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South Korea: Abortion Decriminalized since January 1, 2021

(Mar. 18, 2021) Abortion became decriminalized in South Korea effective January 1, 2021, when the provisions of Act No. 293, the Criminal Act, that criminalized abortion became invalid. (Criminal Act, Act No. 293, Sept. 18, 1953, arts. 269–270, amended by Act No. 5057, Dec. 29, 1995.) The decriminalization of abortion was the effect of a […]

Japan: Supreme Court Finds Exemption of Confucian Temple from Paying Rent to City Unconstitutional

(Mar. 12, 2021) On February 24, 2021, Japan’s Supreme Court ruled that it was unconstitutional for the city government of Naha, Okinawa Prefecture, to exempt a Confucian temple from paying land usage fees because such an exemption violated the principle of separation of religion and state. (2019(Gyo-tsu)222 (S. Ct., Feb. 24, 2021), in Japanese; to […]

Thailand: Abortion in First Trimester Legalized

(Mar. 1, 2021) On January 25, 2021, the Ratthasapha (Thai national assembly) amended the Thai Penal Code to relax currently restrictive regulations on abortion by decriminalizing the termination of pregnancy during first 12 weeks. The amendment was published in the Government Gazette on February 6, 2021, and took effect on the following day. (Act Amending […]

South Korea: Amended Law Criminalizes Sending Leaflets to North Korea by Balloon

(Jan. 19, 2021) On December 14, 2020, the South Korean National Assembly passed a bill to amend the Development of Inter-Korean Relations Act (Act No. 7763, Dec. 29, 2005). The amendment, Act No. 17763, was published in Gwanbo (official gazette) on December 29, 2020. The amendment added a provision that prohibits acts that violate an […]

South Korea: Mask Rule Violators May Be Punished by Fines

(Dec. 7, 2020) People in South Korea have been required to wear face masks on mass transportation and at demonstrations, among other places, since October 13, 2020, when the penal provisions of an amendment of August 12, 2020, to the Infectious Disease Control and Prevention Act took effect. (Act No. 9847, Dec. 29, 2009, amended […]

Japan: Supreme Court Rules on Unequal Treatment of Fixed-Term Employees

(Nov. 19, 2020) On October 13 and 15, 2020, Japan’s Supreme Court rendered five judgments on whether it is reasonable to treat fixed-term employees differently from their counterpart permanent employees in the payment of bonuses, retirement allowances, holiday extra pay, and paid leave. Employees with nonregular status (e.g., fixed-term employees, dispatched workers, temporary workers) represent […]

Japan: Illegal Receipt of COVID-19 Subsidy for Small- and Medium-Sized Companies Rigorously Prosecuted

(Nov. 2, 2020) On July 22, 2020, a 19-year-old college student became the first person in Japan to be arrested for submitting false information and fraudulently receiving COVID-19 subsidy money intended for small- and medium-sized companies and freelancers. Later, on October 22, 2020, five people in their 20s who had taught the college student how […]

Vietnam: Foreign Nationals on Short-Term Visits Required to Use Contact Tracing App during Their Stay in Vietnam

(Oct. 30, 2020) On August 31, 2020, Vietnam’s Ministry of Health issued a circular exempting short-term visitors to the country from quarantine if they use the Bluezone contact tracing application throughout their stay in the country and satisfy other requirements. (Circular No. 4674 / BYT-MT on Guidance on Covid-19 Prevention and Control Regarding Short-Term Work […]

Japan: Science Council Members Appointed Amid Debate over Appointment Process

(Oct. 15, 2020) Prime Minister Suga appointed 99 council members to the Science Council of Japan on October 1, 2020, six less than the number of members recommended by the Science Council. The Science Council is the representative organization of the Japanese scientist community covering all scientific fields. It was established under the Act on […]

Japan: Revised Enforcement Rule of the Electronic Books Preservation Act Seeks to Ease Requirements for Paperless Tax Documents

(Oct. 5, 2020) The amended Enforcement Rule of the Electronic Books Preservation Act (Enforcement Rule) will come into force on October 1, 2020. (Ministry of Finance (MOF) Ordinance No. 43 of 1998, amended by MOF Ordinance No. 24 of 2020.) The Enforcement Rule was amended to enable the following electronic records to be stored instead […]