- The ordinary session of the Diet opened on Monday, 18 January, as the Suga administration tries to contain the still-widening third wave of Covid-19.
- His approval ratings plummeting, Prime Minister Yoshihide Suga is trying to reverse the impression that his response to the pandemic has been overly reactive by seeking more robust public health controls and tapping a popular minister to oversee vaccine distribution.
On Thursday, 7 January, Prime Minister Yoshihide Suga officially declared a month-long state of emergency for Tokyo and its neighboring prefectures of Chiba, Saitama, and Kanagawa. The announcement came as the country set new records for case numbers nationwide – 7,571 new cases – and in 20 prefectures, including Tokyo, which reported 2,447 new cases, significantly higher than the previous record of 1,591.… Read the rest
- Less than a week after announcing a state of emergency for Tokyo and three neighboring prefectures, on Wednesday, 13 January Prime Minister Yoshihide Suga extended the declaration to seven additional prefectures.
- The Japanese government swiftly rejected an 8 January ruling by the Seoul Central District Court that it must pay compensation to a group of surviving wartime sexual slaves known as “comfort women,” citing sovereign immunity and the terms of the 1965 basic treaty between Japan and South Korea.
- Prime Minister Yoshihide Suga held his first press conference of the year on Monday, 4 January, in which he indicated that his government is considering declaring a state of emergency as early as Thursday, 7 January.
The Suga cabinet approved a new missile defense plan on Friday, 18 December, replacing the previous plan suspended earlier this year to deploy an Aegis Ashore missile defense system purchased from the US.… Read the rest
The Suga cabinet approved its draft FY2021 budget on Monday, 21 December, which for the third-straight year topped JPY 100tn (USD 966.6bn), climbing to a record high of roughly JPY 106tn (USD 1.02tn).… Read the rest
- Japanese Prime Minister Yoshihide Suga and South Korean President Moon Jae-in are both struggling with eroding political support as their countries face their most significant increases in Covid-19 cases thus far.
- The Suga administration has unveiled a new stimulus package, the third stimulus package to counter the impact of Covid-19.
- While the new stimulus package is smaller than the first two, it includes a significant sum of money aimed at post-pandemic structural transformation.
- Prime Minister Yoshihide Suga heads into a parliamentary recess with his approval ratings having fallen sharply.
- Suga’s falling approval ratings likely reflect growing disapproval of his handling of Covid-19 and perhaps also the reemergence of a political finance scandal that has implicated former prime minister Shinzo Abe’s aides.