downward pressure by the COVID-19’s effect.


It’s been 6 years and 9 months since the monthly report did not mention any trend of “recovery” last time.    




  1. PM Abe’s Approval Rating53% Approve Government Response To COVID-19


Yomiuri conducted its monthly survey on March 20 through 22. 


53% of the respondents approved the way the Japanese government responded the new coronavirus so far.


The approval rating sharply increased from 36% of the previous month.


Other findings were as follows:


Do you think it appropriate to close the elementary, junior high and high schools through the spring break?         Yes 64%    No 28%


Do you agree the Government’s current plan not to close the schools further after the spring break?  Yes 73%


Should the 2020 Tokyo Olympic Games be postponed, conducted as scheduled or cancelled?                      


Postpone 69%     Conduct as scheduled 17%     Cancel  8%


Do you keep from going out or avoid crowds?   Yes 81%(47% last month)   No 18% (52%)


Do you approval the Abe Cabinet?        Yes 48% (47%)   No  40% (41%)




  1. Toyota And NTT Agreed To Have A Capital Alliance


Yomiuri reported on March 25 that Toyota and NTT reached a basic consensus to share mutual stocks in the value of 200 billion yen. 


The purpose of the capital alliance between Japan’s largest auto company and Japan’s largest telecommunication company is to collaborate with each other in developing auto driving technology and smart city technology. 


Toyota is to bring its auto driving technology, while NTT is to bring its latest telecommunication technology including 5G. 


Toyota has a plan to begin building an experimental smart city site in Shizuoka Pref. in early 2021 where the car company demonstrates its self-driving technology and robotics as well as its environmental technology. 


The collaboration with NTT this time is also to accelerate this experimental site project, Yomiuri reported.




  1. First Export Of Japanese Military Product  


In April 2014, then Abe Cabinet replaced the Three Principles of Arms Export Ban with the new Three Principles of Arms Transfer citing the changing external security environments where security alliances and collaborations require Japan’s contribution of exports of defense articles and technology.  


Since then, Japan made several proposals of its own defense products such as submarines (to Australia), transport and amphibious planes (both to India), but has not been able to cut a deal yet. 


On March 27, Yomiuri reported that the government of Japan is in a final stage to conclude a contract to export an improved version of Mitsubishi Electric Company’s FPS-3 fixed air defense radar and TPSP-14 transportable air defense radar to Philippine. 


Reportedly, the deal is worth 10 billion yen ($91 million), and intended to boost up Philippine’s early warning and surveillance capability against China, who has been rapidly building up its military presence in the South China Sea.




Cherry blossoms here are in full bloom, but gatherings in the outside are restricted.


We hope to share some flavor of them with the picture below.   




Please have a safe and healthy weekend at home!