FRONT PAGE NEWS

27 November 2014
Volcanic smoke from Mount Aso in southwestern Japan rose about one kilometer into the sky on Wednesday. (NHK)
UNESCO has decided to add the traditional techniques of crafting Japanese-style "washi" paper to its list of intangible cultural heritage. (NHK)
The number of people injured in the earthquake that struck northern Nagano Prefecture over the weekend has risen to 45, according to prefectural authorities, while 690 houses were left without running water. (Japan Times)
Japan's Supreme Court has ruled that last year's Upper House election was held in a state of unconstitutionality due to disparities in the value of individual votes. (NHK)
The strong earthquake that rocked central Japan on Saturday shifted the skiing city of Hakuba in Nagano prefecture southeast by almost one foot, according to the government's mapping agency. (Wall Street Journal)

Nov 27
Tokyo Metropolitan Police on Wednesday announced the arrest of a female sex worker for allegedly threatening to kill a celebrity doctor two months ago, reports Nippon News Network. (Tokyo Reporter)
Nov 27
The Utsunomiya District Court in Tochigi Prefecture on Wednesday convicted two men over the illegal disposal of a body after they dumped the body of a young woman in a cardboard box near a quarry in Sano on Aug 4. (Japan Today)
Nov 27
A Japanese journalist indicted by South Korean authorities on suspicion of defaming President Park Geun-hye is facing his first hearing. (NHK)
Nov 27
Tokyo Metropolitan Police on Wednesday announced the bust of a prostitution ring that utilized social media services to recruit customers, reports Nippon News Network (Nov. 26). (Tokyo Reporter)
Nov 26
Tokyo Metropolitan Police on Wednesday announced the bust of a casino in Toshima Ward on charges of illegal gambling, reports TV Asahi (Nov. 26). (Tokyo Reporter)
[more society news...]           [society blogs...]

Nov 27
Executives at Toyota Motor say they will upgrade safety features in almost all of their cars by 2017. (NHK)
Nov 27
Kansai Electric Power Co. said Wednesday it will seek to operate its two reactors at the Takahama nuclear plant beyond the operational limit of 40 years, despite public concerns over the safety of aging nuclear facilities in Japan. (Kyodo)
Nov 27
Sony offers women more opportunities and a better working environment than other Japanese corporations, according to a Nikkei Inc. ranking of the nation's publicly traded companies for fiscal 2014. (Nikkei)
Nov 26
Japan's transport ministry last week set up a special task force to deal with air bag-related recalls and has urged automakers to speed up replacements of potentially defective Takata-made air bag inflators, Transport Minister Akihiro Ohta said on Tuesday. (Reuters)
Nov 26
Struggling Sony warned on Tuesday it needs to carry out years of reform before it can turn around its battered smartphone arm. (Japan Today)
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Nov 27
The prolonged depreciation of the yen could affect how people spend money on the upcoming year-end and New Year holidays. Prices are higher for imported food ingredients used for New Year foods, Christmas presents and the products for which bonuses are expected to be used. (The Japan News)
Nov 26
Japanese stocks edged down on Wednesday as investors cautiously awaited a slew of U.S. economic data and a holiday-shortened U.S. trading week dampened risk appetite, while Honda Motor Co fell sharply after under-reporting accidents. (Reuters)
Nov 26
When Prime Minister Shinzo Abe responded to Japan's surprise recession by delaying a sales-tax increase, it was a cause for worry, not celebration, for many young Japanese. This generation, barely aware of their country's economic heyday, frets that putting off tough decisions now could make the future even worse. (abcnews.go.com)
Nov 26
The brash Bank of Japan Gov. Haruhiko Kuroda has regularly shown a willingness to break taboos and cross lines. His remarkable speech Tuesday to business leaders was the latest example-he came close to trying to order executives to stop sitting on their rapidly accumulating profits, and to raise worker pay. (Wall Street Journal)
Nov 26
Japan's economy has slid into a recession following the April 1 consumption tax hike, the Organization for Economic Cooperation and Development said Tuesday, downgrading its projections for the nation's economic growth in 2014 and 2015. (Kyodo)
[more economy news...]
Nov 26
Japan's Supreme Court has ruled that last year's Upper House election was held in a state of unconstitutionality due to disparities in the value of individual votes. (NHK)
Nov 26
In the wake of former trade minister Yuko Obuchi's resignation last month over dubious political funds reports from 2008 to 2012, a report released Wednesday shows more than 8.14 million yen in unexplained expenses by her support groups in 2013 and around 950,000 yen spent on "potatoes." (Kyodo)
Nov 25
Japan's political parties are expected to announce their campaign agendas this week for the Lower House election on December 14th. (NHK)
Nov 25
Prime Minister Shinzo Abe on Monday surveyed damage from Saturday's strong earthquake that hit the northern part of Nagano Prefecture in central Japan, left 44 people injured and heavily damaged or destroyed 141 houses. (Kyodo)
Nov 25
Voters, puzzled as to why Prime Minister Shinzo Abe is calling an election now and unimpressed by opposition alternatives, may shun the Dec. 14 election in record numbers. (Japan Times)
[more politics news...]
Nov 21
Japan's education minister Hakubun Shimomura suggested Thursday that school curriculum guidelines be revised so as to allow elementary school English-language education to start in the third grade. (Jiji Press)
Nov 20
Seven children were injured by a mixed-breed dog while on their way to school Wednesday morning in Nakatsu, Oita Prefecture. (Japan Today)
Nov 20
Osaka Family Court ordered a Japanese woman on Wednesday to return her 4-year-old child to her Japanese husband living in Sri Lanka under the Hague treaty to settle cross-border child custody disputes. (The Japan News)
Nov 18
Emperor Akihito and Empress Michiko viewed a special exhibition featuring arts and artifacts related to eighth-century Kojiki (Records of Ancient Matters), the oldest chronicle in Japan, during a visit here on Nov. 17. (Asahi)
Nov 18
Last month the Ministry of Finance presented a policy recommendation based on studies made by an advisory group. Such recommendations are fairly common, but this one caught more than the usual amount of attention because of where it was directed. (Japan Times)
[more education news...]           [education blogs...]
Nov 26
The temperature readings in Tokyo this winter are expected to drop because of the relocation of the observation site for Tokyo's weather. (The Japan News)
Nov 26
Tokyo Electric Power Co. started work Tuesday to fill an underground trench at the disaster-stricken Fukushima No. 1 nuclear power plant with cement while pumping up radioactive water inside at the same time. (Jiji Press)
Nov 26
A rare albino dolphin has been captured by Japanese fishermen, said a campaign group staging a protest against the sale or slaughter of the creatures. (timesofoman.com)
Nov 25
The government's Earthquake Research Committee announced Sunday that the quake that rocked Nagano Prefecture on Saturday was highly likely to have been caused by a jolt along a section of the Kamishiro Fault, located in the northern area of the prefecture. (The Japan News)
Nov 25
Osaka University Hospital said Monday it has successfully transplanted a heart provided by a Japanese girl less than six years old who was judged brain dead in a boy aged below 10. (Jiji Press)
[more sci-tech news...]           [sci-tech blogs...]
Nov 27
Basketball's international governing body has suspended the Japan Basketball Association's membership after it failed to meet a deadline for unifying two domestic leagues. (NHK)
Nov 24
Mongolian Hakuho tied sumo legend Taiho's record of 32 Emperor's Cup wins on Sunday to send shockwaves through Japan's ancient sport. (SBS)
Nov 22
Japan's formal entry into an expanded Super Rugby competition in 2016 will provide a shot in the arm for the game across Asia, according to the country's top rugby official. (Japan Today)
Nov 22
Yokozuna Hakuho's hopes of a record-tying 32nd championship title got a big boost at the Kyushu Grand Sumo Tournament on Nov. 21 as Harumafuji drove Kakuryu out of the ring--and out of the lead--in the first yokozuna showdown of the competition. (Asahi)
Nov 20
It appears some of the 2020 Summer Olympic and Paralympic Games slated for Tokyo might actually be held in Osaka. (NHK)
[more sports news...]
Nov 26
Free Wi-Fi will be arriving at Tokyo's major subway stations next month, allowing passengers to get connected via a simple user registration process through a special app. (Asahi)
Nov 25
Winter resort operators here are scrambling to quash rumors at home and abroad that a recent earthquake caused serious damage to their ski hills and facilities. (Asahi)
Nov 25
The Japanese government is to ease conditions for multiple entry visas issued to independent Chinese tourists. (NHK)
Nov 20
The number of visitors to Japan in January-October grew 27.1 percent from a year before to 11,009,000, already topping the full-year record of 10,363,904 marked in 2013, an estimate by the Japan National Tourism Organization showed Wednesday. (The Japan News)
Nov 20
We've got some good news; steady snow has been falling in Niseko since last week, pretty intensely further up the mountain. (SkiJapan.com)
[more travel news...]           [travel blogs...]
Nov 27
Pregnant in Japan: Deciding to Stay or Leave

Congratulations on your pregnancy! Let your joy, excitement, and bliss override any fears of being pregnant in a foreign country. I will be writing a 3 part series on being pregnant in Japan so you can take control of your situation and make the b...

Nov 27
Representative of Kraken and The Mt Gox Trustee

Bitcoin exchange Kraken announced on Wednesday that it had been chosen to support the investigation of Mt Gox's collapse. The announcement was made at the second Mt Gox creditors' meeting held in Tokyo District Court.

Kraken, is a San Francisco ...

Nov 27
Ako Castle. Ako, Hyogo, Japan.赤穂城



Close to the JR station, Ako Castle is easily accessed at the end of the main street, past small businesses and cafes. My daughter and I spent a beautiful autumn morning strolling along the grounds. Afterwards, we wanted to go to the se...
Nov 27
kazumasa nagai poster

Asahi Steinie, 1965

At the age of 85, graphic designer Kazumasa Nagai may be slowing down but his career is certainly not. If anything, it's been picking up over the last 12 months. At a large retrospective of his work last year the fashion desig...

Nov 25
whoa-5120

Life is life wherever it happens. Even if your dream of living in Japan has come true, you can still be blindsided by awful things sometimes. Bad things happen everywhere, but living in a foreign country can add an extra layer of challenge on top....

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