Japan to ease entry for Vietnam, Thailand, Australia, NZ – Abe

UNTV News   •   June 19, 2020   •   678

Japanese Prime Minister Shinzo Abe on Thursday (June 18) said his country would ease entry restrictions for people coming from Australia, New Zealand, Thailand and Vietnam.

Speaking at a news conference on a day after the parliament session closed, Abe said Japan, which bans entry from more than 100 countries, will start coordinating discussion with the four countries.

Abe emphasised Japan needs a measure to restore people’s livelihoods and the economy hit by the new coronavirus pandemic. “We need a measure which controls the risk of infections with as few restrictions as possible, a measure which focuses more on protecting our jobs and livelihoods,” he said.

Abe also delivered an apology at the beginning of the news conference, over the arrests of former justice minister Katsuyuki Kawai and his wife, upper house lawmaker Anri Kawai, on suspicion of vote-buying. “I’m keenly aware of my responsibility as I once appointed him (Katsuyuki Kawai) Justice Minister,” Abe added.

Support for Abe, who had close ties to the ex-justice minister, has declined over what critics say is his clumsy handling of the coronavirus outbreak, a furore over efforts to extend top prosecutors’ retirement age, and questions about government programmes to support tourism and smaller companies. (Reuters)

(Production: Hideto Sakai)

Brisbane, Australia under 3-day lockdown to prevent spread of COVID-19 strain

Aileen Cerrudo   •   January 8, 2021

Australian authorities have implemented a 3-day lockdown in Brisbane to prevent the further spread of the new COVID-19 variant.

This was after a quarantine hotel worker tested positive for the UK COVID-19 variant. The 79 individuals in close contact with the quarantine hotel worker are currently isolated and under quarantine.

Residents are also advised to wear face masks when leaving the house.

Wedding and funeral ceremonies are still allowed but with limited attendees.

Around 2 million residents will have to stay home unless they have to leave due to essential business.

Australian Prime Minister Scott Morrison said the lockdown will be done “to enable Queensland health authorities to get on top of the UK strain case in Brisbane.”

PH, Japan reaffirm commitment to better economic ties

Robie de Guzman   •   December 29, 2020

MANILA, Philippines – The Department of Finance (DOF) reported that the Philippines and Japan have reaffirmed their commitment to further enhance economic partnership, which includes plans to expand Japanese investments in the country.

During a recent courtesy call on Finance Secretary Carlos Dominguez III, newly designated Japan Ambassador to the Philippines Koshikawa Kazuhiko said that Japanese companies are exploring ways of realigning their supply chains to other countries like the Philippines.

Koshikawa said the approval by the Senate of the Corporate Recovery and Tax Incentives for Enterprises (CREATE) bill was welcomed by Japanese investors doing business in the Philippines.

The measure aims to lower the corporate income tax (CIT) for micro, small, and medium enterprises (MSMEs) with a net taxable income of P5 million and below to 20 percent, while other companies, including foreign firms, will pay a harmonized rate of 25 percent.

The current CIT, which is the region’s highest, is 30 percent.

Dominguez, for his part, said that aside from the CIT rate cut, CREATE will also allow the government to tailor fit incentives given to businesses so as to attract the kind of investors that it wants to invest in the Philippines.

The Finance chief also told the ambassador that the Philippines’ competitive edge in attracting foreign direct investments (FDIs) is its young working population, which complements Japan’s highly skilled labor force and makes the two countries ideal “demographic partners.”

During the meeting, Koshikawa also restated Japan’s continuing support for the Philippine government’s efforts to curb the spread of the coronavirus disease, as well as its disaster risk reduction and mitigation programs.

Citing the signing in September between the two countries of the 50-billion yen Post-Disaster Standby Loan (PDSL) Phase 2, the Ambassador reaffirmed Japan’s commitment to continue assisting the Philippines in its disaster risk reduction and mitigation programs.

Since the start of the Duterte administration in July 2016, 15 loan agreements totaling JPY679.296 billion (about P313.147 billion or US$6.443 billion) have been signed by Manila with Tokyo.

Before beginning his tour of duty in Manila, Ambassador Koshikawa was a senior official at the Japan International Cooperation Agency (JICA), and had served as Japan’s Ambassador to Spain and Angola.

Japan’s Crown Prince Akishino formally declared heir to the throne

Marje Pelayo   •   November 9, 2020

TOKYO, Japan — Japan formally declared Crown Prince Akishino heir to the throne on Sunday (November 8).

Prince Akishino is Emperor Naruhito’s younger brother who has taken over the throne after his father Emperor Emeritus Akihito’s abdication in April citing health reasons, the first in two centuries.

Prime Minister Yuga Yoshihide and representatives were present at the ceremony.

Under the Japanese law, female heirs are not allowed to inherit the Chrysanthemum throne so Naruhito’s daughter 18-year-old Princess Aiko is ineligible. 

This brings Akishino, 54, next in line to the throne followed by his 14 year-old son Hisahito and Akihito’s younger brother, 84-year-old Prince Hitachi.

The ceremony was originally scheduled in April but postponed due to the coronavirus disease (COVID-19) pandemic.

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