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1.Kishida Talks with Xi Jinping by Phone on Human Rights Issues

Prime Minister Kishida held his first telephone conversation with Chinese Communist Party President Xi Jinping to exchange views on human rights in the Xinjiang Uyghur Autonomous Region, NNN reported on Oct. 9. During the 30-minute call, Kishida raised several issues with Xi, including China’s actions on the Diaoyu Islands and human rights issues in Hong Kong and Xinjiang. Prime Minister Kishida said, “There are various issues between Japan and the Chinese communist state because we are neighbors, but I hope to continue to have frank discussions with President Xi while naturally insisting on what we should insist on. “Prime Minister Kishida also had his first telephone conversation with Indian Prime Minister Narendra Modi. The two countries agreed to deepen cooperation in the economic and security fields.

2.Kishida Delivers the First Policy Speech Proposing the Realization of the New Capitalism

According to Kyodo News, on October 8, Japanese Prime Minister Fumio Kishida delivered his first policy speech after taking office (Soshin’s speech) at the plenary session of the House of Representatives on the afternoon of October 8. To correct the gap between the rich and the poor, he advocated a “new capitalism” that protects the middle class and calls for the realization of a “virtuous circle of growth and distribution” and the “development of a new society after the epidemic. Regarding neo-capitalism, Kishida explained that “the two-pronged approach refers to both growth and distribution strategies” and advocated “moving away from the fruitless discussion of whether to focus on ‘growth or distribution,'” as well as building a society based on the premise of coexistence with the virus and a post-epidemic society. Furthermore, under the “National Vision for Digital Idyllic Cities,” he proposed to promote “a way of working using remote technology and the use of digital technology in the agricultural and tourism industries” from places where aging and population decline are increasing.

3.Japan to Prepare a Supplementary Budget to Support Semiconductor Manufacturers to Set up Factories in Japan

According to Kyodo News, on October 8, the Japanese government intends to include hundreds of billions of yen in the supplemental budget for fiscal 2021 to be prepared after the House of Representatives election to support selecting sites for semiconductor production plants. This is in consideration of recruiting the global semiconductor giant Taiwan Semiconductor Manufacturing Company (TSMC). In the context of the intensification of the U.S.-China confrontation and other backgrounds, strengthening the supply network of necessary materials semiconductors has become a top priority. This move aims to improve the system of stable procurement to enhance economic security. According to Japanese government sources, Kumamoto Prefecture is a strong candidate for the construction of the plant. Although, if it can be achieved, the construction cost is expected to amount to 700 billion to 800 billion yen, the government has been coordinating on supporting about half of the cost.

4.September Business Observer Survey Improved for the First Time in Two months

NHK reported on October 8 that the Cabinet Office’s Economic Observer Survey showed that last month’s Economic Status Index was 42.1, up to seven points from the previous month and the first improvement in two months. In response to the survey, an Okinawa-based transportation company said, “Sake orders from restaurants are gradually increasing, and the movement of customers to lift declarations is increasing.” As a result, the Cabinet Office revised its assessment of the current state of the economy upward, saying that “although the impact of the CCP virus remains severe, there are signs of a rebound. As a result, the index, which asks about the economic outlook in two to three months, rose 12.9 points from last month to 56.6, as food and beverages and service-related industries are expected to recover significantly.

5.Ministry of Finance to Consider “ESG” in Asset Management of Special Accounts in Foreign Exchange Markets

The Ministry of Finance has decided to consider ESG when investing the assets of the particular account that manages funds to stabilize the foreign exchange market, as ESG focuses on addressing environmental and social issues, NHK reported on Oct. 7. The government held 150 trillion yen worth of assets in the so-called Exchange Fund Special Account to stabilize the foreign exchange market. In selecting financial products for future purchases, the ministry will focus on whether they help address environmental and social issues. With the development of the ESG-related bond market, the ministry said future investments would be safer. According to the Ministry of Finance, this is the first such initiative among the Group of Seven (the seven leading countries).

6.Japan Pension Agency Misdelivers Notice Costs over 50 Million Yen

By mistake, Japan’s pension agency sent letters with pension information to about 970,000 people in Aichi, Mie, and Fukuoka prefectures; the Asahi Shimbun reported Oct. 8. Thursday, the agency said that it expects to incur more than 50 million yen in additional costs to resend the letters. That was explained at a joint hearing of opposition parties held the same day by the Constitutional Democratic Party. It plans to send corrected notices to all those mailed in error, but each message will cost about 55 yen to mail, or more than 50 million yen in total. In addition to the three prefectures, the agency has received several inquiries from recipients living in Wakayama Prefecture about the incorrectly mailed notices.

【Himalaya Japan Galaxy- Alpha Planet】
Translator: Totoro
Proofreading: Tracy