1. G-7 Agrees to Eliminate Forced Labor for Uighurs
Trade ministers from seven countries agreed Friday to eliminate forced labor and expressed concern over the country’s such targeting of minorities, an implicit criticism of the Communist Party’s treatment of Uighurs in Xinjiang, Kyodo News reported Oct. 23.” We affirm that there is no place for forced labor in the rules-based multilateral trading system,” the ministers said in a joint statement issued after a virtual meeting hosted by Britain, expressing concern about “state-sponsored forced labor of vulnerable groups and ethnic minorities.” In the G7’s first joint statement on the issue, it was noted that some 25 million people worldwide are subject to forced labor and urged countries, institutions, and businesses to work together to “eliminate forced labor from global supply chains.”
2. Japanese Voters Vote to Value Economic Policies
According to a questionnaire survey conducted by Kyodo News Agency among 100 voters nationwide before the House of Representatives election on October 31, the most significant number of voters chose “economic situation, employment, and labor policies” as the issue they valued when deciding who to vote for, according to Kyodo News on October 23. More than 70% of the voters answered that they felt the impact of the epidemic on their lives and the economy. After economic and employment policies, the most critical issues in the poll were 11 for medical measures, 8 for post-disaster reconstruction and disaster prevention measures, and 7 for actions against child-rearing.
3. House of Representatives Voting at Japanese Embassies and Consulates Around the World
Overseas voting for the House of Representatives election to be held on October 31 this month is now taking place at Japanese embassies and consulates around the world, NHK reported on October 23. According to the Ministry of Foreign Affairs of Japan, 96,000 people were registered on the overseas election register as of August this year. In this House of Representatives election, voting will be held at 226 locations, including Japanese embassies and consulates worldwide. The timing of overseas votes at embassies and other sites varies by region and ends no later than the 25th, after which the ballots are shipped to Japan and open on the 31st.
4. The First Joint Naval Patrols Between the Republic of China and Russia in the Sea of Japan and Other Areas Were Announced
China’s Ministry of Defense announced the first joint patrols by ships from the two countries in the waters of the Sea of Japan, Western Pacific Ocean, and the East China Sea from 17 to 23 this month, NHK reported Oct. 23. The Russian Defense Ministry added that the ships “passed through the Tsugaru Strait for the first time as part of their activities.” A total of 10 naval vessels, including destroyers and six naval helicopters from the Chinese and Russian navies, took part in the operation, and the Russian Defense Ministry released some video footage.
5. Only 17.7% of Female Candidates in House of Representatives Election Falls Far Short of Government Target
According to Kyodo News, on October 23, the House of Representatives election was the first election in Japan after implementing a law requiring political parties to achieve gender parity in the number of candidates as far as possible. However, the proportion of women among all candidates is only 17.7 percent, the same as in the House of Representatives election four years ago. The House of Representatives election announced on the 19th had 1,051 candidates, of whom 186 were women. The proportion of female candidates by party is 9.8% (33) for the LDP and 7.5% (4) for the Komeito Party. The number one opposition party, the Constitutional Democratic Party, is low, with only 18.3% (44 candidates).
6. Japan’s Consumer Price Index Rose 0.1% in September
Japan’s national consumer price index (100 in 2020, excluding fresh food) was 99.8 in September, up 0.1% from a year earlier, the Ministry of Internal Affairs and Communications reported on October 23, according to Kyodo News. This is the first time the index has turned up after nearly 1.5 years since March 2020. Cell phone tariffs were reduced, but high crude oil prices increased prices for electricity and gasoline. Entering October, standard gasoline prices hit a 7-year high, and kerosene rose to a 6-year and 11-month high as energy prices continued to grow high. Cell phone tariffs fell 44.8% by each category, while electricity tariffs rose 4.1%. Kerosene and gasoline rose by 20.2% and 16.5%, respectively. Energy, including electricity and gasoline, rose by 7.4%, the most significant increase in 2 years and ten months. Accommodation costs rose by 43.1%.
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