1. Japan-US Space Cooperation to Be Strengthened, Targeting Communist China and Russia
The U.S. and Japanese governments have decided to strengthen cooperation in the space sector and in building an advanced semiconductor supply chain on the occasion of President Joe Biden’s visit to Japan from 22 to 24, according to Japanese government officials cited by the Yomiuri Shimbun on May 14. The aim is to counter the growing threat of Russia and the Communist China in outer space and to put the initiative in the hands of Japan and the United States. The two sides are working to include this in a joint statement to be announced after the 23rd U.S.-Japan Summit.
In terms of space cooperation, the U.S. will promote maritime situational awareness (MDA), the sharing of satellite-derived information to detect suspicious vessels with a view to ensuring maritime security. The government will also strengthen U.S.-Japan cooperation on the “satellite constellation,” an observation network that deploys a large number of small satellites in a constellation-like manner.
2. Japan’s Next-Generation Fighter Jet Development to Cooperate with Britain
According to the Sankei Shimbun, the Defense Ministry decided on May 13 that the successor to the Air Self-Defense Force’s F2 fighter will be a joint development project between British aerospace and defense equipment giant BAE Systems and Japan’s Mitsubishi Heavy Industries Ltd. The two companies will be involved in the airframe design, while shipbuilding and heavy equipment giant IHI and Britain’s Rolls-Royce are being considered for engine development. The Defense Ministry aims to begin operations around 2035 and has set aside 85.8 billion yen for development in its fiscal 2022 budget.
3. Four CCP Maritime Police Vessels Intruded into Territorial Waters near the Diaoyu Islands
According to NHK, four vessels from the Communist China’s Maritime Police Bureau entered Japanese territorial waters near the Senkaku Islands between 10:30 a.m. and 45 a.m. JST on May 14, according to the Maritime Security Headquarters of the 11th Administrative Region of Japan. The Maritime Safety Headquarters continued to warn them to leave the territorial waters immediately.
4. The Prime Minister Entered Okinawa for the First Time Since Taking Office
The 50th anniversary of Okinawa’s return to Japan in May 1972. The Sankei Shimbun reported that Prime Minister Fumio Kishida visited Okinawa on May 14, his first visit to Okinawa since taking office, and laid flowers at the Okinawa War National Cemetery in Itoman City.
Regarding the U.S. military base, he said, “The people of the prefecture still bear a heavy burden. The government will do its best to ease the burden.” Regarding Shuri Castle, he announced that restoration work on the main hall will begin in November.
5. Facing Power Shortage Crisis Again This Summer and Winter
In March, the government first issued a “power tension warning” to warn people in the Tokyo metropolitan area of possible large-scale power outages, Japanese television reported on May 14. However, people are worried that there will be another power shortage this summer and winter. As a result of power shortages due to earthquakes and cold snaps, the government has begun to consider rotating blackouts, power restrictions, and other policies in a sense of crisis. The Ministry of Economy, Trade and Industry announced that the power supply and demand situation is expected to be severe in 2022, assuming extremely hot summers and severe winters.
6. Rakuten Pay, Edy and Other Services Are Temporarily Unavailable
The Mainichi Shimbun reported that Rakuten Pay, the mobile payment system of Rakuten Group, and Rakuten Edy, an e-money service, which had been down since the morning of May 14, were restored that morning. The company is investigating its cause.
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Proofreading: Seentiz Homma (帆間知津)