Fresh & Hot from Japan, 5 to 11 May 2016

Please enjoy fresh & hot news from Japan with comments by Europe-Japan Dynamics.

5 May. Japan-Arab Ministerial economic forum started, Casablanca

“Japan-Arab economic forum ” that aims at the reinforcement of the economic relations of Japan and the Arab countries began in Casablanca, Morocco, on the 4th.of May. The cabinet ministers from each country discussed those themes such as the diversification of the economy, human resource development, etc. The Minister of Economy Trade and Industry, Mikio Hayashi, announced a policy to promote investment from Japan, stating “We wish  to extend the number of Arab countries that signed the investment pact from the present five to more than ten by 2020”.

Comments: The economic ties between Japan and the Arab countries have not been so tight compared with those between European and Arab countries. It will help to both sides of the countries to diversify business partners.

6 May. Three weeks after the earthquake, Toyota resumed operation of all the factories and Honda, a part of it

Those factories of Toyota Motor Corporation and Honda which suspended production due to the disaster of Kumamoto earthquake, or lack of supply of components, resumed the  production. Toyota managed to restart all the domestic production lines three weeks after the earthquake. Honda started operation of a part of the production in its factory in Kumamoto prefecture.

Comment: Good to know that economic activities are coming back.

9 May.  Real wage increased by 1.4% in March, two months in a row, reflecting the wage increase in an annual negotiation in the spring, according to the labour Ministry

The Ministry of Health, Labour and Welfare announced in the breaking news of monthly labor statistics that the average cash payroll per worker in March was 278,501 yen, up by 1.4% compared to the same month the last year. The increase is seen in two months in a row. The consumer price level was the same as the previous year and “the real wages” that excludes the influence of the price fluctuation also increased by 1.4% for two consecutive months.

Comment: Hope the increase signals the economic recovery.

10 May. Tokyo may permit housekeeping work by foreign nationals, the third prefecture if implemented

The Government of Tokyo will examine if it could lift the ban on the housework service by the foreign nationals, using “a special ward system” that allows to relax regulations in limited areas. If implemented, Tokyo will be the third local government that lifts the ban. Some other local governments might follow the change of policy of Tokyo, which has been careful in allowing the foreign nationals to take housekeeping work.

Comments: Though this news signals a change of Japan to wider opening of working opportunities of foreign nationals, this issue should not be limited to some “special” areas. Japan should up-date at the national level its outdated policy and regulations that still strictly prohibits foreign nationals to work in the country.

11 May. “Iku men league”, a group of male members of Diet advocating men’s participation in child raising,  requested improvement of the status of children in waiting list for nursery schools

The bipartisan “Iku men league (League of male members of Diet who are willing to share responsibility of child raising)” submitted a request for the improvement of the issue of children in waiting list for nursery schools to two Ministers, Minister of Health, Labour and Welfare Yasuhisa Shiozaki, and Minister in charge of vitalizing all the population of Japan, Katsunobu Kato. The league requested not to force women alone to bear the burden and difficulties arising from having children who cannot be taken by nursery schools due to lack of capacity to meet demand.

Comment: This is a good action itself and makes those men who are willing to share responsibility of child raising visible to the public. Such men are still rare in Japan.

  • All the news items are picked up from “Asahi Digital”, and summarized and translated by Europe-Japan Dynamics. The articles are not an official translation by the Asahi Newspaper.

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