FRONT PAGE NEWS

4 July 2015
Japan's Crown Prince Naruhito and Crown Princess Masako have arrived in the South Pacific nation of Tonga to attend the coronation of King Tupou VI. (NHK)
Tokyo labor regulators sent their investigation papers on footwear retailer ABC-Mart Inc. <2670> to prosecutors on Thursday, accusing the company of having forced employees to work illegally long overtime hours. (Jiji Press)
Reigning champions Japan will meet the United States in the Women's World Cup final for the second tournament in a row after a 2-1 defeat of England on Wednesday, victory coming after a cruel and unlucky injury-time own goal from Laura Bassett. (Kyodo)
The nation's population stood at 126,163,576 as of Jan. 1 this year, down 271,058, or 0.21 percent, from a year before, marking the steepest fall ever, a government survey said Wednesday. (The Japan News)
Toyota Motor Corporation says its first female executive, Julie Hamp, has resigned. She was arrested last month in Japan on suspicion of drug smuggling. (NHK)

Jul 03
Ibaraki Prefectural Police on Thursday announced the bust of a marijuana cultivation operation in Tsukubamirai City, reports the Ibaraki Shimbun (July 3). (Tokyo Reporter)
Jul 03
Police in Kanagawa Prefecture have arrested a 23-year-old man on suspicion of stealing a bag belonging to the director-general of the Civil Aviation Bureau, while he was on a train last month. The bag contained a tablet computer which contained confidential information as well as a contact list for emergencies. (Japan Today)
Jul 02
A 71-year-old man who set himself on fire on a shinkansen bullet train Tuesday had repeatedly complained that the pension he received was not enough to live on, one of his neighbors said Wednesday. (Kyodo)
Jul 01
Shortly after a Shinkansen left Tokyo bound for Osaka at 11 a.m. on June 30, a passenger in the train's No. 1 car became suspicious about a man who was behaving erratically. (Asahi)
Jul 01
Each year, the four-day Mitama Matsuri, a festival held on the grounds of the controversial Yasukuni Shrine, attracts approximately 300,000 revelers. (Tokyo Reporter)
[more society news...]           [society blogs...]

Jul 03
Weak sales at Uniqlo casualwear stores in June could throw a monkey wrench into the plans of the brand's operator to raise prices again. (Nikkei)
Jul 01
Japanese electronics giant Sony says it will raise up to 440 billion yen, or about 3.6 billion dollars, by issuing new shares and bonds to invest in its fast-growing image sensor business. (NHK)
Jul 01
Japan's Suzuki Motor has chosen a new president. (NHK)
Jun 30
Public contrition has long been an art in Japan, and this past month has offered a great opportunity to study the form. June has seen a sudden rash of apologies from top chief operating officers (including the bosses of Toshiba, Sharp, Takata and Toyota) and Prime Minister Shinzo Abe. (Japan Times)
Jun 30
Honda Motor plans to make English the official language for international communications within the company around 2020, the automaker said in a report Monday. (Nikkei)
[more business news...]           [business blogs...]
Jul 02
Land prices at tourist spots in Japan have risen markedly, against the backdrop of growing numbers of visitors from overseas, a government report showed Wednesday. (Jiji Press)
Jul 01
Stock prices in Tokyo rose on Wednesday after the Bank of Japan's Tankan survey showed better-than-expected results. (NHK)
Jul 01
Land prices in Japan for this year fell 0.4 pct on average from the previous year, dropping for the seventh straight year but at a slower pace than the previous year's 0.7 pct, the government said Wednesday. (Jiji Press)
Jul 01
A two-month government campaign got under way on Wednesday prompting central government employees to begin work early and leave on time. (Kyodo)
Jul 01
The mood among big Japanese corporations is unexpectedly upbeat despite recent data showing the recovery appears to be stalling. (Asahi)
[more economy news...]
Jul 03
Prime Minister Shinzo Abe says he has instructed his ministers to further press North Korea to swiftly act for the return of Japanese abductees. (NHK)
Jun 30
A group of Japanese media representatives has issued a statement of protest against recent remarks by lawmakers. (NHK)
Jun 28
Japan's ruling Liberal Democratic Party said Saturday that it has dismissed its Youth Division chief, Minoru Kihara, and banned him from holding party posts for one year amid controversy over media-suppressing remarks by some at a meeting of a party group headed by him. (Jiji Press)
Jun 27
Hiroshima will be a venue for the Group of Seven foreign ministers' conference related to the G-7 Ise-Shima summit next year, Chief Cabinet Secretary Yoshihide Suga said at a press conference Friday. (The Japan News)
Jun 26
Prime Minister Shinzo Abe expressed his regret Friday for remarks made by younger lawmakers from his Liberal Democratic Party, which blamed negative media reports for the low public popularity of bills that would expand overseas operations of the Self-Defense Forces. (Kyodo)
[more politics news...]
Jun 30
Head lice infestations - which often cause severe itching - have been spreading among nursery school and primary school pupils. (The Japan News)
Jun 29
Japan's Ministry of Agriculture, Forestry and Fisheries plans to establish a system to certify the skills of chefs who cook Japanese food abroad. (Jiji Press)
Jun 26
Publisher Sanseido KK is recalling 10,000 Japanese textbooks, which are used by many elementary schools in Tokyo, after an illustration showing a girl with three arms was mistakenly printed. (Japan Today)
Jun 26
A group of parents in Tokorozawa, Saitama Prefecture, eastern Japan, on Thursday filed a petition with a local court against the municipal government's new rule to dismiss children from nurseries when their parents take postnatal leave after their younger brothers or sisters are born. (Jiji Press)
Jun 23
Waseda University said Monday it took about half a year before it discovered personal data on roughly 3,300 officials and students had leaked via cyberattacks. (Japan Times)
[more education news...]           [education blogs...]
Jul 03
Volcano experts have found 3 new vents on a mountain in the resort town of Hakone near Tokyo. (NHK)
Jun 29
The revolutionary Solar Impulse 2 aircraft took off early Monday for a flight over the Pacific Ocean, a spokeswoman said, the most ambitious leg of its quest to circumnavigate the globe powered only by the sun. (Japan Today)
Jun 27
Who could resist that striking countenance, that chiseled brow — and that toned, furry butt? A surprisingly hunky male gorilla, Shabani, has female humans going ape after mugshots of the 18-year-old animal began going viral on Twitter. (CNN)
Jun 27
A Japanese maglev train has set a Guinness World Record by traveling 603 kilometers per hour. (NHK)
Jun 25
An expert panel is warning that several species of snails that helped place Japan's Ogasawara Islands on the list of UNESCO World Heritage sites are facing extinction. (NHK)
[more sci-tech news...]           [sci-tech blogs...]
Jul 02
Football fans in Japan are celebrating the victory of the women's national football team over England to advance to the World Cup final. (NHK)
Jul 02
Reigning champions Japan will meet the United States in the Women's World Cup final for the second tournament in a row after a 2-1 defeat of England on Wednesday, victory coming after a cruel and unlucky injury-time own goal from Laura Bassett. (Kyodo)
Jun 29
Japan's sports minister Hakubun Shimomura says the reconstruction of the main stadium for the 2020 Tokyo Olympics and Paralympics will cost 2 billion dollars, 700 million dollars more than the initial estimate. (NHK)
Jun 25
The government is poised to sign a contract with two major general contractors for the construction of the new National Stadium, which will be the main venue for the 2020 Tokyo Olympic and Paralympic Games, with no changes made to the original plan, it has been learned. (The Japan News)
Jun 22
Eight sports including baseball and softball are now set to advance to the final selection process for addition to the program of the 2020 Tokyo Olympics under the host city's initiative. (Jiji Press)
[more sports news...]
Jul 02
Narita Airport officials are advising passengers to strictly observe carry-on luggage limits to prevent departure delays. (NHK)
Jul 01
The weather agency raised its alert level for Mt. Hakone on Tuesday following an eruption earlier in the day at the volcano located in a hot spring resort area southwest of Tokyo. (Kyodo)
Jul 01
Tottori Prefecture's population of just over half a million is shockingly small by densely-populated Japan's standards, and it's just generally ignored by the rest of Japan as a place that, well… doesn't have much to see, to put it kindly. (rocketnews24.com)
Jun 30
Wagering on its proximity to Tokyo's gateway airport, the operators of the publicly run horse track in Shinagawa Ward are touting its nighttime racing to woo more foreign tourists through the gates. (Asahi)
Jun 29
Local authorities are urging climbers to bring helmets to protect themselves against a possible eruption of Mount Fuji after the season to ascend the nation's highest peak opens on July 1. (Asahi)
[more travel news...]           [travel blogs...]
Jul 2
Nakasendo

The tourist information at the Matsumoto train station was one of the best we visited on our trip. All the information we needed for our visit (and the hike) was given to us and they even suggested visiting the annual Art and Craft markets held a...

Jul 2
Comic: Eating potato chips with chopsticks! Okay, I lied. I think this comic was a last-min addition to “Confessions of a Texan in Tokyo” – but I just couldn't NOT post it. Ryosuke used chopstick to eat like everything. Fried meat, cake, potato chips, vegetables, etc. ...con...
Jul 2
Karaoke Boxes like this one are found all over Japan.

In a land where stepping out from the crowd is boldly avoided, karaoke can be a place of fearless individual expression. Here, even the most uptight businessmen will loosen their ties and soulfully serenade their coworkers with heartwarming melo...

Jul 1
Omiyage culture in Japan

Maybe you've already heard the word “omiyage” before. Maybe you also know that it translates to “souvenir”.
But it's not exactly the same as a souvenir. If you live in Japan or if you visit a Japanese family you should know about the gift...

Jul 1

Tell kids they're going on a walking tour of a city, and they may be interested for a while – until their legs give out and boredom sets in. Tell them they're biking around a city, and they'll be attentive and happy for hours. Renting bikes and ...
Jul 1
Ganguro girls

If you've had an eye on the Japanese news recently, you may have heard of the newest odd attraction to hit Tokyo – the Ganguro Café. Not ones to miss out on anything new in Japan, we sent two of our tour leaders, David and Tyler, to find out mo...

Jul 1

A window onto Uji… Kosho-ji Temple's Chinese style gate looking out onto Koto-zaka or “harp hill”.

My article, A Trip to Uji, is now up on Chris Rowthorn's Inside Kyoto site. In it I describe a complete circuit of all of Uji's major sites. ...

Jul 1
Kyoto Restaurant Recommendation: Shiawase Gohan (Happy Meal 幸せ ごはん)

This is a guest post from one of my clients: Takaokaya. Takaokaya has been making beautifully handcrafted bedding and cushions in Kyoto since 1919. Third generation proprietor, Koichi Takaoka is going to tell us about one of his favorite Kyoto re...

Jul 1
The Return: Reliving my first trip to Kyoto

Last weekend, I wanted to do something a bit different. I've been busy preparing for the upcoming JLPT exams next month (level 4 here I come!) and I've also had quite a bit to do at work, whilst also hosting some visiting friends. All in, I've not...

Jul 1
Using Hyperdia Rail TimesUsing Hyperdia to Travel Japan

Hyperdia is a website that quickly allows you to calculate rail times for pretty much anywhere around Japan. If it wasn't for Hyperdia I honestly don't think I would have enjoyed traveling around Japan nearly as muc...

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