1. Ministry of Health, Labour and Welfare Raise National Insurance Premiums by 30,000 Yen
Japan’s Ministry of Health, Labour and Welfare (MHLW) announced Wednesday that it plans to raise the annual cap on National Health Insurance (NHI) premiums for self-employed people to 30,000 yen from the current 990,000 yen starting next year, the Asahi Shimbun reported on Oct. 22. It will apply to single-person households with an annual income of about 11.4 million yen or more, or 1.58 percent of the total. Previously, the cap was set for families with a yearly income of at least 11 million yen. The increase will cover medical expenses, including a basic amount of 20,000 yen and 10,000 yen to support the medical system for the elderly.
2. Eight major Japanese automakers cut car production to 1.3 million units
Under Nissan’s new production cut plan, global output in October and November will be reduced by about 30 percent from planned levels, the Yomiuri Shimbun reported on Oct. 22. The company did not give a specific number of units. However, the company said it could not get the parts it needed to assemble finished cars because of a shortage of semiconductors and a stagnation in auto parts production in Southeast Asia. In late July, Nissan said it expects to cut production by a total of 250,000 vehicles this fiscal year and that a “further decline is likely” because of the infection situation in Southeast Asia, according to a Nissan executive. The production cuts will continue further. In addition to Nissan, seven other companies have also cut production for the same reason. On the 15th of this month, Toyota announced that it would cut global output in November by 100,000-150,000 units from its plan and has advised several production cuts since August, lowering its full-year production plan from 9.3 million units to about 9 million units.
3. Animal Rights Become a Crucial Issue in Japan’s General Election
The main opposition party, the Constitutional Democratic Party of Japan, has called for increased responsibility for animal dealers and more substantial penalties for cruelty, Kyodo News reported on Oct. 22. It also promised legislation on animal welfare and a system to take pets away from owners who abuse them. The LDP’s coalition partners have proposed a combination of policies covering social welfare and animal protection, such as helping the elderly coexist with their pets. The party has also called for promoting pet care. Group homes with pets have raised concerns because they help treat residents’ illnesses while reducing the number of animals euthanized. According to the Ministry of the Environment, Japan slaughtered about 33,000 cats and dogs in 2019.
4. Japanese Government Seeks to Double Renewable Energy by 2030
On Friday, the Japanese government approved its latest energy plan, which sets out a roadmap for achieving carbon neutrality by 2050, seeking to double the current share of renewable energy in domestic power generation within a decade, Kyodo News reported Oct. 22. The government aims to make renewable energy sources account for 36 to 38 percent of total electricity generation in fiscal 2030, more than double the 18 percent in fiscal 2019, which ended last March. Under the plan, the share of nuclear power in fiscal 2030 would be 20 to 22. Fiscal 2019 is 6 percent, as many atomic plants remain offline due to stricter safety rules following the 2011 Fukushima nuclear disaster triggered by a massive earthquake and tsunami.
5. Scholars Urge Japan to Restart Granting Visas to International Students
More than 650 scholars and students from universities in the United States, Japan, Britain, and other countries called on the Japanese government Thursday to resume issuing visas for students and researchers, Kyodo News reported Oct. 22. A group of scholars, professionals, and students led by the executive director of the ICU Foundation in Japan presented a petition to the Japanese Consul General in New York Kanji Yamauchi, warning that the ban on the new visas “has eroded the global relations and reputation of Japanese educational institutions.” Those who signed the appeal included professors and students from such prestigious academic institutions as Harvard, Princeton, and Columbia universities in the United States, International Christian University, Keio University and Kyoto University in Japan, and Cardiff University in the United Kingdom.
6. SoftBank to Merge with LINE Mobile
At its October 22 board meeting, SoftBank decided to merge with its wholly-owned subsidiary LINE Mobile, ImpressWatch reported October 22. The merger agreement is scheduled to be signed on October 22, with an effective March 1, 2022. With SoftBank as the surviving company through the absorption merger, LINE Mobile will be dissolved, but SoftBank will continue to provide LINE Mobile’s MVNO services. SoftBank said that the absorption-type union would have a negligible impact on its consolidated results, as it is a merger with a wholly-owned subsidiary.
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