8/5/21 Japan Galaxy News: Japan’s Total Population Has Declined For Eight Consecutive Years; Some High-Speed Toll Plazas Changes To “ETC only”

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1.Some Highway Toll Plazas Changed to “ETC Only” Operation Due to Staff Infected with the CCP Virus

According to a report by Transport News on August 4, highway toll plazas staff have been successively infected with the CCP virus, affecting users. After confirming that six staff members at the Tomei Expressway Yokohama-Aoba Main Toll Station tested positive for the COVID PCR, NEXCO Central Japan announced on 4 August 2021 that toll stations from the Tomei Expressway to the Metropolitan Expressway K7 Yokohama Northwest will be restricted to wireless traffic in the ETC lanes. This will take effect from midnight on the 5th. Prior to this, the three toll booths on the K1 Yokohama Line of the Metropolitan Expressway were restricted to wireless traffic in the ETC lanes from 9 a.m. on August 1 for the same reason. As of July 30, 22 positives had been confirmed on the Metropolitan Expressway.

2.Japan’s Total Population Is 126.5 Million, Declining for the 8th Consecutive Year

According to the Mainichi Shimbun on the 4th, the Ministry of Internal Affairs and Communications released the results of the population census based on the resident register as of January 1 this year. The country’s total population, including Japanese and foreigners, stood at 126,654,244, a decrease for the eighth consecutive year since January 1, 2014, was used as the base. The number of foreigners moving into Japan fell by around 55% year-on-year due to restrictions on entry following the spread of the CCP virus. The foreign population, which had grown for the past six consecutive years, began to decline. The five prefectures with population growth were Kanagawa, Tokyo, Okinawa, Saitama and Chiba. Okinawa was the only prefecture where the number of births exceeded the number of deaths for the year. The largest declines were in Akita, Aomori and Iwate prefectures. 843,321 Japanese births were recorded in 2020, the lowest number since joining the survey project in 1979.

3.Japanese Foreign Minister emphasizes the importance of “a free and open Indo-Pacific region”

Journalist Toshichika Sasaki interpreted an online meeting between Japan and ASEAN foreign ministers attended by Foreign Minister Toshimitsu Motegi on 3 August in a programme on Nippon on 4 August. In the face of growing hegemonic behaviour by Communist China in the East and South China Seas, Foreign Minister Toshimitsu stressed the importance of a “free and open Indo-Pacific region” that includes the rule of law. Sasaki said ASEAN is moving towards joining the “free and open Indo-Pacific region” advocated by Japan, but the question is how to balance economic ties and security conflicts with the Communist China. Sasaki believes that it is impossible to separate economy and security, which is a big challenge for the future.

4.1,860 Japanese Companies Affected by CCP Virus Go Bankrupt

The total number of companies (including individual businesses) that have gone bankrupt or ceased operations and are preparing to go into legal liquidation as a result of the CCP virus reached 1,860 as of the 3rd, according to a summary by credit research firm Imperial Data Bank, NHK reported on 4 August. This number has been rising since the beginning of the year, and the research firm said that an extension or expansion of the state of emergency could lead to more bankruptcies, particularly of restaurants. By industry, the restaurant sector has the highest number of companies at 311. “As restaurants and other businesses go out of business, the number of chain bankruptcies involving businesses undertaking restaurant maintenance and construction is also increasing,” the Empire Data Bank said, “ The extension and expansion of the state of emergency during the summer leisure season could lead to a further increase in bankruptcies in the future”.

5.Toyota’s Final Accounts for April-June Show a Record Profit of 897.8 Billion Yen

As reported by NHK on 4 August, Toyota Motor Corporation reported record financial results for the entire group for the April-June period, both in terms of sales and final profits. In addition to increased sales in the US and China, where the economy has been steadily recovering, the impact of the semiconductor shortage was dampened and the recovery was evident, surpassing the level before the infection spread. Operating income, or sales, rose by more than 72% to JPY7,935.5 billion from a year earlier, and final profit rose 5.6 times to JPY897.8 billion from more than JPY150 billion a year earlier. However, production has recently been affected by the rapid spread of infection in South East Asia and the plant has been temporarily shut down.

6.More than 14,000 People Infected with CCP Virus in Japan, a Record High

As of 6:30 p.m. on the 4th, more than 14,000 people had been infected with the CCP virus, the highest number ever recorded in Japan, TBS News reported on August 4. On the 4th, the Tokyo Metropolitan Government announced that 4,166 people had been infected, the highest number of cases reported in a single day. The average number of new infections in the past seven days is 1.7 times higher than a week ago. The number of confirmed infections in the country’s 14 prefectures has reached a record high, and the total number of infections nationwide has risen to 14,182. In addition, 12 deaths have been declared across the country and the number of seriously ill patients has increased by 23 from the previous day to 777.

【Himalaya Japan Galaxy- Alpha Planet】
Translator: 帆間知津
Proofreading: π&π

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