Suga renews resolve to fight coronavirus
NHK -- Jan 18
Japanese Prime Minister Suga Yoshihide has vowed that he will be on the frontline of the fight against the coronavirus to overcome the difficulties.

Suga delivered his policy speech on the first day of the regular Diet session on Monday.

He said he is deeply sorry that the government has to ask people to live under restrictions again. He called for people's cooperation, and said that the government will do all it can to control the virus.

The prime minister said the government aims to revise the special legislation on its response to the coronavirus pandemic.

He said the legislation will include penalties and support for bars and restaurants to make sure that they agree to requests for shorter business hours.

Suga also said vaccines play the central role in controlling the virus, suggesting that the government will try to start a vaccine rollout by late February, after safety and effectiveness screenings.

As for the Tokyo Olympics and Paralympics that have been postponed until this summer, Suga expressed his resolve to hold the Games to send hope and courage to the rest of the world. He said the Games will be proof of humankind's victory over the virus.

Describing solutions for Japan's longtime issues, Suga stressed that the government will push forward to achieve a zero-carbon society, as well as making progress on the country's digitization by establishing a digital affairs agency.

On the diplomatic front, he said the alliance with the United States is the centerpiece for Japan's diplomacy and national security. He expressed his hope to meet incoming US President Joe Biden soon to make bilateral ties even more solid.

Suga also said that stable Japan-China relations are important for the region and for the international community, adding that Tokyo will say what it should say to Beijing and call for tangible action.

On the abductions of Japanese nationals by North Korea, Suga said his administration puts the utmost priority on the issue. He reiterated his readiness to meet the country's leader Kim Jong Un without preconditions.

As for South Korea, the prime minister said the bilateral ties between the two countries are now facing difficulties. He added that he will request Seoul take appropriate action to help return the relations to a normal track.

- NHK

新型コロナウイルス対策が最大の焦点となる通常国会が18日、始まりました。菅総理大臣は就任後、初めての施政方針演説を行います。  (政治部・大石真依子記者)  菅総理は、新型コロナ対策などしっかりと説明をし、国民の理解を得る国会にしたいと決意を述べました。  菅総理大臣:「新型コロナの感染対策や、さらに不妊治療、待機児童問題、35人学級、またグリーン・デジタル、こうした課題を実現するために全力で取り組んできました。しっかり説明をさせて頂いて、国民の皆さんのご理解を頂きたい。そういう国会にしたいと思います」  まず、政府・与党はコロナ対策の柱となる予算案と特措法改正案の成立を急ぎます。  支持率が下げ止まらないなか、政府高官は「政権浮揚はなんといってもコロナを抑えることだ」と話していて、実績を積み上げて批判を払拭したい考えです。  一方、野党側はコロナ対策の遅れや安倍前総理大臣や吉川元農林水産大臣の「政治とカネ」の問題などを徹底追及する構えです。  秋までに実施される衆議院の解散・総選挙を見据え、与野党の論戦がスタートします。


Feb 27
Japan's prime minister says coronavirus conditions in six prefectures have improved enough to lift a state of emergency on Sunday. But, the declaration will remain in place for Tokyo and three neighboring prefectures. (NHK)
Feb 27
The government on Friday adopted a bill designed to prevent through law the abuse of GPS monitoring devices for stalking. (Japan Times)
Feb 26
Japan's minister in charge of coronavirus vaccination says vaccines for the elderly will likely be delivered to all municipalities in the country by the end of June. (NHK)
Feb 26
Japan will consider resuming its subsidy program aimed at promoting domestic tourism only in some parts of the country even if the current state of emergency over the novel coronavirus is completely lifted, tourism minister Kazuyoshi Akaba said Thursday. (Kyodo)
Feb 24
Japan's top government spokesperson says measures against the coronavirus will be eased in stages even if the government lifts an emergency declaration earlier than initially planned. (NHK)
Feb 23
An employee of major Japanese trading house Itochu Corporation has been released from prison in China after serving his sentence of three years for harming national security. (NHK)
Feb 23
The governor of Shimane Prefecture in western Japan has urged the central government to resolve a territorial dispute with South Korea over the Takeshima Islands. (NHK)
Feb 22
Japan is considering introducing waiting lists for COVID-19 vaccinations to avoid waste, the minister in charge of inoculation effort has said, as the country prepares to expand the program's scope. (Japan Times)
Feb 22
More communications ministry officials have been found to have been treated to expensive meals by a son of Prime Minister Yoshihide Suga, the ministry said Monday, further widening the scandal that has already brought four senior bureaucrats under scrutiny. (Japan Today)
Feb 20
Japan's Prime Minister Suga Yoshihide has expressed to the Group of Seven industrialized nations his determination to hold the Tokyo Olympic and Paralympic Games this summer. (NHK)
Feb 20
The Japanese government has decided to amend the country's juvenile act, in accordance with the revised civil code that lowers the age of adulthood from the current 20 to 18 in April of next year. (NHK)
Feb 19
The Japanese government plans to revise the immigration law to allow some foreigners who have received deportation orders to stay with family members until they leave the country. (NHK)
Feb 18
Hashimoto Seiko has officially been chosen as the president of the Tokyo Games organizing committee. She stepped down from her cabinet position as Olympics Minister. (NHK)
Feb 18
As job losses surge due to the pandemic, demand for food handouts has skyrocketed in Japan, prompting the government to release stockpiled rice to charities for the first time last May. Another expanded programme started this month. (Reuters)
Feb 18
After a sexism row sparked by Tokyo Olympics chief’s saying women talked too much at meetings, Japan’s ruling party has said it wants women to attend key meetings – but only if they do not talk. (aljazeera.com)
Feb 18
Japan’s 2021 defence budget is set to be its largest ever, continuing a near decade-long trend set in motion by former prime minister Shinzo Abe. Under Abe’s watch, Japan has increased its defence budget every year since 2005. (eastasiaforum.org)
Feb 18
Japan and the United States agreed to extend an agreement on how much Toyko pays for the upkeep of US military bases on its soil for another year as they continue talks on a new pact. (aljazeera.com)
Feb 18
Japan has gracefully apologized to the women of South Korea who once served as sex slaves to the Japanese Army during World War II. (newsonjapan.com)
Feb 17
Another ruling Liberal Democratic Party lawmaker quit the party Wednesday following a report that he visited a luxurious Tokyo nightlife venue despite government calls to avoid unnecessary outings under a state of emergency to contain the spread of the coronavirus. (Japan Times)
Feb 17
Seiko Hashimoto, the Cabinet minister in charge of the Tokyo Games and a former Olympic athlete, has emerged as the Tokyo Organising Committee’s sole candidate to replace Yoshiro Mori, who stepped down last week over his sexist remarks, media reports said Wednesday. (Japan Times)