FRONT PAGE NEWS

24 March 2017
An educator accused of using his clout to curry favor with Japanese politicians, including the first family, told lawmakers under oath Thursday that he believes political intervention helped him secure a deal to purchase land from the government. (CNN)
The head of a scandal-hit school operator has told the Diet that he received a donation of one million yen, or about 9,000 dollars, from the wife of Prime Minister Shinzo Abe. (NHK)
Fewer Japanese are taking their own lives, a positive sign in a country with one of the world's highest suicide rates. (Japan Times)
Kobe District Court on Wednesday sentenced a man to death, as sought by public prosecutors, for fatally stabbing a total of five men and women in Awajishima, an island in the western Japan prefecture of Hyogo, in March 2015. (Jiji)
A Japanese woman has given birth to a girl after receiving in-vitro fertilization treatment with an egg from an anonymous third-party donor, a nonprofit organization based in the western Japan city of Kobe said Wednesday. (Jiji)

Mar 23
A 27-year-old man who threatened an employee of a parcel delivery company with a chainsaw and uploaded the video of it on YouTube last December was found guilty and handed an 18-month sentence suspended for three years by the Tsu District Court in Mie Prefecture on Wednesday. (Japan Today)
Mar 23
Tokyo Metropolitan Police have arrested a male temporary worker for allegedly attempting to strip a woman of her underwear in a park in Edogawa Ward last year, reports TBS News. (tokyoreporter.com)
Mar 23
The government is leaning toward using the historical title of "joko" for Emperor Akihito after his abdication as it was proposed Wednesday by scholars on a government advisory panel studying issues regarding the abdication, according to government sources close to the matter. (Japan Today)
Mar 23
A man known to police as "the bathhouse bandit" is suspected in the theft of thousands of entry tickets for bathing facilities in Arakawa Ward and nearby over the past few years. (tokyoreporter.com)
Mar 23
A Fuji Television Network Inc. reporter who allegedly purchased a luxury car on behalf of a man connected to the underworld, is also suspected of lending millions of yen to the mobster, police officials said Wednesday. (Japan Times)

[more society news…]           [society blogs…]


Mar 24
Though "Super Mario Run" has lifted Nintendo's profits less than many had hoped, Mario remains the protagonist of the company's mobile strategy, with a jump to a new smartphone platform highlighting the game producer's main goal of expanding its fan base. (Nikkei)
Mar 23
Seiko Holdings will embark on its first-ever major revamp of a core watch brand, seeking to better compete with Swiss rivals in the market for upscale timepieces. (Nikkei)
Mar 22
Industrial hemp (see below) has long been used to make sacred ropes that adorn shrines and feature on sumo wrestlers' ceremonial aprons, but tighter restrictions on cultivation has led to concerns that domestic production could be facing extinction. (the-japan-news.com)
Mar 22
SoftBank Group Corp. Chairman and Chief Executive Officer Masayoshi Son is the richest Japanese person, with $21.2 billion in net worth, according to U.S. magazine Forbes' 2017 list of billionaires in the world, released Monday. (the-japan-news.com)
Mar 21
In response to the growing number of foreign visitors, McDonald's Holdings (Japan) has decided to start taking credit card payments at all its restaurants. (Nikkei)

[more business news…]           [business blogs…]


Mar 24
The Japanese yen's recent rise against the dollar has defied conventional market wisdom, but a stronger currency may actually support Japan as it confronts the Trump administration on matters of trade and foreign exchange. (Reuters)
Mar 23
Japan's 14 major electricity and gas companies are expected to raise rates in May for the fourth straight month, as the utilities pass on rising costs of imported fuels to consumers. (Nikkei)
Mar 22
The population in Tokyo's waterfront areas has ballooned in recent years and is only expected to keep climbing after the 2020 Olympics, ratcheting up pressure on the local government to expand its already crowded public transit system. (Nikkei)
Mar 22
Tokyo and Osaka are again among the 10 most expensive cities in the world due to the stronger yen, according to a new global survey. (Japan Today)
Mar 22
Residential land prices in Japan have risen for the first time in 9 years. Demand was firm thanks to low mortgage rates on the back of the central bank's negative interest rate policy. Also helping out home buyers was a tax break. (NHK)

[more economy news…]


Mar 24
An educator accused of using his clout to curry favor with Japanese politicians, including the first family, told lawmakers under oath Thursday that he believes political intervention helped him secure a deal to purchase land from the government. (CNN)
Mar 24
North Korea accused Japan of espionage on Thursday, nearly a week after Tokyo placed a reconnaissance satellite into orbit. (UPI)
Mar 23
The head of a scandal-hit school operator has told the Diet that he received a donation of one million yen, or about 9,000 dollars, from the wife of Prime Minister Shinzo Abe. (NHK)
Mar 23
Japan's second big helicopter carrier, the Kaga, entered service on Wednesday, giving the nation's military greater ability to deploy beyond its shores as it pushes back against China's growing influence in Asia. (Japan Today)
Mar 22
An Osaka court has approved the temporary seizure of real estate owned by Moritomo Gakuen, at the request of a contractor the private school operator had hired to build an elementary school. (NHK)

[more politics news…]


Mar 23
The Tokyo Metropolitan Government has unveiled an outline of a facility designed to boost young people's communication skills in the English language. (NHK)
Mar 22
Princess Aiko, the daughter of Crown Prince Naruhito and Crown Princess Masako, has graduated from junior high school. (NHK)
Mar 22
A certified private nursery in Hyogo Prefecture that was found to be secretly accepting more children than its designated capacity had also been docking the pay of teachers who came in late by ¥10,000, according to the prefectural government. (Japan Times)
Mar 21
Japan's Ministry of Land, Infrastructure, Transport and Tourism will take on projects to restore Japanese gardens in foreign countries. (Jiji)
Mar 21
The march of technological innovation, including the Industry 4.0 trend in manufacturing, is lifting Japanese demand for new university graduates with majors in science and engineering. (Nikkei)

[more education news…]           [education blogs…]


Mar 23
A Japanese woman has given birth to a girl after receiving in-vitro fertilization treatment with an egg from an anonymous third-party donor, a nonprofit organization based in the western Japan city of Kobe said Wednesday. (Jiji)
Mar 23
The British science publication Nature has found that the number of papers written by Japanese researchers accounted for a shrinking percentage of the total accepted by the world's journals. (NHK)
Mar 22
A radiation level of 11 sieverts per hour has been detected in tainted water inside a reactor containment vessel at the Fukushima No. 1 nuclear power plant, operator Tokyo Electric Power Company Holdings Inc. <9501> said Tuesday. (Jiji)
Mar 22
The Environment Ministry on Tuesday revealed its red list of threatened marine species for the first time, designating 56 as endangered species, including the sand tiger shark. (Japan Times)
Mar 20
Tokyo Electric on Sunday confirmed lethally high radiation levels inside the primary containment vessel of reactor 1 at the heavily damaged Fukushima No. 1 nuclear plant but found they were not nearly as high as those recently logged in reactor 2. (Japan Times)

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


Mar 21
A golf club designated as the venue for the 2020 Tokyo Olympics has decided to allow women to become full members. Kasumigaseki Country Club has been a male-only golf course since its opening in 1929. (NHK)
Mar 17
The village of Hakuba in Nagano Prefecture is expected to host a World Cup Nordic combined competition next winter for the first time in 15 seasons, an informed source said Thursday. (Kyodo)
Mar 17
Yokozuna Hakuho pulled out of the Spring Grand Sumo Tournament in Osaka after filing paperwork with the Japan Sumo Association on Thursday. (the-japan-news.com)
Mar 15
Two-time champions Japan knocked out Cuba 8-5 in the second round at the World Baseball Classic with two stunning homers by slugger Tetsuto Yamada on Tuesday, moving another step closer to the final stage. (Japan Today)
Mar 10
A Japanese high school cheerleading team has returned home after winning a US competition for a 5th straight time. (NHK)

[more sports news…]


Mar 24
The 1,000-year-old pilgrimage to the Kumano Sanzen - the three great Shinto shrines on Japan's Kii Peninsula south of Osaka - was once so popular that "like ants on the Kumano pilgrimage" became a popular description of crowds. (torontosun.com)
Mar 23
Railway operator Keikyu Corp., electronics maker Sharp Corp. and two other companies said Wednesday they will join hands in a rental service for a robot-shaped mobile phone, "RoBoHoN," mainly targeting visitors to Japan. (Jiji)
Mar 22
The transport ministry said Tuesday it has urged railways to abolish an industry rule that virtually bars disabled foreign travelers on mobility scooters from boarding trains. (Japan Times)
Mar 22
Tokyo has become the first place across Japan to announce the blooming of this year's first Somei Yoshino cherry blossoms. (NHK)
Mar 21
A luxury, all-suite sleeper train was stranded on the tracks Monday in Nikko, Tochigi Prefecture, due to engine trouble, JR East said. (Japan Times)

[more travel news…]           [travel blogs…]


Mar 23
Why is Income Distributed Unequally? A Comparison of Japan and the United States

Japan and the United States (US) are at similar levels of economic development, yet their income distributions are considerably different. Whereas Japan has a relatively equal income distribution, the US is marked by a high level of income inequa...

Mar 23

With 73% of Japan's land mass being mountains, hikers and outdoor enthusiasts certainly have their pick of gorgeous terrain to explore throughout the country. Of course there are some popular highlights that should remain repeat offenders on your...

Mar 23
Takoyaki - grilled octopus dumplings - are a beloved snack food of the Osaka area. They're made by adding chopped-up bits of boiled octopus to a batter, then cooking over a special grill with hemispherical indentations.

In Tokyo, takoyaki can b...
Mar 23
jnto art design architecture travel guide book japan 3

The Japan National Tourism Organization (JNTO) spotlights art and design-related attractions in a new travel guide 99+1 JAPAN: Traveling through Art, Design, and Architecture and an accompanying website that might just inspire you to rearrange you...

Mar 23
Is Hanami in Japan Actually All That Fun?

With the beginning of spring in Japan comes Hanami (花見) or ‘Flower viewing.' The most famous occasions of hanami take place around the spring bloom of cherry blossom – or, as I like to call it, ‘the pink blizzard of happy fun times!' I'm...

Mar 23
Hay fever in Japan

It's hay fever season in Japan again.
Does this concern you?
If you're a tourist, yeah, maybe.
If you've lived in Japan for a few years and think you're safe, don't be too sure!

Be Aware of the Pollen! Always!!

These pollen causing hay fever are...

Mar 22
Oshiruko is the traditional new year food where you have a nice slice of a grilled mochi inside a bowl of hot steamy sweet red bean soup. If you don't want the hassle, there is in fact an instant version of this traditional food available at super...
Mar 22
How to Ask for Time Off in Japanese

With Golden Week – when four national holidays occur within a seven-day period – just around the corner, workers in Japan are looking forward to taking a much needed break. Unfortunately, Golden Week has fallen on some awkward days again this ...

Mar 22
tokyo kome rice dance japanese grandma

How cool is this grandma? Cool enough to do a perfectly choreographed “kome dance” (rice dance) with two other female performers (approximately 40 years younger) in kimono.

If you eat plenty of rice, then it seems you are destined to live as l...

Mar 22
Old Kyoto Tram Map.京都市電

Kyoto once had an extensive system of streetcars (trams) up until the 1970's when they were torn up and largely replaced by
The Kyoto city tram network was the first such in Japan and began operation in 1895 as part of Kyoto's efforts ...

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