1.Year-End Sales of Cameras Were Strong but Some Were Delayed Due to Shortages of Parts
NHK reported on Dec 2, at electronics retail stores in Shinjuku Ward, Tokyo, sales of cameras have been increasing since October, when the state of emergency was lifted, as opportunities for people to go out and gather increased. Mirrorless cameras, which allow users to take high-quality photos easily, are top-rated, and sales of some of these products have recovered to the level of the year before the CCP virus pandemic. However, due to the shortage of semiconductors and other parts, the arrival of some cameras and lenses has been delayed due to the inability to keep up with the rapid increase in demand. As a result, some products cannot be displayed and are still waiting to be shipped. In addition, for stores that are expecting “revenge consumption,” which is the demand for shopping held back by the Corona disaster during Christmas and other year-end sales, securing inventory has become a challenge to expand sales.
2.Ruling Party to Study the State of the Child Allowance System
NHK reported on Dec 2, regarding the child allowance system, Liberal Democratic Party’s study committee has decided to examine the system, including a review of the income limit criteria, which is based on the annual income of the person with the highest revenue in the household, to the payment of the entire family. However, since the same income limit standard was adopted for the benefits equivalent to 100,000 yen for children under 18 years old, which was included in the government’s economic stimulus package, some in the Liberal Democratic Party think that the standard should be revised to the income of the entire household. Furthermore, the first meeting of the LDP’s newly established “Research Committee on Measures to Deal with Declining Birthrates” was held, with about 20 people attending.
3.Japan Drops Blanket Halt of Inbound Flight Bookings After Criticism
Kyodo reported on Dec 2, the Japanese government on Thursday reversed its decision to completely halt bookings for inbound flights until the end of the year in the wake of criticism that the measure against the Omicron variant of the CCP virus goes too far. Prime Minister Fumio Kishida admitted the transport ministry’s announcement the previous day had confused. Under the measure, Japanese citizens and foreign residents would have been unable to return for the holidays unless they had reservations. However, the government’s top spokesman, Chief Cabinet Secretary Hirokazu Matsuno, told a press conference the ministry had withdrawn its request to airlines not to take any bookings for inbound flights.
4.Ehime Nuclear Reactor in Western Japan Restarted After 2-Yr Halt
Kyodo reported on Dec 2. Shikoku Electric Power Co. restarted a nuclear reactor in Ehime Prefecture, western Japan, on Thursday that had been offline since December 2019 due to regular checks and a subsequent court injunction. The utility rebooted the No. 3 reactor at the Ikata nuclear power plant after the reversal in March of a request handed down by the Hiroshima High Court in January 2020, banning the reactor from operating over safety concerns. The high court’s decision in 2020 was based on its view that the rules and risk assessment of Shikoku Electric and the Nuclear Regulation Authority regarding a possible disastrous eruption of Mt. Aso, about 130 kilometers away, were inadequate.
5.Willingness to shop and other activities “continues to improve” in November
NHK reported on Dec 2, Last month’s Consumer Attitude Index, which indicates consumers’ willingness to shop, was unchanged from the previous month, and the Cabinet Office maintained its underlying judgment of consumer sentiment as “continuing to improve.” The Consumer Attitude Index provides an index of consumer sentiment by asking 8,400 households nationwide how they expect to live in the next six months and whether it will be an excellent time to buy cars and home appliances. In a survey conducted last month, the index for households with two or more people was 39.2, unchanged from the previous month. On the other hand, the percentage of households that answered that prices will “rise” in a year from now stood at 87.6%, up 1.7 percentage points from the previous month and the highest level in two years and two months.
6.Kewpie to Raise Prices of Mayonnaise and Other Products from March next Year
NHK reported on Dec 1, food manufacturer Kewpie has announced that it will raise the prices of its mayonnaise, dressings, and other products starting next March due to the rising cost of cooking oil, its main ingredient. The price increase will cover 70% of all mayonnaise products and 60% of all dressing products and will range from 2% to 10%. In addition, the price of products such as mayonnaise, dressings, and sauces for commercial use will also be increased by approximately 2% to 15%. As a result, the cost of mayonnaise will be raised for the second time in July this year, and the dressing price will be presented for the first time in about 14 years since 2008.
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