FRONT PAGE NEWS

28 April 2015
Japan's transport ministry has issued new guidelines for airlines to ensure pilots are never alone in the cockpit. (NHK)
A Japanese rescue team failed to enter earthquake-hit Nepal twice on Monday as an aircraft used by the team was unable to obtain permission to land on an airport in its capital Kathmandu because of congestion. (Jiji Press)
A former nightclub hostess with a hearing disability was elected to the assembly of Kita Ward, Tokyo. (The Japan News)
The meager sunshine hours this month has hit consumers' wallets as it delayed the harvest of vegetables and led to a surge in their prices. (The Japan News)
Japan and the United States have agreed on "seamless" defense cooperation from peacetime to contingencies, the two countries said Monday, announcing the first revision to their defense cooperation guidelines in 18 years. (Jiji Press)

Apr 28
On Monday, prosecutors at the Osaka District Court filed drug charges against a 39-year-old male whose who was arrested after he showed support for marijuana use on the Internet, reports the Sankei Shimbun (April 27). (Tokyo Reporter)
Apr 27
Tokyo Metropolitan Police on Monday announced the arrest of an organized crime boss for scalping tickets for a concert by Paul McMartney last week, reports TBS News (April 27). (Tokyo Reporter)
Apr 27
Some 3,000 people have marched in a gay pride parade in Tokyo as calls grow for Japan to legalise same-sex marriage after a lesbian couple held a symbolic wedding ceremony. (abc.net.au)
Apr 27
Kachidokibashi bridge in Chuo Ward, Tokyo, one of Japan's largest movable bridges (See below) that is potentially capable of operation, has not been raised even once since 1970. (The Japan News)
Apr 27
Japan's 140-member supergroup AKB48 is holding its second annual draft next month, in which sub-teams will choose new members from a draft of 48 young hopefuls. And among the finalists is one of the youngest potential members the group has ever seen. (Japan Today)
[more society news...]           [society blogs...]

Apr 28
Major convenience store operator Lawson Inc. said Monday it will conclude a franchising contract with a Tokyo Metro Co. subsidiary to convert Metro's stores at subway stations to Lawson outlets, beginning around September. (The Japan News)
Apr 28
Japan's Inpex Corp on Monday won a stake in the development of major oil fields in the oil-rich emirate of Abu Dhabi, deepening the Asian nation's ties to the United Arab Emirates federation. (Japan Today)
Apr 27
Japan's convenience store chain FamilyMart is to launch several over-the-counter banking services. The new services will include re-issuing cash cards. (NHK)
Apr 27
Major convenience store chains are stepping up their fight for a bite of the doughnut market, following Seven-Eleven Japan Co.'s pioneering move to launch its ring-shaped confection in autumn. (The Japan News)
Apr 27
Japan Tobacco Inc., which previously announced its planned withdrawal from beverage production and sales, has also decided to sell its beverage vending machine business. (The Japan News)
[more business news...]           [business blogs...]
Apr 27
Fitch Ratings downgraded Japan on Monday amid concerns about Japan's failure to tackle its debt-to-GDP ratio, after the country failed to account for the financial impact of a deferred tax increase. The international credit ratings agency downgraded Japan to an 'A' from an 'A+'. (ibtimes.com)
Apr 27
The Nikkei 225 Monday fell 0.19% as traders awaited a flood of earnings reports this week, but mulled central bank policy meetings in the United States and Japan. The small Friday gain on Wall Street was shrugged off. (nasdaq.com)
Apr 24
Japanese stocks fell for the first time in four days, paring the Topix index's biggest weekly gain since February, after weak US economic data pushed the yen higher against the dollar. (straitstimes.com)
Apr 24
The industry ministry is looking to set the target for the ratio of nuclear power generation to Japan's total electricity production in 2030 between 20 percent to 22 percent, compared with 28.6 percent in fiscal 2010 before the Fukushima nuclear crisis, sources close to the matter said Thursday. (Kyodo)
Apr 23
Tokyo stocks extended their gains on Thursday, a day after the benchmark index closed above 20,000 for the first time in 15 years. (Global Post)
[more economy news...]
Apr 28
Japanese Foreign Minister Fumio Kishida called for accelerating nuclear disarmament in a speech at a review conference on the nuclear nonproliferation treaty held in the U.N. headquarters in New York on Monday. (Jiji Press)
Apr 28
A former nightclub hostess with a hearing disability was elected to the assembly of Kita Ward, Tokyo. (The Japan News)
Apr 28
Japan and the United States have agreed on "seamless" defense cooperation from peacetime to contingencies, the two countries said Monday, announcing the first revision to their defense cooperation guidelines in 18 years. (Jiji Press)
Apr 28
Japanese Prime Minister Shinzo Abe said Monday his administration is trying to improve the status of women in his country as it also seeks to protect women's rights on the international stage. (Japan Today)
Apr 27
Former Japanese Minister of Economy, Trade and Industry Yuko Obuchi has been questioned by prosecutors on a voluntary basis over a political fund scandal, informed sources said Monday. (Jiji Press)
[more politics news...]
Apr 20
AONE, Japan - In the historic wooden schoolhouse here, decked out in the kind of bright artwork done by kids the world over, there are two classrooms, each containing three desks that sit marooned in the middle of a space made for many more. At break time, a boy kicks a soccer ball around the yard by himself. (washingtonpost.com)
Apr 18
Japan's government says the country's population continues to decrease and become grayer. (NHK)
Apr 16
A record high number of children were abused after contact via social media last year, with the vast majority becoming victims of underage sex or child pornography. (Japan Times)
Apr 16
Many women of various ages are visiting shops and studios in Kyoto that offer lessons on how to dress and behave like maiko, the young entertainers of Kyoto's hanamachi entertainment districts known for their beautiful clothing, glamorous white makeup and graceful behavior. (stripes.com)
Apr 16
An analysis of the G8 nations has highlighted striking differences in calories and other macronutrients purchased from packaged food in these countries with Mediterranean and Japanese diets being the healthiest, according to Euromonitor. (foodnavigator-asia.com)
[more education news...]           [education blogs...]
Apr 28
Crowded Japan has got a little bit roomier after a 300-meter strip of land emerged from the sea and attached itself to the coast, experts said Monday. (Japan Today)
Apr 26
A crowd gathers near the entrance of Tokyo's upscale Mitsukoshi Department Store, which traces its roots to a kimono shop in the late 17th century. (CNN)
Apr 26
The world's leading zoo organization last week announced it has lost patience with Japan's continued use of dolphins from the fisheries drives at Taiji, Wakayama Prefecture, and suspended its Japanese member from its roster. (Japan Times)
Apr 23
A mysterious western gray whale, listed as a critically endangered species, was spotted off the coast here recently, the first sighting of the mammal on the Japan Sea side since last year. (Asahi)
Apr 23
An aurora that was observed last month in Japan for the first time in 11 years was found to have been caused by a geomagnetic storm with a scale exceeding the space weather forecast (See below) made by the National Institute of Information and Communications Technology, raising alarm bells over the miscalculation. (The Japan News)
[more sci-tech news...]           [sci-tech blogs...]
Apr 26
Ichiro Suzuki broke Japanese career leader Sadaharu Oh's all-time runs mark during the Florida Marlins' 8-0 win over the Washington Nationals on Saturday. (Kyodo)
Apr 26
Kei Nishikori of Japan has won the Barcelona Open tennis tournament for 2 straight years. It was his second win of the season and his 9th career title. (NHK)
Apr 26
Surfing, buoyed by the International Olympic Committee's Agenda 2020 reforms, is targeting a spot at the Tokyo Olympics in five years time. (Japan Today)
Apr 20
Environment ministry guidelines for trail running (see below) rules have been introduced at national parks amid a growing number of problems and complaints resulting from the sport. (The Japan News)
Apr 16
To say that Canada isn't a major world player in sumo wrestling is an understatement. On a Wikipedia page titled "Canadian sumo wrestlers," there are two entries-and they're just different names for the same guy. (macleans.ca)
[more sports news...]
Apr 28
Japan's transport ministry has issued new guidelines for airlines to ensure pilots are never alone in the cockpit. (NHK)
Apr 27
Kyoto's historical and cultural treasures have always attracted large numbers of tourists. But getting around the city by car or bus has never been easy, even when traffic is light. (Japan Times)
Apr 26
A traditional ritual has been held at a more than 1400-year-old Buddhist temple in central Japan. (NHK)
Apr 25
Japan's Cultural Affairs Agency said Friday it has put 18 cultural assets on the newly created "Japan Heritage" list in hopes of luring more foreign tourists and revitalizing regional economies. (Jiji Press)
Apr 23
The estimated number of foreign visitors to Japan rose for the 26th consecutive month in March and topped 1.5 million for the first time, the Japan National Tourism Organization said Wednesday. (Jiji Press)
[more travel news...]           [travel blogs...]
Apr 28
100yen-3

My family and friends always ask, “Isn't it expensive to live in Japan?” I always answer, “Heck no! We've got the 100 Yen Stores!” Back home in California, there is the DollarTree and 99cent Store, but the products and atmosphere are quite...

Apr 27
hidaka

One of the best snack you can get in Japan is onigiri (おにぎり/rice ball). There are konbini (コンビニ) every corner and you an pick one or two from a hundred (it´s really a lot! ) of choice of stuffing. Good thing about this snack is mu...

Apr 27
Secretary of State John Kerry stands next to Japanese Prime Minister Shinzo Abe and Abe's wife Akie Abe for a photograph in front of Kerry's residence in Boston, 26 April 2015. Abe has arrived in the US for a week-long visit. (Photo: AAP).

Author: Peter Drysdale, East Asia Forum

Japanese Prime Minister Shinzo Abe's week-long visit to the United States this week and his speech on Wednesday to a joint session of the US Congress represent an unusual opportunity for Japan's diplomacy. ...

Apr 27
Tokyo Rainbow Pride event, Japan.東京レインボー・プライド

Costumed fun at the Tokyo Rainbow Pride Festa at Yoyogi Park.
The sun joined with over 3,000 people on Sunday to smile on this year's Tokyo Rainbow Pride celebration in Tokyo's Yoyogi district.

This year's celebra...
Apr 27
"A Scene from A Play" by Masanobu Okumura (1686–1764), depicting Edo Ichimura-za theater in the early 1740s - public domain.

“A Scene from A Play” by Masanobu Okumura (1686–1764), depicting Edo Ichimura-za theater in the early 1740s – public domain.

My latest article for Inside Kyoto is about a visit to Kyoto's Minamiza Theater to see a kabuki show. Going to see ...
Apr 26
Japanese Emperor Akihito and Empress Michiko offer a flower wreath at a memorial for the US military as they offer prayers for war victims at Peleliu island in Palau on 9 April 2015. 15 August 2015 marks the 70th anniversary of the end of the Pacific War. (Photo: AAP).

Author: Tessa Morris-Suzuki, ANU

15 August 2015 marks the 70th anniversary of the end of the Pacific War. It should be a solemn moment for reflection on a terrible episode that took many millions of lives, inflicted untold suffering and had conse...

Apr 26
toto toilet gallery at narita

TOTO's new toilet gallery at Narita Airport | click images to enlarge

It's no secret that Japan has some of the most advanced toilets in the world. They respond to your voice, they heat your bum and, of course, they wash you. But convincing the r...

Apr 26
The Secret to Flawless Japanese Skin Care

Japanese women are known for their beautiful skin. We don't just have the good genes (although it is one of the contributing factors), but we often use different types of toners and lotions that contain ingredients that improve the skin texture an...

Apr 25
What role for Japan's Self-Defense Forces? Prime Minister Shinzo Abe with ground SDF chiefs at the force's Asaka training ground in Tokyo. (Photo: AAP).

Author: Ben Ascione, ANU

Japanese Prime Minister Shinzo Abe and his Liberal Democratic Party (LDP) are negotiating with their coalition partner, Komeito, to introduce legislation recognising a limited exercise of collective self-defence. There is...

Apr 25
Maiko Dress-Up in Kyoto

The studios have a huge stock of kimono and obi you can choose from. You can combine them however you like although they will help you pick a good color combination. It took me quite a while to find one. Eventually I went with a lightblue-ish on...

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