1.    COVID-19 Updates In Japan
  1. Just like two weeks ago, the number of new cases stays at around 40,000 a day and no further declination trend has been observed.
  2. The government released fresh lots of vaccine doses this week for the 3rd booster shots (5th shots) to be better prepared for a possible arrival of the 8th wave.
<As of 8 pm of October 27> 
The cumulative number of infected and dead in Japan are 22,185,337 and 46,568 respectively.  
The number of new cases and death in the nation for the day was 42,398 and 55.  
81.4% of the population have finished the first dose of the vaccine, while 80.4% have done for the 2nd and 66.0% for the 3rd.  
2.  BoJ’s 2nd Currency Market Intervention 
Japanese yen’s depreciation trend never stops. On October 21, it hits almost 152 yen to a dollar at the New York Foreign Exchange Market, which is the lowest ever since 1992. On the same day, yen suddenly appreciated to 146.2 yen to a dollar, an around 6 yen jump per dollar. Although both the Ministry of Finance and the Bank of Japan repeated “No comment” to the questions from the media, one of Japanese financial institutions in New York who deals with foreign exchange in the New York
Market told Yomiuri that the jump was not within a regular market dynamism and speculated that there should be a currency market intervention by the Japanese currency authority.   
When the Bank of Japan intervened the foreign exchange market on September 22 by purchasing yen for 2.8 trillion, yen appreciated from 145 to 140 yen to a dollar and later, both the central bank and the Kishida Administration publicly confirmed its intervention. It was the first intervention ever since 1998.   
3. Japan To Strengthen Its Security Partnership With Australia
PM Kishida visited Australia on October 21 and met with PM Anthony Albanese on the following day.  The two leaders signed “Japan-Australia Joint Statement for Security Cooperation”.  Reportedly, this joint statement serves  as a guideline for bilateral security cooperations to be explored in ten years to come.  Japan recognizes Australia as a quasi-alliance partner in the Indo-Pacific region, and wishes to deepen the security relationship with them in the face of China’s aggressive presence in East and South China Sea.   
The two prime ministers also agreed to jointly strengthen relationship with the Pacific Island nations and to secure stable supply of energy and natural resources to Japan from Australia. 
4.  Emperor’s First Visit To Okinawa
Emperor Naruhito and Empress Masako visited Okinawa on October 22 for the first time ever since the enthronement of May 1, 2019. Okinawa has been always in the center of the mind of the past emperors since the end of the WWII, especially so after the United States ended its governance and returned the islands to Japan in 1972. 
Former Emperor Akihito, in fact, spent so much of his time visiting Okinawa, consoling the spirits and souls of Okinawans who lost their lives during the war time and enjoying the unity with present people in Okinawa. Inheriting his father’s strong will to care and nurture Okinawa, Emperor Naruhito keeps his highest priority for Okinawa since his enthronement.  But the pandemic kept the emperor from showing his presence in Okinawa for the past two years.  
Speaking of the politics in Okinawa, the gubernatorial election that was held on September 11 revealed Governor Denny Tamaki’s triumph over his contender from the ruling LDP and New Komei Party.  Tamaki stresses continuing his commitment from the 1st term to cancel the transfer of the Futenma Air Station of the U.S. Marine Corp to the Henoko’s reclaimed land site. 
Meantime, Governor Tamak’s political supporters group in Okinawa lost against the ruling parties’ candidate all the seven subsequent city mayoral elections this month including Okinawa’s capital city Naha, Nago where the Futenma Air Station is located and Ginowan where Henoko is. There seems to be some political balance the Okinawans are taking for not only the military base issue but also the vision of the local economies.  
5. AUV To Be Developed To Cover 98% Of Japan’s EEV 
Yomiuri reported on October 27 that  the Japanese government solidified a policy to develop an Autonomous Undersea Vehicle to explore Japan’s Exclusive Economic Zone as deep as 7,000 m and to cover 98% of the EEZ.  
The government believes it should contribute not only to Japan’s seismic studies and research of sea bottom natural resources but also to the national security as China’s AUV recently invaded Japanese EEZ as deep as 7,000 m. This AUV will have the following features:
Length 10.5 m
Width 1.3 m
Height 1.5 m  
Maximum operable depth 8,000 m
Maximum operating hours 24 hours   
6. Japan To Acquire U.S. Tomahawk
This morning’s Yomiuri reported on the top page that the government of Japan is sounding to the U.S. government about the availability of the Tomahawk cruise missiles for sale to Japan under FMS (Foreign Military Sale).  It seems the U.S. government’s response is positive and getting into a
final stage of contractual negotiations.  The Kishida Administration is preparing to revise the National Security Strategy in December to allow “counterattack capability” for Japan’s self-defense.  
Tomahawk, if imported, will serve for the counterattack capability against enemy missile sites until when Japan’s indigenous cruise missiles are fully deployed. Japanese Ground Self Defense Force’s Type 12 SSM will be improved to have a 1000 km range cruising capability and to be deployed from 2026.
Have a wonderful weekend!