Tokyo inaugurates National Stadium ahead of 2020 Olympics

Robie de Guzman   •   December 16, 2019   •   1078

View of the new National Stadium following its completion in Tokyo, Japan, 15 December 2019. EFE/EPA/FRANCK ROBICHON

Tokyo – The new National Stadium in Tokyo was inaugurated on Sunday six months ahead of the Olympic Games in the Japanese capital and will have its ground broken in with the final of the Emperor’s Cup final next month.

With its 68,000-seat capacity and design details that highlight Japan’s taste for nature, the stadium was inaugurated by Japan’s Prime Minister Shinzo Abe three months after construction started.

It cost around $1.44 billion to build, slightly under budget. The original proposal for the new stadium was rejected for being too expensive.

Abe said the venue would “leave its mark on history.” The opening ceremony was also attended by the architect behind the project, Kengo Kuma.

It was built on the ground where the old Olympic stadium, used in the 1964 Games, once stood. The National Stadium will host the opening and closing ceremony of the 2020 Tokyo Olympics as well as athletics competitions.

On a press tour, representatives of the team responsible for building the venue said they had used the natural world as inspiration for its design.

The seats are painted in five different colors spread around at random and represent an impressionist depiction of a forest.

The roof is fastened with steel beams but also incorporates wood from across the country, giving the stadium a more traditional feel.

The cross beams on the ceiling and the uncovered central circle give spectators the feeling they are in a nest.

Tens of thousands of trees are being planted in the space around the stadium.

As part of their environmental commitments, organizers will maintain the pitch with recycled rainwater.

The construction of the National Stadium was delayed after the original project, an extravagant design by the late Iraqi-British architect Zaha Hadid, was scrapped for being too costly.

Kuma took over the project. He is known for designing the Nagasaki Museum of Art.

The stadium will host the final of the Emperor’s Cup on 1 January. EFE-EPA

ag/jt The new National Stadium in Tokyo was inaugurated on Sunday six months ahead of the Olympic Games in the Japanese capital and will have its ground broken in with the final of the Emperor’s Cup final next month.

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Japan declares state of emergency for Tokyo as COVID-19 cases spike

Marje Pelayo   •   January 8, 2021

Japan’s Prime Minister Yoshihide Suga declared a state of emergency for the nation’s capital Tokyo and neighboring prefecture amid the new surge in coronavirus disease (COVID-19) infections.

Speaking before the press on Thursday (January 7), Prime Minister Suga said the declaration sends public warning amid rapidly increasing number of COVID-19 cases which is already hurting its economy.

Effective Friday (January 8), the state of emergency ends on February 7.

Test restrictions entails no punishment for violators but residents will simply be asked to avoid non-essential activities especially at night.

The Prime Minister appealed to the Japanese public especially to the young Japanese to help protect lives especially the most vulnerable particularly parents and grandparents.

He expects that situation will improve after one month.

As of this writing, Japan has a total of 269, 271 positive cases and 3,674 deaths as per latest global tally from the Johns Hopkins Coronavirus Resource Center

PH, Japan reaffirm commitment to better economic ties

Robie de Guzman   •   December 29, 2020

MANILA, Philippines – The Department of Finance (DOF) reported that the Philippines and Japan have reaffirmed their commitment to further enhance economic partnership, which includes plans to expand Japanese investments in the country.

During a recent courtesy call on Finance Secretary Carlos Dominguez III, newly designated Japan Ambassador to the Philippines Koshikawa Kazuhiko said that Japanese companies are exploring ways of realigning their supply chains to other countries like the Philippines.

Koshikawa said the approval by the Senate of the Corporate Recovery and Tax Incentives for Enterprises (CREATE) bill was welcomed by Japanese investors doing business in the Philippines.

The measure aims to lower the corporate income tax (CIT) for micro, small, and medium enterprises (MSMEs) with a net taxable income of P5 million and below to 20 percent, while other companies, including foreign firms, will pay a harmonized rate of 25 percent.

The current CIT, which is the region’s highest, is 30 percent.

Dominguez, for his part, said that aside from the CIT rate cut, CREATE will also allow the government to tailor fit incentives given to businesses so as to attract the kind of investors that it wants to invest in the Philippines.

The Finance chief also told the ambassador that the Philippines’ competitive edge in attracting foreign direct investments (FDIs) is its young working population, which complements Japan’s highly skilled labor force and makes the two countries ideal “demographic partners.”

During the meeting, Koshikawa also restated Japan’s continuing support for the Philippine government’s efforts to curb the spread of the coronavirus disease, as well as its disaster risk reduction and mitigation programs.

Citing the signing in September between the two countries of the 50-billion yen Post-Disaster Standby Loan (PDSL) Phase 2, the Ambassador reaffirmed Japan’s commitment to continue assisting the Philippines in its disaster risk reduction and mitigation programs.

Since the start of the Duterte administration in July 2016, 15 loan agreements totaling JPY679.296 billion (about P313.147 billion or US$6.443 billion) have been signed by Manila with Tokyo.

Before beginning his tour of duty in Manila, Ambassador Koshikawa was a senior official at the Japan International Cooperation Agency (JICA), and had served as Japan’s Ambassador to Spain and Angola.

Japan’s Crown Prince Akishino formally declared heir to the throne

Marje Pelayo   •   November 9, 2020

TOKYO, Japan — Japan formally declared Crown Prince Akishino heir to the throne on Sunday (November 8).

Prince Akishino is Emperor Naruhito’s younger brother who has taken over the throne after his father Emperor Emeritus Akihito’s abdication in April citing health reasons, the first in two centuries.

Prime Minister Yuga Yoshihide and representatives were present at the ceremony.

Under the Japanese law, female heirs are not allowed to inherit the Chrysanthemum throne so Naruhito’s daughter 18-year-old Princess Aiko is ineligible. 

This brings Akishino, 54, next in line to the throne followed by his 14 year-old son Hisahito and Akihito’s younger brother, 84-year-old Prince Hitachi.

The ceremony was originally scheduled in April but postponed due to the coronavirus disease (COVID-19) pandemic.

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