FRONT PAGE NEWS

23 December 2014
Supermarkets in Japan have been rationing butter since spring because of a shortfall in raw milk production. Now, there's concern there won't be enough for the crucial holiday baking season. (usatoday.com)
Japan supports a U.S. move to identify North Korea as the culprit behind the recent hacking of Sony Pictures Entertainment Inc., the top government spokesman said Monday, criticizing the attack as a grave national security issue. (Kyodo)
The Japan Coast Guard says a Chinese captain has been arrested on suspicion of coral poaching in Japan's territorial waters. (NHK)
Tokyo Electric Power Co. finished on Saturday removing all nuclear fuel assemblies from the cooling pool at the No. 4 reactor building at the stricken Fukushima No. 1 nuclear power plant. (Jiji Press)
The Ministry of Labor, Health and Welfare and the National Institute of Infectious Diseases said Friday that an influenza epidemic is spreading across Japan. (Japan Today)

Dec 22
Christmas Eve surpasses Valentine's Day as the romantic dinner event for Japanese couples, but viewed as a socioeconomic read on Japan, the celebration highlights two major problems the country faces: low wages and low birth rates. (cnbc.com)
Dec 22
Two Japanese actresses will tie the knot next year in the conservative country's first celebrity gay wedding. (gaystarnews.com)
Dec 22
A man found a body Sunday evening in the Atsugi, Kanagawa Prefecture, apartment of his younger, 58-year-old brother after the landlord alerted him that his sibling had failed to pay the rent. (Japan Times)
Dec 22
Fifty-four workers suffered food poisoning at a Nippon Ham meat-processing plant in Kawatana, Nagasaki Prefecture, company officials said Sunday. (Japan Today)
Dec 21
Sales of special Suica cards to commemorate the 100th anniversary of the opening of Tokyo Station were canceled soon after they began Saturday, as a large crowd of people flooded the area. (The Japan News)
[more society news...]           [society blogs...]

Dec 22
When Manabu Matsumoto took his fiancée to dinner at the Kisuke cow-tongue restaurant in the Japanese city of Sendai recently, the Tokyo couple faced 28 menu choices. (columbian.com)
Dec 21
Japan's second largest oil distributor Idemitsu Kosan is considering acquiring the 5th-ranked Showa Shell Sekiyu through a tender offer. (NHK)
Dec 21
Beer coupons worth a total of 67.9 billion yen have yet to be used by Japanese households, a liquor industry survey revealed Saturday. (Jiji Press)
Dec 20
The government has decided to levy consumption tax on e-books, digital music and other electronic media sold online by overseas vendors from October, according to sources. (The Japan News)
Dec 20
Japanese businesses that ordinarily rely on domestic demand are breathing a sigh of relief as foreign tourists flock to duty-free shops and fast-food restaurants. (Nikkei)
[more business news...]           [business blogs...]
Dec 22
The government and the ruling parties will likely add the minivehicle tax to the list of taxes subject to reduction for eco-friendly cars, starting in fiscal 2015, government sources said. (The Japan News)
Dec 19
Japan's Prime Minister Shinzo Abe says from next spring he will designate special local zones where the government promotes deregulation and supports regional economic revival. (NHK)
Dec 19
The Bank of Japan decided Friday to maintain its easy monetary policy and assessment of the economy, upgrading part of its evaluation of economic activities at its last policy meeting of the year. (Kyodo)
Dec 19
Tokyo shares ended Friday sharply higher on weaker yen and the U.S. Federal Reserve's assurance that it could be patient in raising its key interest rate. (shanghaidaily.com)
Dec 19
Financial assets held by Japanese households rose to a record high at the end of September. (NHK)
[more economy news...]
Dec 22
U.S. accusations that North Korea was behind the cyberattack on Sony Pictures could force Japan to choose between backing its ally Washington and keeping talks on track with Pyongyang about Japanese citizens abducted decades ago. (Reuters)
Dec 22
Japan supports a U.S. move to identify North Korea as the culprit behind the recent hacking of Sony Pictures Entertainment Inc., the top government spokesman said Monday, criticizing the attack as a grave national security issue. (Kyodo)
Dec 21
Public prosecutors questioned former Your Party leader Yoshimi Watanabe over his massive borrowings, informed sources have said. (Jiji Press)
Dec 19
Japan and the United States said Friday they will put off until the first half of 2015 a planned revision of their defense cooperation guidelines, keeping in step with Tokyo's efforts to legislate the use of the right to collective self-defense. (Kyodo)
Dec 19
The US Defense Department has chosen Japan and Australia to provide maintenance for F-35 joint strike fighter jets in the Asia-Pacific region. (NHK)
[more politics news...]
Dec 18
Police in Takasaki, Gunma Prefecture, have arrested a 49-year-old man after he entered an elementary school, brandishing four folding knives. (Japan Today)
Dec 18
Dozens of geisha and their apprentice "maiko" took a class in the art of self-defense for protection against unwelcome attention while walking alone on dark, deserted streets at night. (Asahi)
Dec 16
A 10-year-old boy sustained minor injuries after an unknown man attacked him with a knife in Kita-Nagoya on Monday afternoon. (Japan Today)
Dec 13
For lovers of Asian languages, December 12 each year carries a far greater significance than simply the opening of another door on the advent calendar. (nippon.com)
Dec 13
The proportion of high school students in Japan who had been promised employment next spring as of the end of October topped 70 pct for the first time in 20 years, an education ministry survey showed Friday. (Jiji Press)
[more education news...]           [education blogs...]
Dec 20
The probability for the Kanto region to be hit by a powerful earthquake - lower 6 or higher on the Japanese intensity scale of 7 - within 30 years has risen, the government panel's latest quake probability map showed Friday. (The Japan News)
Dec 19
Solar winds suddenly speed up when they reach a certain distance from the sun, according to Japanese researchers, who announced the discovery Dec. 18. (Asahi)
Dec 19
A researcher embroiled in a fabrication scandal that has rocked Japan's scientific establishment said Friday she would resign after failing to reproduce results of what was once billed as a ground-breaking study on stem cells. (Japan Today)
Dec 19
The first filling station in the Kanto area for fuel cell cars that run on compressed hydrogen gas opened in Tokyo's Nerima Ward on Thursday. (Japan Today)
Dec 19
The British scientific journal Nature has picked Japanese eye doctor Masayo Takahashi as one of 10 people "who mattered in science" this year. (Jiji Press)
[more sci-tech news...]           [sci-tech blogs...]
Dec 17
Japan manager Javier Aguirre was named Monday by Spain's anticorruption prosecutor for alleged match fixing in a 2011 game in the country's top-flight soccer league. (Kyodo)
Dec 16
Japan coach Javier Aguirre opted for experience Monday when he named his 23-man squad for next month's Asian Cup, where the defending champion will be bidding for a record fifth title. (Japan Today)
Dec 15
A member of the Japanese national men's volleyball team has been arrested for theft. (Japan Today)
Dec 14
South Korea said on Friday that it had no intention of sharing some of its 2018 Pyeongchang Winter Olympic Games with its historic rival Japan, rejecting an International Olympic Committee suggestion for cost-cutting. (nytimes.com)
Dec 10
Christian Loamanu, who tested positive for cannabis five years ago, has had his indefinite ban for playing rugby in Japan lifted. (iafrica.com)
[more sports news...]
Dec 21
With the number of visitors to Japan expected to surpass 13 million for the first time in 2014, attracting visitors to tourist spots away from big cities is a major challenge to overcome for the achievement of the government target of 20 million visitors in 2020. (Jiji Press)
Dec 20
Architect Kingo Tatsuno appears to have breathed his youthful experience in Europe into his design of Tokyo Station, which marks the centennial of its opening on Saturday. (The Japan News)
Dec 20
Japan has recently been reveling in just how darn pretty the famous Kinkakuji temple in Kyoto looks with freshly fallen snow. (rocketnews24.com)
Dec 20
Visitors have flocked to view the debut of twin giant panda cubs at a zoo in Wakayama Prefecture in midwestern Japan. (NHK)
Dec 19
The Tokyo Metropolitan Police plan to limit pedestrian access to Shibuya's famous scramble crossing to avoid trouble from rowdy revelers on New Year's Eve. (Japan Today)
[more travel news...]           [travel blogs...]
Dec 21
Meeting the Emperor of Japan at His Imperial Palace

Have you ever seen the Queen of England? How about President Barack Obama? President Xi Jinping? When it happens, it's always a once in a lifetime experience when you can catch a glimpse of these world leaders. And for most people, a chance to see...

Dec 20
Tips for Overcoming your Japanese Language Study Rut

To any of you studying the Japanese language with aims to someday be fluent, I'm sure you know the struggle that is studying the language. With tons of context specific words, several phrases that have no English counterparts and around 2,000 or s...

Dec 20
mei fumiduki

A song has become controversial in Japan. This is a song called "Mama" by a Japanese singer songwriter, Mei Fumizuki (文月メイ). This song is written from the view of a boy who was abused by his mother. But people seemed to think this was ...

Dec 20
brianashcraftinterview-1280

Over all these years reading and writing about Japan I couldn't help but notice a certain name popping up more and more: Brian Ashcraft. Whether it was on Wired, Kotaku, the Japan Times, or his various books, I kept seeing him. Eventually I became...

Dec 19
SONY DSC

Immediately upon arrival in the Hakone area, life slows down. The first stop for most visitors from Tokyo is Hakone Yumoto station. Unlike Shinjuku or Shinagawa stations, through one of which Tokyoites are likely to transit, there are no busines...

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