Government officials on Monday said that Japan would be expected to pay an additional reconstruction cost of 1.5 trillion yen (13.8 billion U.S. dollars) for the March 2011 earthquake, tsunami, and nuclear crisis in northeastern Japan.
According to the government, the additional costs will be generated in the fiscal period between 2021 and 2025.
The officials said that Prime Minister Shinzo Abe’s cabinet would likely adopt a draft reconstruction policy drawn up by a government committee by the end of the year, while related bills are expected to be submitted during 2020 ordinary Diet session.
According to the government, the total expenditure for reconstruction work through 2020 is estimated at slightly more than 31 trillion yen (285.2 billion dollars).
According to the draft, the government will use tax revenue including an increase in income tax 2020 to fund the reconstruction works from fiscal 2021 to 2025.
The Japanese government also plans to extend the work of the Reconstruction Agency for an extra 10 years, compared to its closure originally planned to take place in March 2021 so that it can continue aiding reconstruction of areas contaminated by the Fukushima Daiichi nuclear plant disaster.
Established in February 2012, the agency has been working as the central control point for efforts to reconstruct disaster-stricken areas.
Edited by: Emmanuel Yashim
Edited by: Hadiza Mohammed
Osaka withdraws from French Open with ‘hamstring’ injury
Japan’s Naomi Osaka has withdrawn from the upcoming French Open with a hamstring injury.
The 22-year-old had her left hamstring taped when she battled back against Victoria Azarenka in the United States Open final in New York on Saturday to win her third Grand Slam title.
“Unfortunately, I won’t be able to play the French Open this year,” the world number three wrote on social media in a message she also posted in Japanese.
“My hamstring is still sore so I won’t have time to prepare for the clay – these two tournaments came too close to each other for me this time.
“I wish the organizers and players all the best.”
French Open will be held from Sept. 27 to Oct. 11 after being moved from its usual late May-June slot due to the coronavirus pandemic.
The hamstring issue had prompted Osaka to withdraw from the final of the Western & Southern Open in the run-up to the United States Open but it did not appear to hamper her at Flushing Meadows.
Osaka made headlines in New York as much for her performances on court as for her commitment to social justice causes.
For each of her United States Open matches she wore a different mask that carried the name of a Black American, aiming to highlight racial injustice in the United States to a wider audience.
The withdrawal of Osaka, who has never advanced past the third round at Roland Garros, comes as another blow to the tournament after world number one Ash Barty of Australia said she would not be defending her title due to COVID-19 concerns.
On the men’s side, Roger Federer will not compete as he continues to recover from knee surgery.
Osaka’s absence would improve Serena Williams’s chances of winning a record-tying 24th Grand Slam title if the American chooses to play.
The 38-year-old has pulled out of the Italian Open with an Achilles issue.
It had previously said the clay court major would permit a maximum of 11,500 fans per day.
Edited By: Sadiya Hamza
Iran’s Rouhani expects to further develop relations with Japan under new PM
Iranian President Hassan Rouhani on Thursday congratulated Yoshihide Suga on becoming Japan’s new prime minister and expressed hope for the further development of bilateral relations.
On Wednesday, Suga, the leader of Japan’s ruling Liberal Democratic Party, was officially confirmed as the new prime minister, replacing Shinzo Abe.
“I hope that under your leadership, friendly relations between Iran and Japan and mutual cooperation in various fields, especially trade and economic, will continue to develop,” Rouhani said in a message to Suga.
According to the Iranian leader, permanent contacts between the two countries, including mutual visits by their prime ministers in 2019, opened a new chapter in the development of bilateral relations.
Edited By: Emmanuel Yashim
Bank of Japan maintains ultra easing policy to prop up economy
Japan’s central bank decided on Thursday to keep its ultra-loose monetary policy to prop up the recession-hit economy, rocked by the coronavirus pandemic and a consumption tax hike last year.
“Japan’s economy has started to pick up with economic activity resuming gradually, although it has remained in a severe situation due to the impact of the novel coronavirus at home and abroad,” the Bank of Japan said in a statement issued after a two-day monetary policy meeting.
The bank will continue to purchase government bonds without setting an upper limit and exchange-traded funds at an annual pace of about 12 trillion yen (114 billion dollars).
Prime Minister Yoshihide Suga, who took office on Wednesday, vowed to continue his predecessor Shinzo Abe’s economic policy called “Abenomics,” which is based on the “three arrows” of fiscal stimulus, monetary easing, and structural reforms.
However, Abe’s government had failed to produce solid economic growth due to sluggish consumer spending and stagnant wages since he was inaugurated in December 2012.
The bank launched a monetary easing campaign in 2013 to reach a 2-per-cent inflation target within about two years.
The inflation rate, however, has never even come close to the goal.
On Wednesday, the United States Federal Reserve maintained its benchmark interest rate range at near-zero, and indicated it will do so until 2023, with the aim of keeping borrowing costs ultra-low until the labour market recovers and inflation picks up.
Edited By: Emmanuel Yashim
COVID-19: Kano Govt secures $1.1m grant from EU, Japan
Abba Anwar, the Chief Press Secretary to Gov. Abdullahi Ganduje, stated this in a statement on Wednesday in Kano.
Anwar disclosed that about 1,600 individuals and 630 Small and Medium Scale Enterprises (SMEs) would benefit from the facility under a Cash-For-Work arrangement.
He said: “The grant will go a long way in supporting communities badly affected by the pandemic.”
The statement quoted Habibu Hotoro, the Special Adviser to Gov. Abdullahi Ganduje on Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs), as saying that the grant would alleviate post COVID-19 sufferings experienced by the people.
It also quoted Lezlem Dinku, UNDP Officer in Nigeria, as noting that the United Nations had undertaken several initiatives to support the communities affected by the pandemic in the country.
“The COVID-19 pandemic has caused infections, deaths and untold hardships to the most vulnerable particularly the urban poor in hotspot locations across the nation.
“It is in this regard that UNDP in Nigeria in collaboration with the government of Japan initiated a project to support selected vulnerable communities affected by the socio-economic impact of COVID-19, to minimise the impact of job and livelihood losses and also help contain the spread of the virus.
“We have identified Kano as key target state and we will be working closely with your office and selected communities in implementing this initiative.” Dinku was quoted as saying in the statement.
The statement further quoted Gov. Ganduje as directing SDG’s office to ensure that only most vulnerable people were targeted for participation in the programme.
It disclosed that the governor also directed the SDGs office to open 500 new bank accounts for those who never benefited in the previous interventions in the state.
“The governor directed that all bank charges must be paid on behalf of those identified and selected beneficiaries to effectively cushion the effect of the hardships caused by the pandemic.”
Edited By: Chioma Ugboma