2020.05.14

News Headlines - 14 May 2020

Japan to lift coronavirus state of emergency in 39 prefectures | The Japan Times

The government decided Thursday to lift the state of emergency imposed in response to the coronavirus in all but eight of the nation's 47 prefectures, as Prime Minister Shinzo Abe faces acute pressure to achieve a delicate balance - suppressing a resurgence of the virus while rekindling the faltering economy.
In a news conference at the Prime Minister’s Office, Abe said the country is showing signs of progress in the decrease of new patients and expanding testing infrastructure, but warned of the risks of flare-ups if restrictive measures are eased too abruptly.
Even in the regions where the emergency declaration was lifted, Abe asked residents to “gradually” take steps to return to everyday life, like avoiding nonurgent face-to-face meetings, embracing progressive changes in lifestyle like telecommuting and maintaining vigilance over the coronavirus.

Japan's Mysterious Pandemic Success

In its battle with the coronavirus, Japan appears to be doing everything wrong. It has tested just 0.185 percent of its population, its social distancing has been halfhearted, and a majority of Japanese are critical of the government’s response. Yet with among the lowest death rates in the world, a medical system that has avoided an overloading crisis, and a declining number of cases, everything seems to be going weirdly right... As of May 14, Japan had 687 fatalities directly attributed to COVID-19 nationwide, equal to 5 per million people. That compares with a total of 85,268 deaths, or 258 per million, in the United States and 584 per million in Spain. Even Germany, seen as another success story in the pandemic, has 94 deaths per million.
These almost miraculously low figures come despite Japan being close to China, with a large number of tourists. It is also the world’s fastest-aging society-yet has escaped, it seems, being severely hit by a virus that is particularly deadly to older people. While Japanese medical experts admit that the official count may understate the real total, they say other related causes of death, such as pneumonia, have not seen any unexpected surge.
It is difficult to know if the country has just been lucky or if it’s a matter of good policy.It is difficult to know if the country has just been lucky or if it’s a matter of good policy.

Taiwan Firm to Build Chip Factory in U.S. - WSJ

Taiwan Semiconductor Manufacturing Co., the world’s largest contract manufacturer of silicon chips, said Friday it would spend $12 billion to build a chip factory in Arizona, as U.S. concerns grow about dependence on Asia for the critical technology.
TSMC said the project, disclosed earlier Thursday by The Wall Street Journal, has the support of the federal government and the state of Arizona.

S. Korea ‘comfort women’ group under fire in donation scandal : The Asahi Shimbun

A South Korean citizens group that has criticized Japan for decades over the “comfort women” issue now finds itself accused of misappropriating donations that were intended for the wartime victims.
The Seoul-based Korean Council for Justice and Remembrance for the Issues of Military Sexual Slavery by Japan has denied any wrongdoing, but the scandal shows no signs of relenting.
News media in South Korea have generally shown a reluctance to criticize organizations that support former “comfort women,” a euphemism for women who were forced to provide sex to Japanese troops before and during World War II.

Sailors killed after Iran missile 'accidentally' strikes own ship | Al Jazeera

At least 19 sailors were killed and 15 wounded after an Iranian missile fired during a training exercise in the Gulf of Oman struck a support vessel near its target.
The "friendly fire" accident happened on Sunday near the port of Jask, about 1,270km (790 miles) southeast of Tehran on the Gulf of Oman, a statement on the army's website said on Monday.

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