News Digest: What’s Happening in Japan (Mar 9)

In Hyogo prefecture a 40 year old man has been arrested after he has admitted to stabbing 5 people aged between 60 and 80 years. All five have died in consequence. The man refuses to make any other statement without his lawyer.

Four years after the nuclear accident in Fukushima decontamination works are still going slow. Contaminated soil is amassing and only recently plans for a temporary storage site have been publicized.

Today Germany’s chancellor Angela Merkel has arrived in Japan. She is expected to urge prime minister Abe to exit nuclear power for good. Today she has already visited the National Museum of Emerging Science and Innovation (日本科学未来館) to inspect the next generation photovoltaic batteries Japan is constructing. She has also been greeted by the robot “Asimo” (probably alluding to Asimov) with the English words “I hear you like soccer”, as the Japanese news agency NHK has proudly proclaimed.

Japanese SMUs that employ 70% of the workforce might face a bad time in this year’s annual spring time wage negotiations. The sudden weakening of the Yen and the decreased consumer’s demand has led to less profit. SMUs are unable to compete with the big company wage-wise. Last year the wage increase rate was near zero and this year isn’t expected to go any better.

In order to protect foreign workers on job training in Japan from human rights violations prime minister Abe has proposed a new supervisory agency that will conduct visits to organizations and companies employing foreigners to make sure that rules are being followed. He also proposed a change of Immigration law to add a new resident status for elderly care. Japan has a deficiency in nurses even though they have the oldest population on earth, followed by Germany on second place.

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