Australia-Japan News | February 2022

Australia-Japan News | February 2022

This page collates links to interesting articles that provide a picture of what is happening in Japan and in the Australia-Japan relationship, with brief summaries of their content.

While we don’t claim this list to be comprehensive, and some of the articles may be behind paywalls, we hope it will evolve into a valuable resource that assists members and subscribers in keeping up to date and provides a record of key developments… make sure to check back regularly to see the latest.

The February archive is below.
You can also view: December 2021 | January 2022 | March 2022 | April 2022 | May 2022 | June 2022 | Current month

* indicates the article is behind a paywall.

February 2022
Mitsubishi Estate appoints Australian Melanie Brock to board*

Mitsubishi Estate announced Thursday it has appointed Melanie Brock AM as a non-executive director of the company. Mitsubishi Estate has already invested in the Australian commercial property market in partnerships with Oxford Properties and Investa, Crown Group and Lendlease. The appointment indicates that the company is seeking new skills and networks for its board as it intends to make further expansion into overseas markets. Read more >

Quarantine lifted for travellers from Australia

From 1 March, travellers from Australia who test negative for COVID-19 on their arrival in Japan and who hold vaccine certificates (including booster dose) that fulfil the conditions set by the Japanese government are exempt from quarantine and are allowed to use public transport after their arrival. All the other restrictions still apply. Read more >

Japan lower house OKs record 107.6 trillion yen budget for FY 2022

Japan’s lower house approved Tuesday a 107.60 trillion yen (US$938 billion) draft budget for fiscal 2022, a record high for the 10th year in a row. Under the next fiscal year’s initial budget, the largest-ever amount of 36.27 trillion yen will be spent on social security services (accounting for over a third of total national expenditure) and defense spending will be 5.40 trillion yen, a record high for the eighth year in a row, as Japan seeks to increase its capabilities in new domains such as cyberspace and outer space in the face of regional challenges and invest in research and development for advanced technologies such as crewless planes using artificial intelligence. Read more >

Japan to raise COVID entry cap, cut quarantine period from March

Prime Minister Fumio Kishida said Thursday Japan will ease its COVID-19 border restrictions from March by raising the daily cap on entrants to 5,000 (including Japanese citizens), up from the current 3,500 and cutting the quarantine period from 7 days to 3 days for both Japanese and foreign nationals. Within the daily cap, foreign nationals will be able to enter Japan for purposes other than tourism. In December, foreign travellers coming into the country fell to an average 767 per day, according to the Immigration Services Agency (source: Nikkei Asia). Read more >

Away from Myanmar, Kirin pivots to craft beer in U.S. and Australia*

Kirin Holdings announced it would exit joint ventures in Myanmar and China due to political instability in Myanmar and China’s saturated drink market. Now the company is redirecting its focus on more profitable craft beer and probiotics businesses particularly in the U.S. and Australia. In December, Kirin made a 40 billion yen acquisition of Australian craft beer maker Fermentum Group. The company’s offshore craft beer sales account for roughly 10% of group-wide beer revenue. Kirin is also expanding sales routes for its proprietary plasma probiotics in Western markets. Read more >

Sekisui House grows presence in North-West Sydney through agreement with Stockland

Sekisui House Australia announced on Wednesday it has entered into an agreement with Stockland, which will enable Sekisui House to design and construct over 300 homes across Stockland’s Elara and The Gables communities in north-west Sydney. The agreement will also allow Stockland to develop the Lakeside precinct at Sekisui House’s residential community in Gledswood Hills. Read more >

Japan GDP rebounds to annualized 5.4% rise in October-December*

The Cabinet Office data showed Japan’s economy in the October-December period grew a real 1.3% from the previous quarter, or an annualized 5.4%, as the COVID-19 state of emergency was lifted and consumption picked up. In the entire year of 2021, the Japanese economy grew 1.7%, making the first expansion in three years. Japan’s seasonally-adjusted real GDP recorded 541 trillion yen, which remains below the pre-pandemic level of late 2019, falling short by around 1 trillion yen. Read more >

Nippon Steel and deepC Store sign Joint Study Agreement on Capturing and Transporting Liquefied CO2 to Offshore Floating CCS hub project

Nippon Steel Corporation and deepC Store have signed a Joint Study Agreement to assess the commercial feasibility of capturing and transporting liquefied CO2 from Nippon Steel’s steelworks to CStore1, deepC Store’s flagship offshore floating CO2 Capture and Storage (CCS) hub project. deepC Store’s existing partners including CSIRO and several other Japanese companies will collaborate with Nippon Steel to conduct the Joint Study. Read more >

Japan venture to build country’s first nuclear fusion power plant

A Japanese startup, Kyoto Fusioneering, plans to build Japan’s first experimental plant to generate power through nuclear fusion. The technology is drawing attention as a new way of producing energy without emitting carbon dioxide. The venture has already raised 2 billion yen (source: Nikkei Asia*) from Japanese investors and banks. The Japanese government promotes research and development of fusion energy as part of its clean energy strategy and plans to set up an expert panel. Read more >

Kishida says Japan looking to ease entry restrictions on foreign workers and students

Prime Minister Kishida said Saturday that the government is considering easing Japan’s tight entry restrictions for non-resident foreign nationals. More details are to follow as early as next week. The current border measures are set to end on 28 Feb. There has been growing criticism of the entry ban from many academics and business leaders, saying the extended border closure has affected investment, business deals, product development as well as the speed of economic recovery. Read more >

Aging infrastructure a major roadblock to Japan’s future*

According to the Ministry of Land, Infrastructure, Transport and Tourism, 63% of all road bridges, 62% of flood barriers and other river facilities and 42% of tunnels in Japan will be at least 50 years old by 2033. 50 years is usually seen as the normal life span for most infrastructure. The Ministry said in fiscal 2020, only 20% of local governments used drones and other advanced technologies to inspect bridges. Japan’s investment in public works has been dropping as spending for social security expenditure has been increasing due to its aging population. Read more >

UCC acquires all shares in Suntory Coffee Australia

UCC Holdings (Hyogo based) and Suntory Beverage and Food (Tokyo based) have come to an agreement to transfer all the shares in Suntory Coffee Australia Limited to a newly established Australian subsidiary of UCC Holdings. Suntory Coffee Australia operates fresh coffee business mainly in Oceania. UCC said it is entering into a stable and growing coffee market in Australia and New Zealand with the transaction.
(Scroll down the page for English text) Read more >

Major Japanese Firms’ Net Profit Grows 80 Pct in April-Dec*

The net profit of major Japanese companies rose by about 80 percent from a year earlier in April-December 2021 due to a global economic recovery from the COVID-19 pandemic, according to SMBC Nikko Securities Inc. Trading houses and shipping companies supported the overall growth. Steelmakers and automakers also performed well. Read more >

Japan looks to boost daily booster shots to 1 mil. doses within Feb.

Prime Minister Kishida said on Monday he wants to speed up Japan’s COVID-19 booster shot program to 1 million shots a day by the end of the month, aiming to double the current pace. The nation’s new daily cases exceeded 100,000 a day for the first time last week. Also on Monday, the Self-Defense Forces reopened a mass vaccination center again in Osaka, which follows the reopening of a similar site in Tokyo last week. Read more >

Mitsubishi, Mitsui to team up for CO2 storage off Australia

MIMI (Mitsubishi and Mitsui 50-50 joint venture), Woodside Petroleum and BP are jointly conducting feasibility studies on Carbon Capture and Storage (CCS) technology in the seabed off Western Australia. The companies aim to begin operation of the facilities around 2030 and look at the possibility of transporting and storing CO2 emitted by Japanese companies. Read more >

Japan cuts COVID isolation for close contacts to 7 days*

Japan has cut the self-isolation period for people who come in close contact with someone with COVID-19 to seven days from a maximum of 17, in light of the low risk of symptoms appearing after that point, Health Minister Shigeyuki Goto announced Wednesday. Read more >

Fujitsu acquires Microsoft specialist, oobe, fueling growth ambitions through its programmatic M&A strategy

AJBCC Member Fujitsu Australia announced it has acquired an Australian Microsoft-specialist service provider, oobe, which has offices in Canberra, Brisbane, Melbourne, Sydney and NZ. This acquisition is part of Fujitsu’s growth strategy and will enable Fujitsu to leverage oobe’s market-leading expertise and experience as a leading Microsoft cloud, modern workplace, and security provider. This acquisition follows Fujitsu’s recent acquisition of Versor. Read more >