1. Japan’s ODA Project 200 Billion Yen of Funds Stuck in JICA
According to Kyodo News Thursday, the Japanese Ministry of Finance (MOF) discussed government development assistance (ODA) at a panel meeting of the Financial System and other deliberations on the 20th. One after another, members asked for proper management of the budget execution status of the non-reimbursable financial assistance implemented by the Ministry of Foreign Affairs for developing countries. Non-reimbursable financial assistance is a part of ODA and is implemented based on an inter-governmental agreement between Japan and the relevant country. The Ministry of Foreign Affairs pays the ensured budget to JICA, and JICA provides funds to the other country according to the progress of local infrastructure construction.
The Ministry of Foreign Affairs paid 74.6 billion yen to JICA in fiscal 2020. On the other hand, the deterioration of security in the other country and the coup caused a delay in projects. The funds accumulated in JICA reached 196 billion yen by the end of FY2020, involving 310 projects.
2. Japan’s House of Representatives Election Has a Record Low of 1,051 Candidates
Kyodo News reported that Japan’s 49th House of Representatives election was announced on the 19th, with a total of 1,051 people running for a total of 465 seats in small constituencies and proportional representation. The number of candidates is lower than the 1,131 in the 2005 House of Representatives election, the smallest under the current system.
In addition to the issue of growth and distribution, North Korea’s ballistic missile launch has made the crisis management response a point of contention. As a result, the heads of nine political parties, including the North and the South, are engaged in a full-scale debate toward the 31st vote count. The opposition parties, mainly the Constitutional Democratic Party and the Communist Party, have put forward unified candidates in more than 210 small constituencies and will face against the ruling Liberal Democratic Party and the Komeito Party.
3. Shipments of Digital Home Appliances down 26%
NHK reported Wednesday that last month’s domestic shipments of digital home appliances such as televisions and recorders decreased by more than 26% from the same month the previous year, marking the third consecutive month of decline. According to the Japan Electronics and Information Technology Industries Association (JEITA), shipments of digital home appliances in Japan last month totaled 89.9 billion yen, down 26.8% from the same month the previous year.
4. China’s Evergrande Group Unable to Sell Stake in Subsidiary
According to NHK Thursday, a real estate management company under the umbrella of China’s real estate giant Evergrande Group announced on Wednesday that negotiations to sell its shares to another real estate company were not concluded. According to the acquiring company, they had once agreed to buy 50.1% of the claims for about 20 billion Hong Kong dollars, or about 290 billion Japanese yen, but they could not agree on the terms.
As a result of the negotiations, trading in Evergrande Group and other companies has been suspended on the Hong Kong Stock Exchange but is expected to resume on the 21st. Evergrande Group, which is in financial difficulty due to its massive debt, has faced a series of interest payment deadlines on its dollar-denominated bonds since September 23, but now explains that it is in a 30-day grace period.
5. The Tokyo Metropolitan Government Coordinates the Release of Restaurants from the Requirement to Shorten Their Opening Hours
Regarding the request of the Tokyo Metropolitan Government of Japan to provide liquor until 8 p.m. at the latest and to close at 9 p.m. at the latest to shorten business hours, an interview with the person concerned on the 19th was informed that adjustments have been made towards the end of the 24th of this month. Based on expert opinion, the final decision is expected to be made at the Tokyo Metropolitan Government’s monitoring meeting on the 21st.
The Tokyo Metropolitan Government is also coordinating a partial relaxation of the currently required initiative to avoid serving alcohol on its own and to stay open until 8 p.m. at the latest for stores that are not certified, taking into account the need to restart economic activities in a situation where the rebound of the epidemic has been curbed.
6. Electricity and Gas Prices May Rise by More than 1,000 Yen
According to Kyodo News, ten major electric power companies and four major city gas companies are expected to raise their electricity and gas rates for households in December compared to November. It was learned on December 20. The price hikes are due to the soaring prices of crude oil and liquefied natural gas (LNG) as the world economy recovers, and compared to the level of January this year, the prices for a standard household at Tokyo, Chubu, and Okinawa Electric Power Companies will increase by more than 1,000 yen. This is the 4th consecutive month of price hikes for all electricity and gas companies. Okinawa Electric Power Company expected to see the most significant hike of about 141 yen compared to November.
【Himalaya Japan Galaxy- Alpha Planet】
Translator: Seentiz Homma (帆間知津)
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