Japan

Science • Space
NASA's Artemis Accords to guide moon exploration signed by eight nations
NASA's Artemis Accords to guide moon exploration signed by eight nations
Credit: NASA

Australia, Canada, Italy, Japan, Luxembourg, the United Arab Emirates, the United Kingdom and the United States of America have signed on as founding member nations to NASA's Artemis Accords, an international agreement that "will help to avoid conflict in space and on Earth by strengthening mutual understanding and reducing misperceptions."

"Artemis will be the broadest and most diverse international human space exploration program in history, and the Artemis Accords are the vehicle that will establish this singular global coalition," so NASA Administrator Jim Bridenstine. "With today's signing, we are uniting with our partners to explore the Moon and are establishing vital principles that will create a safe, peaceful, and prosperous future in space for all of humanity to enjoy."

Business • Media & Advertising
Netflix removes free test month in some countries
Netflix removes free test month in some countries
Credit: Illustration: Pendect, Ashley Winkler – Logo via Netflix (Creative Commons Attribution ShareAlike 4.0)

Netflix, the largest video streaming provider, has cancelled the free trial period in many countries without notice.

Markets, including the United States, Canada, Great Britain, Australia and Japan have switched over to a model where the second month is free.

The 30-day trial subscription is no longer available in Germany and France either. In some other countries, nothing has changed yet.

Business • Economy
Disney to lay off 28,000 employees as Covid-19 affects its theme park business
Disney to lay off 28,000 employees as Covid-19 affects its theme park business
Credit: Joe Penniston (Creative Commons Attribution 2.0)

In a memo sent to employees on Tuesday, Disney announced it would lay off 28,000 employees across its parks, experiences and consumer products segment. Around 67% of the laid-off workers were part-time employees.

The company blamed prolonged closures and capacity limits at open parks for the layoffs. While Disney's theme parks in Florida, Paris, Shanghai, Japan and Hong Kong have been able to reopen with limited capacity, both California theme parks have remained shuttered.

Regional News • Asia • Japan
Yoshihide Suga elected by the Liberal Democratic Party to succeed Shinzo Abe
Yoshihide Suga
Yoshihide Suga Credit: 内閣官房内閣広報室 (Creative Commons Attribution ShareAlike 4.0)

Yoshihide Suga, chief cabinet secretary of Shinzo Abe administration, was voted to be the leade of the Liberal Democratic Party, the governing party of Japan. Suga is considered to be a close ally of Abe.

There will be another vote Wednesday in parliament, where Suga is almost certain to be made prime minister because of his party majority.

Taking over mid-term, Mr Suga is expected to finish the rest of the current period, until elections in September 2021.

Climate & Environment
Two typhoons heading towards Korean Peninsula
Super Typhoon Maysak 2020, Okinawa (31Aug 0000Z - 1Sep 0600Z)
Super Typhoon Maysak 2020, Okinawa (31Aug 0000Z - 1Sep 0600Z) Credit: Tropical Cyclone Radar Loops by Brian McNoldy, Univ. of Miami, Rosenstiel School

Typhoon Maysak is projected to make landfall on the southern Korean Peninsula on Wednesday night. Maysak is currently a category 4 hurricane but should weaken to a category 2. Heavy rain and strong storms are expected for Wednesday and Tuesday.

Tropical Storm Haishen will most likely turn into a typhoon in the next 24 hours and strike parts of Japan over the weekend.

The Korean Peninsula is experiencing the wettest monsoon season in recent history and countries are preparing for the storms.

Technology • Smartphones, Hardware & Gadgets
Japan's 'flying car' gets off ground, with a person aboard
Japan's 'flying car' gets off ground, with a person aboard
Credit: SkyDrive

Japan's SkyDrive Inc., among the myriads of "flying car" projects around the world, has carried out a successful though modest test flight with one person aboard.

Regional News • Asia • Japan
Japan: Shinzo Abe announces resignation

Japan's longest-serving prime minister Shinzo Abe has resigned due to his health. He suffers from the bowel disease colitis. He will stay in office until his successor is chosen.

Abe gave a press conferences on Friday. He said: "Even though there is one year to go in my tenure and there are challenges to be met, I have decided to stand down as prime minister."

About his illness, he said: "For almost eight years I controlled my chronic disease, however, this year in June I had a regular check-up and there was a sign of the disease. I made a judgment that I should not continue my job as prime minister. I need to fight the disease and need to be treated."

Regional News • Asia • Japan
Japan: Shinzo Abe said to be stepping down due to declining health
Japan: Shinzo Abe said to be stepping down due to declining health
Credit: 首相官邸ホームページ / Wikimedia Commons (Creative Commons Attribution 4.0)

Japan's Prime Minister Shinzo Abe is said to be stepping down due to his declining health. The news was first announced by Japan's national broadcaster NHK. It was later confirmed by a ruling party member. Abe has been serving as prime minister for almost eight years.

Technology • Smartphones, Hardware & Gadgets
Japanese startup Donut Robotics invents tech "smart mask" that can translate Japanese into 8 languages
Japanese startup Donut Robotics invents tech "smart mask" that can translate Japanese into 8 languages
Credit: Donut Robotics (Reproduction)

The white "c-mask" by Japanese startup Donut Robotics that can translate Japanese into eight different languages. The tech smart mask needs to be worn over standard face masks to ensure protection and can amplify the mask wearer’s voice, make calls, transcribe speech and translate languages. The first 5,000 masks will be shipped to Japanese buyers in September but the company is looking to expand their market into China, the US and Europe at a later date.

Technology • Internet & Web
Japan likely to ban TikTok for alleged sharing of domestic user data with Chinese Government
Japan likely to ban TikTok for alleged sharing of domestic user data with Chinese Government
Credit: unsplash.com/visuals

According to the Japanese national broadcaster NHK, Japan is seeking to ban TikTok for the app's alleged sharing of domestic user data with the Chinese Government. A group of lawmakers has proposed the ban of several in China developed apps which will most likely be submitted to the government by September. Early this year, India banned several Chinese apps, including TikTok, WeChat and others.

Regional News • Asia
Armenia government approves social development help from Japan
Representative image of an ambulance
Representative image of an ambulance Credit: unsplash.com / RAYMOND Wong

The government of Armenia has approved a law to ratify an agreement between Japan and Armenia with the aim to develop the economic cooperation of the countries.

According to the agreement Japan will provide a grant for economic and social development purposes worth around $3,7 million. The Armenia government has committed to use the funds to purchase four-wheel ambulances and vehicles to provide remote regions with improved medical care.

Regional News • Asia • Japan
Japan reports 1,259 new Covid-19 infections - highest daily number so far
Japan reports 1,259 new Covid-19 infections - highest daily number so far
Credit: unsplash.com / Jérémy Stenuit

The number of newly reported Covid-19 cases has reached 1,259 across the country. With that Japan has crossed 1,000 new infections on a single day for the first time. The total number of confirmed cases in Japan is 34,215 including people in quarantine at airports as well as passengers and crew members on cruise ships.

All 47 prefectures in Japan have now reported Covid-19 cases.

Science • Space
UAE launched its first mission to Mars successfully
"We have lift-off. H2A, the rocket carrying the Hope Probe to space, has launched from the Tanegashima Space Centre in Japan."
"We have lift-off. H2A, the rocket carrying the Hope Probe to space, has launched from the Tanegashima Space Centre in Japan." Credit: @HopeMarsMission via Twitter

UAE's Mars Hope lift-off was a success. On Sunday the United Arab Emirates launched its Hope probe, a probe designed to orbit Mars to gather data from the Red Planet, from the Tanegashima Space Centre in Japan. The probe, which should reach March sometime in February 2021, will track day-to-night cycles of the planet's weather over the period of a Martian year which equals 687 days on Earth.

Regional News • Asia
Japan to pay $536 million to companies for moving production out of China
Japan to pay $536 million to companies for moving production out of China
Credit: Chris / CC BY-SA (Creative Commons Attribution ShareAlike 2.0)

According to Bloomberg the Japanese government has announced that it'll pay 57 companies a total of $536 million in subsidies in order to move production from factories in China back to Japan or other countries.

This follows after the government has announced in April that it aims to reduce the dependency on Chinese supply chains. Another 30 companies will receive additional funds for an undisclosed amount.

Climate & Environment
Japan implements mandatory fee for plastic bags
Japan implements mandatory fee for plastic bags
Credit: unsplash.com / Brian Yurasits

The Japanese government has implemented a mandatory rule for all retail outlets to charge costumers for plastic bags. The previously free plastic bags will now only be handed out for a fee.

The goal is to reduce plastic waste as the bags often end up in oceans and decompose there into microplastics which enter the food chain.

Law
Japan requests the U.S. extradition of men accused of helping Carlos Ghosn escape
Carlos Ghosn
Carlos Ghosn Credit: Ecole polytechnique (Creative Commons Attribution 2.0)

The Government of Japan has formally requested the U.S. State Department to extradite Michael Taylor and his son, Peter Taylor, accused of helping Carlos Ghosn flee the country. Ghosn, the former CEO of Nissan Motor, fled Japan in December after claims of financial misconduct.

Michael Taylor, a former Green Beret, and Peter Taylor were arrested in Harvard, Massachusetts, on May 20 at the Japanese Governments request.

Lifestyle • Travel
All Asia Disney parks have reopened after 4-month closure
Entrance of Disneyland Tokyo, Japan
Entrance of Disneyland Tokyo, Japan Credit: unsplash.com/Roméo A.

With the reopening of the Disney Resort in Tokyo, all of Disney's Asian parks have reopened as of July 1. Disneyland in Shanghai has opened its doors for visitors in May and Disneyland Hong Kong welcomed visitors back in June. Visitors have to follow social distancing rules and wear masks at all times. Disneyland Tokyo and Japan's DisneySea parks have introduced further safety guidelines such as mandatory temperature checks, advanced ticket bookings and no physical interaction with actors.

Regional News • Americas • South America
Uruguay is the only Latin American country in EU's Covid-19 'safe list'
Munich International Airport passport control
Munich International Airport passport control Credit: Vasyatka1 (Creative Commons Attribution ShareAlike 4.0)

The European Union has named 14 countries whose citizens are deemed "safe" to be let in from July 1, and the only Latin American country is Uruguay.

As infection rates in Brazil, Mexico and Colombia are still high, their nationals will face travel restrictions.

The current list is formed by Algeria, Australia, Canada, Georgia, Japan, Montenegro, Morocco, New Zealand, Rwanda, Serbia, South Korea, Thailand, Tunisia and Uruguay.

Science • Physics & Engineering
CERN approves plans for a €21 billion, 100km long super-collider
View of the LHC tunnel
View of the LHC tunnel Credit: Maximilien Brice, CERN (Creative Commons Attribution ShareAlike 3.0)

CERN has approved plans to build the Future Circular Collider (FCC), a €21 billion super-collider 100 km in circumference. The new collider would smash particles together with over 100 TeV of energy to create more of the elusive Higgs bosons first detected by the Large Hadron Collider (LHC) in 2012.

In a press release, the CERN council said: "Such a machine would produce copious amounts of Higgs bosons in a very clean environment, would make dramatic progress in mapping the diverse interactions of the Higgs boson with other particles and [allow] measurements of extremely high precision".

CERN’s strategy envisions 2038 as the beginning of construction for the new collider. Still, before the institution starts building its new machine, it will have to seek new funding beyond the regular budget it receives from European member states. It is expected countries outside of Europe including the United States, China and Japan might need to help fund the project.

Business • Economy
Hello Kitty founder Shintaro Tsuji retires at age 92
Hello Kitty figures at an amusement park in Guangzhou, China
Hello Kitty figures at an amusement park in Guangzhou, China Credit: unsplash.com/Jiaqi Zhang

The 92-year-old Shintaro Tsuji is retiring as chief executive from Japanese company Sanrio. Tsuji founded the company the Yamanashi Silk Center gift shop in 1960 and renamed it Sanrio in 1973. In 1974, Hello Kitty made its debut on a vinyl coin purse and was later featured on various items, including sneakers, panini makers and chopsticks. Shintaro Tsjui's grandson, Tomokuni Tsuji, will take over the business in July.