1. CCP Virus (COVID-19) Infections Exceed 8,000 for Second Day In Japan
According to TBS, as far as 5:00 p.m. on January 9, the number of people infected has exceeded 8,000, the second day that the number has exceeded 8,000. Tokyo Metropolitan Government announced today that 1,223 people have been newly infected. More than half of them have already received two doses of the vaccine. In the three prefectures where “Focused Anti-Infection Measures” began today, Hiroshima has announced a record number of cases for three consecutive days. Okinawa has the second highest number after yesterday.
2. Japan Will Not Seek Immigration Law Amendment Before Summer Election
Kyodo news reported on Jan 9 that the government of Japanese Prime Minister Fumio Kishida is unlikely to submit a bill to amend rules on how to accommodate foreigners facing deportation to a parliament session starting later this month for fear of a public backlash before the upper house election in the summer, government sources said Sunday. Under the bill, the government planned to craft mechanisms to release foreign nationals facing deportation and detained at immigration facilities.Japan only accepts around 1 percent of refugee applications it receives. Opposition parties and activists argued the proposed revision of the law would violate the principle of nonrefoulement — not returning asylum seekers to a country in which they would be in likely danger of persecution — and dash the hopes of people in desperate need of refugee status.
3. PM Kishida: Consider Taking Measures for Movement Restriction If There Is Shortage of Hospital Beds
Prime Minister Kishida said on NHK’s Sunday Debate on Jan 9, “We have taken the most strict border control measures among the G7, and have enhanced the domestic medical system, started the third round of vaccines, and made practical use of oral drugs. If there is still a danger of a medical shortage, we will consider restricting the movement. We are deeply concerned about the spread of infection in areas such as U.S. military facilities in Japan, and we have reached a general agreement with the U.S. side not to allow people to go out unnecessarily.”
4. There Should Be Deflation, but Now Japan Is Facing “Long-Term” Price Hikes
According to SankeiBiz, even though the slow rise in prices has been seen as a problem as a lesion of Japan’s economic stagnation, prices have continued to rise for a long time for items close to people’s daily lives, especially food. The Consumer Price Index for November last year, released by Ministry of Internal Affairs and Communications last month, shows that the prices of saury and squid have more than doubled compared to 10 years ago. The prices of 88 items, including beef and pork, have risen at a pace faster than the Bank of Japan’s price inflation target of 2% per year, putting pressure on household budgets. The most recent trends show that food and fuel prices are on the rise, creating a headwind for people’s lives. Wage increases, which are the mainstay of the economy, are unlikely to be substantial, and there are concerns that consumption will cool down.
5. Prime Minister to Make Official Decision for Continuation of Border Controll Measures After January Holidays
According to Sankei News on Jan 9, the border control measure was launched as a one-month measure on November 30 last year when the Omicron variant was first confirmed in Japan. On November 21, last month, the Prime Minister indicated that he would continue the measure and would decide whether to continue it after the three-day weekend from Jan 8 to 10. Several government officials have made it clear that the government will continue to implement this measure which in principle stop new foreign nationals from entering the country. Prime Minister Kishida said on Fuji TV, “The actual situation of the Omicron variant has not been fully clarified. I would like to take a cautious approach. “
6. Japan and U.S. Governments Joint Statement on Restrictions on U.S. Military Personnel in Japan
According to NHK’s report, there has been criticism that the area of the U.S. military facilities in Japan is the cause of the spread of infection in the surrounding municipalities. To relieve local concerns, Japanese and U.S. governments have issued a joint statement that U.S. servicemen will be restricted from out of facility for non-essential reasons for 14 days from Jan 10. The two countries will continue to work closely together to determine the necessity of extending the period of the outing restriction while monitoring the infection situation and will also continue to discuss the possibility of taking additional measures.
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