FRONT PAGE NEWS

24 February 2017
After teasing us with a behind-the-scenes trailer showing Piko Taro with Canadian singer Justin Bieber on the set of their new SoftBank commercial, the telecommunications provider finally made the big reveal last week, by releasing several of the ads on their official YouTube channel. (rocketnews24.com)
Crown Prince Naruhito has used the occasion of his 57th birthday to express his readiness to ascend the throne as Emperor Akihito is expected to abdicate as soon as next year. (Japan Times)
The government's Headquarters for Earthquake Research Promotion newly added 16 faults to a list of major active fault zones in which a magnitude-7 or larger earthquake could occur. (the-japan-news.com)
Japanese government officials have marked Takeshima Day in a ceremony held in western Japan's Shimane Prefecture. (NHK)
The 27-year-old suspect in a deadly stabbing rampage last July at a facility for the mentally disabled told police he sped up his plans for the attack after hearing he was being pursued by a gangster, investigative sources said Wednesday. (Kyodo)

Feb 23
Two Japanese cities are playing up their ninja roots to attract more domestic tourists and international travelers. (NHK)
Feb 22
The Japanese government will submit a bill to toughen penalties for sex offenders to parliament as soon as early March, informed sources said. (Jiji)
Feb 22
A man cut his own belly with a knife near the main entrance of the headquarters building of Tokyo's Metropolitan Police Department on Tuesday morning. (Jiji)
Feb 22
A buoy designed to observe ocean waves has exploded at a quay in the western Japanese city of Wakayama, killing one worker and injuring another. (NHK)
Feb 22
Tokyo Metropolitan Police are seeking the help of the public in locating a man suspected of installing a hidden camera in the residence of a woman in Komae City last year, reports Nippon News Network. (tokyoreporter.com)

[more society news…]           [society blogs…]


Feb 23
Rakuten shares received a boost Wednesday following news of a stock buyback plan, but the rally's staying power is in question, as the Japanese company's key operations sputter including the mainstay e-commerce business in its home country. (Nikkei)
Feb 22
Businesses leaders and government officials gathered in Tokyo on Tuesday to promote a labor initiative known as "Premium Friday." (NHK)
Feb 22
Embattled Japanese electronics maker Toshiba Corp. is selling its stake in a medical equipment leasing company to Canon Inc. for ¥31.4 billion ($277 million). (Japan Times)
Feb 21
Japan's Shiseido plans to make English the official company language at its head offices around October next year, a step necessitated by the growth into a global enterprise. (Nikkei)
Feb 19
Japan's SoftBank Group Corp is prepared to give up control of Sprint Corp to Deutsche Telekom AG's T-Mobile US Inc to clinch a merger of the two U.S. wireless carriers, according to people familiar with the matter. (Reuters)

[more business news…]           [business blogs…]


Feb 23
Japanese women's wages hit an all-time high last year, but they continued to earn far less than men. (Nikkei)
Feb 22
The Japanese government compiled a plan Tuesday to ease visa restrictions for foreign workers in designated special economic zones to address the growing need for services amid a rise in the number of visitors to the country. (Kyodo)
Feb 21
The price of new condominiums in Japan hit the second highest level on record last year, fuelled by rising costs in personnel and materials. (NHK)
Feb 20
The introduction of negative interest rates a year ago by the Bank of Japan is prompting listed companies here to funnel the money they save on borrowing costs toward takeovers and capital investment. (Nikkei)
Feb 20
Japan posted its first trade balance deficit in 5 months in January. Higher oil prices pushed up the costs of imports. (NHK)

[more economy news…]


Feb 23
Japanese government officials have marked Takeshima Day in a ceremony held in western Japan's Shimane Prefecture. (NHK)
Feb 23
Japan's Foreign Ministry has protested to South Korea over a video clip that calls the body of water between the Japanese archipelago and the Korean Peninsula the "East Sea" instead of the "Sea of Japan". (NHK)
Feb 20
Four major parties in the Tokyo Metropolitan Assembly agreed Monday to set up a powerful committee to look into the issues dogging the Tsukiji fish market relocation plan and possibly summon former Gov. Shintaro Ishihara as a sworn witness. (Japan Times)
Feb 20
US President Donald Trump has claimed his intervention helped reduce the cost of F-35 fighter jets. He said Japanese Prime Minister Shinzo Abe thanked him for lowering the price of the aircraft, which Japan also plans to buy. (NHK)
Feb 20
More than 5,000 people attended a memorial ceremony in Darwin, northern Australia, on Sunday to remember the victims of Japan's World War II airstrike against the city 75 years ago. (Jiji)

[more politics news…]


Feb 22
A man who taught English at a well-known chain of foreign language schools in Japan pleaded guilty Tuesday to defrauding his students out of more than $230,000. (Japan Today)
Feb 22
A kindergarten known for its nationalist curriculum has apologized after coming under fire for hostile comments about Korean and Chinese parents. (Japan Times)
Feb 20
Education officials in Tachikawa City revealed on Sunday that over 940 students and teachers suffered food-poisoning symptoms last week, with the outbreak likely being due to the eating of tainted school lunches. (tokyoreporter.com)
Feb 20
A university hospital chief accused of falsifying a diagnosis report for a yakuza boss to keep him out of prison admitted they dined together several times, TV Asahi reported on Saturday (tokyoreporter.com)
Feb 20
An elementary school in western Japan says it plans to use a software application to prevent online bullying. (NHK)

[more education news…]           [education blogs…]


Feb 23
Five Japanese companies have teamed up to re-create legendary comic book robot Astro Boy in toy form. The product marks the 90th anniversary of the birth of comic and animation master Osamu Tezuka. (NHK)
Feb 23
The government's Headquarters for Earthquake Research Promotion newly added 16 faults to a list of major active fault zones in which a magnitude-7 or larger earthquake could occur. (the-japan-news.com)
Feb 22
Ueno Zoo halted public viewing of two giant pandas on Wednesday because female panda Shin Shin appears to be in heat. (Japan Times)
Feb 22
Tired of waiting in a long line to use the bathroom? The internet may offer a solution. (Japan Times)
Feb 17
The operator of the crippled Fukushima Daiichi nuclear power plant says it suspended a survey by a robot at one of its reactors after the device stopped working. (NHK)

[more sci-tech news…]           [sci-tech blogs…]


Feb 21
Well, there is now a new Internet sensation breaking down those stereotypes and he comes from the comparatively not-so-popular sport of professional pool. His name is Naoyuki Oi, and you may want to remember the name because it may be popping up a bit more often in the future. (rocketnews24.com)
Feb 16
In Tinseltown this week there is the potential for a golfing script of which even Hollywood itself would be proud. (telegraph.co.uk)
Feb 14
Japan's transport ministry said Monday it has started accepting applications for special license plates featuring the 2019 Rugby World Cup logo, aiming to build momentum for the country's hosting of the quadrennial sporting event. (Jiji)
Feb 11
Unbeaten WBC bantamweight champion Shinsuke Yamanaka was named the 2016 Boxer of the Year on Friday by the Japan Boxing Commission. (Japan Times)
Feb 08
A planned golf venue for the 2020 Tokyo Olympics has yet to decide whether to allow women full membership. (NHK)

[more sports news…]


Feb 23
Municipalities that have been protecting deer populations as a tourism resource or natural asset are now increasingly struggling with how to manage overpopulation of the animals. (the-japan-news.com)
Feb 23
The tracks of the now-defunct Takachiho Railway in Miyazaki Prefecture - discontinued due to damage caused by Typhoon No. 14 in 2005 - have been revived as a popular tourist attraction that carried 26,000 passengers in fiscal 2015. (the-japan-news.com)
Feb 21
Twenty-eight hospitals in Japan have been registered on a government list of medical institutions recommended for non-Japanese as Prime Minister Shinzo Abe's administration seeks to promote the nation's advanced medical services. (Japan Times)
Feb 21
The Tokyo metropolitan government plans to introduce alphanumeric route displays for its bus services as early as in 2018, informed sources told Jiji Press on Tuesday. (the-japan-news.com)
Feb 21
Tokyo International Airport's Terminal 2, currently for domestic flights, is slated to host international flights as well, from March 2020 ahead of the Tokyo Olympics and Paralympics that year, informed sources have said. (Jiji)

[more travel news…]           [travel blogs…]


Feb 23
Dear Japan,

We have to talk about your weather.

Let's start with the rainy season (coming soon to a sky near you).

I come from the UK. Everybody knows that it rains a lot in England and that's why we all wear bowler hats and say things like “Sp...

Feb 23
In the depression of the 1930s Kamishibai took center stage, pun intended, in cheering up the crowds. At that time Kamishibai was a street performing act, where the story teller would use a mobile mini "stage" to display illustrations that s/he wo...
Feb 23
Kiji-tora family and infant b&W 2

Today is Japan's Day of the Cat, as one (rather tortured, it must be admitted) way of reading 22/2 is nya-nya-nya, the Japanese equivalent of meow-meow-meow, so this is a perect excuse for goo Ranking to publish, and for me to translate, Japan's f...

Feb 22

Oni, often translated as ogre or demon, are present in a variety of areas in Japanese culture. You might have heard that during setsubun, a festival associated with the Lunar New Year, people throw beans at oni to drive away evil-spirits. Oni app...

Feb 22
A foreign lecturer at Kwansei Gakuin University (Nishinomiya, Hyogo Prefecture) received a three-month pay cut after making a remark to a student from Fukushima Prefecture to the effect that they thought she might glow in the dark due to supposed ...
Feb 22
News media have been reporting over the last 24 hours about a list of hospitals in Japan that are recommended for foreigners. 28 in fact. This, we are told, is a government-backed list compiled by the organization, Medical Excellence Japan. The...
Feb 21

Back in mid-January, I was somewhat surprised to read that the Japanese Immigration Bureau had announced a relaxation of some of its immigration rules for skilled foreign workers.

Until recently, attaining permanent residency in Japan required a m...

Feb 21
japanese high school jk fashion poses history

Ever wondered how quickly junior high school fashion changes in Japan?

Look back over the shifts in junior high school (known as “JK” in Japanese) fads from 2016 to 2015, 2008, 2000, 1995, 1980 and, er, 1684?

Produced by mobile phone provider ...

Feb 21
If you're a terrible cook like me, you'll know that sinking feeling of walking into a Japanese supermarket and realising you have no idea what anything is, let alone how to fashion it into something edible.You will also realise that most of your t...
Feb 20
One of Japan's premier onsen towns seems an unlikely vacation spot for the foreigner who gets bored after about five minutes in a bath. But this is where we found ourselves this winter in Japan, in the higher climes of Gunma Prefecture in Kusatsu...

[all blogs…]