1. New 5 Year Maritime Policy Emphasize National Security
The Abe Cabinet approved and released the 3rd Maritime Basic Plan that provides policy guidline for the five years from JFY2018 to JFY2022.
According to Yomiuri, it mentions how to respond the North Korean ballistic missile threat for the first time.
It also prioritizes the necessity of enhancing the ability to patrol Japan’s territorial waters and Exclusive Economic Zone (EEZ) as well as remote islands defense capability.
For these purposes, the plan is to strengthen Japan’s Maritime Domain Awareness.
It also states a policy to positively participate in an international rulemaking opportunities to mitigate the Arctic Ocean’s sea ice reduction due to global warming.
2. Listed Companies’ Bottom-line Marked Highest Ever
Among all the companies listed in the Tokyo Stock Exchange’s 1st Section, 1,312 companies have already announced their individual financial results of their fiscal 2017s.
SMBC Nikko Security summed up all the results to analyze the overall performance.
According to the analysis, the total revenue and the total profit after tax went up by 7.6% and 24.7% respectively in comparison with FY2016s’ data.
The total profit after tax of FY2016s was 23.5 trillion yen, which was the highest ever as of last year.
But, The total PAT of FY2017s (30.1 trillion yen ($27.4 billion)) surpassed the highest record.
Their good results are attributable to relatively weak yen and favorable overseas market conditions including the U.S. tax reduction.
As for the prospect for FY2018s, the PAT might not further grow due to relatively strong yen and negative effect by the U.S.-China trade war, Yomiuri suggested.
3. 1st Quarter GDP Downed For The First Time Since 4th Quarter 2015
The Cabinet Office announced on the 16th that Japan’s January-March 2018 GDP went down by 0.2% from the previous quarter.
This means a 0.6% GDP reduction on an annually adjusted basis.
Japan’s economy marked 8 consecutive quarters of positive growth and this past quarter is the first minus growth since the 4th quarter of 2015.
Consumer spending stayed flat, while capital and housing investment decreased by 0.1% and 2.1% respectively in the first quarter.
Although salary and wage are increasing, so are key prices including gasoline, beer, utility etc.
The prospect for the next quarter is not necessarily bright, economists here state.
4. iPS Cell Based Cardiac Muscle Transplanting Clinical Research Begins
According to Yomiuri, the Ministry of Welfare and Labor conditionally accepted the plan presented by Osaka University’s research team for iPS cell based cardiac muscle transplanting clinical research.
The research team receives iPS cells from Kyoto University’s iPS cell storage and cultures them to be cardiac muscle cells.
Then, the cardiac muscle cells are processed to be two slices with the diameter of a few centimeters and the thickness of 0.1 mm.
The two slices of the cultured cardiac muscle cells are transplanted to a patient with ischemic cardiomyopathy.
The transplanted muscle cells are expected to induce the patient’s heart to regenerate its own cardiac muscle.
Three patients are expected to agree to undergo this clinical research for their treatment.
It will take a year after the transplant to conclude the safety and effectiveness of this treatment.
5. Hitachi Organizing Finance Scheme For Nuclear Power Plant Construction In UK
Yomiuri reported on the 17th that Hitachi is reaching an agreement with the UK Government for a loan package in the amount of 2 trillion yen or larger ($18.2 B) to finance its project to build two nuclear power plants on the Anglesey Island in the UK.
Hitachi took over this project from a UK based nuclear power business company by the name of Horizon Nuclear Power when it acquired this UK company in 2012.
Hitachi already organized the Japanese Government participation and according to Yomiuri, the total project cost of 3 trillion yen ($27.3 B) will be financed as follows:
Paid in capital: 30% of the total cost (10% each by Hitachi, Japanese Government affiliated financial institutions, and a group of UK Government and companies)
Loan: 70% (UK Government and its affiliated financial institutions)
Although there was a strong mood against the nuclear power plant in the public of the UK up to early 2000s, the nation decided to come back to nuclear power source due to the tapering production of oil and gas in the North Sea.
The two power plants on the Anglesey Island are expected to begin their operation in the early 2020s.