1. COVID-19 Updates In Japan
l The 7th wave of infections hasn’t seen its peak yet. But, none of local governments or the central government except Okinawa mentioned any plan to restrict people’s activity or suggest self-control as well as any border controls. So, major summer festivals such as Gion Matsuri in Kyoto, Nebuta Matsuri in Aomori, Tanabata Matsuri in Miyagi, Kanto Matsuri in Akita and Nagaoka Fireworks in Niigata were conducted last month and this month as scheduled.
l First Monkey pox infection was found last month in Japan, and the second case was reported last week.
<As of 8 pm of August 4>
The cumulative number of infected and dead in Japan are 13,635,222 and 33,193 respectively. The number of new cases and death in the nation for the day was 238,735 and 161. 82.1% of the population have finished the first dose of the vaccine, while 81.0% have done for the 2nd and 63.2% for the 3rd. The 4th shot began in May for those who are 60 years old and above as well as who have higher risk of getting serious conditions out of the infection. As of August 2, 13,681,610 people received the 4th vaccination.
2. PM Kishida Promoted Hiroshima Action Plan At NPT Review Conference
For the first time as PM of Japan, Kishida participated in the 10th Review Conference of the Parties to the Treaty on the Non-Proliferation of Nuclear Weapons (NPT), which was held at the United Nations in New York on August 1. This review conference is held every 5 years, and the 10th conference was originally scheduled for 2020 when late Shinzo Abe was in charge as PM, but the conference was postponed to this year due to the pandemic. When Kishida took the office last year, he featured himself as the first PM from Hiroshima and expressed his strong willingness to show to the rest of the world Japan’s vision of a world without nuclear weapons. So, there is no wonder he decided to attend this review conference himself to deliver his vision and action plan.
His “Hiroshima Action Plan” consists of five pillars, namely (1) Condemnation of the Russian nuclear intimidation and continuous assurance of no-use of nuclear weapons, (2) Improving transparency of the in-country production of high density uranium and plutonium etc. pointing out the concern of the lack of transparency in China, (3) Reducing the number of nuclear weapons by promoting and facilitating nations with nuclear weapons to hold summit level meetings for CTBT Friends meeting, Cut-off Treaty negotiation meeting, U.S.-China summit and all the nuclear weapons holding nations meeting, (4) Promoting non-proliferation of nuclear weapons and peaceful use of atomic power, and (5) Invitation of nations’ leaders and young leaders to Hiroshima and Nagasaki to learn about the consequence of the use of nuclear weapons by donating to the UN $10 million for the purpose.
He is offering to the CTBT signing nations a summit meeting to make the treaty into force as soon as possible. Kishida is also organizing a very first international wise-persons meeting in Hiroshima on November 23 by inviting world political leaders to discuss about nuclear disarmament.
This series of his initiatives about NPT and nuclear disarmament may be intended to generate some momentum through when Kishida hosts the G7 summit meeting in Hiroshima in May next year.
3. Defense Budget To Be Increased To Strengthen Defense Power
According to Yomiuri, the Ministry of Defense is going to request a rough estimate of fiscal 2023 defense budget in the amount of 5.5 trillion yen, which is the largest amount ever.
The ministry also solidified its policy to strengthen its defense power in the coming five years by strengthening the following fields of capability:
As for the standoff defense capability, PM Kishida internally ordered a study in May to acquire counterattack capability against enemy missile sites knowing that China, Russia and North Korea are enhancing missile technologies such as hypersonic gliding weapons and saturation attack capability etc. This study’s results may have led to the above MoD’s plan to consider acquiring the standoff defense capability rather than further investing in ballistic missile defense capability.
4. Speaker Pelosi Visited Japan
Ms. Nanci Pelosi, the Speaker of the U.S. House of Representatives arrived in Japan last night, and held a breakfast meeting with PM Kishida this morning. In the meeting, PM Kishida explained to Speaker Pelosi that Japan strongly condemned the Chinese military exercises that had been conducted to surround Taiwan right after the Speaker’s visit to Taiwan, which resulted in part of Chinese launched ballistic missiles landing Japan’s Exclusive Economic Zone. Japan demanded that China immediately stop the exercises, Kishida told her. Speaker Pelosi and Kishida confirmed that the United States and Japan would closely coordinate with each other to maintain the peace and stability of the Taiwan Strait. PM Kishida expressed appreciation of the condolences given by the U.S. for late former PM Shinzo Abe, who was assassinated by a killer during the campaign of the Upper House election.
Have a wonderful weekend!