1. COVID-19 Updates In Japan

     

    l  The number of infected people is surging this week in major cities and renewing the highest daily infection record day by day this week. Unlike the first wave of infection when senior people contracted the COVID-19, and their symptom tended to get serious requiring a lot of medical institutions’ resources, this time, much younger people in their 20s and 30s have been getting infected without clear symptom of the disease. So, there is no overshoot at the medical institutions’ front at this moment.

    l  The central government, despite the resurgence of the infection, had been keeping the pace to reopen the economy, and on July 10, it  lifted the restriction of holding events with the number of spectators up to 5,000 people. In the wake of this lifting, professional baseball games and the J-League football games have been accepting limited numbers of spectators individually.  And on July 13, the Japan Sumo Association announced that it would hold its July Grand Sumo Tournament with spectators of 2,500 or less.  Normally, July tournaments are held in Nagoya, but this time it is held in Tokyo to minimize the move of the wrestlers for a long distance from their individual stables in Tokyo.

    l  Besides Vietnam, Thailand, Australia and New Zealand, with which the Japanese government started discussion to reopen bilateral visits on June 18, Yomiuri reported that the government is going to announce soon that it would expand the discussion to cover China, Taiwan, Korea, Mongolia, Malaysia, Brunei, Cambodia, Myanmar, Laos and Singapore.  

    l  With the dramatic declination of the number of inbound visitors and their shopping, Japanese SME have been trying to locate new channels to export their merchandize and services. Besides JETRO’s effort to establish a “Japan Mall” to world well-known EC sites, the Japanese government is also encouraging SME with subsidy to establish their own cross-border online shopping sites.  

     

    1. PM Abe’s Approval Rating Remains Low

     

    NHK, Japan’s public broadcasting station conducted its monthly public survey on July 10 through 12, and announced the results on July 14 as follows:  

     

    Ø  Do you approve the Abe Cabinet?          Yes   36%                    No   45%

    Ø  How do you rate the government’s response to COVID-19?        

    Pretty good 5%             Good   45%                  Not so good     35%        Bad   10%

  Ø  Are you concerned about resurgence of the infection?                 

   Very much so 48%      To some extent  42%   Not much  5%

   Ø  Which political party do you approve?                                        

     LDP 32.2%    CDPJ   4.9%     Japan Restoration  3.0%   New Komei  2.8%         

          Communist   2.2%               

 

 

  1. First U.S. Senior Official’s Visit To Japan Since COVID-19 Breakout

 

Deputy Secretary of State and Special Representative for North Korea Stephen Biegun visited Japan in person on July 9 and 10 for a series of bilateral meetings with his Japanese counterparts.

He met with Vice Foreign Minister Takeo Akiba, Foreign Minister Toshimitsu Motegi and Defense Minister Taro Kono.

Reportedly, the Deputy Secretary reaffirmed the United States’ commitment to Japan’s security as well as its shared goals of a denuclearized DPRK and a free and open Indo-Pacific.

 

  1. Japan To Participate In U.S. Artemis

 

On July 10, Mr. Ogyuta, Minister of the Ministry of Education, Culture, Sports, Science and Technology, which administers the JAXA, and Mr. Bridenstine, Administrator of NASA signed a joint declaration with regard to the mutual lunar exploration projects.

In the declaration, the two countries agreed to jointly establish a detail plan that depicts how many Japanese astronauts should participate in the U.S. led Artemis Project, and when and how long to stay in the U.S. space base called “Gateway”, which orbits above the moon. 

Besides Japanese astronauts’ individual roles in the Gateway, JAXA is planning to contribute to the Artemis project by developing an unmanned transportation vehicle that periodically replenishes the Gateway, and key components of the station such as battery etc.