Japan's seasonally adjusted core machinery orders in December rose by 6.7 percent from the previous month, the Cabinet Office said Thursday. Private-sector orders excluding those for ships and power equipment, closely watched as a leading indicator of corporate capital spending, totaled ¥889.8 billion. In November, the core orders fell 5.1 percent, according to the government agency. Core machinery orders from manufacturers grew 1.0 percent to ¥367 billion, up for the second consecutive month, reflecting brisk demand from chemical firms and nonferrous metal producers. Such orders from nonmanufacturers increased by 3.5 percent to ¥500.2 billion, backed by active investment in machines in the transport, postal service and construction sectors.
Prime Minister Shinzo Abe on Tuesday instructed his ministers to draw up measures to prevent any recurrence of the improper handling of official documents following a series of scandals that have damaged public confidence in the government. "To secure proper management of public documents, the government will come together to thoroughly conduct a necessary review," Abe said in a meeting of relevant ministers. The instruction comes a day after the Finance Ministry released the results of its internal investigation into the falsification of documents on the heavily discounted 2016 sale of state land in Osaka Prefecture to Moritomo Gakuen, a school operator with ties to Abe's wife, Akie. Finance Minister Taro Aso said he will voluntarily return part of his salary to take responsibility for the matter and the ministry said it is punishing 20 officials, including former senior bureaucrat Nobuhisa Sagawa, who has been recognized as having "set the direction" of the document tampering. The Abe administration has also been under fire due to the cover-up of activity logs for Ground Self-Defense Force troops in Iraq between 2004 and 2006.
"We are acting to preserve, protect, and advance an open, just, transparent and free world of sovereign states. This project will require actual, not pretend, restoration of the liberal order among nations. It will require an assertive America and leadership from not only my country, but of democracies around the world."