1.    COVID-19 Updates In Japan
*  Although the pace of increase of new infections is not that sharp yet, we are under the 8th wave of infection throughout the nation.
*  Ministry of Welfare and Labor is moving toward to shift the category of epidemic for Covid-19 from Type 2 where SARS, MERS and tuberculosis are categorized to Type 5 for seasonable flu and rubella considering the declining rate of death. During the 5th wave when Delta variant prevailed,
the rate of death for 60 years old or older was 2.5%, while the 7th wave’s rate was 0.48%, which is lower than typical rate of death by seasonable flu.
<As of 8 pm of December 2> 
The cumulative number of infected and dead in Japan are 25,055,827 and 50,238 respectively.  The number of new cases and death in the nation for the day was 109,596 and 168.  81.4% of the population have finished the first dose of the vaccine, while80.4% have done for the 2nd and 67.0% for the 3rd.  
2.  New Security Strategy To Focus On Counterattack Capability, Cyber Defense and Defense Exports 
The government of Japan is scheduled to release its new National Security Strategy in the middle of this month.  The current strategy was updated in December of 2013.  Since then the regional security environments are getting tougher year by year.  
In order to cope with the emerging security challenges, the Kishida administration drafted  a new strategy, which has the following three key points: 
1. Counterattack capability:  
Although the Japan Self Defense Forces are equipped with the Aegis Missile Defense System and the Patriot SAM squadrons to defend the homeland against incoming missile attacks, such enemy missiles and warheads are evolving to have the capabilities to evade such missile defense systems or saturate
So, the new strategy is to allow the JSDF to acquire counterattack capability, specifically Tomahawk type long range cruise missiles to disfunction enemy missile sites once any launch of a missile against Japan or its clear sign was detected. 
2. Cyber Defense
In order to protect Japan’s digital network systems against serious cyberattacks, the new strategy is to allow “proactive cyber defense” by requesting new laws and new authorities.  
3. Defense exports
The new strategy will review the current three principles of defense equipment transfer to expand Japan’s defense assistance to regional friendly and partner nations by defense exports. 
With this dramatic change of strategy from “exclusive defense” to “proactive defense with counterattack capability, PM Kishida instructed Defense Minister Hamada and Finance Minister Suzuki to make defense spending for Japan fiscal 2027 share 2% of GDP instead of its traditional ceiling of 1% of GDP.   
Reflecting this increase of defense budget in five years from JFY2023, the Ministry of Defense presented a spending plan for 2023-2027 Mid Term Defense Plan as 43 trillion yen (the current 2019-2013 MTDP’s price tag was 25.5 trillion yen). 
3. More Than 10 New Types Of Missiles To Be Developed For The Counterattack Capability
Although the Kishida administration is planning to import around 500 rounds of the U.S. Tomahawk missiles to imminently implement the counterattack capability that the new National Security Strategy is anticipated to state, Yomiuri reported on December 1 that the Ministry of Defense has an overall
plan to develop more than 10 types of indigenous long range missiles for a mid to long future.  
This plan includes an improvement of JGSDF's Type 12 G-to-G missile to have a much longer range, and its derivatives including shipborne and airborne versions.  Also, an extremely high speed missile that flies 5 times or more faster than the speed of sound will also be developed for the deployment in 2028 and after.  Another new missile to be developed is a supersonic glide bomb with a warhead to be separated for wide area attacks.  This bomb is intended to protect enemy’s invasion over remote islands of Japanese territory.  This supersonic glide bomb is scheduled to be deployed in 2030 and after.  Also, a new submarine launched missile will be developed for various purposes.
4.  The 18th Japan-China Joint Public Survey Questioned About Russian Invasion Of Ukraine
A Japanese think-tank called The Genron NPO and its counterpart in China called 国際伝播集団 conducted a joint survey to the public of Japan and China. It was the 18th joint survey by the two organizations. The followings are key findings:  
How do you think about the Russian invasion of Ukraine?    
Japan                                        China
The act is against the Charter of the United Nations and
73.2%                                        21.6%
international laws, so my government should oppose it.  
The act itself is wrong, but my government needs to take          10.4%
Russia’s positions into consideration as well.   
The act is justified as a self-defense against NATO’s                 1.1%
eastern expansion, so it is not wrong.    
As for a question about a most probable military conflict in East Asia, the both publics mentioned the Taiwan Strait most (Japanese 25.0%, Chinese 48.6%).  
Related to this question, 56.7% of the Chinese respondents answered that a military conflict in the strait would break up in future, including within a few years, while 44.5% of the Japanese respondents made the same answer.  
87.3% of the Japanese respondents have negative impression against China, while 62.6% of the Chinese respondents look at Japan negatively.
5. Deregulation May Encourage Drone Businesses 
The Japanese government will put a revision of Aviation Law into force on December 5 to allow a licensed operator to fly a certified drone over residential area and over the horizon (Level 4 flights).  It still requires drone operators to obtain an approval or permission for each flight from the government.  Businesses to provide delivery services, security services, live-entertainment services, infrastructure maintenance and surveillance services etc. are ready to expand their services based on Level 4 flights soon. 
6. Carbon Pricing To Be Introduced Instead Of Carbon Tax
PM Kishida chaired a GX (Green Transformation) implementation meeting on November 29 and came up with a basic consensus for a carbon pricing policy. Under this policy, amount of GHG emission is priced and industries are required to pay a certain share of the price of their emitted amount.
At this moment, oil companies that import fossil fuel will be charged for this new sort of tax. Besides, the government will make large emitters like fire power plants buy emission permission from the government beforehand.  These new revenues from the large emitters will be spent to redeem its GX
bond, which shall be issued for the government initiatives of achieving a net-zero society by 2050. 
Have a wonderful weekend!