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1. Domestic Corporate Prices Rose 10.0% in April, the Largest Increase on Record

According to Bank of Japan’s preliminary Corporate Goods Price Index (CGPI) for April released on April 16, the domestic corporate goods price index increased by 10.0% year-on-year, reported by Reuters. The increase in the CGPI was the largest since 1981, when comparisons could be made. Experts point out that “while the index is rising, the cost burden on households and businesses will continue to increase, so the negative impact on the Japanese economy will continue”. By category, oil and coal products contributed the most to the upward trend, at 30.9%. Gasoline and diesel prices fell slightly from the previous month, because in part to the government’s drastic easing measures, but remained at high levels compared to the previous year.

2. Jan-Mar GDP Private-Sector Forecast: Growth Expected to Be Negative for the First Time in Two Quarters

The NHK reported on May 16 that GDP for the period from January to March this year will be announced on the 18th. According to private-sector forecasts, the growth rate is expected to be negative for the first time in two terms due to a drop in consumer spending on food service and other items, which was affected by the application of control measures to prevent the spread of the CCP virus (New coronavirus COVID-19) in various regions during this period. The spread of the Omicron variant is believed to have caused a drop in personal consumption, which accounts for more than half of GDP, mainly for food service and travel, as priority measures to prevent the spread of the disease were applied in various regions. In addition, automobile sales were affected by of the automobile industry, which was forced to reduce production due to operation halting, and rising gasoline prices are also believed to have contributed to the downward pressure on consumption.

3. Shionogi Pharma CCP Virus (COVID-19) Vaccine Under Development Began Clinical Trials for 12-19 Years Old

Shionogi Pharma is developing a type of new vaccine CCP Virus (COVID-19) called “recombinant protein vaccine” and has announced its intention to apply for approval of the vaccine for adults to the government as early as next month, NHK reported on May 16. According to the company, the clinical trial will be conducted on 350 people between the ages of 12 and 19, who will be injected twice with the vaccine under development to see if their antibody levels will increase to the same level or higher than those of adults injected with the vaccine. The clinical trial began on the 14th of this month, and a third dose of the vaccine will be administered to see if antibody levels increase again after an additional dose of the vaccine. Shionogi says, “We will work toward the early development and supply of the product so that we can offer a new option to people of all ages”.

4. Japanese Government loans to Ukraine in the amount of 39 billion yen signed online

NHK reported that Japanese government has announced that it will provide the Ukrainian government with a loan of $300 million, or 39 billion Japanese yen, to finance reconstruction and economic measures, and JICA will serve as the Japanese counterpart. On May 16, a signing ceremony was held between JICA headquarters in Tokyo’s Chiyoda Ward and Ukraine’s capital city of Kiev via an online connection, where JICA President Akihiko Tanaka and Ukrainian Finance Minister Marchenko signed the agreement. President Tanaka said, “This aggression and humanitarian crisis is the greatest challenge of this century to the international order that democratic values. We must resolutely confront this threat.” he said, stressing the significance of the support. In response, Finance Minister Marchenko expressed his gratitude, saying, “At this critical time in our history, Japan is supporting Ukraine in all aspects, including economic and military. “

5. No Sharp Increase in the Number of Infections Seen After Long Holidays, Expert: “Good Signs Also Countermeasures”

According to NHK, on May 16, a little more than a week has passed since the end of the long holiday, and so far, there has not been a sharp increase in the number of people infected with the CCP virus (new coronavirus COVID-19), which had been a cause for concern. Experts believe that many people are taking care and infection control measures and call for continuing basic measures to prevent the spread of infection from people who have no symptoms during the next week or so. Professor Kazuhiro Tateda of Toho University said, “However, the virus is still present in our life, so it is important to maintain basic infection control measures as thoroughly as before to prevent secondary and tertiary infections from infected people,” and called for continued measures.

6. Small-Scale Tours to Japan Will Soon Be Implemented on “a Trial basis”

NHK reported on May 16 that Regarding the resumption of acceptance of foreign tourists, Chief Cabinet Secretary Matsuno has indicated to soon begin small-scale tours of Japan, which Japanese government is considering implementing on “a trial basis”. The government is considering resuming accepting foreign tourists in stages starting next month and will make a final decision after carefully assessing the infection situation both at home and abroad after the GW holidays. Chief Cabinet Secretary Matsuno said at a press conference this afternoon, “Entry controll measures are being phased out while maintaining a balance between the prevention of the spread of infection and socioeconomic activities. After carefully assessing the infection situation after the holidays, we will consider the possibility of smooth entry into Japan next month, same with the G7 (Group of Seven) countries.

【Himalaya Japan Galaxy- Alpha Planet】

Translator: Tagomi

Proofreading: Tagomi