Politics

Virus Outbreak

Wealthy nations, once praised for success against virus, lag in vaccinations

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Some wealthy nations that were most praised last year for controlling the coronavirus are now lagging far behind in getting their people vaccinated — and some, especially in Asia, are seeing COVID-19 cases grow. In Japan, South Korea and New Zealand, the vaccination rates are languishing in the single figures.… Read

Politics

Suga planning to attend Singapore security forum in June

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Prime Minister Yoshihide Suga is arranging to participate in a major security forum to be held in Singapore next month, government sources said, as Japan cooperates with like-minded countries to counter China's growing military influence in the region. Suga, who would be the first Japanese leader in seven years to… Read

Politics

Japan to establish agency to speed up digitalization

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The Diet on Wednesday enacted a set of laws to establish a new government agency in September as the country aims to speed up digitalization. Prime Minister Yoshihide Suga's government hopes to accelerate digitalization in the central and local governments to improve the quality of services after the novel coronavirus… Read

Politics

Biden expected to nominate Rahm Emanuel as ambassador to Japan

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President Joe Biden is expected to nominate former Chicago Mayor Rahm Emanuel to serve as the U.S. ambassador to Japan, according to a person familiar with the president's decision. The person, who was not authorized to comment publicly about the matter and spoke on condition of anonymity Tuesday, said the… Read

Politics

Japan begins first joint military drill with U.S., France

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Japanese, U.S. and French troops kicked off their first-ever joint military drill Tuesday in southwestern Japan, as concerns rise over China's growing assertiveness in the region. An Australian naval ship is also taking part in the week-long air, land and sea exercises involving 300 ground troops from the three countries.… Read

Politics

Government advisor sparks anger with tweet laughing off calls for Olympic cancelation

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A tweet by a top Japanese government advisor downplaying the pandemic and laughing off calls for the Olympics to be canceled is drawing public ire a few days after Japan extended a state of emergency in Tokyo and three other areas until the end of May. Kaetsu University Professor Yoichi… Read

Politics

Opposition leader Edano says Olympics cannot be held safely

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The leader of Japan's main opposition party said Monday there is no way to safely hold the Tokyo Olympics this summer, questioning Prime Minister Yoshihide Suga's assurances that sufficient COVID-19 measures will be in place. "Unfortunately, we have to say it is impossible to protect the lives, health and livelihoods… Read

Politics

Japan gov't debt rises by record ¥101 tril in FY2020

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Japanese government debt rose 101.92 trillion yen ($940 billion) in fiscal 2020 to a record 1,216.46 trillion yen, showing the largest annual increase as a result of the fiscal response to the coronavirus pandemic, the Finance Ministry said Monday. Marking a record high for the fifth straight year, the outstanding… Read

Politics

Suga says he has never put Olympics first and that IOC has final say

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Japanese Prime Minister Yoshihide Suga said on Monday that he has never "put the Olympics first", the same day an opinion poll showed nearly 60% of people in Japan want the Olympics canceled less than three months before they begin. Japan has extended a state of emergency in Tokyo until… Read

Politics

New U.S. Indo-Pacific chief to visit Japan in late May

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Adm. John Aquilino, the new commander of the U.S. Indo-Pacific Command, will visit Japan in the latter half of May for talks with defense leaders about China's growing military pressure on Taiwan and Beijing's assertive behavior in the broader Indo-Pacific, according to Japanese and U.S. government sources. During his first… Read

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