Weekly Update: News on Japan & the Netherlands – Week 14, 2020

This newsletter was shared with Dujat members on 1-4-2020. This week’s newsletter was sent out today.
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Update on Japan

  • The total number of confirmed cases of coronavirus in Japan stood at 2,178 in the afternoon of Wednesday 1 April, health officials said, with a total of 57 people who lost their lives as a result of the disease.
  • Fujifilm has begun clinical trials to test the effectiveness of its anti-flu drug Avigan in treating patients with the new coronavirus, after reports of promising results in China.Trials in China have suggested Avigan could play a role in shortening the recovery time for patients infected with coronavirus.”The trial will be conducted on 100 patients until the end of June,” a company spokesman told AFP on Wednesday 1 April. “We will collect data, analyse them and file for approval after that.”The drug will be administered for a maximum of 14 days to coronavirus patients between 20 and 74 years old with mild pneumonia, the spokesman said. The study excludes pregnant women due to side effects shown in animal testing, he added.Fujifilm also earlier announced to be prepared to offer the drug as possible COVID-19 treatment to any country that wants to try it as a potential treatment for COVID-19.The drug, developed by Fujifilm unit Toyama Chemical, was approved in 2014 as an influenza treatment but only to be used if other treatments prove ineffective against a novel or re-emerging influenza virus.The Japanese company issued the clarification Friday as interest in the drug builds.
  • As Japan remains on the brink of a state of emergency with the rate of new coronavirus cases accelerating across the country, its top government spokesman announced on Wednesday 1 April that Tokyo may consider keeping the schools closed for another month until May.Chief Cabinet Secretary Yoshihide Suga told reporters that controlling the virus that has raced across the world was a top priority.New virus infections in the capital rose to a daily record of 78 on Tuesday 31 March, for a total of over 500, amid calls for Prime Minister Shinzo Abe to declare a state of emergency that would allow authorities to trigger a lockdown involving restrictions on movement that would be voluntary rather than legally binding.Prime Minister Abe Shinzo said that Japan has yet to reach a point where a declaration of a state of emergency is necessary to contain the coronavirus pandemic.However, calls for a lockdown were especially on the rise on social media, with many Twitter users expressing worry and comparing the situation overseas, where whole cities have come to a standstill while Tokyo’s relatively business-as-usual stance persists.
  • Despite not yet declaring a state of emergency, Japan will raise its defenses against imported cases by banning the entry of foreigners travelling from the United States, China, South Korea and most of Europe, government sources said on Monday 30 March. This also includes the Netherlands.All Japanese returnees and foreigners who have traveled outside the banned areas will be asked to self-quarantine for 14 days and watch for symptoms of COVID-19.
  • In response to the shortage of masks in Japan, Prime Minister Abe has announced on 1 April that the government will distribute two cloth masks to each household nationwide.They will start after next week, starting with prefectures that have the highest number of infections. They will also send the necessary amounts to schools, elderly facilities, facilities for the disabled, etc.
  • Toyota Motor Corporation announced on Monday 30 March that it will temporarily halt work at all plants in Europe and Russia in an effort to combat the spread of the novel coronavirus.Toyota will suspend its plant in Russia for five days from Monday. It also said vehicle and parts factories which have seen operations suspended in six other nations including Britain and Turkey are likely to be halted at least until 19 April.In China, meanwhile, the automaker has brought production at all of its four auto plants back to normal levels.Toyota Motor Corp. is one of the largest sponsors of The Tokyo Olympics and, along with other sponsors, said to support the games in 2021.

Update on the Netherlands

  • The total number of confirmed cases of coronavirus in the Netherlands stood at 13,614 in the afternoon of Wednesday 1 April, health officials said, with a total of 1,173 people who lost their lives as a result of the disease.
  • On Tuesday 31 March, prime minister Mark Rutte announced at a press conference that the Netherlands will extend its anti-corona measures (the ‘intelligent lockdown’) until 28 April, at least.This means public areas such as cafes, restaurants, museums, schools, themeparks, hair- and nail salons and certain stores will have to remain closed for the next four weeks. For schools this also includes the May Vacation which will be until 3 May.This was decided on the basis of expert advice, the prime minister said. He added that the good news is that, for now, no extra measures are needed.All sports events, including premier league football, are also cancelled until at least 1 June, which is still the current deadline for the ban on organized public events.
  • At the press conference, Health minister Hugo de Jonge told that the Netherlands will have increased capacity at the intensive care units to 2,400 by next Sunday. He also announced it should be possible to increase tests towards 29,000 tests on daily basis.However, experts have advised to focus first on other healthcare workers who are not directly involved in treating coronavirus for the disease. More labs, longer days and utilising private sector sources will enable four times as many tests to be carried out, De Jonge said.
  • Earlier this month on 17 March, the NOW: Temporary Emergency Bridging Measure for Sustained Employment (Tijdelijke Noodmaatregel Overbrugging voor Werkbehoud) has been announced, to help employers receive a financial compensation for their wage costs more quickly in the event of loss in turnover. Further details of the NOW have been announced on Tuesday 31 March.If you employ staff, and expect a turnover loss of at least 20%, you can claim a compensation of max 90% of wages, depending on how much turnover you lose, for a period of 3 months. It’s possible to apply for this compensation from 6 April 2020.The NOW-scheme replaces the unemployment benefit during short-time working (wtv). You can no longer apply for this. To learn more about the temporary emergency bridging measure NOW and its conditions, we refer to the website of Government information for entrepreneurs.
  • The opening of Lelystad Airport has been delayed by one year due to the coronavirus and the rejection of the nitrogen policy. Earlier in February, Cora van Nieuwenhuizen (Minister of Infrastructure and Water Management) already mentioned the difficulties of opening the new airport this year.The aim is now to open in November 2021, Van Nieuwenhuizen writes to the House of Representatives. It is the third time that the opening of the airport needs to be postponed, which should actually have been operational in April 2018.
  • A painting by Vincent van Gogh has been stolen overnight from a museum that was closed due to the coronavirus outbreak.The Singer Laren Museum near Hilversum stated that the stolen painting is titled “The Parsonage Garden at Nuenen in Spring 1884,” or “Spring Garden.” They said someone entered the museum by breaking a glass door around 3.15am on Monday 30 March.The painting was on loan from the Groninger Museum, and expert Ivo Bouwman estimates its value to be around 1.5 million euros. Police are investigating.
  • After the cancellation of the annual Eurovision Song Contest that was to be held in Rotterdam in the Netherlands this year, the organization announced this week on Tuesday 31 March to produce a new show online, to still bring audiences together in these difficult times.The digital show ‘Eurovision: Europe Shine A Light’, is scheduled to air in place of the Grand Final on Saturday 16 May at 21:00 CEST, and will honour all 41 songs that were released for the contest in a non-competitive format, as well as providing plenty of surprises for fans and viewers at home.The show will be hosted by Dutch Eurovision presenters Chantal Janzen, Edsilia Rombley (Eurovision 1998 and 2007) and Jan Smit. The live show is expected to last approximately 2 hours. More details about the line-up and a list of broadcasters that will air it will be revealed in the weeks to come.

Yesterday, we successfully organized our first DUJAT Webinar in collaboration with Jones Day and Loyens & Loeff. As long as it is not yet possible to organize our networking events, we hope to be of service as much as possible and organize more digital alternatives.

Invitations for the second part of the webinar will be sent out soon. If you missed the session but still would like to know about the contents, the presentations can now be found in the members area on our website.

Of course also do not forget to check out our News and Information page to find relevant information that was shared by our members (contact me if you forgot the password).

Kind regards,

Jinn van Gastel
Project Manager at Dujat

DUJAT (Dutch and Japanese Trade Federation)

蘭日貿易連盟 | www.dujat.nl

Stroombaan 10 | 1181 VX Amstelveen | The Netherlands

Sources: NOSNRCMainichiNHKJapanTodayWorldometersbusiness.gov