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Biden to visit S Korea, Japan next month for talks on trade, security

Washington [US]: US President Joe Biden will visit South Korea and Japan from May 20 to May 24 for bilateral discussions on trade and security matters, White House Press Secretary Jen Psaki said in a press release.

“President Joseph R. Biden, Jr. will visit the Republic of Korea and Japan from May 20-May 24 to further deepen ties between our governments, economies, and people,” Psaki said on Wednesday.
Biden will have bilateral meetings with newly-elected South Korean President Yoon Suk Yeol and Japanese Prime Minister Kishida Fumio, the release said. Biden will discuss with each leader ways to bolster security and economic ties, the release added.

Biden, while in Tokyo, will also meet with the leaders of the Quad group consisting of Australia, Japan, and India, according to the release.

More details about the Biden’s trip will be shared by the White House soon, the release said.

 

US President Biden, Japanese PM Kishida to meet virtually on Jan 21, to discuss Quad

Washington [US] (ANI): Amid China’s growing assertiveness in the Indo-Pacific region, US President Joe Biden will meet Japanese Prime Minister Fumio Kishida virtually on Friday (January 21) to discuss issues pertaining to the Quad (an alliance of US, Australia, Japan and India).
“President Joseph R Biden, Jr will meet virtually with Prime Minister Kishida Fumio of Japan on Friday, January 21 to further deepen ties between our governments, economies, and our people,” read a statement by White House Press Secretary Jen Psaki. The two countries seek to further deepen their ties and the meeting will highlight the strength of the US-Japan Alliance, which is the cornerstone of peace, security, and stability in the Indo-Pacific and around the world.
“President Biden looks forward to working with Prime Minister Kishida to advance our shared vision for a free and open Indo-Pacific, and to expand our close cooperation on critical issues like combatting COVID-19, addressing the climate crisis, and partnering on new and emerging technologies, including through the Quad,” added the statement. (Image source: Instagram)

5 Chinese warships sail between Japanese islands

Tokyo [Japan]: Five Chinese warships, including the Liaoning aircraft carrier on Friday midnight, passed through waters between the main island of Okinawa Prefecture and the island of Miyakojima.
Japan’s Defense Ministry on Sunday said that five vessels sailed north, from the Pacific Ocean to the East China Sea, through the waters. They are believed to be returning to China after ending a series of exercises, reported the japan times. The Liaoning-led fleet sailed south in the waters between the Okinawa main island and Miyakojima on December 16.
This was the first time since April for the Liaoning to sail back and forth in the waters between the main island of Okinawa and Miyakojima, reported the japan times.
Over two days from December 19, fighter jets and a helicopter repeatedly practiced landing on and taking off from the Liaoning in the high seas near the Okinawa islands of Kitadaitojima and Okidaitojima.
Japanese ships including the Izumo destroyer of the Maritime Self-Defense Force were sent on a surveillance mission, reported the japan times.
The Japanese ministry is on high alert because China is believed to be trying to beef up its military’s operational capabilities.

No plans to attend Beijing Winter Olympics, says Japanese PM Kishida

Tokyo [Japan]: Japanese Prime Minister Fumio Kishida has said that he has no plans to attend the 2022 Beijing Winter Olympics pointing out that he is considering multiple options over the US-led diplomatic boycott of the games, reported Kyodo News.
“At the moment, I have no plans to attend,” Kyodo News quoted Kishida as saying in the parliament on Thursday. Kishida was replying to a question asked by Japanese lawmaker Shinkun Haku referring to his participation in the Beijing Winter Olympics. Kishida further said that it is important to make a judgment in this matter emphasising that he will take the decision at an appropriate time. He also said the judgement will be taken after comprehensively taking into account various issues in consideration of the national interest.
Japan Prime Minister’s remarks on the Beijing Winter Olympics came after the US announced the diplomatic boycott of games over human rights abuses in China’s Xinjiang province.
Meanwhile, the US decision of diplomatic boycott of Beijing Olympics has also been joined by Australia, Britain and Canada.
The US move aims to send a “clear message” that the human rights abuses in China mean there cannot be “business as usual”.

Japanese Health Ministry approves use of Moderna vaccine as booster shot

Tokyo [Japan]: A panel of the Japanese Health Ministry on Wednesday approved the use of the Moderna COVID-19 vaccine as a booster on Wednesday, the media reported.
Last month, Takeda Pharmaceutical Company managing the sales and distribution of the vaccine in Japan, applied for the approval to use the vaccine as a third shot six months after the previous vaccination, according to the Kyodo news agency. Japan began its vaccination campaign later than some other countries, on February 17, but quickly sped up the pace. In the summer, up to a million people were vaccinated daily. Almost 98 million Japanese, or 77 per cent of the population, have taken two shots of a COVID-19 vaccine now.
The number of daily new infections has lately been mostly below 200. On October 1, Japan lifted the state of emergency across the country.

Japan, Australia pledge to promote security co-operation of Quad to counter China’s assertiveness

Liverpool [UK]: Japan and Australia have pledged to promote security cooperation of the Quad group, also including the United States and India in response to China’s rising assertiveness in the Indo-Pacific region, a media report said.
Japanese Foreign Minister Yoshimasa Hayashi and his Australian counterpart Marise Payne in a meeting on Saturday in Liverpool agreed to elevate the two countries’ “special strategic partnership” to a higher level as part of efforts to achieve a free and open Indo-Pacific, reported Kyodo News. Both leaders underlined the importance of a pact by Japan, Australia and the United States plus Micronesia, Nauru and Kiribati. The deal aims to build a new undersea cable to improve internet connectivity to the three Pacific island states.
The two leaders held talks on the sidelines of the Group of Seven foreign ministers meeting on Sunday.
Australian Minister Payne was invited to expanded sessions on Sunday along with her peers from South Korea, India and the Association of Southeast Asian Nations, in an apparent move by the G-7 nations to tighten the noose around Beijing, whose military and economic clout in the Info-Pacific has been growing, according to Kyodo News.

Japan to urge China to act responsibly in South China Sea, Hong Kong

Liverpool [UK]: Japanese Foreign Minister Hayashi Yoshimasa said on Saturday (local time) that Tokyo intends to urge China to act responsibly in the East and South China Seas, Hong Kong, and its Xinjiang Uygur Autonomous Region.
Hayashi said Japan opposes China’s unilateral attempts to change the status quo in the East China Sea and the South China Sea. He said Japan also has serious concern over the human rights situations in Hong Kong and the Xinjiang Uygur Autonomous Region, reported NHK World. Hayashi was speaking during the first session of a G7 foreign ministers’ meeting, which opened in the English city of Liverpool on Saturday. The first session focused on China, Russia, and other regional situations.
The ministers also exchanged views on the diplomatic boycott of the 2022 Beijing Winter Olympics.
Australia, India, and South Korea are taking part in the two-day meeting. Members of the Association of Southeast Asian Nations are also participating in some of the debates, reported NHK World.
The participants plan to compile a document on the outcome of their discussions on the security and human rights issues as well as their measures against the coronavirus pandemic.

Omicron: Japan To Add India & More Under Strict Quarantine Vigilance

In an effort to curb the spread of Covid-19 variant Omicron, Japan will add India, Greece, Romania and four US states under strict quarantine vigilance.

Japanese nationals and foreign residents travelling to Japan from India, Greece, Romania and four US states will have to undergo stringent quarantine regulations Sunday onwards, in order to control the spread of the Omicron variant, reported Kyodo news.

While, foreign residents, as well as Japanese nationals travelling from Colorado, Hawaii, Minnesota and New York to Japan, will have to mandatorily spend three days of their two-week quarantine at government-designated facilities, reported Kyodo News.

With emerging Omicron cases in the country and to curb the further spread, Chief Cabinet Secretary Hirokazu Matsuno on Friday announced the expansion of the list addressing a press conference. A government task force made the decision to control the increasing number of new variant cases in Japan.

The list for three-day mandatory quarantine at government-designated facilities already includes countries such as Austria, Ecuador and France. While many are being subject to stringent quarantine requirements, such as staying in government-designated facilities for over 10 days, reported Kyodo News.

The first Omicron case was reported on Tuesday in Japan, causing it to deny re-entry of all foreigners, including residents with long-term visas, who have recently been to any of 10 African countries likely to have widespread infections of the variant.

The country has further banned new entries by foreigners from around the globe. 

Israel, Japan Shut Their Borders To Foreign Travellers Amid Omicron Scare

Israel has become the first country in the world to shut its borders for foreign travellers owing to the Omicron scare. Soon after, Japan followed suit and barred foreign travellers from entering into the country.

A number of countries have reported confirmed or suspected cases of the Omicron, the new variant of COVID-19. The new variant has already been discovered in Australia, Botswana, Britain, Belgium, Canada, Denmark, France, Germany, Hong Kong, Israel, Italy, the Netherlands and Scotland.

Israel has not only banned entry of foreigners but has also made quarantine for all Israelis arriving from abroad mandatory. Israeli Prime Minister Naftali Bennett said, “Restrictions on the country’s borders is not an easy step, but it’s a temporary and necessary step.”

The government of Japan also said that they would shut its borders to foreigners amid rising cases of the Omicron variant of Coronavirus. Japanese Prime Minister Fumio Kishida said that he is ready to take criticism for being too cautious.

He told the reporters, “These are temporary, exceptional measures that we are taking for safety’s sake, until there is clearer information about the Omicron variant”.

A number of countries have already restricted or banned travel from various southern African countries. Recently, authorities in Sydney, Australia found two foriegn travellers Africa Omicron positive. Also, those coming from African countries will have to quarantine in a hotel upon arrival.

The World Health Organization advising its 194 member nations said, “The overall global risk related to the new variant of concern Omicron is assessed as very high.”

Dr. Anthony Fauci, the United States’ infectious diseases expert, said, “We have not detected it yet, but when you have a virus that is showing this degree of transmissibility … it almost invariably is ultimately going to go essentially all over.”

The UK has also made the mask-wearing compulsory for all. Spain, on the other hand, has also announced a ban on unvaccinated visitors from Britain from December 1.

Tokyo conveys concerns to Beijing as Chinese ships enter Japanese waters

Tokyo [Japan]: Japan has conveyed its concerns to Beijing after a Chinese naval ship sailed in Japan’s waters of its southwestern prefecture of Kagoshima.
A Chinese naval ship had sailed in Japan’s waters earlier this week off its southwestern prefecture, the country’s Defence Ministry said on Friday. The Chinese survey ship was spotted sailing off the southwestern prefecture on Wednesday and Thursday in the so-called contiguous zone outside Japan’s territorial waters, reported Kyodo News citing the ministry.
A Maritime Self-Defense Force patrol plane spotted the ship heading toward Japanese waters from the contiguous zone south of Yakushima Island around 8:40 pm on Wednesday.
The Japanese government conveyed concerns about the vessel’s action to China through diplomatic channels, said officials familiar with the matter, Kyodo News reported.
In recent times, China has ramped up maritime activities in the South China Sea.
On Friday, four Chinese coast guard ships also entered Japanese waters around the Senkakus, marking the first intrusion in the area since Oct. 20.
The Japanese government termed the Chinese action “a violation of international law. It is truly regretful, and we cannot accept it.”
Top government spokesman Hirokazu Matsuno said Japan has lodged a protest with China because the islets are “no doubt an inherent territory of our country historically and based on international law.”
China claims sovereignty over almost the entire South China Sea and has overlapping territorial claims with Brunei, Malaysia, the Philippines, Vietnam and Taiwan.
Meanwhile, China’s military has criticised the latest operation as the latest proof of the United States’ “militarization of the South China Sea,” adding that it had tracked the vessel and warned it off, Japan Times reported.
China on September 1 implemented a revised law that enables its maritime safety agency, which belongs to the transportation ministry, to order foreign vessels to leave what Beijing claims as its territorial waters if it judges their presence to be a security threat.

Japan mulls releasing oil reserves

Tokyo [Japan] : The Japanese government is considering to release crude oil reserves to curb the oil prices growth, Japan’s Kyodo news agency said on Saturday, citing sources.
Previously, Japan resorted to this measure only in case of natural calamities or disruptions in overseas supplies caused by unstable political situation. Consequently, the step is being considered as a tool of stabilizing the prices for the first time. The country’s oil is kept at national oil reserves and at private oil firms. In late September, Japan possessed oil reserves sufficient for 242 days of consumption, according to the media.
The increase in global oil prices has led Japan to record high prices for fuels, and the government decided to pay out oil companies extra five yens ($0,044) per one liter of the fuel produced, if gasoline price exceeds 170 yens per liter, starting December 2021.

Chinese naval ship sails in Japan waters amid rising security tensions

Beijing [China]: A Chinese naval ship sailed in Japan’s waters earlier this week off its southwestern prefecture of Kagoshima, the country’s Defence Ministry said on Friday.
The Chinese survey ship was spotted sailing off the southwestern prefecture on Wednesday and Thursday in the so-called contiguous zone outside Japan’s territorial waters, reported Kyodo News citing the ministry. A Maritime Self-Defense Force patrol plane spotted the ship heading toward Japanese waters from the contiguous zone south of Yakushima Island around 8:40 pm on Wednesday.
The ship was then seen sailing west of Kuchinoerabu Island in the zone westward around 1:20 am on Thursday, the ministry further said.
The Chinese vessel entered Japanese waters sometime between Wednesday night and early Thursday, the ministry determined based on the pattern of sightings, though it did not specify when the intrusion happened, according to Kyodo News.

Japan tops G-7 chart with highest fully vaccinated population

Tokyo [Japan]: Topping charts among the Group of Seven industrialized nations (G-7), Japan has so far vaccinated 75.7 per cent of its population with two COVID-19 shots, reported local media.
Japan has successfully immunized its 125 million populations with two doses of COVID-19 vaccine, reported Kyodo News citing government sources. Leaving Canada behind, which earlier was at the top with a 75.5 per cent vaccination rate, Japan has left behind other G-7 nations including the US, Germany, France, and Britain.
According to the government records, 195.32 million COVID-19 vaccination shots have been administered so far, with 99.4 million having received the first shot, reported Kyodo News. Among the people of age group 65 and above, over 91 per cent are fully vaccinated.
With ramped-up vaccination drive in Japan, which commenced earlier this year has resulted in the significant plunge of new COVID-19 cases. Coming down from the peak of 25,000 in a day, reported in August this year, Japan reported merely 163 new COVID-19 cases on Thursday, reported Kyodo News.
Citing government sources, Kyodo News reported that Japan has been witnessing a lesser number of severe COVID-19 cases, coming down to 76 on Thursday.
While Canada has vaccinated the maximum number of people (79 per cent) with the first vaccination dose. Eight countries including Spain and Singapore, which are not a part of G-7 have a higher score of fully vaccinated population, that is 80.2 per cent and 91.9 per cent, respectively, reported Kyodo News.

Japan, US launches initiative to facilitate discussions on trade issues

Tokyo [Japan]: Amid China’s economic rise, Japan and the United States on Wednesday launched an initiative to facilitate regular discussions on trade issues.
The first series of meeting under the US-Japan Partnership on Trade is expected early next year, with the initial areas of focus including “third country concerns” and cooperation in improving a rules-based economic order in the Indo-Pacific region, Kyodo News reported citing officials of the two countries. The announcement was made as Japanese Foreign Minister Yoshimasa Hayashi held a meeting with U.S. Trade Representative Katherine Tai, who is on her first visit to Japan since assuming her position in March.
“Our close collaboration will support the Biden-Harris administration’s economic framework for the Indo-Pacific and help create sustainable, resilient, inclusive, and competitive trade policies that lift up our people and economies,” Tai said in a statement.
In an apparent reference to China, Japan and the United States have repeatedly raised the issue of “market-distorting practices,” such as industrial subsidies and overproduction, at meetings of the Group of Seven nations and other multilateral talks.

Japan-France discuss strengthening ties amid Chinese assertiveness in Indo-Pacific region

Tokyo [Japan]: Japanese Prime Minister Fumio Kishida on Monday had a discussion with French President Emmanuel Macron over emboldening of security relations amid Chinese assertiveness in the Indo-Pacific region.
French President and Japanese Prime Minister had a 40 minutes phone call where they conversed about enhancing cooperation between both countries. This included France’s Jeanne d’Arc training fleet visiting Japan for joint exercises in May, reported Kyodo News citing government sources. Calling France a “special partner”, the Japanese Prime Minister commended Macron’s leadership in the European Union, rendering strategic involvement in the Indo-Pacific region.
The French President congratulated Kishida on his recent win and the commitments Japan made at the United Nations summit on climate change and to serve the world in coming closer to zero carbon emissions, reported Kyodo News citing government sources.
The Foreign Ministry stated that the parties communicated over other issues the world is facing including COVID-19, matters of China and North Korea, developments on the African continent further affirming cooperation on securing the return of Japanese nationals abducted by the North in the 1970s and 1980s, reported Kyodo News.

US, Japan reaffirm their alliance a cornerstone of peace in Indo Pacific

Washington [US] : US Secretary of State, Antony Blinken, had a telephonic conversation with Japanese Foreign Minister Hayashi Yoshimasa during which he emphasised Washington’s commitment to work closely with Japan and other allies to advance their shared vision of a free and open Indo-Pacific.
The two leaders reaffirmed that the US-Japan alliance is the “cornerstone of peace, security, and prosperity in the region and globally”, according to the US state department. This comes amid China’s rising assertiveness in the Indo-Pacific region.
Amid China’s military rise, Japanese Prime Minister Fumio Kishida on Thursday met with the commander of the US Indo-Pacific Command and agreed to strengthen their alliance for a free and open Indo-Pacific.
Japanese PM Kishida and US Admiral John Aquilino shared concerns regarding China’s unilateral attempts to alter the status quo in the region and exchanged views on North Korea’s test-firing of missiles, Kyodo News reported citing the Japanese government.
The US Indo-Pacific commander committed to “deliver a free and open Indo-Pacific, and peace and stability and prosperity for the region.” Aquilino also met with Japanese Defense Minister Nobuo Kishi and newly appointed Foreign Minister Yoshimasa Hayashi on Thursday.
The Indo-Pacific region is largely viewed as an area comprising the Indian Ocean and the western and central Pacific Ocean, including the South China Sea.
Beijing claims sovereignty over almost the entire South China Sea and has overlapping territorial claims with Brunei, Malaysia, the Philippines, Vietnam and Taiwan.
China’s territorial claims in the South China Sea and its efforts to advance into the Indian Ocean are seen to have challenged the established rules-based system.

US launches talks with Japan to address steel, aluminum excess capacity

Washington [US]: The United States and Japan have started consultations to address issues concerning excess capacity in the global steel and aluminum market, the Office of the US Trade Representative’s (USTR) office said.
“United States Trade Representative Katherine Tai and United States Secretary of Commerce Gina M. Raimondo today announced the start of consultations with Japan to address global steel and aluminum excess capacity, take effective measures to ensure the long-term viability of our steel and aluminum industries, and find solutions to strengthen our democratic alliance,” the Office of the US Trade Representative said in a press release on Friday. US and Japanese officials will also work to resolve bilateral issues related to steel and aluminum tariffs and the two countries intend to take beneficial actions that will restore market-oriented conditions, the release said.
The US officials emphasized concerns about China and its role in supporting trade-distorting non-market policies that threaten US steel and aluminum industries, the release added.
The World Trade Organization recently undertook a trade policy review of China and identified severe and persistent excess capacity in the steel and aluminum sectors as one of several problems with the country’s trade regime.

Japan’s new Foreign Minister confirms intention to sign peace treaty with Russia

Tokyo [Japan] : Japan intends to resolve the issue of the ownership of the four disputed islands, Kunashir, Iturup, Shikotan and Habomai, and eventually sign a peace treaty with Russia, recently appointed Foreign Minister Yoshimasa Hayashi said on Friday.
“As for the peace treaty with Russia, we intend to resolve the issue of the ownership of the four islands and conclude a peace treaty, without shifting this responsibility onto future generations. We will be working on this on the basis of the previously reached agreements, including the agreement secured in Singapore in 2018,” Hayashi said at a press conference.

Japan confirms season’s 1st Avian flu outbreak, 143,000 birds to be culled

Akita [Japan]: Avian flu has been confirmed at a chicken farm in Akita prefecture, northeastern Japan, with around 143,000 birds of the farm to be culled, the prefectural government said Wednesday.

Regarded as the season’s first outbreak of avian influenza in Japan, it was confirmed through genetic testing carried out at a chicken farm in Yokote following a simple test the previous day in which the stock tested positive.
The Akita prefectural government has banned the delivery of chickens or eggs from farms within 10 kilometers of the affected farm and asked the Self-Defense Force to send troops to help resolve the issue.

Prime Minister Fumio Kishida called for the collection of information and requested the farm ministry and other government agencies to work jointly to take prompt and thorough preventive measures.

On Tuesday morning, a veterinarian reported to local health authorities that the number of chickens dying at a farm in Yokote had been growing.

A simple test given to 13 of the chickens from the farm showed 12 of them tested positive for avian flu, according to the prefectural government. (ANI/Xinhua)

Japan launches small Epsilon 5 rocket with nine satellites

Tokyo [Japan]: Japan launched a small Epsilon 5 rocket with nine satellites.
The launch, broadcast live by the Japan Aerospace Exploration Agency (JAXA), was carried out from the Uchinoura Space Center in the southwestern prefecture of Kagoshima. The nine satellites were created by private companies and enterprises. The launch was earlier postponed three times for technical reasons and because of the weather conditions.

Japanese soy sauce maker ‘Kikkoman’ acquires majority of global market

Tokyo [Japan] : Kikkoman, a leading soy sauce company based in Japan has acquired the majority of the global market. It functions quite similarly to Japanese traditional food culture, fermentation, and ensures the natural brewing of Kikkoman Soy Sauce. The traditional Japanese brewing process known as “Honjozo” is used in the making of this Soy Sauce.
“Kikkoman soy sauce is “Honjozo” soy sauce, which means it is a naturally brewed sauce. We use only four natural ingredients namely soybeans, wheat, salt and water and microorganisms to ferment it,” Senior Managing Executive Officer of Kikkoman Corporation, Osamu Mogi said.
“As only four ingredients are used, it’s quite simple. Fermentation is a very interesting process and through this, we achieve all the five basic tastes of soy sauce which include saltiness, sweetness, sourness, bitterness and umami, Osamu said adding that in terms of aroma, Kikkoman soy sauce has more than 300 aromatic compounds. So, it’s quite complex as well as an interesting part of ‘Honjozo’ soy sauce.”
The speciality of the natural fermentation method is that it maintains a taste that cannot be attained by chemical seasoning.
“The difference between ‘Honjozo’ soy sauce, like the one we prepare and the chemically produced soy sauce can be explained in one word, that is, quality,” Osamu remarked.
“Using fermentation, we can achieve a very complex flavour and aroma of ‘Honjozo’ soy sauce and is the reason why Kikkoman soy sauce tastes good with different kinds of cuisines and dishes,” he said adding that with chemically made soy sauce, it takes only a few days to a week to produce, but the taste is not that great.
“So, we are proud to use the fermentation method and in the future too, we will continue to supply a high-quality soy sauce to the world,” Osamu concluded.
Soy Sauce is majorly used in Japanese traditional cuisine. Kikkoman’s natural fermentation soy sauce makes the food more delicious.

Japan PM, Biden agree to closely cooperate towards free, open Indo-Pacific

Glasgow [Scotland]: Japenese Prime Minister Fumio Kishida and US President Joe Biden on Tuesday agreed to enhance the bilateral alliance and closely cooperate towards a free and open Indo-Pacific amid increasing Chinese activities in the region.
The two held talks on the sidelines of the COP26 Summit. After arriving in the Scottish city of Glasgow earlier Tuesday, Kishida had a brief conversation with Biden, according to the Japanese Foreign Ministry
The two agreed to continue to jointly deal with climate change issues as well as regional issues, apparently mindful of the challenges and threats posed by China and North Korea’s nuclear and missile programs, Kyodo News reported.
Kishida told reporters later in the day he agreed with Biden to meet again at the earliest date possible, which could be later this year, to have more “thorough” discussions.
The Japanese leader already had phone talks with Biden after being elected prime minister by parliament last month, but it was the first time that the two met in person while serving in their current positions.
The Indo-Pacific region is largely viewed as an area comprising the Indian Ocean and the western and central Pacific Ocean, including the South China Sea.
While Beijing claims sovereignty over almost the entire South China Sea and has overlapping territorial claims with Brunei, Malaysia, the Philippines, Vietnam and Taiwan.
China’s territorial claims in the South China Sea and its efforts to advance into the Indian Ocean are seen to have challenged the established rules-based system.

Japan’s ruling LDP expected to keep lower house majority, hint exit polls

Tokyo [Japan]: Japan Prime Minister Fumio Kishida’s Liberal Democratic Party (LDP) and its coalition Komeito is expected to retain a majority in the House of Representatives following Sunday’s general election, Japanese media informed citing exit polls.
LDP and Komeito appear to have won at least 233 of the 465 seats in the powerful lower chamber of parliament, defeating opposition parties, Kyodo News reported. This came as new PM Kishida seeks a public mandate for his COVID-19, economic and security policies.
If so, the LDP would have lost many of the 276 seats it held prior to the election, but Kishida has said he will claim victory if the LDP-Komeito coalition retains a majority.
Polling stations across Japan were closed at 8 pm (local time) and ballots are being counted, with the final outcome hinging on dozens of battleground constituencies where candidates were neck-and-neck, Kyodo News reported.
Meanwhile, Kishida has promised to pump growth in the world’s third-largest economy. His government has also promised to secure more hospital beds to treat COVID-19 patients in preparation for a possible sixth wave of infections.
Voting for Japan’s general election began on Sunday morning.

Russian Navy ships enter Sea of Japan after circling archipelago with Chinese warships

Tokyo [Japan]: Five Russian Navy ships entered the Sea of Japan through Tsushima Strait after sailing around most of the Japanese archipelago with Chinese ships, the Japenese Ministry informed on Monday.
The ministry is analysing the reason behind the latest development. The 10 Russian and Chinese ships are believed to include vessels that took part in a joint drill conducted by the two countries in the Sea of Japan in mid-October, according to the ministry. The Maritime Self-Defense Force spotted five Russian navy ships sailing in a northeasterly direction some 140 kilometres southwest of Tsushima, in Nagasaki Prefecture, at around 10 p.m. on Saturday and they later entered the Sea of Japan, Kyodo News reported.
At around 10 a.m. on Sunday, a helicopter was seen taking off and landing on a frigate, one of the five Russian ships, some 60 km northeast of Tsushima.
Defense Minister Nobuo Kishi expressed concern about the activities of the Russian and Chinese vessels in a meeting at his ministry with U.S. Secretary of the Navy, Carlos Del Toro.
“The security situation surrounding Japan is becoming increasingly severe,” Kishi said, as he also touched on North Korea’s recent test-firing of a submarine-launched ballistic missile.
Forming a flotilla, the 10 navy vessels passed through the Tsugaru Strait, located between the islands of Honshu and Hokkaido on Oct. 18.
After transiting the strait, the warships entered the East China Sea. The patrol was held right after China and Russia wrapped up a joint naval exercise in the Sea of Japan from October 14 to 17, Chinese state media tabloid Global Times reported.
The Russian defence ministry said that the vessels traversed the Sea of Japan as part of the patrol and practised joint tactical manoeuvring. Russia was represented by 10 ships of the Pacific Fleet, while five vessels took part in the patrol from the Chinese side.

Japan: Protesters call for protection of Hindus in Bangladesh

Tokyo [Japan]: Following the series of incidents of communal violence against minorities in Bangladesh, a protest was held in Japan’s capital Tokyo on Sunday, local media reported.
People from India and Bangladesh staged a protest in Tokyo and called for the safety of the Hindu minority in Bangladesh, Kyodo News reported. According to the Japanese publication, around 60 demonstrators gathered near the Bangladeshi Embassy, holding placards with messages including “Stop Communal Attack” and “Justice for Bangladesh Minority” and chanting slogans such as “We want justice.”
In mid-October, communal riots broke out in Bangladesh after a mob vandalised a Hindu temple in Cumilla.
After the incident, more Hindu temples and houses were vandalised, leaving scores of people injured and some dead in the chaos that went on for around a week, Kyodo News reported.
“Similar protests took place in around 150 countries including India, Bangladesh and the United States,” Kyodo News quoted Tokyo-based Rohan Agrawal, an Indian national, as saying, who was at the scene of the demonstration staged by organisations including the International Society for Krishna Consciousness.
“We demand equal rights and an end to such attacks against all the religious minorities in Bangladesh,” said Nandy Khokan Kumar, one of the protesters, who is originally from Bangladesh but currently resides in Japan and runs a trade firm in Tokyo.
Anil Sarkar, a Bangladeshi Hindu, said, “I am scared about my family back home.”

Chinese, Russian naval vessels pass together Osumi Strait for 1st time

Tokyo [Japan]: Chinese and Russian naval vessels have passed together through the Osumi Strait off Japan’s southwestern prefecture of Kagoshima, the Japanese defence ministry said on Saturday.
It is the first time the Japanese ministry has confirmed a flotilla of Chinese and Russian vessels going through the strait, located between the Osumi Peninsula and Tanegashima Island, Kyodo News reported. The Osumi Strait is a strait between Honshu and Hokkaido in northern Japan connecting the Sea of Japan with the Pacific Ocean. With the passage, the flotilla almost made a circle around the Japanese archipelago, prompting the ministry to exercise vigilance against the unusual activity of the two countries.
After transiting the strait, the warships entered the East China Sea, according to the ministry. Meanwhile, the Chinese defence ministry said that Russian and Chinese warships conducted the first joint patrol in the Pacific Ocean.
“The tasks of the joint patrolling were to demonstrate the state flags of Russia and China, maintain peace and stability in the Asia-Pacific region and also protect facilities of both countries’ maritime economic activity. During the patrol, the group of warships passed through the Tsugaru Strait for the first time,” the statement issued by the Russian Defence Ministry said.
The patrol was held right after China and Russia wrapped up a joint naval exercise in the Sea of Japan from October 14 to 17, Chinese state media tabloid Global Times reported.
The Russian defence ministry said that the vessels traversed the Sea of Japan as part of the patrol and practised joint tactical manoeuvring. Russia was represented by 10 ships of the Pacific Fleet, while five vessels took part in the patrol from the Chinese side.

Japan govt approves energy plan, seeks to double ratio of renewables in decade

The Japanese government on Friday approved its latest energy plan, which sets out a road map for achieving carbon neutrality by 2050, local media reported Friday.

Tokyo [Japan] : The renewables accounted for 18 per cent of total power generation capacity across Japan in fiscal 2019 that ended in March last year, and the Japanese government sought to double the ratio to 36 to 38 per cent in fiscal 2030. According to the plan that is updated about every three years, the amount coming from thermal power sources is set to reduce to 41 per cent from 75.7 per cent.
“We will make maximum effort to introduce renewable energy based on a principle of giving it a top priority as the main power source in 2050,” the plan endorsed by the Cabinet said.
Moreover, the amount generated by nuclear power is expected to be 20 to 22 per cent in fiscal 2030, according to the plan. The ratio was 6 per cent in fiscal 2019 as many nuclear plants across Japan remained offline amid stricter safety rules introduced after the 2011 Fukushima nuclear disaster triggered by a massive earthquake and tsunami.
Although the plan pledged to reduce dependency on nuclear power as much as possible, the latest numerical target was almost the same as that compiled in 2018.
The plan also included a goal for hydrogen and ammonia for the first time, aiming to produce 1 per cent of the total power generation.
As for the global warming issue, the Cabinet approved a government plan with a range of measures toward the goal of reducing greenhouse gas emissions by 46 per cent by fiscal 2030 compared with fiscal 2013.

AQ Khan’s death doesn’t stop threat of nuclear proliferation

The death of Dr Abdul Qadeer Khan, the architect of Pakistan’s nuclear programme, has once again brought the debate how an individual or network can provide nuclear technology to rogue states and terrorist groups, seeking nuclear weapons.

Washington [US] : AQ Khan, 85, died last week after his lungs collapsed. Khan, famously known as the father of Pakistan’s nuclear bomb, was lauded as a national hero for making his country the world’s first “Islamic nuclear power”. However, outside his country, he is considered responsible for nuclear proliferation as he smuggled technology to rogue states like North Korea, Iran and Libya.
In an opinion piece for The Hill, Joseph Detrani stated that there is an appropriate concern that other nation-states will try to acquire nuclear weapons capability, usually for deterrence purposes.
“Indeed, if North Korea is permitted to retain its nuclear weapons, South Korea, Japan and others in the region may decide that, despite U.S. nuclear deterrence commitments, they need their own nuclear weapons,” said Detrani, who was the former special envoy for negotiations with North Korea.
According to Detrani, it’s logical to assume that al Qaeda and other terrorist organizations continue to seek nuclear and biological weapons to attack the US, its allies. This concern is more valid due to the return of the Taliban in Afghanistan, who were complicit with the 9/11 attack by permitting al Qaeda to reside in the country and plot against the US.
The writer, who is the former director of the National Counterproliferation Center, further argued that one serial proliferation, such as AQ Khan, can provide the technology and know-how necessary to a few nation-states interested in acquiring nuclear weapons.
“Ensuring that Iran doesn’t acquire a nuclear weapon and that North Korea denuclearises completely and verifiably is necessary if we want to ensure that other countries — especially in East Asia and the Middle East — do not pursue their own nuclear weapons programs.”
Raising concern about nuclear proliferation, Detrani strongly argued that the likelihood that a nuclear weapon or fissile material for a bomb is acquired by a rogue state or terrorist organisation must be of “highest concern” to the US and its allies.

China tests nuclear-capable hypersonic missile: Report

Beijing [China] : China allegedly carried out its first-ever test of a “nuclear capable hypersonic missile” taking by surprise US intelligence, according to a report in a UK-based newspaper.
Citing the UK daily, NHK World reported that China carried out a test on a nuclear-capable hypersonic missile in August. According to the newspaper, the missile flew through low-orbit space before cruising toward its target.
It missed the target but the test is said to show “astounding progress” by China on hypersonic missile technology that “caught US intelligence by surprise”, reported NHK World.
The US and Russia have also been working on hypersonic missiles. Such weapons fly at five times the speed of sound and can manoeuvre during flight, making them harder to track.
Experts say full development of such technology by China would impact the missile defense systems of the US and Japan, reported NHK World.

Japan’s new Prime Minister visits Fukushima Nuclear Plant

Tokyo [Japan] : Japan’s newly elected Prime Minister Fumio Kishida travelled on Sunday to the defunct Fukushima Daiichi nuclear power plant in the country’s quake-and-tsunami-hit northeast.
This is the former foreign minister’s first trip to the crisis area since he was sworn in as Japan’s 100th prime minister in early October. He arrived in the area on Saturday. “The power plant’s complete decommissioning is a must if we want to rebuild the region, so I want to see you building a confidential relationship with the locals as you carry on with the work,” Kishida told the Fukushima operator TEPCO.
The prime minister laid flowers at a shrine honouring victims of the 2011 disaster in the town of Namie, not far from the crippled nuclear plant. The catastrophe killed more than 15,000 people, displaced thousands more and caused a meltdown at the power plant.

Japan pledges to donate more COVID-19 vaccines to Taiwan

Taipei [Taiwan]: The Japanese government on Friday announced to donate more AstraZeneca COVID-19 vaccine doses to Taiwan as a part of Tokyo’s free vaccine aid initiative for the Southeast Asian countries.
During a press briefing, Japanese Minister of Foreign Affairs Motegi Toshimitsu also stated that Japan has given out 25 million doses to other countries and is planning to hand out an additional 4.9 million jabs to Southeast Asian countries, including 2 million doses each to Indonesia and the Philippines, 500,000 doses to Vietnam, and 400,000 doses to Thailand, Taiwan News reported. The foreign minister also said that another batch of AstraZeneca vaccine would be shipped to Taiwan.
Meanwhile, Japan has donated a total of 3.9 million COVID-19 vaccines to Taipei in five separate shipments since June, Taiwan News reported.
Taiwan’s Ministry of Foreign Affairs (MOFA) spokeswoman Joanne Ou also expressed gratitude to Japan for its latest offer, saying the move could help improve the country’s vaccination coverage and would further strengthen ties between Tokyo and Taipei.
This came after Taiwan reached a first-dose vaccination coverage of 60 per cent on Friday.
This support in form of vaccines by Japan comes amid Beijing’s uptick in military activity around Taiwan which lies at the western end of the Japanese archipelago.
Meanwhile, Beijing continues to claim Taiwan as its own territory and has never ruled out the use of force to capture the island.

Uber Cup: India loses to Japan in quarters, bows out of tournament

Aarhus [Denmark]: The Indian women’s badminton team on Thursday bowed out of the ongoing Uber Cup after suffering a defeat against Japan in the quarter-finals.
Malvika Bansod lost her match to world number five Akane Yamaguchi 12-21, 17-21 in the first match of the quarter-final tie. The duo of Tanisha Carsto and Rutaparna Panda then lost their match against yuki Fukushima and Mayu Matsumoto 8-21, 10-21 and this gave Japan a 2-0 lead in the encounter.
Aditi Bharat then lost her match against Sayaka Takahashi and after this, Japan went on to seal the five-match affair.
Earlier in the day, the men’s badminton team suffered a 1-4 defeat against China in their last group-stage match.
The men’s badminton team will now square off against Denmark in the quarterfinals on Friday.

Meeting to dissolve Japan’s House of Representatives begins

Tokyo [Japan] : A meeting to dissolve Japan’s current House of Representatives began on Thursday afternoon, and the lower house will be formally dissolved after the reading out the rescript of dissolution.
The general election will be held on October 31 after the four-year term of lower house members expires on October 21. In Japan’s postwar history, this will be the first time that a general election is scheduled after the term has expired. In addition, the period between the dissolution of the lower house and the voting day will be the shortest.
Fumio Kishida, newly elected Japanese Prime Minister, won the presidential election of the ruling Liberal Democratic Party (LDP) on September 29 and was elected as prime minister on October 4 in parliament controlled by the LDP-led coalition.
Kishida would wish to garner wider public support in the general election for his policies to recover the battered economy from the pandemic and to enhance the COVID-19 response.
In his first policy speech, Kishida has vowed to achieve economic growth for the country with his “new form of capitalism” and redistribute the fruits of that success to build up a stronger middle class. However, he has recently emphasized that Japan needs to first realize economic growth before redistributing wealth.

Ownership of Kuril Islands key to Japan-Russia talks on Peace Treaty: PM Fumio Kishida

The issue of ownership of four disputed islands, known as the Southern Kuril Islands of Iturup, Kunashir, Shikotan, and Habomai, will be at the centre of the Tokyo-Moscow negotiations on a peace accord, Japanese Prime Minister Fumio Kishida said on Wednesday.

Tokyo [Japan], October 13 : “The sovereignty of our country extends to the Northern Territories [Southern Kuril Islands]. The government has not changed its stance on this matter. The subject of negotiations on the conclusion of the peace treaty [with Russia] is the issue of ownership of the four islands. This is Japan’s consistent position,” the prime minister said at a hearing in the upper house of Japan’s parliament, broadcast live. The issue in question can no longer be delayed, and Japan will continue the efforts to resolve it based on previous agreements, including December 2018 deal signed by the countries in Singapore, Kishida noted. In 2018, Japan and Russia agreed to speed up negotiations on the peace treaty on the basis of the Japan-Soviet Joint Declaration of 1956, in which Moscow agreed to consider the possibility of transferring the Habomai and Shikotan islands should a peace treaty be signed.
On Tuesday, Kremlin spokesman Dmitry Peskov expressed disagreement with Kishida’s earlier statements about Japan’s ownership of the disputed islands, saying they belong to Russia.
Tokyo lays claims to the four disputed islands in Russia’s Kuril Island chain, citing the 1855 bilateral treaty on trade and borders. Russia maintains that its sovereignty over the islands, which became part of the Soviet Union after World War II, is undisputed.

Japanese astronaut Wakata to fly to space on Crew Dragon mission in fall 2022

Tokyo [Japan]: Japanese astronaut Koichi Wakata will join the fifth Crew Dragon space mission to fly to the International Space Station (ISS) next year, the Japan Aerospace Exploration Agency (JAXA) said on Tuesday.

“It has been decided that I will be boarding the SpaceX’s fifth Crew Dragon. I have been training for a long-duration mission aboard the ISS and it is an honor to board this new space vehicle for three consecutive years for JAXA Astronauts, succeeding Noguchi Soichi and Hoshide Akihiko,” Wakata was quoted as saying in a statement.
The upcoming mission will also be his fifth space flight, the astronaut added, listing three US Space Shuttle flights in 1996, 2000, 2009, as well as a flight aboard Russia’s Soyuz spacecraft in 2013. The 2022 flight will see Wakata top the list of Japanese astronauts in terms of the number of space journeys.

Along with Wakata, NASA astronauts Nicole Mann and Josh Cassada have so far been assigned to the mission. (ANI/Sputnik)

India, Japan conduct 5th edition of maritime exercise ‘JIMEX’

New Delhi [India]: India and Japan conducted the 5th edition of the Japan-India Maritime Exercise (JIMEX) in the Arabian Sea from October 6 to 8.
Ships and aircraft of the Indian Navy (IN) and Japan Maritime Self Defence Force (JMSDF) participated in the exercise, by engaging in a high tempo of operations focused on air, surface and sub-surface dimensions of maritime operations as well as the air domain. Indigenous Guided Missile Destroyer, INS Kochi (with Sea King MK 42B helicopter) and the Guided Missile Frigate INS Teg (with SAR capable Chetak helicopter) under the command of Rear Admiral Ajay Kochhar, Flag Officer Commanding Western Fleet represented Indian Navy. The Indian Navy also fielded a P8I, a shore-based maritime reconnaissance aircraft and MiG 29K fighters.

The JMSDF, led by RAdm IkeuchiIzuru, Commander, Escort Flotilla Three comprising of the Izumo Class Helicopter Carrier Kaga and the Guided Missile Destroyer Murasame. Both ships are participating with integral SH60K helicopters.
Setting the operational tempo from the start, the units exercised War at Sea scenario with P8I (IN) providing maritime reconnaissance support to both navies. The units practised replenishment at sea approaches and undertook fuel rig connect-up between Kaga and Kochi.
The exercise also involved complex Over the Horizon Targeting exercises and surface gunshots on an expendable target. An advanced coordinated anti-submarine exercise involving an underwater target deployed by JMSDF saw surface units and Indian Navy’s P8I aircraft exercising with seamless coordination. Flag Officers of the two forces also met on the Flight Decks of Kochi and Kaga during flying operations, in keeping with the true spirit of military friendship.
The Air Domain operations included advanced anti-aircraft firing exercises on Expendable Aerial Target launched from the deck of INS Kochi and ship controlled Beyond Visual Range (BVR) combat drills by Indian Navy’s MiG 29K fighters. The exercise involved a high tempo of flying operations with MiG 29K fighters coming in for multiple simulated air strikes on surface units, shepherded by the Indian Navy’s Maritime Patrol Aircraft, Dornier. The inclement weather could do little to hold back IN and JMSDF helicopters from undertaking cross-deck landings, showcasing a high level of interoperability.
The precision, coordination and high level of interoperability reflected not only the high standards of professionalism and preparedness the two navies maintain to counter threats at sea, but also the high level of trust and understanding that they have built over the years. The complex maritime exercises undertaken will enable the two navies to further strengthen their already wide-ranging strategic partnership and, when required, to jointly safeguard their maritime interests and ensure peace, security and stability in the region.

PM Modi hold first phone call with Japan’s new PM Fumio Kishida

New Delhi [India] : Prime Minister Narendra Modi on Friday spoke to Japan’s new prime minister, Fumio Kishida, and said he is looking forward to working with him to further strengthen the Special Strategic and Global Partnership between both countries.
Taking to Twitter, PM Modi said, “Spoke with H.E. Fumio Kishida to congratulate him for assuming charge as the Prime Minister of Japan. I look forward to working with him to further strengthen India-Japan Special Strategic and Global Partnership and to enhance cooperation in the Indo-Pacific region. @kishida230” Earlier, PM Modi stated that the friendship between India and Japan is considered one of the most natural partnerships in the entire region and said Japan is one of the most trusted friends of India.
On Monday, Japanese lawmakers voted to approve Fumio Kishida, as the new prime minister.
This comes after the ruling Liberal Democratic Party (LDP) chose 64-years-old Kishida, as the new leader.
Back in September, incumbent Prime Minister Yoshihide Suga had announced his decision not to run for the head of LDP, which meant his resignation as head of government.
According to reports, Toshimitsu Motegi will be retained as foreign minister while Hirokazu Matsuno will become Chief Cabinet Secretary.
Kishida plans to dissolve the House of Representatives on October 14. According to Japanese media reports, an election of Japan’s lower house will be convened on October 31. The LDP-led coalition controls both chambers of the National Diet of Japan.

China urges Tokyo to manage differences over Taiwan in ‘appropriate manner’

Chinese President Xi Jinping on Friday urged new Japanese Prime Minister Fumio Kishida to manage differences over delicate issues including those related to Taiwan in an appropriate manner.

Tokyo [Japan] October 8 : The remarks came when new Japanese Prime Minister Fumio Kishida and Chinese President Xi Jinping held their first telephonic conversation since the former took office, Kyodo News reported. During their talk Xi told Kishida that Beijing is willing to boost “dialogue and cooperation” with Tokyo.
On Monday, Xi had also sent a congratulatory message to the Japanese PM expressing that the two countries should “strengthen dialogue and communication and enhance mutual trust and cooperation in an effort to build a bilateral relationship that meets the requirements of the new era,” Kyodo News reported citing Chinese media.
Beijing claims full sovereignty over Taiwan, a democracy of almost 24 million people located off the southeastern coast of mainland China, despite the fact that the two sides have been governed separately for more than seven decades.
Taipei, on the other hand, has countered the Chinese aggression by increasing strategic ties with democracies including the US, which has been repeatedly opposed by Beijing. China has threatened that “Taiwan’s independence” means war.
On June 1, Chinese President Xi Jinping pledged to complete reunification with self-ruled Taiwan and vowed to smash any attempts at formal independence for the island.
For a long time, Beijing is being criticised by democratic countries including Japan over human rights abuses in regions including Hong Kong, Tibet and Xinjiang.

India-Japan maritime exercise ‘JIMEX’ to be conducted from October 6

New Delhi [India]: The fifth edition of the India-Japan Maritime Bilateral Exercise (JIMEX) will be conducted in the Arabian Sea from October 6-8.
JIMEX-21 aims to develop a common understanding of operational procedures and enhance inter-operability through the conduct of a multitude of advanced exercises, across the entire spectrum of maritime operations. Multi-faceted tactical exercises involving weapon firings, cross-deck helicopter operations and complex surface, anti-submarine and air warfare drills will consolidate coordination developed by the two navies, the Ministry of Defence informed in a statement. Indigenously built guided missile stealth destroyer ‘Kochi’ and guided-missile frigate ‘Teg’, under the command of Rear Admiral Ajay Kochhar, who is the flag officer commanding the western fleet will represent the Indian Navy.
The Japanese Maritime Self-Defence Force will be represented by JMSDF ships Kaga, an Izumo Class Helicopter Carrier and Murasame, a Guided Missile Destroyer, led by Rear Admiral IkeuchiIzuru, Commander Escort Flotila – 3 (CCF-3). In addition to ships, P8I Long Range Maritime Patrol Aircraft, Dornier Maritime Patrol Aircraft, integral helicopters and MiG 29K fighter aircraft will also participate in the exercise.
Naval cooperation between India and Japan has increased in scope and complexity over years. JIMEX-21 will further enhance the cooperation and mutual confidence between the two navies and fortify the long-standing bond of friendship between the two countries, the Defence Ministry informed.
The exercise will be conducted between the Indian Navy (IN) and the Japan Maritime Self-Defence Force (JMSDF). JIMEX series of exercises were commenced in January 2012 with a special focus on maritime security cooperation. The last edition of JIMEX was conducted in September 2020.

Japan PM Kishida holds first telephonic talks with US President Biden, agree to strengthen alliance

Tokyo [Japan], October 5 (ANI): In his first phone call with a foreign leader since taking office, Japan’s new Prime Minister Fumio Kishida held talks with US President Joe Biden on Tuesday.
During the phone call, they confirmed their intention to strengthen the Japanese-US alliance, Kyodo News reported. In turn, Biden reaffirmed US commitments to defend Japan.

Japanese government resigns, Fumio Kishida to take office as New Prime Minister

Tokyo [Japan]: The Japanese government has resigned and the parliament will vote on the candidacy of the Prime Minister on Monday, the Kyodo news agency reports, adding that former Foreign Minister Fumio Kishida will be elected premier.
At the end of September, Chief Cabinet Secretary Katsunobu Kato announced that the Japanese cabinet had scheduled an extraordinary parliamentary session for October 4 to elect a new prime minister. Incumbent Prime Minister Yoshihide Suga announced in early September his decision not to run for the head of the ruling Liberal Democratic Party (LDP), which means his resignation as head of government as well.
Kyodo reported on Monday morning that Kishida, 64, will be elected premier by parliament when it convenes for an extraordinary session in the afternoon. In the new cabinet, Toshimitsu Motegi is set to be retained as foreign minister while Shunichi Suzuki will be tapped as finance minister and Hirokazu Matsuno as chief Cabinet secretary, Kyodo said.

Japan’s Princess Mako to marry her commoner fiance this month

Japan’s Imperial Household Agency on Friday announced that Princess Mako and her commoner fiance Komuro Kei will get married this month.

Tokyo [Japan], October 1 : The top official in charge of Crown Prince Akishino’s family, Kachi Takaharu, announced the plan at a news conference, reported NHK World. He said the couple will submit the registration of their marriage with a municipality on October 26. The date is considered the luckiest on the Japanese calendar.
The official said the couple will hold a news conference on the day of the registration, reported NHK World.
Princess Mako and Komuro met while attending the International Christian University in Tokyo in 2012.
Princess Mako and Komuro are expected to move to the US to start their new life after the princess leaves the Imperial family and obtains a passport and visa, reported NHK World.
At the news conference, the agency disclosed that no traditional ceremonies for Imperial family members’ weddings will be held.
It also revealed that Princess Mako declined to receive a lump-sum payment to which female Imperial family members are entitled upon marriage, reported NHK World.
The agency indicated that she declined due to criticism of her and the couple’s families.
The agency added that the princess has been diagnosed with complex post-traumatic stress disorder, or PTSD, after being criticized repeatedly for a long time.

US to forge close ties with Japan amid growing aggression from China

Tokyo [Japan]: Amid the growing aggression from China, US President Joe Biden is expected to form close ties with presumed next Japanese Prime Minister Fumio Kishida.
This came following Kishida’s victory in the ruling Liberal Democratic Party’s Presidential elections after Prime Minister Yoshihide Suga decided to pull out of the party’s presidential election, Kyodo News reported. Experts believe that the Biden administration will also likely be closely watching whether Kishida can solidify his grip on power and avoid Japan returning to an era of so-called revolving-door leadership.
Michael Green who is a Senior Vice President at a Washington think tank said that Japan is in every area of competition with China that the US cares about, from technology and defence to democracy and diplomacy.
He also said that Biden is certain to embrace the next Japanese prime minister ‘very quickly’ because his administration needs ‘strong Japanese leadership’.
“There is a measure of, if not desperation, about the US-Japan alliance because of the way China under (President) Xi Jinping has become so aggressive, so ambitious, and so coercive. So there’s an urgency to this alliance,” Green was quoted as saying by Kyodo News.
Earlier this month, Chinese President Xi Jinping held a telephone call with his American counterpart and expressed that US policy has resulted in ‘serious difficulties in bilateral relations and runs counter to fundamental interests of the people in both countries and the common interests of all countries as well, state media reported.

Kishida Fumio wins LDP presidential election, to become Japan’s next PM

In a runoff between Kono Taro and Fumio to lead Japan’s main ruling Liberal Democratic Party (LDP), Fumio was declared the winner and is assured to become Prime Minister next week.

In a runoff between Kono Taro and Fumio to lead Japan’s main ruling Liberal Democratic Party (LDP), Fumio was declared the winner and is assured to become Prime Minister next week.

Tokyo [Japan], September 29 : “Kishida Fumio has been elected leader of Japan’s main ruling Liberal Democratic Party. He is virtually assured to become Prime Minister next week,” reported NHK World. Kishida has also served as Japanese Foreign Minister.
Four candidates, namely Taro Kono, Kishida Fumio, Sanae Takaichi and Seiko Noda, entered the race for the presidential election of LDP.
As the LDP-led coalition constitutes a majority in both chambers of the parliament in Japan, the new party president is almost certain to be elected prime minister in the extraordinary diet session scheduled to be held on October 4, succeeding the incumbent Yoshihide Suga.

‘Hridayam’ Makers To Collaborate With Cassette Manufacturers In Japan

Vineeth Sreenivasan’s directorial ‘Hridayam’ is one of the most anticipated upcoming films in Malayalam. The film features Pranav Mohanlal, Kalyani Priyadarshan, and Darshana Rajendran in lead roles. The makers of the film had earlier announced that they would be bringing back audio cassette tapes through the film and Vineeth Sreenivasan has now shared via social media, that their music partner will be collaborating with a cassette manufacturer in Japan and import the physical copies as, India no longer produces it.

The director also revealed that they are planning to release some limited edition vinyl records as well!

“Today we had a listening session with our co-dreamers from @thinkmusicofficial . We all sat down in a dark room and reviewed all the mastered tracks. Tomorrow we will hand over the final master to the record label. Since audio cassette manufacturing has become obsolete in our country, thinkmusic has decided to partner with a cassette manufacturer in Japan and import the physical copies from there. Thinkmusic is also planning to release limited edition Vinyl Records of Hridayam which will have more than 20 tracks including the OSTs. This will be after the release of the film” Vineeth Sreenivasan said in the note.

He had earlier confirmed that the film will be releasing only on the big screens and he has now emphasized it once again. “Once the theatres open in Kerala, we will let you guys know about the date of our audio launch. So many of you guys have been tremendously appreciative of what we are trying to do. In these testing times, that’s our fuel. Thank you for giving us the confidence to dream higher and higher. This comes from my heart. ❤️❤️,” he added.

Check out the post:

Meanwhile, ‘Hridayam’ is touted to be a romantic drama.

Japan to end COVID-19 emergency measures nationwide this week, says PM Suga

Tokyo [Japan]: The Japanese government will end this week the COVID-19 state of emergency in Tokyo and 18 prefectures as well as the quasi-state of emergency in other areas, as the number of infections declined steadily, Prime Minister Yoshihide Suga said on Tuesday.
Japan’s coronavirus advisory panel has approved a government plan to end the state of emergency and quasi-measures on Thursday as scheduled. It would be the first time since April 4 that none of Japan’s 47 prefectures is under either a state of emergency or a quasi-state of emergency.
“The number of new COVID-19 cases and patients with severe symptoms have dramatically declined,” Suga said at a committee meeting at the House of Representatives.
He said, “We will enhance social response to the spread of infections through vaccinations and health care system enhancement among other steps and work on balancing antivirus measures and restoring normal lives.”
As Suga said on Monday, all the society must continue to be highly cautious and need to ease restrictions gradually, including for dining, and the government would relax restrictions in stages with local governors having responsibilities to make decisions during the lifting process.
“Serving alcohol will be made possible, but governors will decide on that appropriately,” Yasutoshi Nishimura, minister in charge of Japan’s COVID-19 response, said at the experts’ panel meeting.
Under the state of emergency, establishments serving alcohol or offering karaoke services are asked to suspend their business, and those not serving liquor are requested to close at 8:00 p.m. local time.
The central government would continue to ask foods establishments to close by 8 p.m. and those taking sufficient anti-COVID-19 measures by 9 p.m. for one more month, but no restrictions on serving alcohol.
Establishments that continue to comply with such requests would receive financial support from the government, Nishimura said, adding that such shortening of opening hours would be eased gradually.
He also said that the maximum number of spectators allowed for major sporting events would be raised to 10,000 or half of the venue’s capacity from the current 5,000 once the emergency statuses end.
However, as winter approaches, Japan still has the risk of another wave of infections. Nishimura said at the panel meeting if the number of infections rebounded again, the government would take necessary measures including implementing a quasi-state of emergency.
Due to a resurgence of COVID-19 infections, a state of emergency was declared for Tokyo on July 12, covering the full period of Olympics and Paralympics and consequently leading to few or no spectators at the games’ venues.
In August, with the spread of the highly contagious Delta variant, the nationwide daily infections peaked at about 25,000, and many other areas introduced the emergency measure.
Suga, who announced his intent to resign earlier this month, said at a Liberal Democratic Party gathering in the morning, “Thanks to the cooperation of many people, I can lift the state of emergency during my tenure.”
His successor is set to be elected on Wednesday.

Japan to end COVID-19 emergency measures nationwide this week : Suga

The Japanese government will end this week the COVID-19 state of emergency in Tokyo and 18 prefectures as well as the quasi-state of emergency in other areas, as the number of infections declined steadily, Prime Minister Yoshihide Suga said on Tuesday.

Tokyo [Japan], September 28 : Japan’s coronavirus advisory panel has approved a government plan to end the state of emergency and quasi-measures on Thursday as scheduled. It would be the first time since April 4 that none of Japan’s 47 prefectures is under either a state of emergency or a quasi-state of emergency.
“The number of new COVID-19 cases and patients with severe symptoms have dramatically declined,” Suga said at a committee meeting at the House of Representatives.
He said, “We will enhance social response to the spread of infections through vaccinations and health care system enhancement among other steps and work on balancing antivirus measures and restoring normal lives.”
As Suga said on Monday, all the society must continue to be highly cautious and need to ease restrictions gradually, including for dining, and the government would relax restrictions in stages with local governors having responsibilities to make decisions during the lifting process.
“Serving alcohol will be made possible, but governors will decide on that appropriately,” Yasutoshi Nishimura, minister in charge of Japan’s COVID-19 response, said at the experts’ panel meeting.
Under the state of emergency, establishments serving alcohol or offering karaoke services are asked to suspend their business, and those not serving liquor are requested to close at 8:00 p.m. local time.
The central government would continue to ask foods establishments to close by 8 p.m. and those taking sufficient anti-COVID-19 measures by 9 p.m. for one more month, but no restrictions on serving alcohol.
Establishments that continue to comply with such requests would receive financial support from the government, Nishimura said, adding that such shortening of opening hours would be eased gradually.
He also said that the maximum number of spectators allowed for major sporting events would be raised to 10,000 or half of the venue’s capacity from the current 5,000 once the emergency statuses end.
However, as winter approaches, Japan still has the risk of another wave of infections. Nishimura said at the panel meeting if the number of infections rebounded again, the government would take necessary measures including implementing a quasi-state of emergency.
Due to a resurgence of COVID-19 infections, a state of emergency was declared for Tokyo on July 12, covering the full period of Olympics and Paralympics and consequently leading to few or no spectators at the games’ venues.
In August, with the spread of the highly contagious Delta variant, the nationwide daily infections peaked at about 25,000, and many other areas introduced the emergency measure.
Suga, who announced his intent to resign earlier this month, said at a Liberal Democratic Party gathering in the morning, “Thanks to the cooperation of many people, I can lift the state of emergency during my tenure.”
His successor is set to be elected on Wednesday.

Once it reopens for foreign tourists, India to tap markets of Europe, America, Australia, Japan, Korea

New Delhi [India]: As Covid cases show continuous downtrend, India is all set to open the country for foreign tourists after a gap of 1.5 years, ANI has learnt. Officials of the Tourism Ministry and Home Affairs had met on this matter and it is likely that tourist visa will be restored soon.
The Ministry of Finance has announced already to give free tourist visas to the first 5 lakh tourists who will be visiting India subsequent to the restoration of the tourist visa. India is expecting slow arrival of tourists keeping in view post Covid scenario. According to an internal assessment done by the Ministry of Tourism it is likely that till March next year the country would be able to get 5 lakh tourists if all goes well.
To get the tourism industry back on track and fill coffers with foreign exchange, India is expected to offer gratis visas to major source markets first. India is also expecting stiff competition from neighbouring countries.
In order to utilise the optimum benefits of giving gratis tourist visas to the first 5 lakh tourists, it is expected India will keep the focus on major source markets of Europe, America, Australia and countries like Japan and Korea, which yield high returns in the form of foreign exchange earnings.
Inter-governmental discussion between Tourism, Finance and Home Affairs on finalising modalities has been going on and it is most likely that decision will be taken keeping in mind the major foreign exchange earning markets while extending the benefits of gratis visa to first 5 lakh tourists and extending the benefits of the scheme beyond March 31, 2021.
More than 10.93 million tourists arrived in India in the pre-Covid year of 2019.

Strong India-Japan friendship augurs well for entire planet: PM Modi after meeting Yoshihide Suga

Washington [US]: Terming Japan as one of India’s most valued partners, Prime Minister Narendra Modi on Thursday said that he had an excellent meeting with his Japanese counterpart Yoshihide Suga on a variety of subjects that would further boost cooperation between the two nations.
PM Modi, who is on a three-day visit to the US, said a strong India-Japan friendship augurs well for the entire planet. “Japan is one of India’s most valued partners. I had an excellent meeting with PM Yoshihide Suga on a variety of subjects that would further boost cooperation between our nations. A strong India-Japan friendship augurs well for the entire planet,” PM Modi tweeted.
PM Modi and his Japanese counterpart Yoshihide Suga had a “fruitful” meeting in Washington wherein they discussed several issues including ways to give further impetus to trade and cultural ties.
“Furthering friendship with Japan. Prime Ministers @narendramodi and @sugawitter had a fruitful meeting in Washington DC. Both leaders held discussions on several issues including ways to give further impetus to trade and cultural ties,” the Prime Minister’s Office (PMO) tweeted.
This was also PM Modi’s first in-person meeting with Suga after the latter took over the reins from Shinzo Abe in September last year.
The bilateral meeting comes a day ahead of the first in-person summit of the Quad, quadrilateral cooperation between Australia, India, Japan, and the United States.
In April this year, PM Modi held a telephonic conversation with Suga and discussed cooperation in diverse areas including high technology, skill development and combating the COVID-19 pandemic together.
Besides PM Modi, Japanese PM Suga and Scott Morrison of Australia Prime Minister will also participate in the summit hosted by the US President on September 24.
The leaders will review progress made since their first virtual summit on March 12, 2021, and discuss regional issues of shared interests, the Ministry of External Affairs (MEA) had said in a statement on September 14.

India beat Saudi Arabia for third straight win at Asian Volleyball C’ship

Funabashi Arena [Japan]: The Indian men’s volleyball team defeated Saudi Arabia in straight sets in the Asian Volleyball Championship 2021 at the Funabashi Arena, Japan, on Saturday.


Saudi Arabia put up a strong show, but the Indians ended as the better side, with a 3-0 (25-22, 25-22, 25-23) win in the ninth to 12th place semi-finals, as per olympics.com India was in good form going into the match, having picked up back-to-back victories against Kuwait and Uzbekistan in the classification round — played to decide the teams’ standings between the ninth and 16th positions.


Earlier, India had finished last in the group stage, following losses to Bahrain, Qatar and nine-time champions Japan, which closed their door to the quarter-finals. Only the top two teams of the group — Japan and Qatar — made it to the last eight.


Against Saudi Arabia, Charles Jerome Vinith and Rai Ashwal were the standout performers for India. Both ended with 15 points each.


On the other hand, Saudi Arabia captain Azouz Asaad, with 20 points, was the top scorer for the gulf nation.


Following the win, India moved up to 71 in the International Volleyball Federation (FIVB) men’s rankings.
The Indian volleyball team will now fight Bahrain for ninth place on Sunday. The previous contest between the two, during the group stage, ended 3-0 in Bahrain’s favour (27-25, 25-21, 25-21).

‘Chikurin no Michi’, a bamboo forest in Japan’s Kyoto attracts visitors

A bamboo forest called ‘Chikurin no Michi’ in Arashiyama district of Kyoto is one of the most iconic sceneries in Japan. It attracts thousands of tourists every year.

Kyoto [Japan], September 17 : Pictures of this bamboo forest are certain to be found on any website or tourist pamphlet for Kyoto because the beauty of this place captures the heart of tourists. Many tourists donned in traditional Japanese outfit visits this place to get a unique experience. “No other place can represent this side of Kyoto. The city does not allow high buildings but here bamboo is very high, it is really very beautiful place,” said one of the visitors.
The forest of giant bamboo extends more than a kilometre. The fence on the site is also made of bamboo. Many of the bamboo here reach up to 25 meters and with a diameter up to 25 centimeters.
Slender trunk has foliage at the very top which causes the bamboo to clack into each other with the slightest breeze. It makes a special calming sound.
“I found this place on the internet with many photos and videos, so I decided to visit and when I came here it made my heart feel happy,” said another visitor from Malaysia.
Visitors can hire rickshaw called ‘Jinrikisha’ in Japanese to enjoy guided tours through the narrow path in the bamboo forest.
And in the middle of the forest, there is Nonomiya Shrine, a small, beautiful Shinto shrine where Imperial Princesses used to spend time praying in old time.
“After Coronavirus finishes, I hope many people come to visit the bamboo forest because it is a special place in Kyoto and they can experience the beauty of Japan,” said a resident from Kyoto.
There are many different entrances into the bamboo forest including from nearby Tenryuji Temple. Also, the sign pointing to the forest can be seen along the main road of the tourist area of Arashiyama.
The forest is open 24 hours a day and there is no entry fee. It takes only 15 minutes train ride from Kyoto station, so no one should miss visiting this magical place.

Volcanic rock in Japan attracts many tourists

Tokyo [Japan], September 17 : Japan is a leading country with strong environment protection policy.
The Government promises zero carbon emission by 2050. To achieve this, many companies and sectors are encouraged to step up their effort to use environmentally friendly materials including construction. One of such promising materials is a volcanic rock that is found in abundance in Japan. And the country is volcanically active land. Even its natural symbol, Mount Fuji, is actually a volcano.
This company in Tokyo is promoting the use of volcanic rock to cover surface of building walls, bridges and roadside.
The idea aimed at the beginning to make cosmetic effect to make building blending more in the surrounding natural scenery, but later moss and plant were growing out of the porous surface of the volcanic rock.
This unexpected development revealed the potentiality of volcanic rock for fostering vegetation.
“I was born nearby beautiful mount Fuji with many volcanic rocks around and I noticed that plant grow more on them in the garden, so I understood that this is because the rock have small hole which make good place for vegetation and plant growth, so I had the idea of using such volcanic rock as an environment-friendly building material in different shapes,” said an official from Volcanic Rock Company.
Natural volcanic rock can be used in different size and shape, even cut into thin board of concrete with embedded volcanic rock that can be attached to the exterior of already existing surface.
Another material, which does not contain concrete, is super-thin, ultra-lightweight material which can be cut to any size and attached even to curved surface of different shape.
“Regarding the emission of CO2, The process of making concrete generates lot of CO2 emission, but in the case of natural material like volcanic rock the process does not include production of material because we use naturally available rock so the CO2 emission is very little,” said an official from Volcanic Rock Company.
The environment-friendly feature of volcanic rock makes it suitable to reviving the ecosystem of the urban areas when used as a construction material.

Japan forces detect suspected Chinese submarine near Amami

Tokyo [Japan], September 12 : Japan’s forces on Friday detected a foreign submarine navigating in the contiguous zone, just outside the country’s territorial waters east of Amami-Oshima Island in Kagoshima Prefecture, a media report said.
The submarine was underwater and heading northwest. Japan’s Maritime Self-Defense Force’s (SDF) destroyer and patrol aircraft followed the submarine and by Sunday morning, it had left the contiguous zone without entering Japan’s territorial waters. Later, the submarine was navigating west in the East China Sea, Japan’s NHK World reported on Sunday. Officials believe that the submarine belonged to the Chinese Navy as Beijing’s destroyer was navigating near it.
In June last year, a submarine that was believed to be Chinese was navigating near the same island. After that incident, it was the first time that Japanese forces detected a foreign submarine in the contiguous zone, according to NHK World.
Under international law, submarines have to ascend and display their national flags, while navigating within the territorial waters of another country. But there’s no such rule for contiguous zones. Japanese officials have said that they are analysing the objective of submarines navigation.

Toshiba to shift 30-year old production unit out of China amid ‘reducing profits’

Amid Japan’s ongoing tussle with Beijing, tech giant Toshiba will shift its 30-year old production unit from the Dalian city of China to Vietnam or Japan.

Beijing [China] September 12 : The plant is Toshiba’s first-ever production unit in China that employs roughly 650 people, makes industrial motors and broadcast transmitters. But the production unit found itself on the chopping block due to a steep drop in production and decided to shutter it down by the end of this month, Nikkei Asia reported. The operators informed that they will initiate the liquidation process of this production unit as soon as October and the capacity will be shifted to Vietnam and Japan.
The move came amid the ongoing tussle between Beijing and Tokyo over China’s growing clout in both the South China Sea and the East China Sea over the past few months, partly in response to Beijing’s concerns over the increasing US military presence in the region because of escalating Sino-US tensions.
Meanwhile, Beijing also claims sovereignty over almost the entire South China Sea and has overlapping territorial claims with Brunei, Malaysia, the Philippines, Vietnam and Taiwan.
Earlier, the Chinese Communist Party (CCP) had also aired a video in which it threatened Tokyo with a nuclear response and “full-scale war” if it interfered in China’s handling of Taiwan.

Japan’s administrative reform Minister Taro Kono ‘most popular pick’ to lead govt after PM Suga

Tokyo [Japan] September 6 : After Prime Minister Yoshihide Suga announced his intention to resign, Japan’s Administrative Reform Minister Taro Kono is the most popular pick to succeed the country’s top rank, Kyodo News reported citing a News poll released.
The results came after a nationwide telephone survey was conducted with 1,071 randomly selected eligible voters in the country. “Kono gained 31.9 per cent of support from respondents in the nationwide telephone survey conducted with 1,071 randomly selected eligible voters on Saturday and Sunday, ahead of former Defence Minister Shigeru Ishiba with 26.6 per cent and former Foreign Minister Fumio Kishida with 18.8 per cent,” the News polls informed.
Kono, who is also known as an outspoken lawmaker adept at social media is in charge of COVID-19 vaccinations in the country.
Japan’s ruling party leaders have geared up to become the successor of Prime Minister Yoshihide Suga after the latter’s abrupt decision to pull out of his party’s presidential election at the end of September, a media report said on Saturday.
On Friday, Suga said that he won’t run in the upcoming Liberal Democratic Party’s (LDP) next election saying that he wants to focus on curbing the coronavirus spread, reported Japan’s NHK World.
Suga’s decision meant that he will soon step down as prime minister as his Liberal Democratic Party’s president’s term at the end of September.

Japan’s administrative reform Minister Taro Kono ‘most popular pick’ to lead govt after PM Suga

Tokyo [Japan]: After Prime Minister Yoshihide Suga announced his intention to resign, Japan’s Administrative Reform Minister Taro Kono is the most popular pick to succeed the country’s top rank, Kyodo News reported citing a News poll released.
The results came after a nationwide telephone survey was conducted with 1,071 randomly selected eligible voters in the country. “Kono gained 31.9 per cent of support from respondents in the nationwide telephone survey conducted with 1,071 randomly selected eligible voters on Saturday and Sunday, ahead of former Defence Minister Shigeru Ishiba with 26.6 per cent and former Foreign Minister Fumio Kishida with 18.8 per cent,” the News polls informed.
Kono, who is also known as an outspoken lawmaker adept at social media is in charge of COVID-19 vaccinations in the country.
Japan’s ruling party leaders have geared up to become the successor of Prime Minister Yoshihide Suga after the latter’s abrupt decision to pull out of his party’s presidential election at the end of September, a media report said on Saturday.
On Friday, Suga said that he won’t run in the upcoming Liberal Democratic Party’s (LDP) next election saying that he wants to focus on curbing the coronavirus spread, reported Japan’s NHK World.
Suga’s decision meant that he will soon step down as prime minister as his Liberal Democratic Party’s president’s term at the end of September.

Tokyo Paralympics: Shuttler Pramod Bhagat beats Japan’s Daisuke, enters final

Tokyo [Japan]: Indian shuttler Pramod Bhagat on Saturday entered the final after defeating Daisuke Fujihara of Japan 21-11, 21-16 in the men’s singles SL3 semi-final of the Tokyo Paralympics.
Bhagat, the world number one, dominated the proceedings and won the match in straight sets to reach the final. Daisuke had taken a two-point lead but it was for a short period of time as Bhagat came back to seal the first Game 21-11.
In the second Game, Bhagat again dominated the proceedings and took an early lead in the essay.
Bhagat then took a three-point lead as the scores reached 7-4 with the Japanese shuttler giving a tough fight to the Indian athlete. He then completed the win in the second game in just 21 minutes.
On Friday, Indian duo Pramod Bhagat and Palak Kohli defeated N Saensupa and Siripong Teamarrom 2-0 in mixed doubles SL3 SU5 Group match to move to the semi-finals.

Black particles found in Moderna vaccine; batch put on hold in Japan

Last month, Japan had suspended use of about 1.63 million doses of Moderna vaccine after contamination was found in unused vials.

A batch of Moderna’s COVID-19 vaccine has been put on hold in Japan after some black particles were seen in one vial of the vaccine. The particles were noticed by a pharmacist in one vial of the vaccine in Kanagawa Prefecture. Authorities said the pharmacist was checking the vaccine before use. Media reports have said the rest of the batch has now been put on hold, however, some 3,790 people had already received shots from the batch. 

Last month, Japan had suspended the use of about 1.63 million doses of Moderna vaccine after contamination was found in unused vials, raising concern of a supply shortage as the country tries to accelerate vaccinations amid a COVID-19 surge.

The health ministry said the contamination was reported from multiple vaccination sites. Some doses might have been administered, but no adverse health effects have been reported so far, officials said.

Takeda Pharmaceutical Co., a Japanese drugmaker in charge of sales and distribution of the vaccine in Japan, said it decided to suspend the use of doses manufactured in the same production line as a safety precaution.

It asked Moderna to conduct an emergency investigation and told medical institutions and organizers to stop using the vaccine produced in Spain and shared the production numbers that may be affected.

Japan to continue evacuation from Kabul undeterred by blasts

Tokyo, Aug 27: Japan will continue to evacuate its citizens and diplomatic staff from Kabul despite the deadly blasts that rocked the airport, claiming many lives, Chief Cabinet Secretary Katsunobu Kato said on Friday.

On Thursday, the Afghan capital was hit by a series of terrorist attacks that claimed the lives of at least 60 people and injured over 1,300 others, according to the Afghan health ministry. The Islamic State-Khorasan terrorist group (banned in Russia) reportedly claimed responsibility for the attacks.

Commenting on the attacks, the official said that Tokyo vigorously condemned them and offered condolences to the families of the victims. No Japanese citizens were injured in the attacks, he added.

Home chef service trend grooming in Japan

Tokyo [Japan] : Restaurants in Japan are facing difficulties due to the COVID-19 pandemic. Emerging as a solution to this, the idea of “In Home Chef” is becoming popular.


Under this idea, professional chefs cook at home and people enjoy restaurant-quality meals. But unlike food delivery services, customers can discuss their requirements with the chef when he visits them. “Cooking is sometimes smooth and sometimes not, because situation depends on the available tools in family kitchen and ingredients. Also, when there are limitations of materials it is a challenge to create the menu,” said an In Home Chef.


Working parents are also finding In Home Chef service very helpful.
It is easy to order using online subscription service in which the chef prepares meals for three to four nights for a fee of about 70 dollars per visit, not including food costs.


“The food that chef prepares for us at home is very helpful and it is delicious so all the family feel happy. And during the time when the chef is cooking I can go to hair salon or play with my kids making toys or spend other time with my family,” said a customer who opted the In Home Chef service.
After preparing the meal chef explains each dish.


This way it is possible to accommodate each household’s various requirements, such as making special prepared meal for people receiving nursing care with special dietary restriction.


“Before, I used to work in the hotel or restaurant so customers came because they knew me or wanted to taste my cooking, but now it is challenging as I have to prepare different menus for each family according to their taste. So, the situation is different also the kitchen is different,” said another In Home Chef.
Due to coronavirus situation in the country, restaurants in some areas in Japan are asked to shorten their business hours, so more chefs are accepting the idea of taking their professional skill to customer’s home.
In this way they can keep their business going on and make more people familiar with their delicious food.

Japan not considering to recognise Taliban as Afghanistan’s legitimate govt: Senior official

Tokyo [Japan] August 20 : Japan’s Chief Cabinet Secretary Katsunobu Kato on Friday said that the country is not considering to recognise the Taliban as the legitimate government in Afghanistan.
Katsunobu Kato, during a press briefing, said that Japan will make the necessary decision based on national interests and in cooperation with other countries involved, including the US, Sputnik reported. “The situation now is too uncertain, so that any forecasts would be untimely,” he said during a press briefing.
Earlier, Japan has evacuated staff and nationals from its embassy in Kabul after the Taliban took control over the national capital.
Meanwhile, over 60 countries including the US, United Kingdom, Japan, Germany and Canada on Sunday (local time) urged “all parties” to safeguard the departure of foreign nationals and Afghans who wish to leave the war-torn country, and said that roads, airports and border crossing must remain open.
Afghanistan government collapsed earlier on Sunday with President Ashraf Ghani leaving the country and the Taliban’s entry into the capital, the New York Times reported.
Earlier, the Taliban have assumed control of the Afghan capital of Kabul and have taken control of the presidential palace.
As the Taliban claimed control over the Afghan capital, several countries evacuated diplomatic personnel from the country, and crowds of people flocked to the Kabul airport in an attempt to leave Afghanistan.

Taiwan, Japan to hold first-ever security talks as China escalates border disputes

Tokyo [Japan]: Japanese and Taiwanese officials are set to hold first-ever security talks to address the military and “gray-zone” coercion tactics that China imposes on both nations, a media report said on Thursday.
Japan’s Liberal Democratic Party (LDP) is planning to hold talks with its Taiwanese counterpart, the Democratic Progressive Party (DPP), in the first-ever ruling party version of its “two-plus-two” security dialogue normally held between governments, Taiwan News reported. The talks are aimed at strengthening bilateral relations and addressing the security issues of both nations.
The talks will be held online as soon as this month. The discussion will reportedly cover “ways to promote exchanges between Japan and Taiwan, in addition to security issues,” Taiwan News added.
In an attempt to examine bilateral relations between Tokyo and Taipei, Japan’s Liberal Democratic Party established a project team under its Foreign Affairs Division.
Japan and Taiwan both have maritime border disputes with China and have been victims of Beijing’s aggressive expansionist approach.

Japan orders evacuation of over 1.2 million people over heavy rainfall

Tokyo [Japan]: Japan has ordered the evacuation of 1.23 million people in four southwestern provinces over the heavy rainfall, media reported on Saturday.
The evacuation was ordered for residents of the prefectures of Fukuoka, Saga, Nagasaki and Hiroshima, the NHK broadcaster reported, citing the data of regional authorities. The southwestern regions of Japan have been hit by heavy rains for several days, which raises the risk of floods. A landslide has already left one person dead and two more injured.
The weather will remain rainy in southwestern Japan on Sunday.

US President Biden congratulates Japan PM for successfully hosting Tokyo Olympics

Washington [US]: US President Joe Biden on Monday (local time) congratulated Japan Prime Minister Yoshihide Suga for the “successful” hosting of the summer Olympic Games in Tokyo.
According to a White House statement, Biden applauded the performance of all the athletes and highlighted the success of Japanese and US Olympians. He also affirmed his continuing support for Japan’s hosting of the Paralympics, while noting the public health measures taken so that Olympic athletes could compete in the best traditions of the Olympic spirit, the statement said.
This year the Games were held with COVID-19 induced restrictions and all sports were played behind closed doors.
About 11,000 athletes from over 200 countries competed in Tokyo Olympics. The United States recorded its best-ever haul at the Olympics with 113 medals (39 gold, 41 silver, and 33 bronze).
The Olympic Games came to end after a stunning closing ceremony at the Tokyo Olympic Stadium on Sunday.

Tokyo Games: We fulfilled responsibility as Olympics host, says Japan PM

Nagasaki [Japan]: Japan Prime Minister Yoshihide Suga on Monday said the country has fulfilled its “responsibility” as host nation of the Tokyo Games.

The Japanese Prime Minister also thanked the citizens and expressed his “sincere appreciation” for the people of the country.
“Although the Olympics were postponed for a year and held under various restrictions, I believe we were able to fulfill our responsibility as host country,” Kyodo News quoted Suga as saying.

“I would like to express my sincere appreciation to the Japanese people for their understanding and cooperation,” he added.

Suga was presented with the Olympic Order in Gold by International Olympic Committee (IOC) President Thomas Bach ahead of the Olympic Games Tokyo 2020 closing ceremony on Sunday.

This year the Games were held with COVID-19 induced restrictions and all sports were played behind closed doors. (ANI)

Japan orders evacuation of 3,00,000 people over Lupit typhoon

Tokyo [Japan]: Japan has ordered the evacuation of some 3,00,200 people from the prefectures of Hiroshima, Shimane and Ehime over the Lupit typhoon, media reported on Monday.
Japanese airline cancelled 63 flights in the southwestern part of the country over the typhoon, the NHK broadcaster reported. The Lupit’s central atmospheric pressure is 985 hectopascals, with winds reaching 23 meters per second (51 miles per hour) and maximum gusts of up to 35 meters per second. The experts warn of stronger winds and higher waves.
Typhoon Lupit was reported to have lashed the coastal provinces of China on Thursday, causing heavy downpours in other regions.

Tokyo registers over 4,000 COVID-19 cases

Tokyo [Japan] : The Japanese capital currently hosting the last Olympic day has lodged over 4,000 COVID-19 cases over the past 24 hours — a new single-day record for Sunday when fewer tests are usually done than on other days, the city administration said.


The daily increment in Tokyo is topping 4,000 for the fifth straight day, with a record 5,042 COVID-19 cases confirmed on Thursday. Tokyo registered a total of 4,066 new infections on Sunday, the administration said, adding that one more COVID-19 patient has died over the given period. Another 151 people are in serious condition.


Japa has been witnessing a sharp rise in the number of infections per day against the backdrop of the Tokyo Olympic Games. On Saturday, the country set a new record of 15,753 daily COVID-19 infections.

Nepal receives first batch of AstraZeneca vaccine from Japan

Kathmandu [Nepal]: Nepal received the first batch of AstraZeneca COVID-19 vaccine from Japan on Saturday, local media reports said.


Japan’s envoy to Kathmandu Kikuta Yutaka handed over 05,13,420 vaccines to Nepal’s Minister of Health and Population Umesh Shrestha at the country’s Tribhuvan International Airport. On Sunday evening, the vaccine’s second batch will arrive in Kathmandu. The remaining half doses will be brought to the country soon
Through the vaccine sharing scheme COVAX, Japan had promised to provide nearly 1.6 million doses of coronavirus vaccine to Kathmandu.


“Nepal appreciates Japan for their generous provision of life-saving vaccine to Nepal through COVAX. These Japanese-made AstraZeneca COVID vaccines will be administered to the senior citizens who are waiting for second shots of vaccines of this group,” the country’s foreign affairs ministry said.


On Saturday, the country reported 2,231 new infections in the last 24 hours with the total number of cases reached to 7,12,740. Nepal has vaccinated nearly 68,02,415 people so far across the country.

Typhoon expected to approach Tokyo on the last day of Olympics

Tokyo [Japan], August 7 : A typhoon is expected to approach Tokyo and its neighboring areas from the Pacific on Sunday, the final day of the Tokyo Olympics, reported Kyodo News.
Typhoon Mirinae was moving over the sea south of the Japanese archipelago at 30 kilometers per hour as of noon, the Japan Meteorological Agency said on Saturday as it warned of strong winds and high waves. The closing ceremony is scheduled to take place on Sunday at 8:00 p.m. local time in Japan. The final day will also feature competitions including track and field, volleyball, water polo, boxing, handball, and basketball.
After 19 days of competition, where emotions of sport have triumphed, the official handover between Tokyo 2020 and Paris 2024 will be one of the highlights of the Closing Ceremony at the Tokyo Olympic Stadium. The Governor of Tokyo, Yuriko Koike, will hand the Olympic flag to the Mayor of Paris, Anne Hidalgo.
Speaking about this, Hidalgo said: “It is with great emotion that I will bring home the flag from Tokyo in the company of the victorious French athletes and the Olympic values of openness, excellence, effort, and fair play. The prospect of gathering in 2024 for Games that are respectful of invited nations and which carry the ambition of a more sustainable city will motivate all our efforts.”

Hiroshima calls for abandoning of nuclear deterrence on bombing anniversary

26Hiroshima [Japan], August 6 : : On the 76th anniversary of the nuclear bombing of the Japanese city of Hiroshima, the city has called to abandon the atomic deterrence.
The city organized a small-scale remembrance ceremony again this year. At 8:15 am, a moment of silence was observed at the peace memorial park. It’s the same time when the city was bombed on August 6 in 1945.
In his speech, Japanese Prime Minister Yoshihide Suga stressed the need to “persevere with realistic initiatives” toward nuclear disarmament amid a severe security environment and widening differences between nations’ positions on the issue, Japan-based Kyodo News reported on Friday.
The city’s Mayor Kazumi Matsui has urged the countries to shift away from nuclear deterrence to trust-building dialogue. The Mayor also urged Japan to join a UN treaty to ban nuclear weapons, Kyodo News reported.
In an aggressive attempt to force Japan to surrender during World War II, the United States had dropped an atomic bomb on Hiroshima on August 6, 1946. Three days later, Washington dropped another atomic bomb on the Japanese city of Nagasaki, killing thousands of people.
On August 15, six days after the Nagasaki bombing, Japan had surrendered to the allied forces bringing an end to the war from its side.

Japan plans to deploy missiles in Taiwan in 2022 to counter China

Taipei [Taiwan]: Japan is planning to deploy missile units on an island 300 kilometres off the coast of Taiwan to counter China’s growing naval presence in the area and defend against a potential Chinese attack.
Beijing claims full sovereignty over Taiwan, a democracy of almost 24 million people located off the southeastern coast of mainland China, despite the fact that the two sides have been governed separately for more than seven decades. Citing the Japanese media, Taiwan News reported that Tokyo intends to deploy Ground Self-Defense Force (GSDF) missile units on the island of Ishigaki, which is only 306 km from Taoyuan Taiwan International Airport. The new units will be installed next year and be manned by 500 to 600 Japan Self-Defense Forces (SDF) troops.
The installation of new units will make Ishigaki the fourth island in the Nansei island chain to be armed with missiles. This island chain runs southwest from Kyushu to Taiwan and is situated on the strategic first island chain that stretches from the Kuril Islands in the north to Borneo in the south.
One of the new units will reportedly include surface-to-ship and ground-to-air missiles, while another unit will handle the initial reaction to a military attack. The missile batteries on Ishigaki will join existing units on Amami-Oshima, Okinawa, and Miyako islands reported Taiwan News.
The People’s Liberation Army Navy (PLAN) has increasingly been patrolling the Miyako Strait between Okinawa and Miyako islands, including warships such as the Liaoning aircraft carrier.
Japan’s missile installations are meant to serve as a deterrent and are within range of disputed territories such as the Diaoyutai Islands (Senkaku Islands).
In addition, the Japanese defence ministry is reportedly planning on installing an electronic warfare unit on Yonaguni island by the end of 2023 and building a new SDF base on the island of Mageshima, reported Taiwan News.
Meanwhile, China continues to claim that the Senkaku Islands are the country’s ‘inherent territory’.
In the early 2010s, China and Japan were mired in a territorial row over the Senkakus. Beijing has rapidly built up artificial islands with military infrastructure in the region, in its claim of sovereignty over almost the entire maritime region.
Moreover, China has conflicting territorial claims with four of the 10 members of the Association of Southeast Asian Nations — Brunei, Malaysia, the Philippines and Vietnam — as well as Taiwan in the South China Sea.

Olympic medallist PV Sindhu arrives in India

New Delhi [India], August 3 : Ace shuttler PV Sindhu on Tuesday arrived in India after a spectacular show at Tokyo Olympics.
Sindhu on Sunday became the first Indian woman to win two Olympic medals. She defeated China’s He Bing Jiao in the bronze medal match. She received a warm welcome at Delhi Airport on her arrival. Sindhu and her coach Park Tae-Sang were welcomed by the general secretary of the Badminton Association of India (BAI), Ajay Singhania at Indira Gandhi International Airport.
Officials of BAI and the Sports Authority of India (SAI) were also present.
“BAI would like to thank the Government, Sports Ministry, and SAI for their efforts and support,” the association said in an official statement.
“I am very happy and excited. I am thankful to everyone including the Badminton Association for supporting and encouraging me. This is a happy moment,” Sindhu said in a video by BAI after returning to India.
Sindhu defeated Bing Jiao 21-13, 21-15 in the bronze medal match that lasted 52 minutes. Sindhu had earlier returned with a silver medal at the Rio Olympics 2016. The 26-year-old is now the second Indian athlete to win two individual Olympic medals.

Tokyo Olympics: Sincere encouragement from PV Sindhu made me cry, reveals Tai Tzu Ying after losing final

Tokyo [Japan], August 2 : World No. 1 women’s shuttler Tai Tzu Ying thanked all those who supported her — including India shuttler PV Sindhu — after losing a nail-biting final against China’s Chen Yu Fei here at the Musashino Forest Plaza on Sunday.
Chen Yu Fei reclaimed China’s major event supremacy in women’s singles after nine years, achieving gold and glory at Tokyo 2020 in a match of fluctuating fortunes. The top seed withstood a severe test from Tai Tzu Ying, eventually capitalising on a rash of errors from the World No.1 to take the title 21-18, 19-21, 21-18. India’s Sindhu added a second Olympic medal to her tally, powering past He Bing Jiao 21-13, 21-15 in the bronze medal play-off.
“I stepped on this dream stage for the third time and finally made it to the finals, but I couldn’t stand on the highest podium. There is always a little regret, but imperfections always exist, so I have the motivation to pursue better result,” she wrote on her Instagram in Chinese.
“Maybe I won’t have another chance to participate in the Olympics, but I’ve achieved this goal, just not so perfect. I just want to tell myself: Tai Tzu-Ying, you’re great! Thank you to all of you who have supported me, the results are always brutal and only acceptable but I try my best.”
“Thank you to all who helped us during this period, and thank you to the representative office in Japan who sent a secretary to help us with various issues at the hotel. Thank you to my team. During the epidemic, we couldn’t go home together and trained for a long time.”
Sharing a little story after her match, Tai Tzu wrote: “After the game, I was still satisfied with my performance. Later, Sindu ran over and hugged me, held my face, and told me: I know You’re very uncomfortable and you’ve been very good, but today isn’t your day. Then she held me in her arms and said: She knows all about it. That sincere encouragement, made me cry….. really sad because I tried really hard. Thank you again for your support and encouragement. Thank you all for walking with me till now.”

Chinese ships enter Japan’s territorial waters near disputed islands – Reports

Four Chinese ships enter Japan's territorial waters near disputed islands - Reports

Tokyo: (UNI/Sputnik) Four Chinese patrol ships have entered the Japanese waters surrounding the disputed Senkaku islands, the Kyodo news agency reported on Wednesday.

This the 30th time Chinese ships have entered that part of Japan’s territorial waters this year. One of the vessels is reported to be equipped with an automatic cannon.

In recent years, Tokyo voiced concern regarding Beijing’s activities in the region, especially with regard to the disputed Senkaku islands, known in China as the Diaoyudao islands and claimed by Beijing to be Chinese territory.

Japan Under The Fourth Covid-19 State Of Emergency

The Japanese government has decided to place capital Tokyo under the fourth Covid-19 state of emergency, covering the entire duration of the upcoming Olympics, in an effort to curb a recent surge in infections.

The government announced on Thursday that the emergency will be effective from July 12 to August 22, which may cause the Summer Olympic Games to be held without spectators at venues in the capital, Xinhua news agency reported.

Addressing a news conference here, Prime Minister Yoshihide Suga said that the occupancy rate of hospital beds and the number of patients in serious condition remain low due to the vaccine rollout, but infection cases in Tokyo were rising due to the spread of the Delta variant.

“We must avoid another outbreak starting in Tokyo. With that in mind, we decided to take preemptive measures, and declare a state of emergency for Tokyo once again,” Suga was quoted as saying by the public broadcaster, NHK.

With two weeks until the Olympic Games, Suga pledged safety above all.

“Holding a safe and secure Games amid the coronavirus pandemic is a good opportunity to show our global unity to overcome the current difficulties together,” he said.

Infection cases in the capital have been going up.

Health authorities reported 896 new infections on Thursday, marking the 19th straight day cases have gone up compared to the week before.

Japan has so far reported 811,712 coronavirus cases, with 14,897 deaths.

At least 37,214,200 vaccine doses against Covid-19 have been administered in the country till date.

Japan banning spectators

According to rumours released on Wednesday, the Japanese government plans to declare a viral state of emergency in Tokyo during the Olympics, preventing spectators from entering sites.

Following an increase in instances less than three weeks before the Games, the emergency measures — which are less severe than a blanket lockdown — will be in effect until August 22, according to multiple Japanese media reports.

“The government decided to declare the fourth state of emergency for Tokyo and communicated the decision to the ruling parties,” public broadcaster NHK said.

The pandemic-affected 2020 Olympics will be held under rigorous anti-infection guidelines, with international spectators already barred.

Last month, organisers imposed a limit of 10,000 fans, or half the capacity of each arena, but have since warned that a fully closed-door Games is still an option as the virus situation worsens.

With about 14,800 deaths, Japan’s Covid-19 outbreak was not as serious as in some other nations, but experts believe another wave could strain medical facilities as the Games begin.

11,000 Olympic athletes from about 200 countries are expected to compete, and they have already begun arriving in Japan.

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