This Week in Japan
Friday, April 19, 2019
The latest headlines in Japan for the week of April 15, 2019
Xi Jingping to Attend G20 Summit in Osaka
President Xi Jingping plans to attend the Group 20 summit in Osaka in June. This will be President Xi’s first trip to Japan since coming to power in 2013. Japanese Minister of Foreign Affairs, announced that President Xi’s attendance to the summit is scheduled after his visit to Beijing where he met with top Chinese ministers. There is hope that this will be an opportunity for Prime Minister Abe to hold a meeting with President Xi.
The hope is that that talks can lead to more understanding and to stabilise the relationship between the two countries. Always lingering over China-Japan talks is the territory dispute over the uninhabited Senkaku Islands which China calls Diaoyu.
To read more about President Xi and the G20 Summit here are some useful links:
Tepco Begins Work Removing Fuel Rods from Unit 3 in Fukushima Nuclear Plant
The first ever fuel removal operation at the Fukushima No.1 nuclear power plant started on Monday. Fuel removal operations have been delayed for four years because the devices needed for the work kept on malfunctioning and the high levels of radiation raised many problems and difficulties. Tepco said it plans to remove seven unspent fuel rods and transfer them to another storage pool on the property.
There are a total of four units within the plant, the fuel rods from Unit 4 was removed in 2014 because it was shut down for regular maintenance at the time of the earthquake and didn’t suffer a meltdown. Units 1-3 did.
Currently Unit 3 is the lowest risk and so the first seven rods will be removed from Unit 3. This process is expected to take up to 2021. Fuel removal work from Units 1-2 are scheduled to begin in the fiscal year 2023.
To read more about the operations at the Fukushima No. 1 Nuclear Plant, here are some useful links:
First Exam Held for Foreign Workers seeking Jobs in Japan Under New Law
Over the next five years the government plans to accept 345,150 foreign migrant workers under the new visa category known as Specified Skilled Worker No. 1.
Those in this visa category are allowed to work in 14 industries that have the most labor shortages. The industries include construction, farming, nursing, and food and beverage, and the hotel industry.
Discussion About Amending Imperial Succession Rules Probably Delayed
With the impending abdication of Emperor Akihito and the enthronement of Crown Prince Naruhito in a few short weeks, some government officials are claiming that it would be best to avoid the discussions about changing the Imperial succession rules until next year. Government officials are afraid that bringing up a controversial issue like Imperial Succession before the upcoming elections this summer may bring about friction within the LDP. However on the hand, if the discussion about the topic is delayed opposition members will be vocally critical of the ruling party and that is also not ideal right before the elections.
Currently under Japanese Imperial Law only men are allowed to ascend to the throne and women have to leave the imperial family once they get married outside the family. The special law that allows Emperor Akihito’s abdication, also included a resolution requiring a discussion about Imperial succession rules after the law comes into effect on April 30, 2019.
To read more about the Japanese Imperial Family, here are some useful links: