- PM Abe Inclining Against Double Elections
It had been speculated earlier that PM Abe would dissolve the House of Representatives soon to hold national election of the lower house members at the same time of the upper house election scheduled in this summer.
However, it was reportedly revealed that PM Abe seemingly decided against the simultaneous elections considering the risk of rather losing the present share of the seats due to the lack of critical issue.
He rather aims at winning the election of the House of Councilors not only to keep the majority by winning 57 seats out of the total seats to be reelected this time (121), but also to reach two thirds of the entire seats together with New Komei and some others so that Amendment to the Constitution can be initiated.
Having said that the successful conclusion of the G-7 Summit this week in Japan, in which he took good initiatives as well as his presence in the historic event of President Obama’s visit to Hiroshima should potentially enhance his approval rating in the public and therefore, some media are still anticipating last minute dissolution of the lower house for simultaneous two chambers elections.
- Birth Rate Recovered to 1.46
The Ministry of Welfare and Labor announced Japan’s 2015 demographic statistics on May 23.
The birth rate was 1.46 and it is for the first time since 1994 for the rate to exceed 1.45.
Other major statistics are as follows:
Number of birth: 1,005,656 ( 2,117 up from 2014)
Number of death: 1,290,428 (17,424 up)
Population decrease: 284,772
Average age of first marriage: Male 31.1 years old, Female 29.4 years old (both are same as 2014’s)
- Corporate Profit Marked Highest Ever
It was revealed that the aggregated operating profit of the companies listed in the Tokyo Stock Exchange’s 1st Division for fiscal 2015 ending March 31, 2016 surpassed the highest record marked in fiscal 2007 right before the global economic crisis.
Automobile companies achieved substantial increase of profit through exports thanks to relatively weak yen, while retail and transportation industries recognized sharp increase of revenue from the growing number of foreign visitors.
- G-7 Summit and President Obama’s Visit To Hiroshima
Despite the fact that the G-7 Summit was held hundreds of kilometers west of Tokyo and Hiroshima is further west, heavy security was in place in Tokyo and in other unrelated major cities in Japan in this week.
Likewise, the two events dominated the air and paper of the media in Japan this week.
Unlike the past prime ministers, PM Abe took very visible and proactive initiatives as host in every part of the events including his escort of the other leaders to Ise Shrine, a private meeting with President Obama, inserting his “three arrow growth strategy” in the G-7 communique, offering to the leaders a ride on Japanese FCV, and his escort of President Obama’s visit to Hiroshima.
In this sense, he as well as the Ise Shima resort, local food (Ise lobster, Matsuzaka beef etc.) and local pear, an accessory of which was presented as gift achieved high score through this week.