FRONT PAGE NEWS

15 December 2018
Japan's central government is pushing ahead with a controversial plan to relocate an American military base within the southern prefecture of Okinawa. They've started full-scale land reclamation work despite strong local opposition. (NHK)
A court on Friday sentenced a 26-year-old man to 18 years in prison for a highway road rage incident last year in which a couple died and their two teenage daughters were injured. (Japan Times)
The government will temporarily suspend an extra medical fee that pregnant women were required to pay out of pocket to see doctors, health minister Takumi Nemoto said Friday. (Japan Times)
Japanese education companies are expanding their language offerings overseas, seeing business opportunities in meeting growing demand for Japanese-speaking foreign manpower as the nation opens its doors to workers from overseas. (Nikkei)
A Japanese government panel says a run of growth that began in December 2012 has now become the second-longest period of expansion in the post-war era. But that verdict comes as Japan struggles with sluggish wage growth and a chronic labor shortage. (NHK)




Dec 14
An officer who was on duty when a 30-year-old suspect escaped from a police station in Tondabayashi City earlier this year was watching an adult video (AV) clip, it was learned on Thursday, reports Nikkan Sports (Dec. 13). (tokyoreporter.com)
Dec 11
Tokyo Metropolitan Police have arrested a 27-year-old man after he was found with the corpse of his girlfriend inside a vehicle in Iwaki City, Fukushima Prefecture, reports the Yomiuri Shimbun (Dec. 10). (tokyoreporter.com)
Dec 11
Prosecutors sought a 23-year prison term for a 26-year-old man on Monday over an alleged road-rage incident near Tokyo last year that left a couple dead and their children injured. (Japan Times)
Dec 10
Saitama Prefectural Police have arrested a 39-year-old man over the stabbing of three Cambodian nationals at an apartment building in Hanyu City on Saturday, reports NHK (tokyoreporter.com)
Dec 10
Crown Princess Masako, who turned 55 on Sunday, vowed to make her best effort to serve the people as she is set to become Empress following May’s Imperial succession. (Japan Times)

[more society news…]           [society blogs…]


Dec 15
Japan Post Holdings Co. plans to acquire a 7 to 8 percent stake in U.S. insurer Aflac Inc. for about ¥300 billion as part of its strategy to expand operations overseas, sources familiar with the matter said Thursday. (Japan Times)
Dec 12
Rakuten Inc and Walmart Inc officially opened the first Walmart e-commerce store in Japan, the Walmart Rakuten Ichiba Store, on the Rakuten Ichiba internet shopping mall. (Japan Today)
Dec 11
Tokyo prosecutors have indicted former Nissan Motor chairman Carlos Ghosn for understating his past compensation by tens of millions of dollars. They have also served an additional arrest warrant on him over similar allegations relating to his pay in the last 3 years. (NHK)
Dec 11
Japan's government has decided to revise its procedures for purchasing telecommunications equipment, a move that would effectively exclude Chinese telecom giants. (NHK)
Dec 07
SoftBank's mobile service outage Thursday across much of Japan disrupted operations ranging from flights and trains to amusement parks and logistics companies, illustrating both corporate and consumer dependence on wireless communications networks. (Nikkei)

[more business news…]           [business blogs…]


Dec 14
A Japanese government panel says a run of growth that began in December 2012 has now become the second-longest period of expansion in the post-war era. But that verdict comes as Japan struggles with sluggish wage growth and a chronic labor shortage. (NHK)
Dec 14
The Japanese government plans to take measures to make regional labor markets accessible to foreign blue-collar workers to avoid them concentrating in large cities such as Tokyo when the country starts accepting them under the new visa system next year, the government's top spokesman said Thursday. (Japan Today)
Dec 12
As the global shortage of skilled information technology experts hits Japan hard, companies are scrambling to lure and keep top talent with hefty annual pay packages. (Nikkei)
Dec 11
Winter bonuses at Japanese companies averaged an all-time high of 834,391 yen ($7,400) this year, according to a Nikkei survey released Monday, notching a sixth straight year of growth on strong corporate earnings. (Nikkei)
Nov 29
Japan's gross domestic product could fall by over 25% in the next 40 years as its population declines, the International Monetary Fund said Wednesday, urging the government to boost productivity through structural reform to mitigate the damage. (Nikkei)

[more economy news…]


Dec 15
Japan's central government is pushing ahead with a controversial plan to relocate an American military base within the southern prefecture of Okinawa. They've started full-scale land reclamation work despite strong local opposition. (NHK)
Dec 12
Japan is seeking to possess its first aircraft carrier to allow for the deployment of U.S.-made stealth fighters as it seeks to bolster its arms capability under a new 10-year defense plan. (Japan Today)
Dec 12
A court in Beijing has sentenced a Japanese man in his 70s who was arrested in China in June 2015 to 12 years in prison for spying, sources well-informed about Sino-Japanese relations said Tuesday. (Japan Today)
Dec 11
Prime Minister Shinzo Abe has pledged to do all he can to ensure the smooth operation of a new program that will bring more foreign workers to the country. (NHK)
Dec 09
A Chinese court has sentenced a Japanese woman to six years in prison for spying, a source privy to bilateral relations said Saturday. (Japan Today)

[more politics news…]


Dec 15
Japanese education companies are expanding their language offerings overseas, seeing business opportunities in meeting growing demand for Japanese-speaking foreign manpower as the nation opens its doors to workers from overseas. (Nikkei)
Dec 10
Japan is set to extend the copyright period on works such as novels and paintings to 70 years after the authors’ deaths from the current 50 years, effective Dec. 30, when the revised copyright law goes into force. (Japan Times)
Dec 01
The Japanese government says children born to foreigners in the country on a proposed skilled worker visa could receive resident status, even though the visa would, in principle, bar the workers from bringing family members to Japan. (NHK)
Nov 30
The artistic commercial secured a Grand Prix win as well as a gold award for the film category. (soranews24.com)
Nov 29
Ten traditional rituals of Japan featuring people in masks and costumes are expected to be added to the list of UNESCO's Intangible Cultural Heritage. (NHK)

[more education news…]           [education blogs…]


Dec 15
The government will temporarily suspend an extra medical fee that pregnant women were required to pay out of pocket to see doctors, health minister Takumi Nemoto said Friday. (Japan Times)
Dec 12
The Japanese government said Tuesday it will offer free rubella vaccinations for three years to men who were unvaccinated in their childhood amid an outbreak of the disease that threatens to dampen demand for travel to Japan. (Japan Today)
Dec 06
Officials from the city of Minokamo, Gifu Prefecture, said Wednesday that a case of classical swine fever has been discovered at a public research institute — the third such case of the virus being reported this year and just over a decade since it was official declared eradicated in Japan. (Japan Times)
Dec 05
Researchers warn that Japan could swelter under extremely high temperature every year due to global warming. (NHK)
Dec 04
Pagers are set to be finally phased out of use in Japan. The last remaining carrier says it will be stopping its service at the end of next September. (NHK)

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


Dec 14
Sixteen-year-old shogi prodigy Sota Fujii has reached his 100th victory in official matches of the Japanese board game, becoming the youngest professional player to reach the milestone at the fastest pace in history. (Japan Today)
Nov 27
Koji Hanada, who was a sumo grand champion and stablemaster under the name Takanohana, has divorced former TV announcer Keiko, sources close to the matter said Monday. (Japan Today)
Nov 26
Komusubi Takakeisho won his first career championship on Sunday, the final day of the Kyushu Grand Sumo Tournament. (Kyodo)
Nov 22
Organizers of the 2020 Tokyo Olympics and Paralympics say applications for volunteers for the Games have surpassed the needed number of 80,000. (NHK)
Nov 09
The Japanese government is set to ban flights of drones over and near the venues of the 2020 Tokyo Olympics and Paralympics to prevent accidents and acts of terrorism. (NHK)

[more sports news…]


Dec 14
Traditional female entertainers in Kyoto have started offering early New Year greetings. (NHK)
Dec 14
The northern Japan town of Kutchan in the popular Niseko ski resort area is to introduce a lodging tax after the town assembly passed an ordinance on Thursday. (Japan Today)
Dec 11
Japan may have assimilated so many western cultural influences, yet it still remains exotic and enigmatic. (newsonjapan.com)
Dec 05
The Lower House approved a bill Tuesday to designate a one-off national holiday period to celebrate next year’s Imperial succession, creating a 10-day block of vacation for many from late April. (Japan Times)
Dec 05
For almost the last 50 years, there have been 29 stops on the Yamanote Line, with the most recent addition being Nishi-Nippori in 1971. The Yamanote Line station family is set to grow to an even 30 soon, though, with construction currently taking place for a new station to be slotted between the existing Shinagawa and Tamachi Stations, and planners have finally announced the name of the new stop. (soranews24.com)

[more travel news…]           [travel blogs…]


Dec 14
Japanese boy decorating Christmas tree

In today's uncertain world, one of the few things many can agree on is that Christmas is the most nostalgic and family-oriented time of the year. So for the ALT in Japan, preparing a fun and entertaining Christmas lesson should be the proverbial p...

Dec 11

Nobuo Gohara (郷原信郎元検事)

Note: We met with former prosecutor Nobuo Gohara, last week, to discuss the arrest and prosecution of Carlos Ghosn. Mr. Ghosn has been accused of financial crimes, and has now been detained 23 days and rearres...

Dec 10

Spending summers with her maternal grandparents in Fukushima Prefecture as a child, UK-born Niki Micklem gained a deep understanding of Japan's regions. Her British–Japanese heritage also fostered her desire to help bridge Japan and the world. I...

Dec 9
Out of the ways to come to Japan is to be an English teacher, with one of the largest categories being that of an ALT (Assistant Language Teacher).

For those not knowing much about the teaching scene in Japan, a ALT will be dispatched to one or s...

Dec 8
Japan is a fascinating country to travel across by land, air, and sea, but have you ever considered going more “underground”? Stunning limestone caves that go back millions of years, weird flood systems that look like concrete temples and trai...
Dec 8
The Diet passed a bill that will allow more foreign workers into Japan.

With the ageing population and lack of labour force in a lot of important sectors, the Diet (国会: Kokkai, the legislative body of the government) passed a bill that will i...

Dec 8
Having a bath is the most normal thing in the world … even if you're a monkey. Japanese snow monkeys have been patronizing the hot spring baths of the Jigokudani Snow Monkey Park for decades (since 1964, officially), and the image of these prim...
Dec 5
yamanote line name parody tokyo station meme

No sooner had JR East announced the name of the new station along the Yamanote Line as Takanawa Gateway, igniting much surprise and criticism, than Japanese netizens turned the naming choice into a meme.

takanawa gateway yamanote line tokyo station

Images quickly started circulating on so...

Dec 5
The third-largest sporting event in the world, the Rugby World Cup, will be held in Japan from September 20 to November 2, 2019. This will be the first time ever that the cup is taking place in Asia. The country is anticipating 400,000 rugby suppo...
Dec 4
Skiing and snowboarding in Japan

The months of freezing temperatures, kerosene poisoning and way too much Netflix, otherwise known as Japanese winter, have an upside: affordable, accessible and often outstanding skiing and snowboarding throughout the country. A spine of mountain ...

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