The World Trade Organization on Thursday upheld South Korean import bans on some Japanese seafood in the wake of the 2011 Fukushima nuclear disaster, overturning a previous decision. The ruling came as a disappointment to Tokyo.
The government plans to keep the consumption tax rate at 8 percent for daily necessities such as food and beverages after the planned tax hike to 10 percent in October 2019. It is also considering offering 2 percent rebates for cashless payments at small and medium-sized operators for a limited period.
Tokyo’s 80-year-old seafood market, Tsukiji, closed on Saturday to move to its replacement site on reclaimed land in Tokyo Bay. The new Toyosu market is scheduled to open on October 11, with many shop owners and workers still doubting its safety.
People in Japan treated themselves to grilled eels on the midsummer Day of the Ox, which fell on Friday this year, following an old saying that consuming the dish on that day helps in coping with the heat. Retailers also promoted mackerel and other foods as substitutes amid soaring prices for the endangered fish.
Japan and the European Union on Tuesday signed an economic partnership agreement that will eliminate nearly all tariffs. Japan’s dairy industry is voicing concerns over losing market share, while its consumers are expected to enjoy lower prices for various products.
A new law regulating private lodging businesses took effect on Friday to cope with a shortage of accommodations amid a growing number of foreign tourists. The law allows anyone to lease their rooms for up to 180 days a year if they register with their local government in advance.
Japan introduced its first plea bargaining system on Friday that allows prosecutors to promise leniency to suspects or defendants in exchange for information on corporate crimes. Unlike in the U.S., they cannot plead guilty to their own charges for a shorter sentence.
A giant panda gave birth to a cub at Ueno Zoo on Monday for the first time in five years, raising hopes of a tourism boost in the Tokyo metropolitan area. The economic impact of the baby panda is estimated at a staggering 26.7 billion yen.