Biweekly Update: News on Japan & the Netherlands – Week 15 & 16, 2022

This newsletter was shared with Dujat members on 26-4-2022. The next newsletter was sent out today.
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Update on Japan

The Russian invasion of Ukraine continues to captivate the world, including Japan. Due to the many news updates, we have again compiled a summary of recent developments in Japan regarding this topic:

  • More Japanese companies are pulling out of Russia. (Link to article)
  • NHK providing online information on daily life in Japan in Ukrainian language. (Link to article)
  • Japanese translation service available for Ukrainian evacuees. (Link to article)
  • Ukrainian evacuees without acquaintances in Japan face challenges. (Link to article)
  • Daruma dolls in Ukrainian colors sold to raise money for donations. (Link to article)
  • Japan expels Russian officials to pressure Moscow. (Link to article)
  • Japan enacts legislation to tighten sanctions on Russia. (Link to article)
  • Kishida agrees with PMs of 3 nations to cooperate on Ukraine situation. (Link to article)
  • Japan to send masks, hazmat suits, drones to Ukraine. (Link to article)
  • Foreign Minister Hayashi concerned about human rights abuses against Russians in Japan (Link to article)

The Tokyo Metropolitan Government has decided to ease its requested limit on the number of people permitted at each table in some bars and restaurants, while continuing to call on the public to stay vigilant against the spread of the coronavirus.

The decision was made by a panel of experts and Tokyo Metropolitan Government officials who met on Thursday 21 April to assess infections in the capital.

Tokyo will extend its coronavirus alert until 22 May, to prevent a rebound in cases and avoid a strain on the healthcare system.

The panel expressed concerns about expected high activity in the capital during a string of upcoming holidays from late April through early May.

Despite these concerns, the government will double the capacity in bars and restaurants which are certified as taking anti-virus measures. The number of customers allowed per table will rise to eight from the current four, and they will be permitted to stay for up to two hours.

These requests will not apply to customers who can show they have recently tested negative for the virus.

Uncertified establishments will be asked to continue limiting groups to four people for two-hour stays. They will also be asked to stop serving alcohol by 9:00 p.m.

Tokyo officials will call on residents to avoid crowded places and take precautions when traveling across prefectural borders. They also encourage residents to receive a third dose of the vaccine before the holidays.

Tokyo Governor Koike Yuriko expressed her determination to avoid a resurgence of infections by following anti-infection measures, while accelerating the booster vaccine rollout.

Japan’s health ministry has decided to approve Pfizer and Moderna vaccines for use in providing a fourth coronavirus inoculation.

The decision was made on Monday 25 April at a meeting of an expert panel convened by the ministry. The ministry plans to offer a fourth jab to those who received their third shot at least five months earlier.

It will recommend the fourth dose for people aged 60 or older, and those with underlying conditions, based on data from overseas vaccination programs.

Participants in a separate ministry meeting to be held on Wednesday are to greenlight the inclusion of the fourth vaccination in the public inoculation program so people can get the shot for free.

High-level delegations from Asia-Pacific nations and international organizations have gathered in Japan to discuss water-related issues.

The occasion was the fourth Asia-Pacific Water Summit that opened in the southwestern city of Kumamoto, and took place in the weekend of 23-24 April. Japan’s Emperor Naruhito and Empress Masako participated in the opening ceremony online.

The Emperor gave an address in English. He said, “I sincerely hope that this fourth Asia-Pacific Water Summit will bear fruitful results and become a momentous step towards meeting water challenges in the Asia-Pacific region and around the world, and thereby will bring about peace and happiness for all human beings.”

Japan’s Prime Minister Kishida Fumio delivered a keynote speech at a summit-level session. He said water-related disasters have been occurring frequently around the world in recent years. He noted that the coronavirus pandemic has brought renewed awareness of the importance of clean water.

He added that improving sanitation is extremely important in eradicating poverty. Kishida announced an initiative to help the Asia-Pacific region address water-related issues. He promised about 500 billion yen, or nearly 4 billion dollars, in aid to the region over the next five years.

The initiative will include measures against climate change, such as improving the hydraulic control capacity of dams and increasing hydropower energy. It also aims to expand facilities for water supply.

Kishida then spoke about Ukraine. He said the international community is at a crucial point to end Russia’s inhumane invasion and protect peace and order. He said the international community should speak out as one by declaring that any unilateral attempt to change the status quo by force will not be tolerated. The delegates adopted the Kumamoto Declaration committed to tackling water-related challenges.

Japan’s MUFG Bank, as well as Sumitomo Mitsui Banking Corp. and Mizuho Bank are taking part in the initiative to finance projects that will help Southeast Asia’s exit from fossil fuels using transitional technologies more suited for the region’s own economic needs. 

Under so-called transition financing, it was said that MUFG Bank and peers will use a list of transitional technologies compiled by an independent think tank to make investment decisions.

The list, which is expected to include carbon storage and fuels blended with ammonia or hydrogen, will be compiled by the Jakarta-based Economic Research Institute for ASEAN and East Asia (ERIA) by fall.

Of the 10 members in the Association of Southeast Asian Nations, seven have pledged to become carbon neutral by 2050, and the remaining three by 2060. The region’s rapid economic development has driven up energy demand, making such a transition particularly challenging.

The European Union is adopting strict green-technology criteria for making investment decisions. But if these become the norm, emerging economies unable to make drastic shifts may see funds dry up. MUFG is working with 18 Asian, U.S. and European lenders to create a framework that will funnel funds to transitional projects.

Instead of merely listing technologies, the ERIA document will lay out a time frame to follow for a specific project.

In the case of mixing ammonia or hydrogen with a fossil fuel at a power plant, for example, the document may say the ratio should reach 40% by 2050 and replace the fossil fuel completely by 2050. Such an endeavor would require assistance in revamping the plant to make it compatible with a fuel blend.

Decarbonizing a manufacturing facility, decommissioning coal-fired power plants, and adopting carbon storage technology are expected to be on the list.

Lenders will also consider other factors. If a coal-fired power plant plans to switch to natural gas, for example, whether the operator or the country’s government has a goal of abandoning coal will factor into the final decision on whether or not to supply funding.

Japan has seen a surge in job-hopping among older workers as companies seek experienced individuals who can help them grow in the post-pandemic era.

The number of workers who changed jobs in the five years through fiscal 2020 doubled among those ages 41 and older, growing at a much faster pace than that for younger people.

Some 10,000 aging workers sought new employment through three recruiting agencies in fiscal 2020, up 1.9 times from five years earlier, according to the Japan Executive Search and Recruitment Association. It was the fastest pace of growth among any age group, with those in their 40s and 50s leading the pack.

In Japan, age 35 has been considered the cutoff for making a meaningful career change because many companies have seniority systems and offer new hires few opportunities for promotion if they are over that age.

Still, the country’s overall jobless rate has not climbed noticeably, thanks to active recruitment by startups as well as established companies embarking on new businesses. Improved job mobility among middle-aged workers could help revitalize the Japanese economy.

Better pay is another incentive for older workers to seek new employment. Ten years ago, those ages 45 to 49 saw their income decline if they switched jobs, but now many of them can expect an increase.

A 2020 labor ministry survey, taking the percentage of workers ages 45 to 49 whose pay increased after a job change and subtracting the percentage of those whose pay decreased, found the number stood at 9.7 points, greatly improved from a negative 8.5 points a decade ago, according to a survey by the labor ministry.

But things are changing. The number of people who registered with Senior Job, an agency specializing in placing older workers, reached 61,500 at the end of 2021, a 2.7-fold increase from 2019.

An increasing number of older workers are changing jobs in part because companies are accelerating restructuring. In 2021, 84 listed companies launched early retirement programs, with 69 of them targeting the curtailment of 15,892 workers altogether, according to Tokyo Shoko Research.

As a result, job placement websites have seen a sharp increase in registrations by former employees of companies that have adopted plans to encourage early retirement. The number of registrations on En Japan by former employees of Japan Tobacco and Aoyama Trading, two companies active in early retirement incentives, has risen by 3.1 and 3.7 times from 2018, respectively.

Still, it remains hard for workers in their 50s to switch jobs. A 58-year-old man decided to quit an automobile sales company at the end of April to begin a new career before reaching the mandatory retirement age of 60, but he has yet to find a satisfactory job.

The ministry survey found that the impact of a job change on compensation was a negative 5.0 points for 50- to 54-year-olds and a negative 26.3 points for workers ages 55 to 59.

Opportunities for midcareer changes will likely increase for older workers as Japanese companies ditch lifetime employment and seniority-based promotion. It is thus essential for such workers to keep updating their skills through training and education, said one expert.

A Japanese woman certified the world’s oldest person has died at the age of 119, local officials said Monday.

Kane Tanaka was born 2 January, 1903, in the southwestern Fukuoka region of Japan, the same year the Wright brothers flew for the first time and Marie Curie became the first woman to win a Nobel Prize.

When the Guinness World Records recognized her as the oldest person alive in 2019, she was asked what moment she was the most happy in life. Her answer: “Now.”

Tanaka was in relatively good health until recently and lived at a nursing home, where she enjoyed board games, solving maths problems, soda and chocolate. Her daily routine was described at the time as including a 6:00 am wake-up, and afternoons spent studying mathematics and practising calligraphy.

Fukuoka Gov Seitaro Hattori hailed Tanaka’s life after she passed away on 19 April. “I was looking forward to seeing Kane-san on this year’s Respect for the Aged Day (a national holiday in September) and celebrating together with her favorite soda and chocolate,” he said in a statement on Monday. “I am extremely saddened by the news.”

Japan has the world’s most elderly population, according to World Bank data, with around 28% aged 65 or over. The oldest-ever living person verified by Guinness was Frenchwoman Jeanne Louise Calment, who died aged 122 years and 164 days in 1997.

Update on the Netherlands

After two years of corona restrictions, the Netherlands is facing the first ‘real’ celebration of King’s Night and Day since 2019. There are festivities all over the country tonight and tonight.

In Utrecht, King’s Night traditionally starts with a large free market in the city center. The market starts at 6pm and then goes on all night and day. In the center of The Hague there is a free festival with various performances, such as by the Ukrainian band Go_A, which took part in the Eurovision Song Contest last year.

In Amsterdam, there is live music in the city center between Koningsplein and Vijzelstraat from 7 p.m. to midnight. In Rotterdam there are parties in the Maassilo, pop stage Bird and the clubs Toffler and Munch. The Night of Orange in Rotterdam Ahoy is canceled this year, because the corona relaxation came too late for the organization.

In Eindhoven, free parties are held throughout the city on, for example, the Lichtplein, Stadhuisplein and Wilhelminaplein. The Snollebollekes, Tino Martin and Frans Duijts, among others, perform in the Stadspark in Groningen. There is also a free party at the Vismarkt with performances by various artists.

The free 3G Outdoor Festival will start in Nijmegen in the Molenstraat at 5 p.m. and King’s Night can also be celebrated in other places in the city. In Zwolle there are free parties in the center on the Melkmarkt and the Nieuwe Markt.

King Willem-Alexander is celebrating his 55th birthday in Maastricht this year with his family. Music, dance and club life in South Limburg are central there, according to the presentation of the program last month. It has not been announced which members of the royal family will come to Maastricht, but the Government Information Service speaks of a large delegation.

King’s Day was canceled completely in 2020 due to the corona pandemic. Last year Willem-Alexander and his family were at the High Tech Campus in Eindhoven for a ‘Remote King’s Day’.

Several municipalities are taking measures during King’s Day for extra safety. For example, partygoers in Amsterdam are not allowed to have more than one bottle/can of alcohol with them, in order to prevent drinking nuisance. Glass and cans are banned in Eindhoven, and Utrecht is focusing on crowd management, a municipal spokesperson told De Utrechtse Internet Courant (DUIC).

At least 7,300 Ukrainian children are currently enrolled in a Dutch school, according to figures from the Ministry of Education requested by 65% of the children attend primary school and one 35% attend secondary school.

The actual number of Ukrainian children attending a school in the Netherlands is probably even higher. According to the ministry, the registration figures it receives are lagging behind the practice.

There are now eleven to twelve thousand Ukrainian children of compulsory school age in the Netherlands. This is not to say that they all already go to school. For example, some children have yet to land or are still moving, according to the ministry.

Ukrainian children go to a so-called newcomer school – a school for children who have just arrived in the Netherlands – or to a regular primary school. Temporary teaching locations have also been opened in various places in the country. These facilities are necessary if there is no space at regular schools.

The ministry currently does not know how many children are attending which type of education, but is working to gain insight into this.

All children from Ukraine have the right to education in the Netherlands. Parents can register their children at a school nearby. Municipalities have the responsibility to help parents with this if necessary, for example if they still live in a childcare location.

On Wednesday evening, the cabinet announced that it would release extra money for education to help Ukrainian students. For example, schools that have experience in educating Ukrainian students receive money with which they can help other, regular schools in educating children from Ukraine.

The cabinet will also help school boards and municipalities with temporary education locations for Ukrainian children. In addition, the cabinet gives money to municipalities to arrange transport for students from Ukraine who do not live close to a school. The government has not disclosed how much money it will release for this.

It has been almost three years since the Lightyear One was shown to the general public: an electric car that, thanks to 5 square meters of solar panels, can drive tens of extra kilometers per day without recharging. The Dutch car manufacturer Lightyear can now finally deliver the first copies to customers. With prices from 150,000 to 250,000 euros, that can still be a challenge.

Lightyear has been in the news frequently in the past three years. This often involved new partners and collaborations or investments that were brought in. The company’s solar car, meanwhile, shone with its absence, at least on the public road. There has been a lot of development behind the scenes, says business developer Tom Selten.

The long lead time to the first deliveries is primarily due to the fact that Lightyear started the development from a white sheet of paper. In addition, the corona crisis has of course not helped.

“Unlike, for example, Tesla, our first model is not based on an existing model,” said Selten. “Our basis is completely new. In addition, our electric motors are in the wheels. That is also unique technology that has largely been developed in-house.”

“Finally, we have made many test kilometers and further perfected the solar panels. We also make those ourselves; we only purchase the solar cells. In that sense, we are also a producer of solar panels in addition to being a car manufacturer.”

Those solar panels should help the electric Lightyear One to get extra kilometers of driving range without having to connect to the charging station. On a beautiful summer day in the Netherlands, this can increase to an average of about 70 kilometers, says the manufacturer. The car does not have to stand still for this. In winter it is probably about 35 kilometers. Of course you don’t have to wait for the sun, because the Lightyear One can be charged at the charging station just like regular electric cars.

Thanks in part to the amount of 93 million euros raised in 2021, Lightyear has now reached the point where the first customers can expect their car next summer. This is a first series. These are vehicles that are currently being assembled in Helmond.

Series production will start at Valmet Automotive in Finland after the summer. “With this, most of the engineering work is finished, but we will continue to develop and update the software side. The cars that are already with customers will also benefit from this,” Selten promises.

ProRail will make the escalators at train stations less active. The railway manager wants to save energy this way. The escalators are responsible for a large part of the company’s energy costs. In addition, it is not wrong for our health to take the stairs more often. “It strengthens your bones and muscles.”

ProRail currently consumes the same amount of energy per day as a medium-sized city, such as Amersfoort. The escalators are the biggest energy consumers: 20% of all energy consumed by the rail company goes there. Especially escalators that go up consume a lot of power.

So it’s time to do something about that. “We want to take a sharp look at when the escalators turn and when they don’t,” ProRail spokesperson Aldert Baas told EditieNL. “Maybe we can put a sensor in so that they’re only active when people are on them.”

Parents should teach their children how to use money better. For example, many fathers and mothers do not make agreements with children about how much pocket money they should save. More than half of the parents believe that the school has a duty to teach children how to handle money.

This is the conclusion of de Volksbank, parent company of SNS, ASN Bank and RegioBank, among others, based on research. More than 1,100 Dutch people aged 25 and older with children aged 4 to 12 years were interviewed.

For many parents, pocket money is an ‘essential’ part of parenting. In practice, however, little is done about this. The research shows, for example, that a third of parents have never taught children to keep their PIN code secret or to shield them when using the card.

The majority of children between the ages of 4 and 12 receive pocket money. The older the child, the more often the pocket money is given digitally. One fifth of all children have a debit or debit card. These are usually the older children.

Children spend their pocket money mainly on small toys, accessories and gadgets. This is followed by sweets and snacks, construction toys, games or apps and hobbies.

The majority of parents say they are aware of the dangers of, for example, fraud via WhatsApp and phishing. According to Marinka van der Meer, customer and brand director at de Volksbank, the figures show that ‘across the board there is still plenty of room for improvement’.

“Certainly also because there is an enormous increase in the number of young people with debts,” says Van der Meer. The bank also warns against the influence of social media and influencers, which can tempt children into impulse purchases.

Update on Dujat & Members

We are pleased to welcome Fujitsu as new member of Dujat. We look forward to welcoming you to our events!

Last week on Wednesday 20 April we inspired the Japanse business community in the Netherlands about the Health and Tech / Semicon opportunities in Nijmegen. We thank Oost NL for co organizing this event, and HFML-FELIX, Novio Tech Campus, Ampleon, NTS-Group, MindAffect and Cardiomo for all of their inspiring presentations!

If your company has any news to share in the next biweekly newsletter, let us know by sending an e-mail to

Kind regards,

Jinn van Gastel
Project Manager at Dujat

DUJAT (Dutch and Japanese Trade Federation)

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Stroombaan 10 | 1181 VX Amstelveen | The Netherlands

Sources: Nu.nlNOSFDRTL NieuwsJapanTodayNHKNikkei