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1.Japan SDF Begins CCP Virus (COVID-19) Vaccination on a Large Scale

According to NHK on Jan 17, about the large-scale vaccination of the Self-Defense Forces with the CCP Virus (or COVID-19) vaccine, the Ministry of Defense has decided to start the vaccination in Tokyo on the 31st of this month at the same site as the previous vaccination. To accelerate the third round of vaccination, the government plans to re-establish a large-scale vaccination site run by the SDF, which will use the Moderna vaccine for people over the age of 18. As a result, the number of people who can be vaccinated is expected to increase to about 2,000 a day by the beginning of next month when the site’s construction is completed.

2.Japan to Develop First New Offshore Gas Field in 30 Years

According to Sankei News, on Jan 17, INPEX, Japan’s largest oil and natural gas development company, announced that it will start an exploration project in March off the coast of Shimane and Yamaguchi, which refers to exploratory drilling, the preliminary stage of oil and natural gas field development. As energy prices such as crude oil and liquefied natural gas soar on a global scale, the ability to produce even a small amount of energy in one’s own country is essential from the perspective of economic security, in addition to contributing to increasing the domestic self-sufficiency rate of natural gas.

3.Tokyo, Saitama, Chiba, Kanagawa Request “Spread Prevention” Measures

NHK reported on Jan 17 that in response to the rapid spread of the pandemic, the three prefectures in the Tokyo metropolitan area have jointly requested that the national government apply priority measures to prevent the spread of the virus. For this reason, governors of the three prefectures held a video conference. At the meeting, the three prefectures decided to jointly request the national government to apply the priority measures to prevent the spread of the disease. Specific details of the actions will be worked out in the future. According to the Tokyo Metropolitan Government, the utilization rate of hospital beds in Tokyo has been increasing due to the rapid spread of the infection, reaching 19.3% as of Jan 16, and is expected to exceed 20% on the 17th.

4.Proposed Budget for the New Fiscal Year: 107.5964 Trillion Yen in General Accounting, the Largest Ever

NHK reported on Jan 17 that the government has submitted to the Diet a draft budget for the new fiscal year 2022, which includes the cost of measures against the CCP Virus (or COVID-19). As a result, the total amount of the general account is 107.5964 trillion yen, the largest ever. Of the expenditures, the “social security expenditures” are the largest ever at 36.2735 trillion yen due to the increase in medical and nursing care as the so-called baby boomers enter the age of 75 and above. In addition, the budget also includes 5,368.7 billion yen for defense spending, 24.3393 trillion yen for “government bonds” for redemption and interest payments, and 5 trillion yen in “reserve funds” that can be used in the fight against the pandemic.

5.Japan Will Allow Some Foreign Students Enter

According to a report from Kyodo News on Jan 17, Japan plans to allow 87 government-sponsored international students into the country, an exception to the country’s current ban on the entry of nonresident foreigners amid the outbreak, Kyodo News reported Jan 17. However, the students, who may be allowed to enter starting later this month, will be required to spend ten days in quarantine at a hotel prepared by their school upon arrival. The Chief Cabinet Secretary said the 87 students have less than a year left before they graduate or complete their studies, and the government has decided to allow them in so they can achieve their schooling.

6.White House: U.S. and Japanese Leaders to Meet Online on Jan. 21

On Friday, Kyodo News reported on Jan. 17 that the White House said U.S. President Joe Biden would meet online with Japanese Prime Minister Fumio Kishida as the two countries seek to further deepen their relationship amid growing assertiveness in growing assertiveness the Indo-Pacific region by the CCP. Biden looks forward to working with Kishida to advance their “shared vision for a free and open Indo-Pacific” and include a partnership on emerging technologies through the four-major-nation bloc. According to the White House, the two leaders are also expected to discuss further cooperation on the fight against the CCP Virus (COVID-19) pandemic and climate change.

【Himalaya Japan Galaxy- Alpha Planet】
Translator: Seentiz Homma (帆間知津)
Proofreading: Totoro