1. COVID-19 Updates In Japan
l Entering the new fiscal year, people’s activity add up, and the number of new cases in some prefectures are up or plateaued in others.
l In Tokyo, more than 90% of new cases are now infected by BA.2 type Omicron variant. And, this week, the very new variant XE was found for the first time in Japan from a lady who flew from the U.S. to the Narita International airport.
l The government is expected to decide soon to approve the 2nd booster shots for senior people. Interval from the first booster shot is going to be squeezed to 4 months, so the 2ndbooster may begin in as early as May.
<As of 10 pm of April 14>
The cumulative number of infected and dead in Japan are 7,246,886 and 28,905 respectively.
The number of new cases and death in the nation for the day was 55,294 and 52.
81.2% of the population have finished the first dose of the vaccine, while 79.8% have done for the 2nd and 46.8% for the 3rd.
2. Kishida’s Approval Ratings Remain Unchanged
According to NHK’s monthly survey that was conducted on April 8 through 10, 53% of the respondents approved the Kishida Cabinet, which is exactly the same percentage as the previous month’s, while 23% disapproved it, which is a 2 point less than March. Other major findings are as follows:
How do you approve Kishida Administration’s response to the Russian invasion of Ukraine?
Very good 13% Good 59% Not much 16% Not at all 5%
How do you think of the government’s sanctions against Russia?
Appropriate 35% More sanctions needed 47% Too much 7%
How do you approve the government policy to proactively accept Ukrainian refugees?
Very good 25% Good 51% Not much 15% Not at all 3%
Do you approve the government’s plan to reduce its dependence on Russian oil and gas even if it increases your energy bills?
Yes 68% No 17%
How are the price increases of food, energy, daily commodities affecting your living?
Significantly 22% To some extent 48% Not much 20% Not at all 3%
How are you conscious about reductions of disposable plastic products like spoons or knives?
Very much so 22% To some extent 45% Not much 21% Not at all 6%
3. Russia’s Active Military Presence Observed Around Japan
Yomiuri wrote a special report with regard to active presence of Russian military forces around Japan.
For example, just between January and March, there were 57 Russian military vessels observed passing through either Tsugaru Strait, Soya Strait or Tsushima Strait.
According to the observation of the Japanese Maritime Self Defense Force, some of those Russian ships transported soldiers and fighting vehicles including main battle tanks from the bases on the Kamchatka Peninsula to Vladivostok, where the Siberia railway might pick up the transported soldiers and military vehicles toward the battle fields of Ukraine.
In the past ten years, just five or six military vessels showed up in average in the same period of a year near the seas around Japan.
There were also some military exercises observed on the Northern Islands that Russia occupies.
Last night, NHK reported that a Russian diesel submarine conducted a test firing of a cruise missile from the Japan Sea, and Russia announced that it successfully hit a target on the ocean.
The media reported that Russia is demonstrating its military presence in this area as the U.S. Navy’s aircraft carrier “Abraham Lincoln” and JMSDF’s destroyers conducted a joint exercise in the Japan Sea two days ago.
4. Japan And Philippine Held First 2+2 Meeting
Facing China’s aggressive behavior in the South and East China Sea, Philippine’s foreign minister and defense minister visited Japan, and attended the first 2+2 meeting with their Japanese counterparts in Tokyo on April 9.
During the meeting, the two countries shared grave concern over the situations in the South and East China Sea and reached a consensus to strengthen mutual collaboration to achieve “Free and Open Indo-Pacific Oceans”.
Concretely, the two sides agreed to begin preparing for concluding Reciprocal Access Agreement and Acquisition and Cross-Servicing Agreement between Japan’s Self Defense Force and Philippine’s military force.
The four ministers released a joint statement, which also expressed serious concern with regard to the Russian invasion of Ukraine demanding Russia to immediately stop its military aggression and withdraw the military forces from Ukraine.
It also denounced the Russian military activity that resulted in genocide.
5. Quantum Computing Technologies To Be Positioned As A Pillar Of Kishida’s Growth Strategy
According to Yomiuri, it is revealed that quantum computing technologies are going to be positioned as one of key pillar strategies to support “New Capitalism” - PM Kishida’s campaign theme.
Kishida Administration’s “Integrated Innovation Strategies Promotion Council” will conclude the policy by the end of this month.
The strategy of quantum technologies is expected to have the following key milestones:
l Japan’s first indigenous quantum computer is to be completed within this fiscal year
l The number of domestic users of Japan’s quantum technologies to reach 10 million by 2030
l Four R&D laboratories including one in Okinawa and one in Tohoku shall be established.
l Japan’s entire social economic systems including financial, medical, transportation and airline systems shall make most use of the technologies.
l New industries shall be generated out of the quantum technologies with many startups.
6. World’s First Electric Tanker Launched
A ceremony to commemorate the completion of an electric tanker named Asahi and its charging facilities was conducted yesterday at the port of Kawasaki city.
Asahi is 62 meter long and 10.3 meter wide with the displacement of 492 ton.
Its main mission is to transport oil within the Tokyo Bay.
It is equipped with batteries, the total capacity of which equal to around 100 EVs.
Recharging of Asahi is done during the night time at the charging station.
If there are natural or manmade disasters in the city of Kawasaki, this ship is expected to supply electric power to refugee camps or local hospitals.
2nd electric tanker will be launched same time next year, the mayor Mr. Fukuda said.
Have a wonderful weekend!
Have a wonderful weekend!