9/1/2021 Japan Galaxy News: Japan’s Anti-Money Laundering Measures Examined By International Organizations; Delta Mutated Into “Tokyo Strain”

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1.Japan’s Anti-Money Laundering Measures Examined by International Organizations

The FATF, an international organization that examines the systems of financial institutions and supervisory authorities in various countries in order to strengthen countermeasures, has released the results of its examination of Japan, which has been ongoing for the past two years, NHK reported on Aug 31. According to the report, Japan’s overall assessment is in the middle of the three categories of “priority follow-up countries,” which means that the country will be evaluated on the measures it has taken so far, but will also be required to report on the status of improvement on a regular basis.

Specifically, the report says that smaller financial institutions, such as regional banks, have inadequate systems for ongoing customer management, such as verifying the identity of corporate representatives, and calls for them to be brought up to the level of major banks. The report also calls for the government to strengthen supervision and inspection of financial institutions and crypto asset providers, and to prioritize and severely punish investigations into related crimes. Regarding the results of the examination, Deputy Prime Minister and Minister of Finance said, “The report shows good results in areas such as international cooperation.”

2. Lettuce Potatoes More than 50% Above Normal Due to Long Rains in Japan

NHK reported on Aug 31 that among the wholesale prices of major vegetables, lettuce and potatoes are more than 50% higher than normal due to the long rains and high temperatures in Hokkaido this month. According to the Ministry of Agriculture, Forestry and Fisheries, the prices of major vegetables at the Tokyo Central Wholesale Market as of March 30 were 89% higher than normal for lettuce and 50% higher for potatoes. In addition, 14% of carrots and 9% of cucumbers are above normal.

Factors contributing to the delay in the growth of lettuce and cucumbers are the long rains and cloudy skies since the middle of this month, and the high temperatures and lack of rain in Hokkaido, the main production area for potatoes and carrots. According to the price forecast for next month released by the Ministry of Agriculture, Forestry and Fisheries at the same time, the price of potatoes will remain high throughout next month due to the lack of growth caused by high temperatures and lack of rain in Hokkaido. As for lettuce, the announcement on March 31 said that next month’s prices would be about the same as normal, but “looking at the shipping situation, there is a possibility that high prices will continue until the first half of next month. We will keep a close eye on the growth situation.

3. Japan’s FY 2022 Budget Requests Hit Record of over 111 Trillion Yen

The total amount of general-account budget requests by Japanese ministries and agencies for fiscal 2022 has hit a record of over 111 trillion yen ($1 trillion) as debt-servicing costs are expected to balloon amid the CCP virus pandemic, a Kyodo News tally found Tuesday. Also pushed up by record-high social security spending on the back of the nation’s rapidly graying population and rising defense costs to meet security challenges posed by China under the Chinese Communist Party.

The Ministry of Health, Labor and Welfare made the highest-ever request of 33.9 trillion yen, the biggest chunk among the requests, as health care and pension expenditures soared by 660.0 billion yen compared to the fiscal 2021 budget. Social security costs have accounted for about a third of an initial budget in recent years. The Defense Ministry called for 5.4 trillion yen, larger than a record initial budget of 5.3 trillion yen for fiscal 2021. With the aim of beefing up capabilities in new domains and developing new technologies to counter CCP’s growing military presence, the defense spending would rise for the 10th consecutive year.

4. Japan’s Defense Budget Requests 5.4797 Trillion Yen, 104.7 Billion Yen for the Development of the next Fighter Jet

As reported by Reuters on 31, the Ministry of Defense has decided to allocate 5,479.7 billion yen in defense spending, including development costs for the next generation of fighter jets, in its fiscal 2022 budget request, without specifying the amount for the F-15 fighter jet upgrade, so the actual request will be even larger. This is a 2.6% increase from the initial budget for the current fiscal year.

It calls for 130 billion yen for the procurement of 12 F35 stealth fighters and 104.7 billion yen for the development of the next fighter jet. As a weapon for island defense, 14.5 billion yen will be earmarked for research into a new type of missile that glides at high speed. In addition, as a measure to strengthen the foundation of the defense industry, the plan calls for the establishment of a new Defense Industrial Policy Office at the Defense Acquisition Agency, while the cost of upgrading F-15s has been designated as an “item request” without specifying the amount.

5. Japan Prime Minister Suga Intends to Dissolve Parliament Mid-Sept, Delay Party Chief Race -Media

Japanese Prime Minister Yoshihide Suga intends to dissolve the lower house of parliament in mid-September after a reshuffle of the ruling party executive and his cabinet next week, Mainichi newspaper said late on Tuesday, citing senior government sources, Reuters reported. Suga will delay the Liberal Democratic Party (LDP) leader contest originally slated for Sept. 29 until after the general election, said Mainichi, adding that the premier is considering holding the election on Oct. 17. Abe’s stance will be closely watched given his influence inside two largest factions of the LDP – his own Hosoda group and the second-largest faction led by Aso – as well as among the conservative wing of the LDP, experts say.

6. Delta Mutated into “Tokyo Strain“, Japan in “State of Emergency” as Infected People Explode

According to JoongAng Daily, the delta strain, which has been spreading with a high infection rate in CCP virus infections, has mutated again. This is the first time that a mutant strain of the delta virus has been confirmed in Japan. In mid-August this year, a research team from Tokyo Medical and Dental University discovered a new mutant strain called “N501S” through genetic analysis of a delta strain collected from a patient who was treated at the university’s hospital, NHK reported on Aug 31. The research team believes that a new mutant strain has emerged in Japan, based on genetic characteristics. The infectivity of the strain is not yet known. Japan’s upward trend in CCP virus continues unabated even after the Tokyo Olympics. On 30th, NHK reported that the number of severely infected patients has reached a record high for the 18th consecutive day. 13,638 new cases were reported on the 30th. The number of severely infected people reached 2,075.

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Translator: 帆間知津
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