This Week in Japan
Sunday, September 22, 2019
Top news stories in Japan for the week of September 16, 2019
Top News Stories for the Week of September 16, 2019
- Cabinet makes way for self driving cars with new driving rules
- Tepco Executives found not guilty for Criminal Negligence in Fukushima
- NTT starts 5G trial at Rugby World Cup venues
- Welfare ministry considering stronger laws to protect women
Cabinet makes way for self driving cars with new driving rules
The government approved a new set of rules for the use of self-driving cars on the roads that will come into effect by May 2020. Self driving cars are categorized in 5 levels, level 1 includes automatic braking or acceleration features and steering assists and level 5 is fully automated. The new rules for level 3 automation require drivers to switch to manual operations depending on road conditions. Currently the government envisions the use of level 3 automation features to be utilized during traffic jams on expressways so that drivers can watch tv or use their phone while sitting in traffic jams. However the rules require that the driver must be prepared to override the automated system when road conditions change. The new rules also ban the use of driving systems that do not have properly functioning data records.
Tepco Executives found not guilty for Criminal Negligence in Fukushima
At the conclusion of the 2 year trial, the Tepco executives were found not guilty of criminal negligence for the Fukushima nuclear disaster. The ruling made by the Tokyo district court said that it was not possible for Tepco to predict all the scenarios of the tsunami that led to the triple meltdown of the nuclear reactors back in 2011. More than 10,000 evacuees have filed over 30 lawsuits against Tepco and the state seeking damages and several district courts ruled that Tepco could have predicted and been more prepared for disaster scenarios. The civil trials that resulted in favor of the evacuees examined the responsibility of the company and not the individual executives as in the scenario of this civil trial that acquitted the three Tepco executives. The burden of proof required to show negligence of a company is lower the burden of proof required to show negligence of individuals in criminal cases.
NTT starts 5G trial at Rugby World Cup venues
At the start of the Rugby World Cup on Friday, NTT offered a trial of 5G service at Rugby World Cup venues in big cities like Tokyo, Osaka and Nagoya. The experimental service will be will use the base station setup and frequency band that will be used for the planned full commercial service that is due to roll out next spring. 5th generation services are said to be 100 times faster than the current 4G services available for smartphones.
Welfare ministry considering stronger laws to protect women
The welfare ministry is considering revising the laws and services to to further support women how are vulnerable to sexual exploitation. Current prefectural consulting centers for women are solely aimed at women end up in prostitution but a panel of experts set up by the welfare ministry said that the current definition of vulnerable women is too narrow. The expansion would allow of services and rehabilitation for a wider range of women and girls including those who are coerced to appear in adult videos. It will also target high school girls who get tricked into the "JK business" to entertain adult men. The ministry hopes to introduce the bill during the next ordinary Diet session early next year.