1. COVID-19 Updates In Japan


l  On June 19, the central government lifted its request that people do not move long distance beyond prefectural borders except for specific reasons.

l  The 2nd supplemental budget was approved at the Diet on June 12. The total amount to be spent within a year from the general account is 31.9 trillion yen ($298 B), which is the largest ever as supplemental budget. The budget will be spent for business and employment sustainment, financial aid to medical institutions and to prefectural governments, and a reserve account for contingency fund.

l  Most of the 47 prefectural governments are issuing a sort of discount coupon for visitors to redeem in order to stimulate visitors’ spending for local tourism industries.

l  The Ministry of Welfare and Labor announced on June 12 that 98.0% of the undergraduates who graduated their universities in March this year were employed.  The rate is the highest ever, but as the corona virus impact had been prevailing since March, there are more than 100 cancellations of private employment decision reported, the ministry said.

l  Japan National Tourism Organization announced on June 17 that the number of foreign visitors visiting Japan in the month of May was 1,700, which is a 99.9% decrease from the same month a year ago. As of June 17, the government of Japan denies entry to Japan by visitors from 111 nations and regions.

l  The Ministry of Finance announced on June 17 that Japan’s exports of May declined by 28.3% in comparison with the same month last year. The amount of auto exports of May declined by 64% (78.9% down to the U.S.).  The value of exports to the U.S. decreased by 50.6%, while exports to EU declined by 33.8%. Interestingly, Japan’s exports to China in May was down just by 1.9% reflecting China’s earlier reopening of economy.

l  Yomiuri reported recently that Ivermectin, the antiparasitic agent that was developed by Dr. Satoru Omura, Professor of Kitasato University, who received Nobel Prize in Physiology or Medicine may have positive effect to reduce the fatality of COVID-19 patients.  The article introduced a research report that the fatality rate of 280 patients in four separate hospitals in Florida who received Ivermectin was around 40% lower than other patients without the medicine. Kitasato University announced that it would launch a clinical test of Ivermectin for COVID-19 in this summer aiming at approval within a year.

l  Tokyo Olympic and Paralympic Organizational Committee held an online meeting with IOC’s executive members, and reported its basic principle to reduce the scale of the events and simplify the operations to assure the safety of athletes and spectators against the virus threat and to squeeze the cost of organizing the events, which were postponed to 2021.   


  1. Abe Cabinet’s Approval Rating Remains Sluggish


According to Yomiuri’s monthly survey conducted on June 5 through 7, 64% of the respondents said that they are not satisfied with the government economic countermeasures against the corona virus driven recession.  

Only 27% replied that they are satisfied. 

It seems that the fact that the delivery of the rescue package for both households and businesses is delaying affected people’s emotion substantially.  

In the meantime, 42% said they approve the overall response by the government against the infection, which was an improvement from May(34%). 

In May, 58% said they do not approve the government response, while it came down to 49% in this month. 

Abe Cabinet’s approval rating was slightly downed to 40% from 42% of last month, while 50% disapprove the cabinet, a 2% increase from last month.


  1. Japan-UK FTA Negotiation Started


In the wake of BREXIT in January this year, the government of Japan and of U.K. began a bilateral FTA negotiation on June 9, Yomiuri reported.

The two governments aim at concluding the negotiation by this summer. 

Then, the agreement is expected to be approved by an extraordinary Diet session anticipated in fall this year.  

The existing Japan-E.U. EPA covers all the trade and investment rules between Japan and UK, and it continues to be effective for the two countries during the transitional period through the end of this year. 

Then, it will be superseded by the bilateral FTA in January 2021. 

Yomiuri reported that the UK government is showing interest in participating in the Trans Pacific Partnership, a 11 nations EPA, and the Japanese government is to welcome U.K.’s entry to TPP.


  1. Japan-Korea Relationship Recognized Worst Ever In Korea


Yomiuri and Hankook Ilbo, a major Korean daily paper jointly conducted a survey about the bilateral relationship on May 22 through 24.

84% of the Japanese respondents recognized the relationship is bad (83% last year), while the share of the Korean respondents who said the relationship is bad was 91%, which is the highest ever since 1995 when this survey started.   

69% of the Japanese respondents said Korea is not trustworthy.

The rate is a 5% point decrease from the last year. 

On the contrary, 83% of the Korean respondents replied that Japan is not trustworthy, which is a 8% point increase from 2019.

Yomiuri analyzes that the situation that no visible progress has been made for the issue of the Korean Supreme Court order to compensate the former Korean workers conscripted during the World War 2 as well as the issue of Japan’s strengthening its control over exports to Korea is attributable to the survey results.



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