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1. 35,008 New Infections, 25 Deaths in Japan in a Single Day

NHK reported on May 15 that 35,008 new cases of infection and 25 deaths were reported in Japan in a single day. The number of confirmed domestic infections, including those quarantined at airports, is 838,191, and the total number including 712 passengers and crew on cruise ships is 838,903. The total number of people died in 3,078, including 365 people confirmed to be infected domestic and 13 cruise ship passengers. The Ministry of Health, Labor and Welfare said that as of the 15th, 139 people (-14) were confirmed to have been infected with the CCP virus (covid-19) and were in serious condition. On the other hand, the number of discharged people after their symptoms improved, including 7,951,587 people confirmed to be infected in Japan and 659 passengers and crew members of cruise ships, totaled 7,952,246 people.

2. Mass Modena Vaccines Discarded in Japan

The Sankei News reported on May 14 that the third dose of the U.S. Modena vaccine, a booster shot, is being discarded. In addition to the low overall vaccination rate, the number of people wishing to receive Modena vaccine is lower than it from Pfizer. In addition, the vaccine is nearing its expiration date. About 14,000 doses of the Modena vaccine expired and were disposed of in Tokyo’s Nakano Ward, Meguro Ward (about 6,000 doses), Bunkyo Ward (about 1,600 doses), and Suginami Ward (about 80,000 doses) at the end of April. Osaka City received about 300,000 doses at the end of January and disposed of approximately 85,000 doses that had expired at the end of April. Kyoto City announced that it expects to dispose of about 80,000 vaccines that will expire at the end of this month.

3. 50th Anniversary of Okinawa’s Return, Emperor and Empress Attend Ceremony Online

On the 50th anniversary of Okinawa’s handover, His Majesties the Emperor and Her Majesties the Empress attended a ceremony to mark the occasion, held simultaneously online at two venues in Okinawa and Tokyo, NHK reported on May 15. This is the first time since 1972, 50 years after the return of Okinawa, that the ceremony was held simultaneously in Okinawa and Tokyo, and in 1992, on the 20th anniversary of the return of Okinawa to Japan, His Majesties the Emperor Emeritus and Her Majesties the Empress Emerita also attended the ceremony.

4. 84% of Okinawa Respondents Favor Okinawa’s Return, According to NHK Poll

NHK reported on May 15 that a postal survey of 1,800 people aged 18 and older in Okinawa Prefecture was conducted between February and March this year and received responses from 812 people (45.1%). Among them, when asked to what extent they were aware that the United States ruled Okinawa after the war, 28 percent were familiar, 49 percent were somewhat familiar, 20 percent were not familiar, and 3 percent did not know at all. 84 percent of Okinawan respondents said they were happy about the return, looking back on the past 50 years. When asked if they knew that May 15 was when Okinawa returned to the mainland, 73% said they did, and 27% said they did not.

5. Deputy Chief Cabinet Secretary Says “Strengthen G7 Unity and Work to Support Ukraine”

According to NHK, on May 15, the Deputy Chief Cabinet Secretary said that Japan would strengthen the unity of the G7 given its presidency next year and expressed its intention to support Ukraine, including reconstruction efforts and sanctions against Russia. On the other hand, he reiterated maintaining benefits in oil and gas development projects in the Russian Far East. However, he said, “when we give up our interests and Russia gets them, it will export at a higher price.”

6. Biden’s Speech Says Okinawa’s Return “Marks the Beginning of a New Japan-U.S. Relationship”

The Mainichi News reported on May 15 that U.S. President Joe Biden delivered a message to mark the 50th anniversary of Okinawa’s return to Japan. He emphasized that the Japan-U.S. alliance is “stronger than ever, based on a shared vision of a free and open Indo-Pacific Ocean.” He expressed “deep appreciation for Japan’s unwavering support for democracy, freedom and the rule of law, and Okinawa’s contributions.” He described the ties between the people of the United States and Okinawa as “an irreplaceable element in deepening U.S.-Japan relations.” He emphasized that people of Okinawan heritage from across the United States will visit Okinawa this year to strengthen ties.

【Himalaya Japan Galaxy- Alpha Planet】

Translator: Totoro

Proofreading: Tagomi