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1. Japan, US, South Korea to Hold Foreign Ministers’ Meeting in Mid-February

According to Kyodo news on Jan 27, Japan, the U.S. and South Korea have begun to coordinate a meeting of their foreign ministers to be held in Hawaii in mid-February. The three countries are under pressure to deal with North Korea, which has repeatedly launched ballistic missiles since the beginning of this year and will seek to strengthen cooperation. The meeting will be attended by Foreign Minister Yoshimasa Hayashi, U.S. Secretary of State Blinken, and South Korean Foreign Minister Chung Yi-ho. The three foreign ministers will share the view that North Korea’s successive missile launches this month threaten the peace and security of the international community and will discuss measures to deter the North.

2. Nikkei Plunges over 3% to 14-Month Low on Fed Rate Expectations

According to Kyodo news on Jan 27, the 225-issue Nikkei Stock Average ended down 841.03 points, or 3.11%, from Wednesday at 26,170.3, its lowest closing level since Nov. 24, 2020. The broader Topix index of all First Section issues on the Tokyo Stock Exchange finished 49.41 points, or 2.6%, lower at 1,842.44. Every industry category lost ground, except for insurance and mining issues. Decliners were led by service, precision instrument and electric appliance issues.

3. Japan and Mitsubishi Heavy Industries Sign Memorandum for Cooperation with U.S. in Fast Reactor Development

According to Kyodo news, Japan Atomic Energy Agency (JAEA), Mitsubishi Heavy Industries, Ltd. and others signed a memorandum of understanding (MOU) for technical cooperation with Terrapower, a U.S. company that is developing a new fast reactor, on Jan 26. “Monju” reactor had a sodium leak accident in 1995 and was decommissioned in 2016. Japan’s fast reactor development has not progressed since then. Japan side hopes to maintain and improve its technological capabilities through this cooperation, but it is unclear to what extent it will be useful. 

4. North Korea Launches Missile, Prime Minister Kishida: “Very Regrettable”

According FNN, in response to North Korea’s launch of two short-range ballistic missiles into the Sea of Japan on March 27, Prime Minister Kishida said, “It is extremely regrettable. Regarding the sixth launch this year, he said, “Since it includes the launch of ballistic missiles, it is a violation of UN resolutions, and we have protested against it. I think it’s very regrettable.”

5. Gas Stations Baffled by Complaints That Prices Haven’t Dropped

According to SANKEI news on Jan 27, Japan government began to implement measures to curb gasoline prices in response to soaring crude oil prices. The subsidies will be provided to oil distributors. It is unclear whether the price will be reflected in the retail prices at gas stations, and even if it is reduced, there is likely to be a time lag. The early notification of the government’s decision to support the program has led to widespread confusion at gas stations, with users complaining that the prices have not been reduced.

6. Subaru to Temporarily Suspend Operations at Domestic Plants

According to Reuters news, on January 27, Subaru announced that it would temporarily suspend operations at its domestic production plant, including the main plant of the Gunma Manufacturing Division, due to an expected disruption in the supply of parts procured from suppliers. The suspension is scheduled for January 28, January 31-February 2, and February 7-8 at Gumma Division Main Plant, Yajima Plant (both finished vehicle plants), and the Oizumi Plant (engine and transmission plant).

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