1. Korean Supreme Court’s Decision Puzzles Japan
On October 30, the Korean Supreme Court ruled that Nippon Steel and Sumitomo Metal Corporation should compensate four plaintiffs, who accused the company of compulsory labor in Japan during the World War II.
According to the ruling, two individuals out of the four plaintiffs applied for a job posting of then Nippon Steel posted in Pyongyang in September 1943 and went to Japan for a job training and got a job in Osaka.
One other person got a recommendation of the mayor of then Tejon City for a job at Nippon Steel’s Kamaishi Works in 1941.
The last person applied for jobs recruited by the city of Gunsan, Korean in January 1943 and sent to Nippon Steel’s Yahata Works.
As such, there is a doubt that they were compulsorily sent to Japan for labor.
It is true that there were Korean workers, who were officially recruited by the Japanese Government.
This falls under “compulsory labor”.
However, the government of Japan and Korea reached an agreement of the war compensation and economic cooperation in 1965, and the two nations shared the recognition that all the war issues including the compulsory labor were completely and irreversibly solved.
PM Abe and his administration immediately condemned the ruling and demanded the Korean Government to take necessary actions to honor the agreement of 1965.
2. New Bill to Accept More Foreign Skilled Workers Presented To The Diet
On November 2, the Abe Cabinet decided on a new bill to establish new categories of stay permits for foreign workers to work in Japan and submitted it to the House of Representatives.
The administration simultaneously released its assumption that in the coming five years, the Japanese labor market would face a labor shortage of as big as around 250,000 without doing anything.
Under the bill, the following two categories are newly established:
Special Skill Category 1
This stay and work permit will be granted to foreign applicants who pass a preliminary Japanese conversation test and a simple test related to individual skill categories.
Permit holders can stay and work for five years, but no family visa is granted.
Special Skill Category 2
The Category 1 visa holders can obtain this Category 2 visa once they prove that their individual skills reach certain proficiency through skill tests etc. Category 2 permit holders could stay in Japan without limit through periodic deliberations and they can bring their families to Japan for living together.
3. Big Data Suggests The Influence Of Climate Change Over Japan
Ms. Yukiko Imada, Chief Researcher of the Metrological Research Institute released the result of the Institute’s presumptive experiments recently that unless there was an influence of global warming, such an unusual summer as this July’s terrible heat waves in Japan would have never happened.
She runs a simulation using Japan’s supercomputer based on 100 patterns of climate scenarios before and after the Industrial Revolution period.
Input data were the density of CO2, the temperature of the sea surface and some other observatory data, and output was average temperatures of Japan’s atmosphere at the altitude of around 1,500 m.
As the result, the possibility of having the similar heat pattern before the Industrial Revolution period was calculated to be 0.00003%, while it was 19.9% after the period, suggesting the causal relationship between the post-Industrial Revolution period and the unusual weathers observed in Japan.
4. Toyota Announced A New Service “KINTO”
Toyota announced on November 1 that it would launch a subscription service titled “KINTO” in early 2019.
Its subscribers can pick and choose favorite cars individually as long as they pay a fixed monthly fee.
The fee covers insurance, tax and maintenance expenses, while users have to bear the cost of parking and gasoline.
They can switch their cars under certain conditions.
Toyota also announced that it would begin a car sharing service within this year.
Now that the trend of declining population in Japan is palpable, the Japanese car companies are rushing to come up with some new business models to keep their domestic car production rate intact.