According to The Nikkei Asia, Japan welcomed nearly 500,000 visitors from abroad in October, more than double the figure in September, after the country fully opened its borders last month.
Figures released by the Japan National Tourism Organization -- the first since the government restored visa-free entry for individual travelers on 11 Oct -- show 498,600 visitors entered the country, up from 206,500 in September.
Still, Japan has a long way to go to revive an industry that saw nearly 2.5 million arrivals in October 2019, before the COVID-19 pandemic.
According to The Asahi Shimbun, Japanese trading and other companies outside the manufacturing sector benefitted enormously from the steep fall in the value of the Japanese currency in recent months, whereas the performance of manufacturers was patchy due to a surge in prices of materials caused by the cheaper yen.
But overall, bottom-line profits posted by Japanese companies listed in the First Section of the Tokyo Stock Exchange before the regrouping of the TSE this spring, are projected to be a record for any six-month period, according to SMBC Nikko Securities Inc.
According to The Australian Financial Review, the head in Australia of trading giant Mitsui has come out strongly in support of the development of Woodside Energy’s massive Browse LNG project in Western Australia, saying Japan will need LNG from Australia for decades to come as well as new clean fuels such as low-carbon ammonia and hydrogen.
In his only interview since taking up the role of chairman and CEO of Mitsui Australia on April 1, Masato Sugahara said the Japanese firm is also keen to stay a minority partner in the Woodside-led North West Shelf venture and will continue to look for opportunities for new LNG investments here.
“Looking at Japan’s energy resources breakdown, LNG is going to be still an important resource out to 2050, but we need to think about methods to minimise greenhouse gas emissions by CCS (carbon capture and storage) or other technological solutions,” Mr Sugahara told The Australian Financial Review.
According to The Australian Financial Review, Woodside Energy has signalled it will consider using its pre-emption rights against a shock move by Japan’s Tokyo Gas to transfer its interest in the Pluto LNG project in Western Australia – part of a broader $US2.15 billion ($3.37 billion) deal announced recently – to US private equity firm EIG.
Tokyo Gas’ 5 per cent stake in Pluto is one of four minority interests held by the giant Japanese LNG buyer in Australian LNG projects that are set to pass to EIG’s new MidOcean Energy subsidiary in what is the first significant sign of a Japanese firm exiting gas ventures driven partly by the need to cut emissions.
According to The Asahi Shimbun, Sony Corp. will begin selling a device to medical institutions in spring next year that can measure one’s sense of smell and could help detect dementia early on, the electronics giant announced.
A person’s sense of smell is believed to decline in the early stages of dementia.
The device measures about 40 centimeters in length and width.
It emits five types of odors such as a flower, fruit and the smell of something rotting. By changing the strength of these emissions, the equipment can produce a total of 40 odors.
According to The Asahi Shimbun, Tokyo will oblige homebuilders to outfit their newly built homes and buildings with solar panels starting in April 2025.
A legislative measure to introduce quotas for solar panel installations will be submitted to the metropolitan assembly in December this year, according to a Sept. 9 announcement by the Tokyo metropolitan government.
But it will not come with penalties to enforce the new requirements.
According to The Asahi Shimbun, vegetables and fruits often get damaged or misshapen due to intense heat and torrential rain in Japan. Though just as tasty as the regular produce, they are often excluded from supermarket shelves.
However, food delivery and online sales companies are now selling these products for direct shipment to people’s homes.
The companies’ offerings are proving popular as the imperfect produce are cheaper than more standard fare, leading to less food waste.
According to The Nikkei Asia, Japan will resume visa-free entry for individual travelers on 11 Oct, Prime Minister Fumio Kishida announced Thursday in New York, bringing its border rules close to pre-pandemic norms for the first time in about two and a half years.
Starting on 11 Oct, short-term visitors will no longer be required to apply for tourist visas. Before the pandemic, Japan allowed visa-free short-term travel from people from 68 countries and regions, such as Singapore, Malaysia, Thailand, Hong Kong and the U.S. And with no need to book tours through travel agencies, it will be easier to visit.
According to The Asahi Shimbun, average overall land prices in Japan rebounded from a three-year slump, while residential properties gained in value for the first time in 31 years, a land ministry report showed 20 Sept.
The overall average increased year on year by 0.3 percent as of July 1, while residential land prices edged up 0.1 percent, according to the report.
The rises reflect growing demand for homes and stores as economic activities pick up steam following the easing of restrictions related to the novel coronavirus pandemic.
According to The Nikkei Asia, the Japanese government is considering moves to jump-start demand for domestic tourism, along with plans to further open Japan's borders to international travelers, to boost the economy.
Plans are also underway to allow individual travelers from overseas to enter Japan by October and to ease border controls, such as by allowing short-term visa-free stays for visitors from the U.S. and other countries. The government hopes to boost the economy by stimulating both domestic and international tourism.
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