News Headlines - 18 May 2021

Japan's pandemic-hit economy logs record contraction in FY 2020

Japan's economy in fiscal 2020 shrank a real 4.6 percent from the previous year, the sharpest annual contraction on record, as the coronavirus pandemic dealt a debilitating blow to consumption and exports, government data showed Tuesday.
Down for the second straight year, the decrease in real gross domestic product, the total value of goods and services produced in the country adjusted for inflation, is the largest annual contraction since data began to be compiled in fiscal 1955, according to preliminary data released by the Cabinet Office.
The previous record contraction was a 3.6 percent shrinkage in fiscal 2008 logged in the wake of the global financial crisis.

Flaw in Japan vaccine reservation system leaves government red-faced | The Japan Times

The government said Tuesday it will fix a COVID-19 vaccine booking system fault that allowed reservations to be made using nonexistent application numbers.
The announcement came a day after the government started accepting online bookings for older people to receive shots at large Self-Defense Forces-staffed vaccination centers in Tokyo and Osaka as it attempts to ramp up its inoculation rollout amid a fourth wave of infections.
The state-run booking system for the vaccination center in Tokyo was found to accept municipality code numbers and vaccination ticket numbers that were not issued by respective authorities.

Gov't drops immigration bill with Sri Lankan's death in spotlight

Japan's government decided Tuesday to withdraw a bill revising rules on how to accommodate foreigners facing deportation, ruling coalition lawmakers said, amid criticism over the alleged improper treatment of a Sri Lankan woman who died while held at an immigration facility.
The abrupt decision to give up on the passage of the bill during the current parliamentary session through mid-June came amid growing concerns within the ruling camp that pushing through the amendment of the immigration law, which could worsen the conditions for asylum seekers in Japan, may invoke a public backlash.
In seeking to block the proposed legislation, opposition parties demanded the government get to the bottom of the case involving Ratnayake Liyanage Wishma Sandamali, 33, who was held at the Nagoya Regional Immigration Services Bureau and died on March 6 after complaining of stomach pain and other symptoms from mid-January.

Nomura completes unwinding of positions related to U.S. client

Nomura Holdings Inc said on Tuesday it has completed unwinding of positions related to an unnamed U.S. client, widely understood to be the collapsed investment fund Archegos Capital Management... In total, Nomura will incur $2.9 billion in Archegos-related losses, including some $2.3 billion already booked in the January-March quarter.

Appeal court says Air France and Airbus should be sent to trial over 2009 crash | The Guardian

An appeal court has ruled that Air France and Airbus should be sent to trial for “unintentional manslaughter” over the crash of a flight from Rio de Janeiro to Paris in 2009 in which 228 people died... On 1 June 2009, flight AF 447 was flying through a storm over the south Atlantic when it disappeared... A lengthy French investigation found that a combination of pilot error and technical problems had caused the tragedy.