1.    COVID-19 Updates In Japan


l     Tokyo is beginning to see a slight rebound of new cases although the national figure is still declining. 

l   In 2019, before the outbreak of covid-19, Japan received around 310,000 foreign students, while it declined to 242,444 as of May last year due to the pandemic that closed the border. Ministry of Education, Culture, Sports, Science and Technology solidified a policy this week to increase the number up to the level of 2019 by 2027.  Also, the number of Japanese students studying abroad should go back to around 120,000, which was the case in 2019. 


<As of 8 pm of June 23> 

The cumulative number of infected and dead in Japan are 9,210,762 and 31,093 respectively.  The number of new cases and death in the nation for the day was 16,676 and 15.  81.9% of the population have finished the first dose of the vaccine, while 80.8% have done for the 2nd and 61.3% for the 3rd. 


2.  Kishida’s Approval Rating Slightly Declined As Upper House Election Nears


According to NHK’s monthly survey that was conducted on June 17 through 20, 55% of the respondents approved the Kishida Cabinet, which is a 4 points decrease from May, while 25% disapproved it, which is a 2 points increase from the previous month.   

Other major findings are as follows:    


Will you vote for the election of half the member of the House of Councilors of July 10?     

Yes for sure 54%        Probably 27%              Not sure 10%       No  5%  


To what extent are you interested in the Upper House election?          

Very much 18%        Reasonably interested 47%  Not much 22%     Not at all 7%   


What would you like to see as political power balance as the result of the election? 

Ruling parties to increase the share 24%    Opposition parties to increase the share 27%     Not sure  42%


Do you approve the government’s response to the inflation?

            Very much 3%      To some extent 32%            Not much 40%              Not at all 16%


Do you think the Constitutions should be amended? 

Yes 37%          No need to amend 23%               Not sure  32%  


A different poll conducted by FNN, a TV broadcasting network, revealed the top concerns of the respondents in the face of the upper house election as follows (multiple answers were allowed):  

Inflation                                                  38.9%

Economy and job                                   33.4

Pension, healthcare, senior care          32.3

Child care, declining population            29.6

Environment and energy                        12.4

Diplomacy and national security           12.3

Pandemic                                               12.2

Government and financial reforms         11.2

Constitutional amendments                     9.6 


3.  Japan, Korea, Australia and New Zealand To Convene At NATO Summit


Taking the opportunity to attend the NATO Summit in Spain as one of NATO’s Asia Pacific Partners in the end of this month, PM Kishida is hoping to organize a separate meeting with the three other partner members from Asia Pacific, namely, Korea, Australia and New Zealand, Yomiuri reported on June 20.  

If this meeting is materialized, and if the four leaders from the Asia Pacific region unanimously object any attempt to change the status-quo in the East and South China Sea unilaterally, it may play an additional regional frame to check China, Yomiuri analyzes.  


4.  KHI To Develop Key Components Of Hydrogen Aircraft


Kawasaki Heavy Industry (KHI) announced on June 19 that it would develop key components of next generation hydrogen aircraft to be operable in around 2040.  Concretely, KHI will develop a burner that burns hydrogen to generate thrust.  

It will also develop an onboard tank to store liquidized hydrogen.  It is a challenge to downsize a tank small enough to fit in the size and weight of an airplane while retaining necessary strength and durability.  KHI is assuming that its targeted airplane is a 150 seater commercial plane with a 2,000 km to 3,000 km range.  KHI has a background of developing and manufacturing fossil fuel based aircraft and aircraft engines, while it is also building ships specialized in transporting liquidized hydrogen.  The company is also a partner of Airbus for its hydrogen aircraft research and development.


5. IHI Developed Liquid Ammonium Fueled Fire Power Generation


IHI announced on June 19 that it successfully completed the development to acquire the technology to generate electric power out of liquid ammonium.  According to the company, it would be able to reduce GHG by 99% by burning liquid ammonium in place of fossil fuel. Also, it should reduce cost associated with power generation since it would be able to eliminate the process of vaporizing fuel.  IHI’s technology does not require to vaporize liquid ammonium but to inject it in mist form at a specific angle and burning conditions.  

IHI is aiming at practical use of this technology as early as 2025.   


6. Safety Of Cultured Meat To Be Studied By The Government  


Nisshin Foods Holdings Co. recently announced that it developed “edible cultured meat” for the first time in Japan. It also announced that it would develop a lump of meat as thick as 2 cm and as heavy as 100 g by 2025.  Other Japanese companies as well as universities and research institutions are also exploring new technology to culture meat artificially. With these domestic and also foreign developments in mind, the Ministry of Health, Welfare and Labor solidified a policy to establish an expert team to study the benefit and risk of cultured meat so that appropriate safety regulations, if any, should be created under the existing Food Sanitation Law.   



Have a wonderful weekend!