Diet OKs end of Saturday, next-day standard postal delivery
Japan Today -- Nov 28
The Diet on Friday gave the green light to stop Saturday as well as next-day delivery of standard postal mail to address a worker shortage and falling demand due to increased use of the internet.

Under the revised postal law, the changes will take effect around next fall. But while standard mail delivery service will be limited to weekdays only, Saturday and Sunday delivery of parcels as well as express and registered mail will be maintained.

Postal services are operated under a universal service obligation in Japan, including rural areas, remote islands and mountainous regions.

Japan Post Co, a unit of Japan Post Holdings Co, had been calling for a review of the postal law to end Saturday delivery as it faces a shortage of workers and rising labor costs.

While demand for "snail mail" has been declining with the rise of email, demand for the delivery of parcels has been on the rise as an increasing number of people shop items online.

手紙などの土曜日の郵便配達を廃止する改正郵便法が参議院本会議で成立しました。  全会一致で成立した改正郵便法では、「速達」や「ゆうパック」などを除く普通郵便は、原則、土曜日の配達が廃止されることになります。また、翌日配達を廃止し、配達にかかる日数の基準も緩和することにしていて、木曜日に投かんした郵便物は翌週の月曜日に届くことになります。人手不足に陥る郵便局の働き方改革を進め、安定的にサービスを続ける狙いで、来年秋にも運用が開始される見通しです。  また、27日の国会では、東京オリンピックの開会式・閉会式に合わせ、祝日を移動させる特別措置法も成立しました。これにより、来年の海の日は開会式前日の7月22日に、山の日は閉会式当日の8月8日に変更となります。
News sources: Japan Today, TBS NEWS
Jan 15
The government's new program to provide one-off cash benefits of up to Y400,000 to pandemic-affected small companies will cover not only suppliers for eating and drinking facilities but also ryokan Japanese-style inns and taxi operators, the industry ministry has said. (Japan Times)
Jan 14
Japan's Prime Minister Suga Yoshihide has declared a state of emergency for seven more prefectures, to curb the spread of the coronavirus. (NHK)
Jan 13
The Japanese government is considering giving greater legal authority to prefectural governors in an effort to respond to the spread of the coronavirus more effectively. (NHK)
Jan 12
Prime Minister Yoshihide Suga said Tuesday the government will expand a state of emergency declared over the coronavirus pandemic to Osaka, Kyoto and Hyogo prefectures. (Japan Times)
Jan 10
A South Korean court ordered Japan on Friday to compensate 12 women who were forced to work as sex slaves in wartime Japanese brothels, in a ruling that could rekindle diplomatic and history feuds between the two countries. (aljazeera.com)
Jan 09
U.S. Army Medical Department Activity-Japan medical personnel administered the first doses of the COVID-19 vaccine at Camp Zama, Japan Ja. 6, 2021. (Defense Flash News)
Jan 09
The governors of the greater Osaka area will urge Japan's national government to expand its coronavirus state of emergency to include their prefectures, as the localities set daily records for the spread of infections. (Nikkei)
Jan 08
Japan’s prime minister, Yoshihide Suga, has declared a state of emergency in the greater Tokyo area after a record number of coronavirus cases were reported in the capital and across the country. (theguardian.com)
Jan 06
The Japanese Ministry of Defense (MoD) has announced plans to begin mass production of an extended-range version of the domestically developed ASM-3 supersonic, air-launched, anti-ship missile (ASM). (janes.com)
Jan 05
Japan's government is planning to issue a state of emergency for a second time to contain rising coronavirus cases in Tokyo and three neighboring prefectures. (NHK)
Jan 05
Japan plans to declare a state of emergency in Tokyo and three neighboring prefectures this week, possibly on Thursday at the earliest, and lasting for about one month to curb its largest-yet surge of coronavirus cases, government officials said Monday. (Japan Today)
Jan 03
Although Tokyo Gov. Yuriko Koike and her counterparts of three neighboring prefectures have requested an emergency declaration by the state over the coronavirus epidemic, the central government remains skeptical about whether a declaration would effectively curb the spread of the contagion. (Japan Times)
Jan 01
Prime Minister Yoshihide Suga on Friday said the government will do everything in its power to bring the novel coronavirus under control and pledged to push forward with preparations for this summer's Tokyo Olympics and Paralympics. (Japan Times)
Jan 01
A post-Brexit trade deal between Japan and the United Kingdom came into force Friday, ensuring business continuity and strengthening the bilateral relationship as London seeks to join the larger Trans-Pacific Partnership free trade agreement. (Kyodo)
Dec 30
Tokyo's coronavirus outbreak is severe and could explode in the coming days just as Japan begins its New Year's holiday period, in which millions of people usually move around the country, the city's governor said on Wednesday. (Japan Today)
Dec 29
A fresh ban on foreign visitors announced less than a week before New Year's Day was a telling sign of the high pressure Prime Minister Yoshihide Suga faces as he grapples with a deeply unhappy public that has sent his approval ratings tanking. (Nikkei)
Dec 29
Japan's former transport minister Hata Yuichiro, who died on Sunday at the age of 53, has become the first incumbent lawmaker in the country to die of the coronavirus. (NHK)
Dec 27
A Liberal Democratic Party lawmaker attended a drinking party Friday with about 30 people in Toyama, his office said Saturday, despite authorities’ warnings to refrain from dining in large groups to prevent the further spread of the coronavirus. (Japan Times)
Dec 26
The Japanese government faces both technical and policy challenges in reaching the goals it has set to achieve net-zero emission of greenhouse gases by 2050. (NHK)
Dec 26
Japanese Prime Minister Yoshihide Suga on Friday said the country is prepared to introduce vaccines and is looking at February as a key decision-making point. (Nikkei)