l The number of newly infected people and patients in serious conditions are both declining these weeks, which may have encouraged quite many people to enjoy domestic trips throughout Japan during the Silver Week, which had 4 consecutive holidays (Sept 19 through 22) . Pleasure travels are also promoted by the government’s subsidy, namely Go To Travel. It was officially decided that the governmental campaign will begin to cover trips to and from Tokyo on October 1.
l The number of spectators for large events like professional baseball games had been restricted to 5,000 or less per event, but it was loosened on September 19 to be up to 50% of the individual capacity of stadiums and theaters etc. Now, more than 10,000 or 20,000 spectators are enjoying professional baseball or soccer games. However, the September Grand Sumo Tournament, which started on Sept 13, continues to limit the number of spectators to 2,500.
l Yomiuri reported that the government of Japan is now internally coordinating to lift the restriction of the entry to Japan early next month for those who have the permission of staying in Japan for 3 months or longer. Foreigners with an eligible stay permit are required to undergo a PCR test both before and after the entry, and not to go around for the first two weeks.
l Fuji Film announced on September 23 that its Avigan, which was originally developed as flu remedy, was found effective to cure COVID-19 as the result of clinical trials since March this year, so the company would apply for approval of Avigan as a remedy of the new corona virus infection.
l The Bank of Japan announced on September 18 that the outstanding balance of the cash and deposit of both households (1,128 trillion yen ($10.7 trillion) and corporations (308 trillion yen ($2.9 trillion) as of the end of June this year hit the highest ever. The fear and anxiety as well as the uncertainty coming from the COVID-19 situations urged individuals and corporations to keep higher liquidity, experts analyze.
The LDP’s presidential election was held on September 14, and the former Chief Cabinet Secretary Yoshihide Suga won the 26th party presidency overwhelmingly as below.
Suga Kishida Ishiba
Diet members 288 79 26
Prefectural party members 89 10 42
Total 377 89 68
Since PM Abe stepped down due to his health issue, his last approval ratings were relatively high.
With PM Abe’s trust and commitment to his personality and political ability of Mr. Suga, the leaders of LDP’s major factions didn’t have much problem to collect support to Candidate Suga.
Rep Ishba had a disappointing and distant third place.
Then, an extraordinary Diet session was called on September 16 for the Abe Cabinet to resign in the morning, and Rep. Suga to be elected as the 99th Prime Minister in that afternoon.
Immediately after the appointment by the Emperor, PM Suga formed his cabinet, and started giving instructions to the cabinet members to serve Japanese nationals by showing visible results such as digitalizing government services, enabling the national insurance system to cover infertility treatment and drastically reducing monthly fee of smart phone use as well as taking a very fine balance between keeping alert against the corona infection and accelerating economic activities.
PM Suga also started his diplomatic activity through telephone conversations with President Trump and some other leaders of the nations.
In 2015, then PM Abe promoted to the Diet a set of new laws and related amendments to the existing laws with regard to national security, which were intended to enable the Japanese Self Defense Force to defend and contribute to the U.S. military forces in much more direct manners under the bilateral security treaty.
And those laws and amendments were enacted on September 18, 2015.
On the day of the 5th anniversary of the enactment of the laws, newly appointed Defense Minister Kishi announced at the press conference that the following missions were conducted by the SDF since the laws’ enactment:
Defend U.S. military vessels that were on alert for ballistic missile defense missions, and defend U.S. military ships and aircraft that were under joint exercises: 32 times from 2017 to 2019
Refuel U.S. military vessels that were on alert for ballistic missile defense missions: 20 times from 2017 to 2019
Under the laws, the Self Defense Forces are allowed to use their weapon systems to conduct these missions.
September 21 is a national holiday called Respect-for-the-Aged Day, and on that day, Ministry of Welfare and Labor announced that 41,802 people turn 100 years old this year (36,122 women and 5,680 men). As of September 15, 80,450 people are aged 100 or higher (70,975 women and 9,475 men).
All those numbers are increasing year by year, the statistics tell.
Ms. Kane Tanaka turned 117 years old this year, and she is leading the record for both Japan and the world, while Mr. Mikizo Ueda aged 110 years old leads the Japanese male demographic pyramid.