1. COVID-19 Updates In Japan
l The number of new cases keeps the level of 200 a day or so during this week as an entire nation, and majority of the 47 prefectures see zero infection these days. Thanks to this low infection status, the government of Japan this week lifted the restriction of foreign students’ visit to Japan, and loosened the quarantine requirement to be just 3 days for foreign businesspersons as long as they have a sponsor company in Japan, which is obligated to monitor foreign visitors’ activity during their stay in Japan.
l The government solidified a three phased schedule of the booster shots, first in this December for the medical community, followed by January next year for senior people etc. and the 3rd in March next year for all the rest.
<As of 10 pm of November 11th>
The cumulative number of infected and dead in Japan are 1,725,309 and 18,334 respectively.
The number of new cases and death in the nation for the day was 216 and 4.
78.20% of the population have finished the first dose of the vaccine, while 74.52% have done for the 2nd.
2. PM Kishida Began To Implement His Policies
One of PM Kishida’s LDP Presidential campaign promises is to explore a new capitalism, which is in short to revitalize the economy from the domestic consumption perspective by incentivizing corporate Japan to distribute much higher share of their profit to employees. PM Kishida recently convened a roundtable inviting economists, corporate leaders and venture capitalists etc. and discussed on how to implement his policy. Another promise was to emphasize Japan’s pro-human rights position by taking some top-down initiative by himself. On the 8th of November, Kishida announced that he appointed Mr. Nakatani, former Defense Minister as an advisor to PM for Human Rights issues. Rep. Nakatani has been advocating on a bipartisan basis in the Diet to make a new law to enable the government to apply sanctions against foreign high-ranking officials who are involved in human rights abuse.
Another promise is to stimulate potential venture capital funds in Japan to invest in technology oriented ventures. PM Kishida announced yesterday at a press conference that he would not only enlarge the size of Universities’ venture capital fund to 10 trillion yen ($88.5 B), but also reform the governance of universities so that management of high education should separate its education and research responsibility and corporate management responsibility.
3. The 2nd Kishida Cabinet Launched
In the wake of the national election of October 31 for the House of Representatives, which resulted in LDP’s win to secure an overwhelming majority (number of parliamentary seats required in order for the ruling party to chair all standing committees and pass bills without the support of other parties), an extraordinary Diet session was held on November 10, and Rep. Fumio Kishida was elected as the 101th Prime Minister.
The second Kishida Cabinet was formed on the same day without changing the cabinet members except for Foreign Minister.
Secretary General of LDP Amari resigned the position as the result of his loss in his small electoral district (he gained back his seat by the proportional representation system though), and PM Kishida as party president appointed Foreign Minister Motegi as the new secretary general.
Then, PM Kishida appointed his right arm in his faction Rep. Yoshimasa Hayashi as the foreign minister for his second cabinet.
In this extraordinary Diet session, an election of Speaker of the House of Representatives was made, and Rep. Hiroyuki Hosoda, former Chief Cabinet Secretary during the Koizumi Cabinets was elected to be the speaker.
With this, Speaker Hosoda resigned the head of the Hosoda faction, which has the most Diet members at the LDP, and reportedly asked former PM Shinzo Abe to lead the faction. Abe accepted the request yesterday, the media reported.
4. TSMC To Establish A New Semiconductor Factory In Japan
Taiwan Semiconductor Manufacturing Co., Ltd. the world largest semiconductor supplier announced this week that it would establish a new factory in Kumamoto Pref. of Japan to keep up with the surging demand of semiconductors in Japan. First, TSMC will found a joint venture company in Japan with Sony’s subsidiary company which manufactures semiconductors locally. The companies assume that their initial investment would amount to around 800 billion JPY (approximately $7 billion). During the announcement, TSMC was never shy to express its strong expectation that its investment should be financially supported by the government of Japan as the government of the U.S., EU and Korea have been providing when an investment is to be made to establish a local semiconductor manufacturing or R&D base.
Since the government of Japan does not currently have any legal base to allow the government to provide subsidy for a specific foreign entity, or specific rule to define the amount of grant to be provided, it requires the Diet to pass a relevant law as well as it needs METI to make a specific rule to judge the qualification of applicant companies.
The type of semiconductors to be manufactured in this new factory, which will have begun manufacturing by 2024 are the ones, width of circuit of which range from 22 to 28 nano meters. This particular category of semiconductors are now mostly needed in Japan, because their applications are mostly for the local industries of camera, industrial machinery, and automobile’s collision avoidance equipment etc.
Have a great weekend!