1. COVID-19 Updates In Japan
l It seems there is a rebound of new cases in this week. Since there was no state of emergency or no self-restriction requirement in place during this Golden Week (April 29 through May 8), quite many domestic tourists visited sightseeing spots, amusement parks, hot springs and so forth just like before the pandemic. Also, many families enjoyed gatherings by visiting parents’ house etc. Experts had anticipated that the people’s migration of GW would result in an increase of infections to some extent.
l New variants of BA4 and BA5 of Omicron were found this week for the first time in Japan from newly infected patients.
l The media reported this week that the central government would decide to double the capacity of accepting foreign visitors from the current 10,000 a day to 20,000 effective on June 1. This time, tourists’ entry will also be allowed, the media reported.
<As of 8 pm of May 12>
The cumulative number of infected and dead in Japan are 8,269,868 and 29,988 respectively.
The number of new cases and death in the nation for the day was 41,741 and 32.
81.6% of the population have finished the first dose of the vaccine, while 80.3% have done for the 2nd and 55.2% for the 3rd.
2. An Uptick Of Kishida’s Approval Ratings
According to NHK’s monthly survey that was conducted on May 6 through 8, 55% of the respondents approved the Kishida Cabinet, which is a 2 point increase from April, while 23% disapproved it, which is no change from the previous month.
Other major findings are as follows:
How do you approve Kishida Administration’s response to the Russian invasion of Ukraine?
Very good 8% Good 60% Not much 20% Not at all 4%
What do you think of the government’s new sanction of exiling 8 Russian diplomats from Japan?
Very appropriate 18% Somewhat appropriate 45% Not so appropriate 21 Not at all 6%
How do you approve the government’s emergency response to the inflation such as providing the primary petroleum distributors with subsidy and providing financial aids to low income households with small children?
Very good 11% Good 46% Not much 28% Not at all 7%
How do you approve the government’s response to the novel corona virus infections up to now?
Very good 11% Good 49% Not much 28% Not at all 5%
What do you think of Japan’s defense spending from now on?
Significantly increase 14% Increase to some extent 38% Stay intact 29% Decrease to some extent 4% Significantly decrease 3%
What do you think of the ruling LDP’s recent proposal that Japan’s Self Defense Force acquires counter-strike capability against enemy missile sites and command & control functions?
Agree 55% Disagree 29% Don’t know 16%
3. European Leaders’ Visits To Japan
After German Prime Minister Olaf Scholz visited Japan to meet PM Kishida last month, Finnish Prime Minister Sanna Marin visited Japan this week and held a meeting with PM Kishida as well.
She pointed out the similarity of the two countries’ geographical positions, namely having Russia as an immediate neighbor, offering a close communication with each other.
Right after her visit, European Commission President Ursula von der Leyen and European Council President Charles Michel visited Japan.
It is an annual meeting of Japan and EU to talk about global and regional issues, and this year, the three leaders reportedly discussed on the Ukraine crisis and sanctions against Russia, collaboration to materialize “Free and open Indo-Pacific Ocean”, the North Korean nuclear missile issue, cooperation for economic security and energy supply and so forth.
During the period of the GW, PM Kishida visited Indonesia, Vietnam, UK and Italy for the similar topics.
And, he is going to host a meeting with U.S. President Biden and the first QUAD summit meeting on May 23 and 24 respectively in Tokyo.
4. Economic Security Promotion Law Passed
Economic Security Promotion Law, one of the Kishida Cabinet’s high priority bills was approved at the Diet this week, and became effective.
The law is intended to drastically strengthen Japan’s economic security system in the face of rising risks out of the Chinese, Russian and North Korean activity in the region.
The law consists of the following four pillars:
The government is considering to establish a fund called Economic Security Fund in the amount of 500 billion yen to support advanced technologies.
Have a wonderful weekend!
Have a wonderful weekend!