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1Japan-Ukraine Foreign Ministers Talk

NHK reported that on the afternoon of May 13th (JST), Foreign Minister Hayashi, who is visiting Germany to attend the G7 meeting of foreign ministers, met with Ukrainian Foreign Minister Kleba and agreed that it is important for the international community to unite in continuing strong sanctions against Russia.

Hayashi also explained that Japan continues to provide humanitarian assistance and financial support, including the acceptance of displaced persons from Ukraine. In response, Foreign Minister Kleba expressed his deep appreciation for Japan’s support and informed President Zelensky that he appreciated Japan’s earlier announcement of a policy of an embargo on Russian oil in principle.

2Prime Minister Kishida: “Demonstration Project in the near Future” for Border Measures

Prime Minister Kishida, in an interview with Nippon TV, announced that he will “soon conduct a demonstration project regarding the acceptance of foreign tourists and make some preparations for next month and beyond.”

On the other hand, Prime Minister Kishida was asked if masks would not be required for those who have received the third dose of vaccine and have negative proof and are indoors at a sufficient distance. “This is one suggestion, and there is a way of thinking about it,” he said, adding that he would listen to the opinions of experts.

3Japan Airlines Tops for the First Time in 7 Years

According to Mainichi News, JAL’s international passenger volume for 2021 was 892,471, surpassing All Nippon Airways with 825,524. It is the first time in seven years since 2014 that JAL is in the top spot. However, the number of passengers for both airlines is only about one-tenth of the 2019 level, and they are far from recovering from the pandemic.

4EU President Visits Hiroshima, Criticizes Russia’s Nuclear Threat to the World

According to Kyodo News, EU President Michel visited the city of Hiroshima, which experienced a nuclear bombing, and issued a statement. He condemned the “inexcusable reference to the use of nuclear weapons” by Russia, which invaded Ukraine. He also criticized North Korea for “repeated illegal and provocative missile tests that pose a threat to global security.

After visiting the atomic-bomb museum, Mr. Michel told reporters, “The suffering that took place here and in Nagasaki continues today. The elimination of weapons of mass destruction is an urgent task,” he said, expressing his commitment to nuclear disarmament.

5Japan to Establish a New “Emergency Approval System” for Medicines

The revised Pharmaceuticals and Medical Devices Law was unanimously approved and enacted at a plenary session of the House of Councillors on May 13, Mainichi News reported. The main purpose of the law is to establish an “emergency approval system” to enable the prompt commercialization of pharmaceutical products in the event of a global pandemic of an infectious disease.

The government will soon amend the Cabinet Order to designate drugs for novel coronavirus infection as subject to the emergency approval system. The focus will now be on whether or not to apply the law to domestically produced therapeutic drugs and vaccines under development.

Until now, in principle, approval has been granted only after efficacy has been confirmed in large-scale clinical trials, but the new system will allow for early commercialization before the completion of clinical trials. Efficacy can be approved if it can be “presumed” from data in the middle of a clinical trial.

6ONKYO Corporation Decided to Initiate Bankruptcy Proceedings

On March 13, ONKYO Home Entertainment Corporation (headquartered in Higashi Osaka), which develops audio equipment under the ONKYO brand, announced that it had filed for bankruptcy protection with the Osaka District Court, and that the court had accepted the petition, Mainichi News reported. Total liabilities amounted to approximately 3.1 billion yen. The company has run into financial difficulties due to deteriorating business performance.

【Himalaya Japan Galaxy- Alpha Planet】

Translator: Seentiz Homma (帆間知津)