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1. President Biden to Visit Japan and South Korea for the First Time

U.S. President Joe Biden will leave the capital city of Washington on the 19th for his first visit to Japan and South Korea since taking office, according to NHK. In Japan, he will hold a summit with Prime Minister Kishida and attend the quad summit consisting of Japan, the United States, Australia, and India. In a statement, the White House emphasized the visit’s significance, saying it “furthers our strong commitment to a free and open Indo-Pacific and alliances with Japan and South Korea.”

2. 40% of Japanese Companies Suspend Their Business in Russia

The number of companies that suspended or exited their Russian operations in March was 22%, but this rose sharply to 36% in April. Still, as of May, the number of companies announcing the suspension of their Russian operations was only 11 more than the previous month, less than half the increase in April (+23 companies), according to the Teikoku Data Bank on May 19. Thirty-three companies suspended transactions, including product shipments and orders received, but this was only two more companies than in April (31 companies). This was followed by “halt” (14 companies), including the cessation of operations at local plants, increasing three companies over the same period.

3. G7 Finance Ministers and Central Bank Governors Meeting Begins in Germany

A meeting of G-7 finances ministers and central bank governors opened in Germany, NHK reported on May 19. The conference will first examine the effectiveness of economic sanctions against Russia which continues its military aggression, discuss the need for additional sanctions and support for Ukraine. The meeting is also expected to discuss countermeasures against the global economic slowdown caused by soaring prices of raw materials, including energy, and concerns about food supplies.

4. Liberal Democratic Party Proposes Draft to Enhance Food Security

Liberal Democratic Party (LDP) has put forward a draft proposal to enhance food security, NHK reported on May 19. The proposal supports the efficient use of fields and rice fields and the development of new varieties to significantly increase the domestic production of wheat, soybeans, corn, and other grains that depend on imports. In addition, as a countermeasure to deteriorating agricultural management due to the weak yen and sharp price hikes in production materials, a new mechanism will be established to mitigate sudden increases in fertilizer prices.

5. To Ensure Ukraine’s Nuclear Safety, Japan’s Foreign Minister Will Provide About 270 Million Yen in Assistance to IAEA

Regarding the International Atomic Energy Agency’s (IAEA) help to ensure the safety of Ukraine’s nuclear power plants, the Japanese minister announced Japan’s intention to provide financial assistance of 2 million euros, or about 270 million yen, to support the initiative, NHK reported on May 19. In response, the IAEA Director-General expressed his gratitude, saying, “A nuclear accident must not happen, and we are very grateful for Japan’s support for the important work of preventing nuclear accidents.”

  6. Panasonic Will Seek to Establish International Standards for CO2 Reduction

The Sankei News reported on May 19 that Panasonic intends to participate in creating an international standard for calculating the effect of carbon dioxide reduction. The goal is to reduce CO2 emissions by more than 300 million tons by 2050 through the group’s efforts. Panasonic HD has set a target of reducing CO2 emissions by more than 300 million tons by 2050 through group initiatives. Approximately 200 million tons are assumed to be “contribution impact reduction,” i.e., indirect reductions in CO2 emissions through the products and services the company sells to companies and consumers.

【Himalaya Japan Galaxy- Alpha Planet】

Translator: Totoro

Proofreading: Tagomi