1.Japan Decides to Put 13 Areas Under CCP Virus (COVID-19) Quasi-Emergency
According to NHK on January 19, in response to the CCP virus (new coronavirus covid-19), Japan government has decided to add 13 prefectures to the list of areas to which the “coronavirus quasi-state of emergency” will be applied, and the period will be from January 21 to February 13. Tokyo metropolitan government has asked restaurants to shorten their hours of operation, and they will have a choice of opening hours and serving alcohol. On the other hand, the quasi-state of emergency does not require commercial facilities and other non-restaurant facilities to shorten their business hours but instead comply with their specific guidelines. Events with loud cheering and shouting will be allowed to admit up to half the number of people if the capacity is up to 10,000 and up to 5,000 people if the total is over 10,000.
2.First Meeting to Discuss Japan’s Policy on Extending International Space Station Operations
According to NHK, on January 19, a committee of the Ministry of Education, Culture, Sports, Science, and Technology (MEXT) met for the first time to discuss Japan’s policy in response to the announcement by the United States that it would extend the operation of the International Space Station, in which 15 countries including Japan participate, until 2030. Fifteen countries, including Japan, are participating in the International Space Station, which is scheduled to operate until 2024, but NASA (National Aeronautics and Space Administration) has announced that it will extend the operation for another six years until 2030. The committee will examine the cost of operating the space station and the results achieved and finalize its policy by April this year.
3.Parliamentary Vice-Minister Hatoyama Infected with CCP Virus (new Coronavirus Covid-19)
According to NHK, on January 19, the Ministry of Internal Affairs and Communications (MIC) has announced that Parliamentary Vice-Minister for Internal Affairs and Communications Hatoyama had been confirmed to have been infected with the CCP virus(new coronavirus covid-19). According to the Ministry of Internal Affairs and Communications, Mr. Hatoyama had a fever of 38.5 degrees last night. When he underwent a PCR test on the 19th, he was positive. After attending a plenary session of the House of Representatives on the 17th, Mr. Hatoyama returned to his hometown in Kurume City, Fukuoka Prefecture, and is currently recuperating at home in Kurume City. This is the 18th member of the National Diet to be confirmed as infected.
4.More than US$1 Million in Grant Aid to Tonga
According to NHK, on January 19, in response to the massive volcanic eruption near Tonga in the South Pacific, Deputy Chief Cabinet Secretary Isozaki announced at a press conference that Tonga will receive more than $1 million in emergency grant aid to support local recovery and reconstruction efforts. Deputy Chief Cabinet Secretary Isozaki also explained that in addition to the financial cooperation, the government is coordinating the provision of emergency relief supplies, such as drinking water and tools for removing volcanic ash, and is considering using the Self-Defense Forces, which will be dispatched as an international emergency relief team, for transportation.
5.Tokyo Confirms 7377 Infections, Highest Number on Record, up from Last August
According to NHK, on January 19, The number of confirmed infections in Tokyo 19 was 7377, nearly 1,500 more than the previous record of 5,908 on August 13 last year, and the highest number ever. By route of infection, “infection in facilities,” such as schools and senior citizen facilities, reached a record high for the third consecutive day. In addition, the average number of people infected in the seven days to 19 was 4,598.4, four times as many as the previous week, and the first time since August 28 last year that the average number of people infected in seven days exceeded 4,000.
6.The Number of Visitors to Japan in 2009 Will Be the Lowest, at 240,000
According to JIJI, on January 19, Japan National Tourism Organization (JNTO) announced on 19 that the number of foreign visitors to Japan in 2021 will be 245,900 due to restrictions on entry following the spread of the CCP virus(new coronavirus covid-19). As a result, the number of foreign visitors in 2021 was the lowest since the statistics began in 19634 (352,800). This is a 99.2% decrease compared to 2019 and 94.0% compared to 2020.
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