1. COVID-19 Updates In Japan


l  With mere 3 weeks passing since the lifting of the 3rd State of Emergency on June 20, the 4th SoE was announced on July 12 for Tokyo and Okinawa by the central government, who cited the action as a sort of preventative measure to keep the new cases from surging.  However, the number of newly infected people in Tokyo on Wednesday surpassed the peak of the 4th wave of the infection (1,140 people a day), and the experts project that the number should further grow up until the Delta variant share reaches 100% of new cases (currently just 50% of the total). 

l  Thanks to the accelerated vaccination of mostly senior people in the past months, the number of patients in serious conditions is rather declining in Japan. However, doctors and experts are warning that if the new cases continue to grow in major cities, more of younger generations such as 30s to 50s might get infected and hospitalized in serious conditions because they are still waiting for their turns of vaccination after seniors. 

l  According to the balance of payment for the month of May that the ministry of Finance announced on July 8, its current account balance was a 1,980 billion yen surplus ($18.0 billion), which is 85.3% more than the same month last year. Although the month’s imports increased by 30.6% for vaccines and medical items as well as petroleum, exports increased more (46.5%) thanks to the booming U.S. automobile market and China’s strong demand of semiconductor manufacturing devices etc. 

l  The Suga administration announced on July 12 that it would have all the municipalities throughout Japan begin accepting an application for vaccination certificate on July 26. Chief Cabinet Secretary Kato clarified at a press conference that the certificate is provided only for those who make overseas trips, and not intended for use at any public place like restaurants although Keidanren has been demanding that the vaccination certificate should be provided for more varieties of purposes.


  1. Countdown Of Tokyo Olympic/Paralympic Games Began Without Much Enthusiasm 


The opening ceremony of the Tokyo Olympic Games will begin at 8 pm (JST) of Friday the 23rd, just one week later, and even before that, some of the first elimination rounds will have got started as below:


<Women’s Softball Games>

July 21st (Wed)                                                                                       July 22nd (Thu)

9:00 am

Australia vs. Japan at a stadium in Fukushima

United States vs. Canada


Italy vs. United States at a stadium in Fukushima

Mexico vs. Japan


Mexico vs. Canada at a stadium in Fukushima

Italy vs. Australia


<Womens Soccer Games>

July 21st (Wed)                                      July 22nd (Thu)


Group E Japan vs. Canada and others at Sapporo Dome

Group C Egypt vs. Spain


Group F China vs. Brazil and others at Miyagi Stadium

Group A Japan vs. S. Africa


Group G Sweden vs. United States and others at Tokyo Stadium

Group B New Zealand vs. Korea

Group D Brazil vs. Germany


July 23rd (Fri):  Elimination rounds of both men’s and women’s archery games, and both men’s and women’s boat racing games are scheduled from the morning through the afternoon.  


It was decided that no spectator is allowed except for stadiums in Miyagi prefecture.  The Emperor and his family members were originally expected to attend the opening ceremony in person, but now it is planned that the Emperor alone will participate and declare the opening of the games at the stadium. Day-to-day media reports are being overwhelmed by the Covid-19 infection and vaccination status, which have been fairly eclipsing the public attention and excitement over the Olympic games.  


  1. Defense Whitepaper Released


The Suga Cabinet released on July 13 this year’s Defense Whitepaper.  

Just like the last year’s, it positioned Chinese military activity as a strong concern for the security of not only Japan but also for the international society.  It specifically alerts that the Chinese navy is rapidly modernizing its sea power introducing one fact that their fleet size now exceeds that of the U.S. Navy.  For the first time ever, the whitepaper touched upon Taiwan saying that stability of Taiwan situations is critical to the security of Japan and the stability of the international society.  The whitepaper also sets aside a new section about the conflict between the United States and China covering the issues of not only the trade imbalance, the military tension at the Taiwan Straits, South China Sea, the human rights of Hong Kong, Uighurs, and Tibet but also the high tech competitions such as AI etc.  It also stresses that the Chinese Coast Guard has been violating the International laws by violating Japan’s territorial water around the Senkaku Archipelagos.   


  1. Suga Cabinet’s Approval Ratings Remain Low


Yomiuri announced this week the results of its monthly survey that was conducted on July 9 through 11 as follows: 


Do you approve or disapprove the Suga Cabinet?                     Approve 37% (±0 from June)            Disapprove 53% (+3 points)  

Do you approve its vaccination processes?                               Approve 36%                              Disapprove 59% 

Do you want to watch the Olympic games?                                Yes 74%  

Which party’s candidate(s) do you vote at the next national election for the House of Representatives?  

LDP 39% (- 5 points from April)  

CDPJ 10% (-3 points)   


Japan Meteorological Agency announced today that this year’s rainy season (梅雨) is over for Tokyo and most of the Japan Proper.  

I’m hoping that the Olympians will overcome the unfriendly summer climate conditions during the game period as well as the risk of the infection, and will be able to exhibit their best performance!


Please continue to have a safe and pleasant weekend!