This Week in Japan
Sunday, September 8, 2019
Top news stories in Japan for the week of September 2, 2019
News Stories for the week of September 2, 2019
- Yokohama train collides with truck killing one and injuring 33 others
- Softbank to end 2 year phone contracts
- Tokyo pushes bill for cyclists to have liability insurance
- Japan prepares for tax hike amid uncertainties
Yokohama train collides with truck killing one and injuring 33 others
On Thursday morning in Yokohama, an express train on the Keikyu Line at a crossing between Kanagawa-Shinmachi and Nakaido station, collided with a truck, killing the driver and injuring the train driver and 32 passengers. The express train was driving at 120 kmph before applying the emergency break right before it collided with the truck. The truck was dragged 60-70 meters down the track. The truck had made a right turn into the crossing, authorities suspect that the truck couldn't complete the turn and got stuck between the crossing. The train line resumed service 2 days later.
Softbank to end 2 year phone contracts
Softbank Inc. announced on Friday that from the following week they would do away with their current phone contract model that offers monthly discounts but charges hefty fines for cancelling the contract before the two year mark. Under the new system, Softbank will drop its cancellation charges from around ¥9,500 to ¥1,000 or less. This is in response to the new government regulations that require phone companies to cut cancellation fees on two year contracts. The legislation is aimed at spurring competition in the mobile market. Customers currently not in two year contracts can switch to new rate plans and receive discounts without setting contract terms.
Tokyo pushes bill for cyclists to have liability insurance
Tokyo City is attempting to pass legislation requiring cyclists to have liability insurance. This is in response to several bicycle accidents involving pedestrian injuries that resulted in huge payouts to the pedestrian. Other municipalities and prefectures have already implement legislation requiring liability insurance for cyclist, but the proposed legislation in Tokyo does not impose penalties on the offender. If the legislation passes it will come into effect in April 2020
Japan prepares for tax hike amid uncertainties
The consumption tax hike set to come into effect on October 1 is not amid a range of uncertainties. Many are concerned by the confusion that will erupt due to different tax rates for similar products. The National Tax Agency has guidelines on their website but the reality is less certain. For example, mirin (japanese rice wine) will be taxed at 10% but mirin products sold as a seasoning will be taxed at 8%. Some companies like Saizeriya, Matsuya Foods and KFC Japan have decided to set the prices the same for eat in and take out meals, while others like Yoshinoya and Starbucks have decided to allow for the price difference with eat in and take out products. Other companies like McDonalds still have not announced how they will handle the tax hike.