1. COVID-19 Update In Japan


l  On May 25, the government of Japan lifted its State of Emergency declaration applied for the remaining five prefectures, namely Tokyo, Kanagawa, Saitama, Chiba and Hokkaido.  So, all the 47 prefectures are now back to non-emergency state with still a high level of caution.


l  The concrete process of how the economy should be reopened has been being defined and announced prefecture by prefecture, but in general, most of the commercial activity and schools are reopened by now except for large scale events and late night entertainments that tend to have relatively high density of people in a confined space.


l  Reportedly, the Japanese government is lifting the ban of entry soon for visitors from Australia, New Zealand, Vietnam and Thailand citing that the four countries had widely contained the infection.


l  Nippon Professional Baseball Organization announced to reopen the regular games of both the Central League and the Pacific League on June 19, while J. League, the Japanese professional soccer league having 56 local clubs nationwide announced to reopen the regular games of J-1 League on July 4.


l  METI announced on May 29 that April’s Industrial Production Index went down to 87.1 making 2015’s annual index as 100. The figure is 9.1% lower than March’s, and industrial output continues to decline three months in row.


l  Ministry of Welfare and Labor announced on May 29 that April’s ratio of job openings to job applicants went down by 0.07 point from the previous month to 1.32.  The number of new job openings declined by 31.9%. 


l  2nd supplemental budget in the amount of 31.9 trillion yen ($295.4 B) to pump up the economy was set by the Abe Cabinet on May 27, and presented to the Diet for approval. Overall amount of the governmental stimulus package now reaches 117.1 trillion yen ($1.08 trillion).  


l  Ruling LDP’s working team had been studying a possibility to change the school year that currently begins on April 1 to the one that begins on September 1 taking the COVID-19 disruption that closed most of the schools for three months as a chance.  It, however, announced on May 27 that it is too short to implement it for this fiscal year. The team said it would continue to study this possibility for the next fiscal year or later.


  1. New 5 Year Birth Rate Goal Set At 1.8


On May 29, the Abe Cabinet concluded an outline, which provides a guideline for governmental countermeasure against the declining number of children for the five years to come. 


In this outline, the government explicitly states its goal of birth rate in 5 years later as 1.8.

Besides, it states that the government should provide financial support for newly married couples for a family life more suitable to have children. 


Also, the government will look into a possibility to increase child allowance budget to financially support families with multiple children. 

Furthermore, the outline states that the government should consider the possibility of sharing the cost for infertility treatment.


  1. New Law Passed To Regulate IT Giants


A new law aimed at improving transparency and fairness of specific digital platforms was passed at the Diet on May 27.  

IT giants such as Google, Amazon, Apple, Rakuten (a Japanese online shopping mall) and so forth are anticipated to be regulated by this law.

Large platform players are required to disclose to their service users the terms and conditions of use upfront in an easy-to-understand way, and to submit an annual report of the activity. 


  1. Survey On Attitude Toward Social Awareness


Yomiuri conducted this survey by mailing the forms on March 10 to 3,000 eligible voters selected at random and receiving the 2,212 answers by April 20. Yomiuri did the similar surveys in 1960s (1964 and 68). 

One thing that sounds interesting is people’s middle class identity has not changed much as follows:


2020 1964

I class myself upper middle       19%      16%

I class myself middle middle     29%     42%

I class myself lower middle       24%     16%           


Aver. monthly working hours     144.5   195.7 


If you’ve got a lumpsum money,

how do you spend it?   

2020 1964

Saving                          59%     33%

Tourism                        31%     15%

House projects             30%     21%

House purchase           23%     23%

Automobile                   10%       7%

Electric apparatus           8%       9%  


Top three disasters of concern 

Earthquake                   95%     45% 

Typhoon                       60%     52%

Flood                            45%     29%

Tsunami                        22%       2%


Please continue to take good care of you and have a safe weekend!