FRONT PAGE NEWS

28 March 2015
The Japan Tourism Agency (JTA) says the amount of money spent by foreign tourists in 2014 surpassed the preceding year by 43.1%, totaling 2.0278 trillion yen and exceeded two trillion yen for the first time ever. (Japan Today)
The Korean Cultural Center, a facility of the South Korean Embassy in Tokyo, was hit by a suspected arson attack Wednesday night, sources said Thursday. (Japan Times)
The assembly of Tokyo's Shibuya Ward is expected to pass an ordinance next week acknowledging same-sex partnerships as equivalent to marriage, after a bill for the ordinance was approved at a committee meeting Thursday. (Jiji Press)
Lee Dong Cheol, 61, and an employee of his trading firm were arrested by the Kyoto, Kanagawa, Shimane and Yamaguchi prefectural police departments on Thursday for allegedly importing North Korean matsutake mushrooms under the pretense that they were Chinese ones. (The Japan News)
Officials at Japan's space agency have launched a rocket carrying an imaging satellite to gather intelligence for national security purposes. (NHK)

Mar 27
Police in Tokyo have arrested the leader and one member of a large con-artist group accused of defrauding elderly people out of hundreds of millions of yen with various scams. (Japan Today)
Mar 26
Police reported a record-high 28,923 minors aged below 18 to child welfare authorities as suspected victims of child abuse in 2014, up 33.9 percent from a year earlier, the National Police Agency said Thursday. (Kyodo)
Mar 26
A five-year-old boy drowned in a pond five years after his older sister drowned in the same pond in Mitoyo, Kagawa Prefecture. (Japan Today)
Mar 25
The two names of what appears to be Japanese are on the boarding list of a Germanwings airplane that crashed in southeastern France Tuesday, according to the Japanese consulate general in Barcelona. (Jiji Press)
Mar 25
Police on Wednesday arrested a 42-year-old man in connection with the deaths of his parents, who were found fatally stabbed the day before in a factory the family ran in Takarazuka, Hyogo Prefecture. (Japan Times)
[more society news...]           [society blogs...]

Mar 27
Apple Inc. will establish a technology development facility at a former Panasonic Corp. plant site in Yokohama. (The Japan News)
Mar 26
Facing a damaged brand, an aging society and fierce competition from convenience stores, McDonald's Holdings (Japan) hopes to revive its fortunes with a new chief operating officer who started at the bottom. (Nikkei)
Mar 25
Mitsubishi Motors will build a new 500 million-dollar plant in Indonesia's West Java Province. (NHK)
Mar 25
Police arrested former senior Mizuho Bank employee Mikio Oikawa and two others on Tuesday on suspicion of defrauding a doctor out of 115 million yen in the name of the major Japanese bank. (Jiji Press)
Mar 25
A real estate firm has left the station with the trademark "Linear" ahead of Central Japan Railway Co. (JR Tokai), which may prevent it from using the name for items linked with its maglev Shinkansen line. (Asahi)
[more business news...]           [business blogs...]
Mar 26
Asian Development Bank President Takehiko Nakao said Wednesday that jointly funding projects with a planned Chinese-led Asian development bank is one way to form a "complementary relationship." (Kyodo)
Mar 25
The Japanese government will not decide on whether to join the new China-led development bank before the March 31 deadline set by Beijing, citing such issues as transparency at the institution. (Nikkei)
Mar 25
Japan's future prosperity will depend on improving its lagging productivity, says a report by McKinsey Global Institute that urges companies to boost their competitiveness by better use of their workers. (Japan Today)
Mar 25
The Bank of Japan is emerging as the nation's second-largest stock investor, with its portfolio topping 10 trillion yen ($82.7 billion) in market value this month. (Nikkei)
Mar 24
Japan's Nikkei share average fell on Tuesday as a weak factory activity survey in China and a drop in U.S. markets weighed on investor confidence, but losses were limited by expectations of better returns for holders of Japanese shares. (Reuters)
[more economy news...]
Mar 26
Candidates in 10 gubernatorial elections across Japan have launched campaigns in a series of contests that are expected to hinge on measures to boost the economy and revive dwindling regional communities. (NHK)
Mar 26
The Fukuoka High Court ruled Wednesday that the December 2014 general election was unconstitutional due to a disparity in the weight of votes between districts, making it the first such judgment in a series of similar lawsuits filed with high courts nationwide. (Kyodo)
Mar 25
Japan's Maritime Self-Defense Force commissioned its largest ever helicopter-carrying destroyer Izumo on Wednesday, as it strengthens its maritime defense around the nation's southwestern remote islands. (Kyodo)
Mar 25
Japan's Prime Minister Shinzo Abe is preparing to attend the state funeral of Singapore's founding father, Lee Kuan Yew. (NHK)
Mar 25
The Hiroshima High Court and the Sendai High Court's Akita branch ruled Tuesday that last December's Lower House election was "in a state of unconstitutionality" due to the disparity in the weight of votes between districts. (Japan Times)
[more politics news...]
Mar 27
The Foreign Ministry plans to introduce a system in which the arbitration entities of Japan and other countries will cooperate in meeting the demands of parents overseas, such as in the return of, and meeting with, their children in international child custody disputes. (The Japan News)
Mar 25
The principal of a school in Funabashi, Chiba Prefecture, has apologized after a teacher buried five newborn kittens, four of which were still alive, on school grounds. (Japan Today)
Mar 24
Police in Kofu, Yamanashi Prefecture, have arrested a 54-year-old high school teacher for driving under the influence of alcohol. (Japan Today)
Mar 19
Speaking at a Japan-U.S. event held Thursday in Tokyo, visiting U.S. First Lady Michelle Obama and Akie Abe, the wife of Japanese Prime Minister Shinzo Abe, called for support to promote the education of girls around the world. (Jiji Press)
Mar 19
The education ministry surveyed third-year high school students by examining four English language skills of listening, writing, speaking and reading, and revealed Tuesday that even in their strongest subject - reading - about 73 percent hovered at the middle school level. (The Japan News)
[more education news...]           [education blogs...]
Mar 26
Officials at Japan's space agency have launched a rocket carrying an imaging satellite to gather intelligence for national security purposes. (NHK)
Mar 26
Two Japanese biologists won the 2015 Canada Gairdner International Awards, a prestigious prize in the medical and life science fields, the Gairdner Foundation has announced. ()
Mar 26
An expert panel of the Nuclear Regulation Authority (NRA) has concluded again that a fracture zone running just below the No. 2 reactor of the Tsuruga nuclear power plant in Fukui Prefecture is an active fault. (The Japan News)
Mar 26
A nesting ground of Bryan's shearwaters, a rare seabird species once believed extinct, was found for the first time in the world on an uninhabited island nearly 1,000 kilometers south of Tokyo, researchers said. (Asahi)
Mar 25
Pacific bluefin tuna face extinction not only in the wild but also in a Tokyo aquarium where mysterious deaths of the species in a huge tank have plagued marine experts since late last year. (Japan Times)
[more sci-tech news...]           [sci-tech blogs...]
Mar 22
Yokozuna Hakuho extended his Emperor's Cup record to 34 by defeating fellow yokozuna Harumafuji on the final day of the Spring Grand Sumo Tournament at Bodymaker Colosseum on March 22. (Asahi)
Mar 20
Terunofuji sentenced Mongolian yokozuna Hakuho to a shock first defeat at the Spring Grand Sumo Tournament on Friday to keep his title hopes alive with two days of the 15-day basho remaining. (Japan Times)
Mar 19
Japan needs to reduce the number of clubs competing in its top flight rugby competition and overhaul its entire structure if it is going to make inroads on the world stage, head coach Eddie Jones said on Wednesday. (Japan Today)
Mar 14
Toyota Motor Corp. announced on Friday it has entered into a sponsorship contract with the International Olympic Committee to be part of The Olympic Partner (TOP) program, becoming the world's first automaker to become a top-ranked Olympic sponsor. (The Japan News)
Mar 12
The Japan Football Association officially named Bosnian Vahid Halilhodzic as Japan's new national team manager on Thursday. (Japan Times)
[more sports news...]
Mar 27
The Japan Tourism Agency (JTA) says the amount of money spent by foreign tourists in 2014 surpassed the preceding year by 43.1%, totaling 2.0278 trillion yen and exceeded two trillion yen for the first time ever. (Japan Today)
Mar 27
To help improve taxi services for the growing number of visitors to Japan from overseas, Osaka taxi organizations have launched a study involving 10 drivers proficient in foreign languages, with their overseas passengers asked to evaluate the cab service in Osaka. (The Japan News)
Mar 26
A bonsai museum in Tokyo's outskirts is enjoying a popularity boom among foreign visitors. (NHK)
Mar 25
Foreign tourists will find this city's prized Himeji Castle significantly more accommodating with the addition of more signs, tour plans and free Wi-Fi service. (Asahi)
Mar 23
Climbers tackling Japan's highest peak Mount Fuji will be urged to wear a helmet and goggles, authorities said on Wednesday, after more than 60 people died when a nearby volcano erupted without warning last year. (news24.com)
[more travel news...]           [travel blogs...]
Mar 27
What’s the implication of Prime Minister Shinzo Abe addressing the US Congress? Why is ISIS recruiting in Asia? And what exactly is Thai democracy? These stories and more on Asia News Weekly.
Mar 26
Dive into the Heart of Odaiba

Traveling in a foreign country is truly one of the greatest luxuries we have in this age, but it is certainly far from stress-free. To an extent, planning and researching before a vacation is fun and exciting. There is a point, however, when it ...

Mar 26
China’s anti-graft search extends to US. Japan’s new warship. Plus, Hong Kong’s Chief Executive throws down the gauntlet against the pro-democracy movement.
Mar 26
papas-maze-2-point-0 (2)

Papa's new maze in progress | photo courtesy @Kya7y

By now you may know the story: Kazuo Nomura toiled away as a janitor during the day. At night he would come home and work on his passion: a large, incredibly detailed maze. After spending 7 year...

Mar 25

“Hardworking Japanese people”

… How many of you have heard that phrase before? How many of you were tripped up by that phrase? And more importantly, for how many of you were the above three words as natural as, for example, “cultured Fren...

Mar 25
This photograph taken on 27 September 2013 shows shoppers walking past displays offering clothing on sale in Tokyo's Harajuku shopping district. (Photo: AAP)

Authors: David Green and Yoshihiko Kadoya, Nagoya University

With the foreign population in Japan expected to grow in the future, policymakers have an interest in promoting a more positive view of immigration. Current public opinion toward immigr...

Mar 25
2015-03-09 22_51_40-A Visit to Aoshima, a Japanese 'Cat Island' - The Atlantic

Do you like cats? Would you want to be surrounded by them? If you answer to all of those questions is yes, then you might want to feast your eyes on Aoshima Island in Southern Japan.

Aoshima, or also known as Kyattoshima, is an island in Ehime Pr...

Mar 25
OLYMPUS DIGITAL CAMERA

It would be a brave person indeed who could declare where the most beautiful sakura blossoms are, or where the best place to view them would be. It seems every person in Tokyo has her favorite spot. Mine is along the Meguro River, and I often ta...

Mar 24
2 Things You Need To Get Hired As An ALT In Japan

The sheer volume of words written across the Internet to try to answer the question of getting hired as an Assistant Language Teacher (ALT) in Japan is astounding. Enter a Google search, and you'll see what I'm talking about. In reality, most ALT ...

Mar 24
title

One of the many things I love about Japan is the appreciation of all four seasons. Whether its non-stop rain before the hot and humid summer sets in or the summer moon gazing that follows it, there are customary traditions for all seasons. And t...

[all blogs...]