1. COVID-19 Updates In Japan


l  Two weeks have passed since the Suga Administration’s lifting the state of emergency and all the prefectures except for Tokyo are showing the sign of the declination of the new cases. The number of newly infected people in Tokyo is now rebounding up to more than 700 per day. The Delta variant is now prevailing in Tokyo, and experts are warning that the number of new cases will easily surpass 1,000 a day unless the administration takes strong countermeasures. 

l  Thanks to the government’s initiative to allow and support corporations or any organizations having more than 1,000 employees or members to organize local vaccination by themselves, the number of vaccinated people per day now exceeds 1.2 million, according to Rep. Taro Kono, Minister specially assigned by PM Suga for the vaccination. He said the present daily vaccination scale is much more than originally anticipated, so new applications by corporations and organizations have not been accepted temporarily.    

l  METI announced on June 30 that the Industrial Production Index for the month of May declined by 5.9% to 94.1 from April’s figure. The automobile industry shrunk most by 19.4% due to the shortage of the supply of semiconductors. 

l  According to the Bank of Japan, the outstanding balance of cash and deposit that the household sector possesses as of the end of March went up by 5.5% to 1.056 trillion yen (US$9.6 trillion) in comparison with a year ago. The increase was mostly driven by the government financial aid.  The outstanding balance of the financial asset of the household sector also increased by 7.1% to 1,946 trillion yen($17.7 trillion) thanks to the booming stock prices.  The corporate sector’s outstanding balance of the financial asset increased by 14.2% to 1,247 trillion yen($11.3 trillion).  All the figures are the highest ever. 

l  The overwork to respond Covid-19 infections and to prepare for the 2020 Tokyo Olympic and Paralympic Games made Governor Koike of Tokyo Metropolitan Government hospitalized last week.  Meantime, the election to the Tokyo Metropolitan Assembly for 127 seats will be made on July 4.  Since this is the last major election before the national one for the House of Representatives in this fall, the heads of the major political parties including LDP, New Komei, CDPJ and others are loudly campaigning in downtown Tokyo to gain momentum for the fall election.  Yomiuri’s poll for voters of Tokyo revealed that 59% approve Governor Koike while 57% disapprove her policy to organize the Olympic games this month. Her own party Tokyoites First currently has the largest share of the assembly members. Whether these mixed signals work for the ruling parties of LDP and New Komei positively or negatively is yet to be seen.


  1. Japan’s 2020 Census Shows Declining Population


According to the preliminary results of the 2020 Census that the Ministry of Internal Affairs and Communications announced on June 25, Japan’s population as of October 1 last year is 126,226,568 (male: 61,360,014, female: 64,866,554).  It is 868,177 (0.7%) smaller than that of 2015 Census (October 2015).  Out of the total 47 prefectures, 9 marked an increase. 


Top 3 and bottom 2 are as follows:  


<Top three of population increase> 

Tokyo               +550,000

Kanagawa        +110,000

Saitama            +  80,000


<Population decrease>

Hokkaido          -150,000

Niigata              -100,000


An average size of one household is found 2.27 people, which renewed the lowest record. 


  1. Japan’s Supercomputer Fugaku Kept Top Position


Institute of Physical and Chemical Research announced on June 28 that its supercomputer Fugaku, which was co-developed by Fujitsu, ranked No. 1 in terms of processing speed.  The computer is keeping the highest position since June last year (the ranking is updated and announced every June and November).   The below shows the top 5 supercomputers in the world: 


                         Nationality        Processing Speed (unit: ten quadrillion per second) 

  1. Fugaku        Japan               44.2 
  2. Summit        U.S.                  14.8
  3. Sierra          U.S.                   9.4
  4. Sunway       China                9.3


  1. Perlmutter   U.S.                  6.4


  1. Shareholders’ Voices Getting Louder


Most of the listed companies’ stockholders meetings were held in this week, and the media is reporting that shareholders’ demand and attitude are changing. Some investors belonging to environmental protection groups collectively demanded at Mitsubishi UFJ’s shareholders meeting to disclose corporate strategy to cope with the Paris Agreement on climate change. 


Although the demand was not approved by the shareholders’ votes, it gained around 23% of the approval of the shareholders who attended the meeting. A similar demand was made by a pro-environment group at the shareholders meeting of Sumitomo Corporation with regard to its plan for coal fire power plant businesses. Any shareholder whose voting right shares 1% or higher is allowed by law to make a motion at the shareholders meeting as long as the subject of the motion is provided to the board of directors at least 8 weeks before the meeting. 


Also, the number of cases that new board members were recommended by the corporates for approval but are not approved by shareholders, while shareholders recommended their own are remarkably growing in this season.     


  1. Rough Milestones Are Set For UAM  


Yomiuri reported on June 30 that the Ministry of Economy, Trade and Industries and Ministry of Land, Infrastructure and Transport are now drafting a new plan with major milestones to practicalize UAM (Urban Air Mobility) or flying car. The concept of UAM is currently under some demonstration phase. The government will define and create rules of driving UAM and safety requirements as well as pilot (driver) license system from now on.  


Then, by 2023, it is expected that using UAM for transportation of cargos between remote islands will become a first practical application. 

In 2025, new businesses for passenger transportation and delivery of commodity to mountainous areas are envisioned to be prevailing in Japan.  And UAM’s auto piloting and unmanned transportation scenes from and to roofs of buildings in town are expected to be realized.


Please continue to have a safe and pleasant weekend!