9/30 Galaxy News: Blast Furnace Steel Plant Shuts Down After 60 Years Of Production; Kishida’s Longevity As PM Depends On November’s General Election

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1. Japan’s GPIF to Shun CCP Govt Bonds Even After Benchmark Inclusion

Reuters reported on Sept 30, Japan’s Government Pension Investment Fund (GPIF) will not invest in CCP government bonds due to settlement and liquidity issues, even after they will be included in a significant bond index next month. The world’s largest pension fund, with total assets of 193 trillion yen ($1.729 trillion), said it would stay out of yuan bonds after FTSE Russell’s World Government Bond Index (WGBI) includes CCP government bonds from October. The President of GPIF cited reasons why the fund thinks investing in CCP government bonds would be risky for a prominent investor like the GPIF in minutes of its board meeting held in July. “CCP government bonds cannot be settled in an international settlement system that can be used for other major government bonds….”

2. The Average Wage in the Private Sector Was About 4.33 Million Yen, down for 2nd Consecutive Year

Asahi News reported on Sep 29, According to a survey by the National Tax Agency, the average salary received by private companies last year decreased by about 30,000 yen compared to the previous year, the second consecutive year of decline. The average bonus also fell 8% from the last year to nearly 650,000 yen, the most significant decrease since the financial tsunami. By employment type, the average salary for full-time employees is about 4.96 million yen and for part-time employees is about 1.76 million yen, the first time the gap has narrowed since the survey began in 2012.

3. U.S. to Seek Close Ties with next Japanese Prime Minister

Kyodo News reported on Sep 29, The U.S. administration of President Joe Biden is expected to swiftly reach out to forge close ties with the presumed next Japanese Prime Minister, Fumio Kishida, given the importance of the bilateral alliance amid intensifying U.S.-China rivalry, experts on Asia say. The Biden administration will also likely be closely watching whether the 64-year-old Kishida, who won the ruling Liberal Democratic Party’s presidential election Wednesday, can solidify his grip on power and avoid Japan returning to an era of so-called revolving-door leadership. Although, Japan is “in every area of competition with China that the United States cares about,” from technology and defense to democracy and diplomacy. The focus of bilateral relations is on “the execution of strategy” rather than alignment.

4. Kishida’s Longevity as Prime Minister Depends on November’s General Election

Kyodo News reported on Sep 29, Fumio Kishida will not have much time to bask in his victory in the race for leader of Japan’s ruling Liberal Democratic Party and, hence, the next prime minister, as he will soon face a significant test in the form of a general election. With the current terms of House of Representatives members ending on Oct 21, a nationwide vote must be held by Nov 28. The result will decide whether the former foreign minister will govern with a strong mandate or risk a short tenure like his predecessor Yoshihide Suga. Kono has consistently topped media polls on who is most fit to become the country’s next leader, with 31.9 percent of respondents in a recent Kyodo News survey choosing him compared to 18.8 percent for Kishida.

5. Blast Furnace at Kure City Steel Plant Ceased Production After 60 Years of Production

NHK reported on Sep 29, Nippon Steel Corporation, Japan’s largest steelmaker, halted blast furnace operations at its steel plant in Kure City, Hiroshima Prefecture. Due to a shrinking domestic market, the company decided to close the plant within two years, ending some 60 years of blast furnace steel production. According to the company, half of the 3,000 people working at the plant, including subcontractors, will lose their jobs due to the blast furnace closure. The company says it will maintain employment by moving workers outside the county. Still, some subcontractors have decided to close their operations, raising concerns about the impact on the local economy.

6. G7 Finance Ministers Meet to Discuss New International Tax Rules

NHK reported on Sep 30, G-7 Finance Ministers Discuss New Rules for International Taxation Online. After the meeting, Deputy Prime Minister and Finance Minister Aso said that discussions are progressing steadily toward a final agreement by the end of next month. The meeting was held on the evening of the 29th in the presence of the Japanese Deputy Prime Minister and discussed the establishment of new international tax rules to stop the race to lower corporate taxes. So far, 134 countries and territories, mainly members of the OECD (Organization for Economic Cooperation and Development), have broadly agreed to set a minimum corporate tax rate of at least 15% and introduce new tax rules for companies worldwide.

【Himalaya Japan Galaxy- Alpha Planet】
Translator: Curiosity
Proofreading: Totoro

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