Minister Kono and Cabinet Secretary Kato say details about the transport of vaccines will be "hidden" and asks the press not to report on the matter.
On Tuesday (2), Minister for Regulatory Reform, Taro Kono, asked the press to avoid news about the transport of Covid-19 vaccines. The request came after Fuji TV reported that Pfizer's first vaccination could start on the 14th of this month if all approval procedures are closed.
At a press conference, Kono said that it is necessary to hide data about the arrival of vaccines for safety reasons. “I don't want to run the risk of causing an unexpected situation regarding the transport of vaccines from abroad to Japan for safety reasons. I will not say any information about the dates and places of transport. I ask that (the press) avoid interviews and news”, said the minister.
Kono explains that "an unexpected situation" can be "from a terrorist attack to an act of interference".
On Wednesday (3), the Secretary of the Cabinet Katsunobu Kato reinforced Kono's request. “I ask for the help and collaboration of the press.”, he said. Kato also said that he will give more details as soon as the vaccination schedule is confirmed.
During the difficult situation caused by the new coronavirus, Suga said he doesn't think of benefit as his predecessor did in the first emergency situation.
On Wednesday (27) the Prime Minister of Japan had to apologize for the act of a parliamentarian and also explained about the difficulties faced by many families due to the second state of emergency in 11 provinces.
Parliamentarian Jun Matsumoto, from the PLD-Liberal Democratic Party, currently in power, was caught drinking in 3 nightclubs in Ginza, after 20 pm, in the middle of a state of emergency. The hashtag #もういらないだろ自民党 (PLD: we don't need it anymore) has become a trend in social networks.
Because of this, Yoshihide Suga had to apologize during the House of Representatives Budget Committee session.
Also during the session, in response to the Constitutional Democratic Party parliamentarian, Michihiro Ishibashi, Suga said he said he “did not think” of granting the special fixed-value benefit, as was done during the first declaration of a state of emergency in the Abe government. And he justified himself: “ultimately there is seikatsu hogo”, the livelihood support program.
With regard to the social image “self-help, mutual assistance, public assistance” that the prime minister aims for, opposition parties have pointed out that it is neoliberalism that emphasizes competition and efficiency.
The third supplementary budget provided for the continuation of livelihood and rent benefits in the face of little support for people in the midst of this difficult situation. But the prime minister refused. Meanwhile, opposition parties intensify their criticism of the Suga government.
The same happens on social networks, with comments criticizing the government. Among them are requests to work for the people, understand the pain of the people and questions about the reasons for not having a PCR test and hospitalization immediately.
Sources: Asahi, Sports Hochi, FNN and Tokyo Shimbun.
Cabinet Suga's approval rating has been plummeting. When Suga and his ministers took over, the rate was 63%.
Cabinet Suga's approval rating continues to plummet. Just four months after the government took office, the disapproval index reversed that of support.
When Yoshihide Suga took over as Abe's replacement in September last year, the ratings were 63 percent support for his cabinet and 13 percent disapproval.
However, support began to fall in subsequent months, while disapproval increased.
In a public opinion poll conducted by the Asahi newspaper on the 23rd and 24th of the previous week, the ratings were 33% approval and 45% disapproval.
For the first time, the disapproval was greater than the support. Other media outlets that conducted research had similar results.
This shows that supporters of the conservative PLD-Liberal Democrat Party, currently out of the situation, are also moving away, which could affect Prime Minister Yoshihide Suga's centripetal strength and affect the general elections this fall.
There is a strong sense of crisis within the ruling party, but there are few cards with a reversal offensive, putting the administration in a more difficult situation.
Reason for the drop in popularity
New countermeasures in response to coronavirus appear to have had a major impact. More than 60% of respondents considered the government's measures not to be good and 80% said the latest state of emergency declarations issued to 11 provinces were “too late”.
There is discussion within the ruling party that “anyone else would be criticized for the responses to the coronavirus”, but Constitutional Democratic Party chairman Jun Azumi said on Monday (25): “while making promises to curb the expansion of the infection, stepped on the accelerator of the economy and the people feel that they are left behind”.
Difficulty of the party in the next elections
Japan has a parliamentary cabinet system, and the prime minister is appointed by parliamentary vote from among the Diet members.
Since the prime minister is elected on the basis of the majority in parliament, it is customary for the leader of the ruling party to become prime minister. But there will be a difference between the cabinet approval ratings and the ruling party's approval ratings.
According to the results of the Mainichi Shimbun public opinion poll, published on Saturday (23), the support rate for the Suga cabinet is 33%, the same as calculated by Asahi.
However, the approval rate for the PLD has also been falling, reaching only 28%. Therefore, the ruling party is in a visibly difficult situation.
Sources: Asahi and Mainichi.
The UFC announced a few days ago that it plans to expand the franchise of its UFC Gym and will start its activities in Japan in 2019.
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The announcement comes just a few weeks after the UFC announces a similar expansion in Singapore, with a total of 15 UFC gyms planned there.
Currently, there are approximately 150 UFC academies worldwide, including countries such as the Philippines, Vietnam, India, Australia, USA, Canada, Mexico, Chile, England, Ireland, Oman, the United Arab Emirates and Bahrain.
The UFC Gym franchise academies follow specific courses and criteria developed through programs, systems and techniques evaluated by the UFC. In addition to MMA, classes in various martial arts are also offered – such as kickboxing, muay thai and boxing, in addition to different classes of functional gymnastics, aerobic activities, muscle development work and even dance courses – .
Since the franchise is meant to be inclusive, they offer options for all ages and promote a healthy lifestyle.
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Because this is a franchise, anyone interested in the fitness industry has the opportunity to 'own' and operate a UFC gym.
As the franchise expands to Japan, it will be interesting to see whether current owners of gyms or team leaders seize the opportunity to become brand holders in the "Land of the Rising Sun".
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For more information about UFC Gym in Japan, visit the UFCGYM.jp website.
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* Source / Credits: Contributor Oriosvaldo Costa
Photo: UFC Gym promises to expand into the “land of the rising sun” in 2019 (Courtesy: UFC Gym Media).
Among the changes proposed by the government, to be submitted to the Diet, are the application of fines or imprisonment for those who violate the measures.
The bill to amend the Special Measures, Infectious Diseases and Quarantine Laws was approved by the government on Friday morning (22).
The next step is to submit it to the approval of the National Diet, the country's legislative branch, hoping that the opposition will approve it for implementation as early as February, although there are voices that some amendments are weighted.
governors gain strength
The Special Measures Law clearly establishes support for companies that cooperated in reducing working hours and taking employees' leave. The country and local governments stipulate that “the necessary financial measures will be taken effectively”, so they offer up to 60 yen a day in cooperation funds for commercial establishments that serve alcoholic beverages.
Each governor now has the prerogative of the current issue of 'guidance' for 'order', making local measures more rigid and clear during the period of state of emergency.
If there is a risk of spreading the infection even before the declaration is issued, 'priority measures such as preventing the spread' has been added to the law. As in the case of a state of emergency, the governor may order a reduction in working hours and workers' leave, for example. The offender will be fined up to 300 yen. In this case, it is an administrative punishment with a monetary penalty and no history of criminal punishment.
fine and even prison
In non-compliance, the amendment provides for the application of fines to the owners of establishments with values of up to 300 yen, if the request was made before the declaration of emergency, and up to 500 yen if it is during the period of state of emergency.
Regarding patients with Covid-19, the amendment to the Infectious Diseases Law provides for a fine of up to 1 million yen or imprisonment for up to 1 year if they refuse to be admitted or flee the treatment institution. In the case of refusing the health center's research or deceitful answers, you will be subject to a fine of up to 500 yen.
In all these cases the person will have a criminal penalty history.
Quarantine Law: offending passenger is subject to punishment
This was also revised in the aspect of the request to passengers coming or returning from abroad. Even if the test result for the new coronavirus is negative, if the head of the airport's quarantine section asks you to stay home for 14 days, if the person does not comply, there is no punishment.
If the proposed amendment is approved, the passenger who fails to comply with this request may be punished with a fine of up to 1 million yen or imprisonment for up to 1 year.
Other amendments are included in the bill to reform the 3 laws, such as ensuring beds for treatment in each of the provinces.
Fervent discussions are expected between the ruling and opposition parties regarding each of the topics, especially the application of punishments. Discussions start on Friday afternoon and are expected to continue into the next week and may change.
Sources: NHK and Nikkei.
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"The vaccine is the decisive factor for prevention. I want to start vaccinations by the end of February," said Suga.
On Monday night (18), Prime Minister Suga entrusted the administration of Covid-19 vaccination to the Minister for Regulatory Reform, Taro Kono. “The vaccine is the decisive factor for prevention. I want to start vaccinations by the end of February,” said Suga.
At a press conference after the cabinet meeting, the minister comments on his duties and responsibilities. “I was responsible for the logistics of the vaccine, from transport, storage and preparation of the vaccination points. I will work hard so that all citizens receive an efficient and safe vaccine as soon as possible.”, he said.
“The collaboration with all (organizations) involved will be extremely important”, he emphasizes. Kono is preparing his schedule to discuss vaccination details with government agencies and related companies.
Kono also mentioned that he had elected the deputy ministers of the cabinet, Hisayuki Fujii, and the Ministry of Health, Labor and Welfare, Tomohiro Yamamoto, to assist him.
Cabinet secretary Kato explains that Suga trusts Kono's abilities to solve the vaccine problem. “We believe in his capabilities as Minister of Regulatory Reform to solve the problems faced by related bodies, from creating low temperature delivery and storage methods, and structuring municipalities for vaccination. The government will work hard to deliver a safe and efficient vaccine to all citizens.”, he said.
Politician and party director Yuichiro Hata dies at 53 with coronavirus.
This Sunday (27), Yuichiro Hata, a member of the council of councilors of the Constitutional Democratic Party of Japan, died at 53 in hospital.
On the 24th of this month, Hata began to show symptoms of fever and malaise. On Sunday (27), he was taken by car by his secretary to take the PCR test in a hospital. “I think I have pneumonia,” he said, struggling to breathe on the way.
In a press conference held on Monday night (28) by Tetsuro Fukuyama, director of the party, it was confirmed that Hata was with Covid-19. The politician had diabetes, which may have aggravated the clinical picture.
Since the 24th, Hata rested at home. On the 22nd of this month, he attended a party board meeting, and a political meeting in Nagano on the 23rd. Authorities are investigating the record to verify the people who have contacted and carry out the necessary procedures.
This is the first case of an assembly member who died of coronavirus.
Government explains that the new anti-ship missile under development will have a range of 2.000 km.
Since fiscal year 2018, the Defense, Technology and Logistics Agency (ATLA) has been moving efforts to build a new type of anti-ship missile. This Monday (28), the government provided new details about the missile.
According to the Sankei newspaper, the missile will have a range of 2.000km, the longest among the missiles of the Self-Defense Forces of Japan.
The government has made a budget of ¥10,5 billion available for research on the new missile, which will include advanced technologies to prevent enemy radar detection, and may be launched from aircraft carriers and aircraft.
At a cabinet meeting held on the 18th of this month, it was decided that the range of the Ground Forces type 12 anti-ship missiles will be extended from 200km to 900km. According to sources, the government intends to increase the range to up to 1.500km in the future.
In 2017, the government approved the purchase of JSM missiles, from Norway, with a range of 500km, and JASSM and LRASM, from the USA, with a range of 900km, for F35 combat aircraft. According to the government, the new Type 12 missiles will have a much greater range and may be compared to US “Tomahawk” missiles. “(The missiles) will bring security to the troops and stop the attack of enemies”, explains the government.
If deployed on islands in southwest Japan, the missiles will have enough range to reach Pyongyang, North Korea, and Beijing, China.
On Tuesday (15) the Prime Minister was criticized inside and outside his political party. The reason is that right after announcing the suspension of the Go To Travel campaign, he went to a refined restaurant in Ginza, Tokyo, for a dinner with friends, something like a bonenkai or a holiday party.
He arrived late for dinner, because of the announcement at a press conference, and remained inside for 45 minutes, caught both on arrival and on departure.
Soon after the press release, the attitude was called Go To Bonenkai, alluding to the campaign.
The members of this dinner were not restricted to those of the PLD-Liberal Democrat Party, although Nikai, the director was present. There were baseball club presidents, artists and political critics. One of the participants told reporters that he was bonenkai.
Suga government ministers have been demanding to avoid dinners and meals with more than 5 people. In addition, the prime minister himself asked the people to wear a mask on the meal tables, removing it to eat and then putting it back on.
Falling Suga Popularity
The dinner for 8 people, exceeded the limit of 5, and on top of that, mostly elderly, the news pointed out.
Leaders of opposition parties such as Komei and Constitutional Democrats sent him criticisms as "it would have been better to abstain, amid the spread of the infection."
Suga has been suffering from his attitudes of disrespect to the people for not explaining himself about the Science Council of Japan and his popularity has been declining. Last week it fell 14% and is with 42% public support, according to a NHK poll, published on Monday (14).
If the downward trend in the approval rating is not halted, it is inevitable that the party turmoil will spread before next year's elections and dissatisfaction with the Suga government is likely to increase further.
Sources: NHK, FNN and Sponichi.