FRONT PAGE NEWS

20 December 2014
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)
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)
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)
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)
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 20
The Niigata prefectural government started clearing a section of National Highway Route 405 in Tsunan in the prefecture on Friday, after a landslide mixed with snow blocked off about 50 meters of the road the night before. (The Japan News)
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)
Dec 18
The Osaka District Court has ruled that Osaka Mayor Toru Hashimoto's order to check whether municipal office workers had tattoos was illegal and constituted an invasion of privacy. (Japan Today)
Dec 18
The Chiba Public Safety Commission has banned a 29-year-old man from Matsudo, Chiba Prefecture, from riding a bicycle for 90 days, after he was found guilty of cycling under the influence of "kiken" quasi-legal drugs. (Japan Times)
Dec 18
Police in Nara said Wednesday they have arrested a public school teacher for intruding into the bedroom of a woman who lives in the same apartment building as he does. (Japan Today)
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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)
Dec 20
Japan's transport ministry has ordered Hokkaido-based air carrier Airdo to correct its lax safety management. (NHK)
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 Japanese Bankers Association said Thursday the banking industry will launch a settlement system to allow instant fund transfers between banks 24 hours a day all year round in Japan from 2018. (Jiji Press)
Dec 18
Tokyo Electric Power Company says it will keep electricity rates unchanged for the next year as it found it can cut costs further. (NHK)
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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)
Dec 18
The Nikkei index rallied sharply to retake the 17,000 level Thursday as the U.S. Federal Reserve signaled it was in no rush to raise its key interest rate. (Nikkei)
[more economy news...]
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)
Dec 19
Japanese Prime Minister Shinzo Abe has welcomed the agreement between the United States and Cuba to hold negotiations toward normalizing bilateral ties. (NHK)
Dec 16
Hawkish former Tokyo Gov. Shintaro Ishihara, the supreme adviser to Jisedai no To (Party for Future Generations), on Tuesday officially put an end to his nearly 50-year political career after losing his Diet seat in Sunday's Lower House election. (Japan Times)
Dec 16
The National Police Agency said Monday that 130 people were arrested nationwide for 70 cases of violating the Public Office Election Law. (Japan Today)
[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 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)
Dec 19
The 20-meter-long, 30-meter-wide artwork uses kochias (summer cypress) for the parent sheep’s wool and pine cones for the animals’ eyes and ears. (The Japan News)
[more travel news...]           [travel blogs...]
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...

Dec 19
xmas-chicken

I'm not sure what I was expecting my first Christmas in Tokyo, but having my husband hunt down the perfect “Christmas Chicken” and standing in line for three hours at KFC for said bucket of “Christmas Chicken” was not top on my list.

If ...

Dec 18
Photo by nAok0

Welcoming the New Year is a big deal for most Japanese people, and one of the many New Year traditions is eating osechi ryori (お節料理), a Heian-era practice that still survives today. Traditionally, it was taboo to cook during the first thre...

Dec 18
A0ea57cee00b04f69af0cf82269ab88c

Online shops are great but physical bricks n mortar shops are also great too as a place to not only take the product in hand (even though it may be just a box) but to also check out a curated selection of hobby items.

Physical stores are also a...

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