This Week in Japan
Sunday, August 18, 2019
Latest news stories for the week of August 12, 2019
Top news stories for the week of August 12, 2019
- JR East looking to launch ferry line between Tokyo and Haneda
- Japan is once again the top holder of US Treasuries
- Minimum wage to rise by ¥27
- Japan to standardize English road signs
JR East looking to launch ferry line between Tokyo and Haneda
JR is planning to launch a ferry service between central Tokyo and Haneda Airport that could begin as early as next year. The ferry service coupled with the planning train service to Haneda will increase connectivity and convenience for travellers as well as give more access routes to the airport in the event of a natural disaster. They hope is that the service can be launched ahead of the Olympics next year and will connect popular tourist districts directly to the airport.
Japan is once again the top holder of US Treasuries
In June Japan surpassed China as the largest holder of US treasuries. Japan's holdings of US bonds bills and notes reached a 3-year high and increased by 21.9 billion bringing the total holdings to 1.12 trillion USD. Amidst the trade war between China and the US, China has been selling US treasuries for the past 4 months, however this month China bought back some US treasuries bringing its total to 1.1 trillion USD. The last time Japan was the US's biggest foreign creditor was in May 2017, since then China has held the number 1 position until June of this year.
Minimum wage to rise by ¥27
The Japanese Labor Ministry announced that the legal minimum wage will increase by ¥27 to ¥901 yen per hour of work on average. Kagoshima Prefecture currently has the lowest minimum wage and Tokyo has the highest. The new increase in hourly wage will bring Kagoshima's minimum wage to ¥790 and Tokyo's minimum wage to ¥1,013 yen. Only Tokyo and Kanagawa prefectures will have minimum wages that exceed ¥1,000. This is the first time minimum wages have crossed the ¥1,000 mark. The increases are set to take place in October of this year.
Japan to standardize English road signs
In preparation for the 2020 Olympics, the Japanese transport ministry has decided to standardize all road signs to make it easier for foreign visitors to understand. The road signs will be standardized according to English-language tourist information guides and the maps of the Geospatial Information Authority. In Tokyo, Kanagawa, Saitama and Chiba Prefectures where the Olympic games will be held, 19,800 signs have been flagged for modification and improvements have already been made on 14,300 signs.