Biweekly Update: News on Japan & the Netherlands – Week 47 & 48, 2021

This newsletter was shared with Dujat members on 7-12-2021. The next newsletter was sent out today.
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Update on Japan

Japan’s health minister said Tuesday 7 December that the country has boosted its medical capacity so it can admit 37,000 patients at hospitals, up 30% from this summer, in preparation for a possible resurgence of the coronavirus.

Health minister Goto Shigeyuki told a press conference that the government has met its target for securing more hospital beds officially decided in November, after many people were forced to recuperate at home during this summer’s fifth wave of infections. But he said the government will review its policy when required as concerns mount over the Omicron variant. “We will be flexible in coming up with a way of offering medical care,” Goto said.

Prime Minister Kishida Fumio vowed in his policy speech on Monday to “prepare for the worst” in dealing with the Omicron variant, adding that the government will “maintain our stance of being cautious and prudent” in the battle against the virus. About 77% of the population has been fully vaccinated against the virus. Kishida said his government will shorten from eight months its previous timeline for the interval between receiving a second vaccine shot and becoming eligible for a booster.

Japan started administering COVID-19 booster shots last Wednesday to individuals who received their second shot at least eight months ago. Health care professionals across the country are first in line for third doses of the vaccine developed by Pfizer Inc. and BioNTech SE, with the elderly expected to follow in the near future to prevent the spread of infections and severe symptoms.

Deputy Chief Cabinet Secretary Kihara Seiji said Sunday the government is working with local governments to shorten the interval before the booster to at least six months “based on capacity,” with the government eyeing approving Moderna Inc.’s COVID-19 vaccine for use as a booster along with the Pfizer vaccine, which has already been greenlighted for booster use.

Kihara said that, if approved, the Moderna COVID-19 vaccine, like the Pfizer vaccine, could also be used as a booster for those who did not receive it for their first two shots.

Japanese airlines on Saturday 4 December resumed taking inbound international flight bookings, enabling returnees and expatriates to travel back to the country after the reversal of an initial travel blanket ban to prevent the Omicron coronavirus variant spread.

All Nippon Airways and Japan Airlines started accepting new reservations, according to the Ministry of Land, Infrastructure, Transport and Tourism, following criticism the measures against Omicron had gone too far. The move comes after the Japanese government lowered its daily cap for people arriving from overseas to 3,500 from 5,000.

According to the ministry, passengers may not be able to reserve a seat back to Japan as bookings for inbound flights from abroad in December are already mostly full.

However, the ministry said it and the airlines are planning to accept new bookings on days that have not reached inbound limits and will utilize potential cancellations.

The ministry on Monday asked airlines to completely stop taking reservations for Japan-bound flights until the end of December in a measure against the Omicron variant.

But the request was withdrawn on Thursday after it came to light the ministry had not informed the Prime Minister’s Office or transport minister Saito Tetsuo prior to the announcement, causing a wave of criticism and public confusion.

Under the measure, Japanese citizens and foreign residents would not have been able to return until next year unless they already had reservations.

Japan is on a fast track to making rail companies across the country install surveillance cameras inside their trains following a series of high-profile attacks, sources said.

The transport ministry is planning the requirement in response to successive incidents where passengers were attacked and injured inside running trains. A discussion panel will review the regulatory standards for train cars, which could be updated in fiscal 2022 at the earliest.

On 31 October, a man attacked passengers with a knife inside a running Keio Line train before setting the car on fire. That incident brought to light a weak link in train security systems. Due to the absence of surveillance cameras inside the train, it took authorities a long time to identify where and how the attack was occurring.

The ministry’s discussion panel, which consists of experts and representatives from train companies, will examine which train cars the new regulations should target. At the moment, it is expected to cover each newly introduced train car, including for Shinkansen bullet trains.

Ministry regulations cover fire safety on trains, but not the installation of surveillance cameras. The panel will discuss setting a new standard on crime prevention inside trains, with an eye to revising the existing rules.

Train companies have voluntarily installed surveillance cameras inside their trains. However, since their functions vary substantially, the ministry intends to ramp up train safety measures all at once through introducing a new standard.

Currently, some can only record video footage, while others can transmit the video feed to a staff room inside a train and to a control room located outside the train.

The panel will also consider what functions should be added to the onboard emergency notification button, which is typically installed near train doors that allows passengers to alert train staff to an emergency.

Sony Group has unveiled its latest robotics and other technologies for use at factories and stores. The idea is to meet the needs for remote-control systems to cope with the coronavirus pandemic.

The robot has sensors that can detect the distance to an object and its surface condition. Conventional robots require that data, such as an object’s shape and weight, be entered in advance.

The new model can instantly adjust its grip based on information it receives from sensors. That means the robot can grasp soft and delicate items, like flowers and cakes. This could be handy for arranging items for store displays.

Sony is already a developer of sensors for smartphone cameras. It wants to apply the technology to its latest robot. That could lead to new ways of working remotely as the pandemic continues.

Update on the Netherlands

Acute care leader Ernst Kuipers explains positive development in the hospitals.

People born in 1944 and 1945 can now schedule an appointment online at the GGDMunicipal health servicefor a corona booster vaccination. You can do this via It is not necessary to wait for the invitation letter for an online appointment.

GGDMunicipal health service GHORMedical Relief Organization in the RegionThe Netherlands calls on people (born in 1945 or earlier) to make an appointment via the digital portal as much as possible. This is faster and prevents the call center from becoming overloaded. If you are not digitally skilled, you can ask for help from family, neighbors, friends or the library. There is also an explanation video that helps you step by step to make the appointment online.

If you prefer to call to make an appointment, you should first wait for the invitation letter. It is not possible to make an appointment by telephone without a letter.

The booster vaccination can be obtained 6 months after the last corona vaccination. Anyone who has tested positive for corona after the last vaccination must wait 6 months from the moment he or she has had corona. The appointment cannot be scheduled earlier. People can view their last vaccination date in the CoronaCheck app.

People who, for health reasons, cannot come to a GGD injection site themselves or with the help of others do not have to do anything yet. They will receive an additional message for a booster vaccination at home.

“Over the past few days we have seen that the influx of patients has really dropped considerably. That is an excellent development.” Ernst Kuipers of the National Network Acute Care (LNAZ) expressed an optimistic view on Monday 6 December, about the course of hospital admissions. Others think it is still too early for optimism.

On average, fewer new corona patients were admitted to the nursing wards of hospitals in the past week than in the week before. Today there were 211 new admissions, the lowest number in more than three weeks.

There are now a total of 626 patients in the ICUs (611 in the Netherlands and 15 in Germany), the highest number since May, but Kuipers is not too concerned about that. “The IC occupancy is going up a bit, but that’s what you always see in such a phase.”

The total hospital occupancy, for example, is not yet falling, but according to Kuipers, that is only a matter of time. A week ago, the picture was very different. On Monday, November 29, there were 2,845 corona patients in hospital and, according to Kuipers, the peak had not yet been reached. He said he expected that the number of admitted patients would continue to rise for at least another week.

Kuipers speaks of stabilization at a high level, and says the decrease in the influx into hospitals is already the result of the first tightened corona measures in November. “Those measures have been around for some time now. In recent days we have really seen a complete stabilization in hospital occupancy.”

If the decline does indeed continue, that is a good sign. But before the pressure for care is manageable again, a lot will have to be done: “In September and October, the care already sounded the alarm that treatments had to be postponed. The number of infections was about 4000 per day back then. If you want to go there, the number of infections will have to drop considerably.” The number of booster shots given in people over 60 may also result in fewer hospital admissions for the same number of infections.

RIVM warned on Monday about a false e-mail message asking the reader to make an appointment for a corona rapid test. The message initially seems to come from the government agency.

The fake e-mail states that people in the vicinity have been infected with the corona virus. The addressee can supposedly make an appointment for a quick test free of charge by clicking on a link in the e-mail. You will then be asked for bank details.

“RIVM does not send messages about (possible) infections with the corona virus in your area and will never ask for bank details,” said a spokesperson.

RIVM calls on recipients of the e-mail not to click on the link in the message, not to call the mentioned telephone number and to delete the e-mail immediately. They can report fraud to the Fraud Help Desk.

From 1 January, children in Rotterdam aged 4 to 12 can travel for free on public transport in the Maasstad. It will be an experiment at first, the municipality of Rotterdam reported on Wednesday.

With this experiment, the municipality wants to make public transport more accessible for all Rotterdammers. “If children travel for free with public transport, it is much cheaper for families to travel by tram, bus or metro,” says Alderman Judith Bokhove (mobility). This also gives children the opportunity to become familiar with public transport from an early age and to discover their city in a different way.

All children of that age who are registered in Rotterdam can travel for free for a year with the RET means of transport such as the metro, tram and bus and the EBS bus line in Rozenburg. All you need for this is your own personal public transport chip card. This allows the free travel product to be applied for.

Update on Dujat & Members

We are pleased to welcome Hoshizaki Europe B.V., Mauritshuis, Blom Consultancy and Mirai Data B.V. as new members of Dujat. We look forward to welcoming you to our events next year!

Albert van Maren is the new President of FUJIFILM Manufacturing Europe B.V. as of December 1, succeeding Peter Struik, who held this position since 2007. In recent years Peter Struik has been executive director of FUJIFILM Europe, the European headquarters, in addition to his position as President of FUJIFILM Manufacturing Europe. He continues his career within Fujifilm in Europe and as Executive Vice President will be responsible for the Business Advanced Materials and New Business Development in Fujifilm Europe.

After studying at TU Eindhoven, Van Maren joined Fujifilm in 1987. In the past 34 years, he has held various positions. Among other things, he was the production director responsible for the production of offset plates, photo paper and membranes. In recent years, he was vice president. During these years, Fujifilm in Tilburg has moved into new markets. For example, in a week’s time, on 8 December, Fujifilm will open a new factory for the production of cell culture media. These are nutrients for cells that are used in the production of medicines and vaccines.

In addition to his position as Director of Fujifilm Europe, Struik will focus on further strengthening the Advanced Materials Business and working on New Business in Europe as Executive Vice President of Fujifilm in Europe. Peter Struik has held the position of President since 2007. At the time, he was the first non-Japanese President of the group. Struik was at the helm of the turnaround of the Tilburg company. After the closure of the film factory the company took a new direction and used its knowledge and experience in the development of new products.

Elanders acquires Eijgenhuijsen Exploitatie BV and its subsidiary Eijgenhuijsen Precisievervoer BV. With this acquisition, the Swedish group strengthens its Supply Chain Solutions division. Eijgenhuijsen will merge with Elanders’ logistics subsidiary LGI Netherlands (member of Dujat).

Eijgenhuijsen Precisievervoer is a privately held company with more than a hundred years of history. The royal supplier, based in Ruurlo, is a leading player in the equipment transport industry. Eijgenhuijsen offers an extensive range of services, including the assembly and installation of advanced technical equipment. They do this for the graphic industry, medical sector, IT, office, hospitality and retail industry

These activities align nicely with those of LGI Netherlands, part of Elanders Group. LGI has three large warehouses in the Netherlands, at strategic locations in Rotterdam, Dordrecht and Amsterdam. From these locations primarily European destinations are serviced for the B2B- and B2C market. LGI Netherlands has a storage department for sea freight and air freight. The air freight is handled by their local office in Nieuw-Vennep (nearby Schiphol Airport).

In addition, LGI Netherlands handles customs services for their clients. Due to the acquisition of Eijgenhuijsen, LGI Netherlands can now offer more tailor-made solutions for special transport and all complementary activities for high-tech equipment. From installation and instruction to retour logistics. This means that existing and new customers in sectors where LGI Netherlands is strong can expect even better service. This offers opportunities for further growth in industry, electronics and healthcare & life sciences.

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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Sources: Nu.nlNOSRTL NieuwsTelegraafJapanTodayNHKAsahi Shimbun