The Weekly Observer: April 11-15

Note from the compiler:

Greetings and thank you to anyone who reads this weekly newsletter!

I hope this is a helpful resource to stay abreast of the latest developments in Japan and an entertaining list of news that interests a wide range of readers. My aim has been to be both informative and professional in the way I compile the news every week.

Here is this week’s newsletter. Be sure to check this week’s special edition (updated April 15) on Ukraine too!

As usual, the longer version has bookmarks so you can skip over sections that are not of interest.

The lineup:
1. COVID-19 Cases Increasing, New Variant “XE” Confirmed
2. Government to Encourage Younger Generations to Get Booster Shots
3. Japan-U.S. Developments
(Biden’s scheduled visit to Japan in May; joint exercises in the Sea of Japan; Funakoshi-Sung Kim phone call; Mori-Sherman phone call; Senator delegation visit to Japan)
4. First Japan-Philippines “2+2” Meetings
5. MOFA Announces Release of 2021 ODA Statistics
6. Foreign Policy Developments (President-elect Yoon’s unofficial request to attend the Quad summit; Kishida and Hayashi’s proposed visits to Southeast Asia and Central Asia; Quad vaccine initiative in action; GOJ protests CCG intrusion into Japanese waters; German chancellor arranging for visit in late April; Prime Minister of New Zealand to lead trade delegation to Japan next week)
7. LDP to Propose Changes to 3 Defense/Security Documents
8. Defense/Security Developments (ASDF’s 2021 scramble stats; GOJ to restart evacuation drills in anticipation of ballistic missile launch; defense ministers’ meeting with Italy and Iran; GOJ shuts down rumors about “JAUKUS”)
9. LDP Proposes Response to Rising Cost of Living
10. Prime Minister Reveals Plans for “New Capitalism”
11. Diet Proceedings (legislation to change Diet members’ monthly allowance; amended legislation to revoke Russia’s MFN status; amended SDF Act to allow the SDF to transport foreigners without Japanese citizens on board)
12. State of the Economy (Finance Minister says rapidly weakening yen is “bad”; March corporate goods price index; expanding gap between consumer price index and corporate goods price index; the BOJ’s April Regional Economic Report)
13. House of Councillors Election Update
14. Other Political Developments (Japan’s rapidly declining population; FY 2020 greenhouse gas emissions reach record low; GOJ considers eliminating company’s “quarterly reports”; METI announces possible severe energy situation in winter 2022)
15. Other Noteworthy News (Finance Ministry Requests Inspection of “Excess” COVID-19 Spending; SMBC Nikko’s Ex-VP Charged in Market Manipulation Scandal)
16. NHK Poll (4/11)

–Rintaro Nishimura

Image: Captain76 (CC BY-SA 3.0)

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