Japan Current Affairs - 2020

Japan’s Hayabusa2 Probe makes 2nd touchdown on asteroid Ryugu

Japan’s Hayabusa2 probe has made a perfect touchdown on a distant asteroid named Ryugu, some 300 million kilometres from Earth. It collected samples from beneath surface in an unprecedented mission that could shed light on origins of solar system.

About Hayabusa2 Mission

Creating History: Before this touchdown by Hayabusa2 probe, a  sub-surface material from a celestial body further away than moon have never been gathered. Thus Japan became 1st country to do so. Hayabusa2 also made history with the creation of the crater on Ryugu’s surface.

Objective: It is intended to collect pristine materials from beneath surface of desolate asteroid as it is believed that collected material could provide insights into what solar system was like at its birth, some 4.6 billion years ago.

Background: It is the successor to JAXA’s (Japan Aerospace Exploration Agency) 1st asteroid explorer called Hayabusa which is Japanese word for ‘falcon’. In 2010 Hayabusa returned with dust samples from a smaller, potato-shaped asteroid. It was also hailed as scientific triumph despite various setbacks during its epic 7-year odyssey. Then Hayabusa2 Mission was launched in December 2014, with project cost around $270 million. Hayabusa2 mission is a complex multi-year which has also involved sending rovers and robots down to the surface. It is scheduled to return to Earth with its samples in 2020.

1st Touchdown of Hayabusa2: The recent brief landing is 2nd time Hayabusa2 has touched down on desolate asteroid Ryugu. The 1st touchdown was in February 2019, when it landed briefly on asteroid Ryugu and fired a bullet into surface to puff up dust for collection just before blasting back to its holding position.

Importance of 2nd Touchdown: The 2nd Touchdown required special preparations as any problems could have meant that probe would lose precious materials already gathered during its 1st landing. It is the last major part of Hayabusa2’s mission, and when probe returns to Earth in 2020 to drop off its samples, scientists hope to learn more about history of solar system and even origin of life on Earth.

Ryugu, in in Japanese means Dragon Palace. It refers to a castle at bottom of ocean in an ancient Japanese tale.

G20 meeting of Finance Ministers and Central Bank Governors 2019

Smt. Nirmala Sitharaman, Union Minister of Finance & Corporate Affairs participated in G20 Meeting of Finance Ministers and Central Bank Governors and associated events during 8-9 June 2019 held at southwestern city of Fukuoka, Japan.

Key Highlights

This meeting took place alongside with G20 Ministerial meet on Trade and Digital Economy (on 8-9 June 2019) at Tsukuba city, Ibaraki Prefecture, Japan.


  • It aimed towards forging consensus on range of issues to be endorsed by leaders who will be meeting in late June in Osaka, Japan.
  • The meet also focused on current situation in global economy and current trade and technology dispute between US and China.
  • Besides this participants also discussed issues related to tax challenges for addressing digitalisation of economy, ways for improving taxation and measures to ensure sustainable growth.

India at G20

  • Smt. Sitharaman, Union Finance Minister of India noted the urgency of fixing issue of determining right nexus and profit allocation solution for taxing profits made by digital economy companies, as with each passing day the work on tax challenges arising from digitalisation of economy is entering a critical phase.
  • India strongly supported that potential solution to aforementioned problem should be based on concept of significant economic presence of businesses, by taking into account evidence of their purposeful and sustained interaction with economy of country in question. This concept was piloted by India and had been supported by large number of countries including G-24. Union Finance Minister expressed confidence that a consensus-based global solution that should also be equitable and simple, would be reached by 2020.
  • India welcomed the beginning of Automatic Exchange of Financial Account Information (AEOI) on a global basis, which was used by over 90 jurisdictions in 2018 for successfully exchanging information. This move would ensure that tax evaders could no more hide their offshore financial accounts from tax administration.
  • India urged global forum of G20 to further expand network of AEOI by identifying jurisdictions including developing countries as well as financial centers that are relevant but have not yet committed to any timeline.
  • To address the need for taking appropriate action against non-compliant jurisdictions, India called upon international community to agree on a toolkit of defensive measures that can be taken against such non-compliant jurisdictions.
  • India also raised need for international cooperation on dealing with fugitive economic offenders (FEO) who flee their countries to escape from consequences of law and urged all member states to draw closer collaboration and coordinated action so as to bring such economic offenders to face law.

About G20

  • G20 (or Group of 20) was formed on 26 September 1999 as meeting of Finance Ministers and Central Bank Governors of member states in aftermath of Southeast Asian (Tiger economies) financial crisis. Since its inception group has played a key role in responding to global financial crisis situations. In 2008, 1st G20 Leaders’ Summit was held in Washington DC, United States.
  • Members: includes 19 countries and European Union (EU) which collectively representing two-third of world’s population, 85% of global GDP and 80% of international trade. The 19 countries are India, China, Japan, Russia, Australia, Argentina, Brazil, Canada, France, Indonesia, Italy, South Korea, Mexico, Germany, Saudi Arabia, Turkey, US, South Africa and United Kingdom.
  • Function: It is premier forum for international economic cooperation, decision-making and deliberations on global economic issues and other development challenges faced by its member nations.
  • Even though there are no binding commitments in G20, it sets agenda for multilateral trade relations.