FRONT PAGE NEWS

30 May 2015
The explosive eruption on Mt. Shindake in Kagoshima Prefecture on Friday is likely to have involved the direct ejection of magma, or direct subterranean contact between magma and groundwater, experts say. (The Japan News)
A sudden volcano eruption on the small southern Japanese island of Kuchinoerabu-jima has forced authorities to raise the alert to the highest level and advise evacuation of the immediate area. (rt.com)
Twelve of the 29 suma mackerel tuna have died at Tokyo Sea Life Park in Edogawa Ward, Tokyo, since the aquarium released the fish into its tank less than a week ago, it was learned Thursday. There has been a mysterious die-off of kuromaguro bluefin tuna, hatsugatsuo and other species of bonito at the aquarium since December. (The Japan News)
McDonald's Japan is still reeling from a series of food-safety scandals. Executives have responded by cutting the number of outlets that are open 24 hours a day. (NHK)
The Japanese health ministry's plan to ban restaurants from serving raw pork including liver and other internal organs was approved at an advisory panel sectional meeting on Wednesday. (Jiji Press)

May 29
A 45-year-old male patient at a clinic in Kadoma, Osaka, has been arrested on suspicion of attacking a woman working at the reception desk with a knife. (Japan Today)
May 29
Police in Sapporo said Thursday they have arrested a 64-year-old woman over the death of her 42-year-old mentally disabled daughter whose body was found at their apartment in Nishi Ward. (Japan Today)
May 28
A 25-year-old man on Wednesday went on trial for fatally stabbing one man and wounding three others during a 10-minute rampage in Kashiwa, Chiba Prefecture, in March 2014. (Japan Today)
May 28
The Japan Association of Zoos and Aquariums says hackers stole phone numbers and email addresses of thousands of zoo and aquarium workers nationwide in an incident earlier this year. (Japan Times)
May 27
Police in Toyota, Aichi Prefecture, have arrested a 65-year-old man after three bodies were found in the ruins of his house that was destroyed by a fire on Tuesday morning. (Japan Today)
[more society news...]           [society blogs...]

May 27
Japan will expand imports of butter to fully meet domestic demand in the current fiscal year through next March, farm minister Yoshimasa Hayashi said Tuesday. (The Japan News)
May 27
Japanese toy maker Tomy Co. said Tuesday it will market a toy maglev train that runs like a real one in September. (Jiji Press)
May 26
A special law that allows municipal governments in Japan to order the demolition of hazardous vacant houses went into force Tuesday, at a time when the number of empty houses is increasing as a result of the country's declining population. (Jiji Press)
May 26
Japanese households are expected to pay more for earthquake insurance policies starting as early as fall 2016, with premiums to be increased gradually by 20-30% on average. (Nikkei)
May 25
Japan's push to take away overtime from high-paid workers has critics warning it will aggravate a problem synonymous with the country's notoriously long working hours -- karoshi, or death from overwork. (AFP)
[more business news...]           [business blogs...]
May 29
The key Nikkei average extended its winning streak to an 11th session to rewrite its highest closing level in more than 15 years for the eighth consecutive trading day on the Tokyo Stock Exchange on Friday, thanks to buying backed by brisk corporate earnings. (Japan Times)
May 28
The trend of the yen falling against the U.S. dollar has been accelerating amid investors' expectations of the gap widening between Japanese and U.S. interest rates. The weakening of the yen is favorable for Japanese exporters, with market observers thinking that stock prices will remain high. (The Japan News)
May 27
Tokyo stocks squeaked out another positive session Wednesday with the benchmark index marking its ninth straight day of gains, as a weak yen offset falls on Wall Street. (Global Post)
May 26
Tokyo stocks climbed 0.74 percent Monday, a seventh successive rise, with the benchmark index ending at a 15-year high as a weak yen boosted exporters. (menafn.com)
May 25
Japan's Nikkei share average rose for a seventh day and closed at a fresh 15-year high on Monday, helped by ongoing optimism for higher shareholder returns and the recovering economy. (Economic Times)
[more economy news...]
May 28
Top negotiators of the United States, Japan, and South Korea -- three of six countries involved in stalled talks aimed at ending North Korea's nuclear program -- agreed Wednesday to increase "pressures and sanctions" on North Korea to dissuade the North from military provocations. (Kyodo)
May 27
Japanese lawmakers approved health care reforms on Wednesday to address the rising costs of elderly care, with increased cost-sharing by high-income workers and prefectures taking over the running of loss-making public insurance bodies from municipalities. (Japan Times)
May 27
The Diet, Japan's parliament, on Wednesday enacted a bill to create a ministerial post for affairs related to the 2020 Olympic and Paralympic Games in Tokyo. (Jiji Press)
May 27
Citing an increasingly severe security environment, Prime Minister Shinzo Abe stressed the importance of security-related bills to seamlessly respond to every situation, expressing his resolve to pass them in the current Diet session. (The Japan News)
May 26
The Japanese government came up Monday with a draft of new cybersecurity strategy calling for measures to protect Internet-connected devices and systems from cyberattacks. (Jiji Press)
[more politics news...]
May 29
Last year, the Japanese government announced a project that's curiously reminiscent of the halcyon days of the 1970s and 1980s MITI (Ministry of International Trade and Industry) economic central planning. (Asahi)
May 27
A Japanese court has awarded 537 million yen in compensation to a group of teachers who were punished for refusing to sing the country's anthem, the group said Tuesday as it condemned nationalism in education. (Japan Today)
May 27
Rie Saito, a member of Tokyo's Kita Ward Assembly, can now join debates after the assembly put into operation Tuesday a speech conversion system for people with hearing difficulties. (The Japan News)
May 25
Only a little over a half of English teachers at public high schools are certified with advanced levels of English proficiency tests, and less than 30 percent of those at junior high schools are qualified likewise, according to an education ministry survey released Monday. (Japan Times)
May 24
E-commerce giant Rakuten has managed to do what the educational system apparently can't - get Japanese people to speak English competently. After years of Rakuten building the English level of its employees, Chief Executive Officer Hiroshi Mikitani noted recently that the effort has finally paid off. (Japan Times)
[more education news...]           [education blogs...]
May 29
Twelve of the 29 suma mackerel tuna have died at Tokyo Sea Life Park in Edogawa Ward, Tokyo, since the aquarium released the fish into its tank less than a week ago, it was learned Thursday. There has been a mysterious die-off of kuromaguro bluefin tuna, hatsugatsuo and other species of bonito at the aquarium since December. (The Japan News)
May 27
The operator of the crippled Fukushima Daiichi nuclear plant said Wednesday it has finished filtering a total of 620,000 tons of extremely toxic water being stored in tanks on the premises of the complex to lower its radiation level. (Kyodo)
May 27
Killer whales have been spotted in Tokyo Bay, prompting the Japan Coast Guard to warn ships passing through the area to avoid the cetaceans. (Japan Times)
May 26
Volcanic activity continues at Mount Hakone in Kanagawa Prefecture, a hot spring resort area southwest of Tokyo. (NHK)
May 25
Japan's Meteorological Agency has warned of possible strong aftershocks in the Tokyo metropolitan area during the next week. (NHK)
[more sci-tech news...]           [sci-tech blogs...]
May 29
South Korea's Incheon District Court on Thursday ordered swimmer Naoya Tomita to pay a fine of one million won for stealing a camera during a competition. (The Japan News)
May 27
Mongolian sumo wrestler Terunofuji has been promoted to ozeki, the sport's second highest rank. (NHK)
May 25
Sekiwake Terunofuji seemed to be able to move mountains during the 15-day Summer Grand Sumo Tournament in Tokyo, but he was almost moved to tears when it was over on Sunday. (The Japan News)
May 20
Newcomer Homarenishiki wants to do more than just climb the sumo ladder of success. He also intends to learn traditional Japanese culture and someday bring it back to his mother country, Canada. (The Japan News)
May 19
Ichiro Suzuki has tied with US baseball legend Babe Ruth for 42nd place on Major League Baseball's all-time hits list. (NHK)
[more sports news...]
May 25
Amid a surge in customers being overcharged by clubs in Shinjuku Ward, police on Friday announced an intensification of patrols to combat the increase, reports the Sankei Shimbun (May 24). (Tokyo Reporter)
May 23
After disappointing many visitors by blocking access during windy weather, the operator of Tokyo Skytree decided to beef up the elevators to keep the attraction open even when it gets gusty. (Nikkei)
May 22
Jetstar Asia Airways apologized Thursday for refusing to allow a 38-year-old man with cerebral palsy to board a flight from Bangkok to Japan last year. ()
May 21
The estimated number of foreign visitors to Japan in April rose 43.3 pct from a year before to 1,764,700, hitting a monthly record for the third straight month, the Japan National Tourism Organization said Wednesday. (Jiji Press)
May 20
Smoke rises from Mt. Hakone on Wednesday as a bus drives along a road nearby. ()
[more travel news...]           [travel blogs...]
May 30
26362839_624The other day, a German friend wanted to learn a little Japanese and she asked me the names of the colour since she is a clothing designer. “How do you say white in Japanese?” Typical questions until we stopped at a traffic light. She asked, ...
May 29
CollegeStudentsStudyin-1280

Tofugu readers tend to be dedicated to improving their understanding of Japanese language and culture. So I think many reading this can agree that learning a foreign language can be a reeeeeeal pain. Learning a new way of thinking is a struggle no...

May 29
ganguro1

“Gyaru” – the girls belonging to the “ganguro” or “gyaru” subculture that's obsessed with deep tans, extreme makeup and multicolored hair – were becoming a bit of a rare sight around Tokyo in recent years, perhaps as the original f...

May 29
No casinos? No problem! Word is still out on whether the government will be legalising casinos in Japan (pro-casino lawmakers submitted a bill to legalise casino gambling in April 2015), but don't ... ...continue reading
May 29
Kissaten: A Slowly Dying Part of Japanese Culture

Back in 2003 during my first Japanese class, one of the first vocabulary words I learned from our textbook at the time was 喫茶店 (kissaten, which the textbook translated to “café”.) Over the past 12 years, there has been a significant cha...

May 29
What’s going on with North Korea? Is conflict unavoidable in the South China Sea? The plight of the boat people and more.
May 28
Comic: Selling our comics at a convention in Tokyo A couple of weeks ago, Ryosuke and I sold our comic books at an independent manga/comic convention in Tokyo. I had been twice before – but actually selling books at this convention was a completely different ball game. I learned a lot...
May 28
I found this over at www.japanisweird.com - a site you should all check out for a few laughs, as it features photos submitted by normal folk, with social commentary provided by weird folk who only seem normal in their day-to-day lives.

If you are ...
May 28
3 Food You Have to Try When In Fukuoka

Japan is obsessed with food and at no time is this more obvious than when you take a trip to a new part of Japan. Every town seems to have its own delicacy or speciality to try, and colleagues and co-workers will inevitably ask if you tried them a...

May 26
Comic: I see foreign people every day!!! As many of you know, Ryosuke and I moved out of Tokyo in late February. We're still close enough that we can get into the city by train (albeit, a long ride) – but we are very much in the countryside. I didn't realize how countryside it...
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