This World Cup is historic as the first in an Islamic country, in a different season than usual due to its sweltering climate, and FIFA says this will be the first carbon-neutral World Cup. However, Qatar 2022 is mired in controversy, including over treatment of migrant workers who built stadiums.
The resignation of a Kishida appointee, justice minister Yasuhiro Hanashi, highlights both the cabinet’s unpopularity and the tendency of Japanese government officials to make ill-advised remarks. Hanashi appeared not to take his duties seriously, after commenting that he makes headlines only when he approves executions.
During the first Halloween celebration in Seoul since COVID-19 restrictions were eased, 153 people died and 133 were injured when an excessive number of people crowded into a narrow, sloping alley. The area was featured in a South Korean TV drama, and its high profile may have contributed to overcrowding that led to the tragic accident.
As the approval rating for Prime Minister Kishida’s administration hit its lowest level yet amid outrage over the ruling party’s covert ties to the Unification Church, Kishida ordered a probe into the church, which is accused of enriching itself while impoverishing followers. Halting the religious organization’s operations in Japan is among the options on the table.
The Japanese government’s push for digitalization, spearheaded by Digital Minister Taro Kono, now includes scrapping health insurance cards and incorporating their data into My Number national identification cards by autumn 2024. Currently only half of all citizens have My Number cards, but under this new policy, they will become mandatory for all.
The president of the operator of Kappa Sushi, the smallest of Japan’s “big four” conveyor-belt sushi chains, was arrested on suspicion of stealing data from a rival, Hama-sushi operator Zensho Holdings. He is a former executive at the latter company, and is accused of copying trade secrets such as wholesale seafood prices.
Vladimir Putin announced mobilization of additional troops through conscription as the Ukraine war drags on. However, companies are protesting that having employees called up for military service will disrupt operations. The Russian defense ministry now says white-collar workers with higher education will be exempt, but businesses in various fields are likely to be affected.
When Britain’s longest-reigning monarch died at 96, it struck a blow to a country struggling with crises including Brexit, energy costs, and questions about the role of the royal family itself. Private and modest in her personal life, as a public figure she was a stabilizing force over her seven decades on the throne.
Energy prices and a weak yen are among the factors propelling rising consumer prices, which jumped 7.4 percent year-on-year in July. This was the biggest increase since 2014. Wages have not increased accordingly, but the Bank of Japan does not intend to alter its policies, believing the inflation to be temporary.
Support for Prime Minister Fumio Kishida’s Cabinet plummeted from 52 percent to 36 percent in a single month, with ties between the Liberal Democratic Party and the Unification Church cited as a primary reason. In addition to these connections, which were spotlighted after the fatal shooting of former PM Shinzo Abe, failing COVID countermeasures also drove the drop in support.
Executives of a budget business wear chain and a former Olympic Organizing Committee member were arrested for alleged bribery. The clothing company sponsored the 2020 Olympics and designed athletes’ outfits. The accusations are a setback for Japan’s relatively clean image and its ambitions to host the 2030 Winter Olympics.
The operator of the mobile carrier “au” will cut millions of customers’ bills to make up for disrupted service last month. Besides the inconvenience of being unable to communicate or receive data, the disruption meant users could not make emergency calls, prompting discussion of technical changes to address such situations.