1) Japanese Prime Minister Shinzo Abe said Friday the government is considering designating May 1 next year, when Crown Prince Naruhito will ascend the throne, as a one-off holiday, in a move that would create a 10-day Golden Week holiday period.
2) U.S. President Donald Trump on Thursday criticized Japan, China and other countries for dumping into oceans a massive amount of garbage that has drifted ashore on the U.S. West Coast.
Trump said a “vast,” “tremendous” and “unthinkable” amount of garbage is floating to the West Coast, causing a “very unfair situation” as the United States is charged with cleaning it up.
Trump cited a trilateral trade deal revised recently with Mexico and Canada as the first U.S. trade agreement ever to include commitments by the parties to cooperate in addressing land- and sea-based pollution and improve waste management.
3) A man died after he fell, seriously injuring himself, while picking mushrooms in Shiojiri, Nagano Prefecture, on Wednesday afternoon, police said. The man suffered head injuries and was taken to hospital by helicopter where he died about five hours later.
Since August, 11 people have died and six others have been injured while picking mushrooms on mountain slopes in Nagano Prefecture, Fuji TV reported.
In the latest case, Shigeya Komatsu, 62, a local farmer, fell about 100 meters down a mountain forest slope. According to the police, he had gone mushroom picking with a male relative, and lost his footing.
4) Japan plans to expand the scope of foreign nationals who can stay permanently, the government said Friday, as the aging nation seeks to loosen its traditionally strict immigration rules to cope with acute labor shortages.
Under a scheme slated for launch in April, foreign nationals who have Japanese-language proficiency will be given a new resident status to work in sectors deemed short of labor, such as nursing, construction and farming. Depending on their skills and experience, their stays can be extended repeatedly with no preset limits.
Japan, known for its cautious stance on immigration, has mainly accepted highly skilled professionals in such fields as medicine, law, education and research to date.
5) The possibility of esports joining the Olympics program has gained traction in recent years but not everybody involved in the sport favors it.
Rahul Sood, the CEO of esports betting company Unikrn, believes the benefits for the International Olympic Committee (IOC) far outweigh those for stakeholders already invested in electronic sports gaming.
Last November, the IOC recognized esports as a sporting activity and it is set to be a full medal event at the 2022 Asian Games in Hangzhou.
6) Auctioneers take part in a wasabi auction at the greengrocery area on the opening day of the new Toyosu market, which has been relocated from Tsukiji market, in Tokyo, on Thursday.
7) The US government has announced restrictions on exports of civil nuclear technology to China to prevent its diversion for military or other unauthorized uses.
The Department of Energy issued a statement on the new policy on nuclear technology controls on Thursday.
The policy will in principle ban exports of US civil nuclear technology to China’s state-owned companies.
8) Hurricane Michael left 6 people dead and many buildings destroyed by strong wind in its path across Florida and other southern US states.
Michael made landfall in Florida on Wednesday.
9) A US Congressional panel has asked the International Olympic Committee to change the venue of the 2022 Beijing Winter Olympics, citing human rights abuses by the Chinese government.
The bipartisan panel released a letter addressed to IOC President Thomas Bach. The same panel issued an annual report on China, accusing the country of detaining more than one million Uighur Muslims.
10) The new governor of Okinawa in southern Japan has asked the prime minister to launch new talks on a plan to relocate a US military base in the prefecture.
Denny Tamaki met Prime Minister Shinzo Abe and Chief Cabinet Secretary Yoshihide Suga in Tokyo on Friday. The meeting was their first since Tamaki was elected last month.
11) Former Japanese Prime Minister Junichiro Koizumi has expressed a negative view on a move to revise the Constitution next year. Prime Minister Shinzo Abe is aiming to submit amendment proposals at the Diet this fall.
Later, Koizumi told reporters that it is impossible to revise the Constitution next year.
He said approval from more than 2 thirds of the Diet is needed to initiate constitutional amendments.
11) Australians are up in arms over the use of the iconic Sydney Opera House for advertising.
The New South Wales government decided to allow a horse racing ad to be displayed on the World Heritage building.
Upset citizens gathered in front of the building on Tuesday to protest the move, using flashlights to disrupt the projected ad.
1) The cost of the 2020 Tokyo Olympics and Paralympics has already soared to 2.81 trillion yen ($24.7 billion), more than double the last official estimate, according to calculations by the Board of Audit.
2) Japanese police referred to child welfare authorities a record-high 37,113 suspected victims of child abuse in the first half of this year, a report released Thursday showed.
The preliminary figure marks an increase of 6,851 children aged 17 or younger being affected, as compared to the same period last year, according to the National Police Agency.
3) The mayor of Osaka says he’s ending a six-decade sister city relationship with San Francisco to protest a statue honoring women forced to have sex with Japanese soldiers during World War II.
Osaka Mayor Hirofumi Yoshimura this week sent a letter to San Francisco announcing he’s withdrawing from the largely ceremonial relationship, the San Francisco Examiner reported Wednesday.
4) Japan has decided not to take part in an international fleet review in South Korea next week after Seoul effectively asked Tokyo not to fly its “Rising Sun” flag on a warship, Japan’s defense minister said on Friday, the latest spat between the two sides.
5) New Okinawa GovDenny Tamaki said Thursday he will dedicate all his strength to trying to block the Japan-U.S. plan to relocate a key American military facility within the southern island prefecture.
The radio personality-turned-politician won Sunday’s gubernatorial election with a pledge to stop the controversial plan to move U.S. Marine Corps Air Station Futenma from a crowded residential area of Ginowan to the less populated coastal district of Henoko in Nago, both in Okinawa.
6) U.S. President Donald Trump and Abe agreed in a meeting last week in New York to start negotiations for a bilateral trade agreement on goods, or TAG. The move is a concession by Tokyo, which dropped its earlier insistence on a multilateral approach to trade issues.
7) Kumamoto councilwoman who took baby to work kicked out of conference for using cough drop.
8) A survey has found that radio was the most useful means of getting information after a powerful earthquake hit the northern Japanese prefecture of Hokkaido a month ago.
9) Typhoon Kong-rey is battering Japan’s south. At least 10 people have been injured. It’s the second storm to hit the region in less than a week. The typhoon is moving north over the sea. It has caused blackouts in some areas.
10) An escapee from a police station in Osaka Prefecture carried out a daring deception, purporting to be a cyclist while he was at large. He evaded the police for 48 days.
Junya Hida, indicted for robbery and other charges, escaped from a police station in Tondabayashi City on August 12th. He was apprehended after he was caught stealing food last Saturday in the city of Shunan, Yamaguchi Prefecture.
The police discovered Hida pretended to be a tourist travelling by bicycle, along with another man whom he met.
11) Japan’s space agency, JAXA, says it has successfully released another landing probe from its Hayabusa2 spacecraft toward the asteroid Ryugu. JAXA made the announcement on Wednesday morning, Japan time.
JAXA says it won’t be able to confirm whether the robot has landed on Ryugu until late Wednesday afternoon at the earliest.
12) US Vice President Mike Pence has sharply criticized China over a naval incident in the South China Sea last month. He says the US “will not be intimidated” as it counters China’s increasing maritime presence. Pence claims China’s aggression was on display when its warship came within about 40 meters of the USS Decatur that was conducting freedom-of-navigation operations.
13) A man who made a dramatic escape from a French prison by helicopter has been captured after 3 months on the run. Redoine Faid escaped from a prison in July by jumping aboard a helicopter.
Prosecutor Francois Molins told a news conference on Wednesday that investigators acted on witness reports last month of a man walking around in a burqa, the traditional Muslim women’s wear.
14) The Japanese government has lodged a protest with China after learning it placed a buoy inside Japan’s exclusive economic zone near the Senkaku Islands in the East China Sea.
Chief Cabinet Secretary Yoshihide Suga spoke to reporters on Wednesday. He said the government protested via a diplomatic channel after it confirmed the buoy was on the Japanese side of a median line that separates the 2 countries’ exclusive economic zones.
15) The US jobless rate in September declined to its lowest level in nearly 49 years, suggesting a further tightening of the labor market. But employment growth has missed market expectations.
The Labor Department said on Friday that the unemployment rate fell to 3.7 percent. That’s the lowest level since December 1969.
1) Japan’s Meteorological Agency forecasts strong winds, high waves, storm surges and heavy rain in wide areas across the country until Monday.
2) Japanese travel agency H.I.S. has canceled wedding package tours to Hawaii for 260 couples due to delays in venue construction.
The company says the couples had made reservations for the tours up to September of next year. The tours went on sale last December.
The facility on the island of Oahu was to open on September 1st.
H.I.S. says the operator of the facility gave notice of the delay on August 15th, citing bad weather and other reasons.
3) U.S. President Donald Trump and Japanese Prime Minister Shinzo Abe agreed on Wednesday to start trade talks in an arrangement that, for now, protects Japanese automakers from further tariffs, seen as a major threat to the export-dependent economy.
4) Tokyo Medical University has appointed its first woman president following a series of scandals, including the revelation that female applicants were prevented from gaining places at the school by systemically docking their entrance exam scores.
The appointment of Yukiko Hayashi, 56, chief professor of pathophysiology, was approved by the university’s board members Sept. 25. She will assume the post Oct. 1.
5) The EU and other countries have boosted their contributions to the United Nations agency that supports Palestinian refugees after the US cut off funding.
The UN Relief and Works Agency, or UNRWA, is struggling to support more than 5 million Palestinian refugees.
6) An Indonesian teenager has made it home safely after spending almost 50 days adrift at sea alone.
18-year-old Aldi Novel Adilang from the island of Sulawesi was fishing on a wooden raft in July when a storm hit.
His raft was swept away after its moorings snapped.
Adilang had only several days’ worth of food and water.
He burned part of his raft to cook fish.
Adilang said; “After the raft that I used snapped from the floating fish traps, I still had water to drink for about a week. Then I drank water by squeezing it from my clothes which were dipped in the sea, because it was impossible to drink sea water directly.”
On August 31st, a large ship rescued him off the western Pacific island of Guam, about 2,000 kilometers away from Sulawesi.
7) The Tokyo Metropolitan Government will begin using paper straws on a trial basis from October to help reduce the amount of plastic waste.
The paper straws will be provided at 3 cafeterias at the Tokyo government building in the capital’s Shinjuku district.
Tokyo Governor Yuriko Koike visited one of the cafeterias on Friday. She says she hopes the use of paper straws will encourage people to think about environmental issues.
The Tokyo government will purchase 20,000 paper straws, which are several times more expensive than plastic ones.
1) The start of a second round of trade talks between Japan and the United States will be delayed until after fresh tariffs imposed on China by the United States come into force on Sept 24, a Japanese government source told Reuters.
2) The Tokyo Organizing Committee of the 2020 Olympic and Paralympic Games and the Tokyo Metropolitan Government has decided to pay volunteers 1,000 yen a day to cover their transport expenses regardless of the venue they are sent to.
The committee will start accepting applications on Sept 26 for 80,000 volunteers who will assist in the management of the Games and 30,000 volunteers who will guide visitors to and around the event venues.
3) Shinzo Abe is poised to win a third term as head of his political party on Thursday, putting him on track to become Japan’s longest-serving prime minister and realize his dream of reforming the constitution.
Polls show Abe, 63, is expected to romp to victory in a two-horse race for the leadership of his conservative Liberal Democratic Party (LDP) that will effectively hand him three more years as PM.
4) Japan’s export growth accelerated in August from the previous month as shipments to the United States grew as Tokyo looks to avert a trade war through talks with Washington expected later this month.
However, the trade data also showed imports from the United States surged 21.5 percent in August, led by aircraft and liquefied natural gas, cutting Japan’s trade surplus with the United States by 14.5 percent year-on-year to 455.8 billion yen ($4.06 billion).
5) The leaders of North Korea and South Korea have signed a joint declaration after concluding their 3rd summit talks.
The declaration states that North Korea is ready to permanently dismantle its nuclear facility in Nyongbyon, on the condition that the United States takes reciprocal actions.
6) US spaceflight venture SpaceX says Japanese entrepreneur Yusaku Maezawa will become the first private passenger to fly around the Moon on its next-generation rocket.
SpaceX CEO Elon Musk made the announcement alongside Maezawa at a rocket factory in Los Angeles on Monday. Maezawa is the CEO of Start Today Company, which operates the major online fashion website ZOZOTOWN.
7) China’s leading online travel agency says Japan will be the top destination for Chinese travelers during the upcoming holiday week.
Ctrip.com said on Tuesday that a record of nearly 7 million Chinese are expected to travel overseas during the week, which begins October 1st, the day China commemorates its foundation.
Sept 19th, 2018
1) Naomi Osaka’s victory in the U.S. Open has added her to a growing list of athletes, Nobel Prize winners, and beauty pageant contestants who have raised the issue of what it means to be Japanese.
The daughter of a Japanese mother and a Haitian father, Osaka was born in Japan but raised in the United States. But she is being lauded in Japan as the first from the country to win a Grand Slam singles tennis title.
2) Japan is gearing up to accept more foreign workers as its own population is on the brink of a steep decline, Foreign Minister Taro Kono said Thursday.
Kono told a World Economic Forum meeting in Hanoi that Japan gains “value added” by accepting foreigners, especially since its aging population and low birth rate mean the country is shrinking by a half-million people a year.
3) A week after a powerful quake rocked Japan’s northernmost main island of Hokkaido, people mourned the deaths of 41 people as around 1,600 others remained in shelters as of Thursday.
4) Japan and Vietnam on Thursday urged the United States to rejoin a sprawling Pacific trade deal, almost two years after President Donald Trump’s withdrawal dealt a major blow to what would have been the world’s largest free trade pact.
Trump pulled out of the Trans-Pacific Partnership (TPP) deal in one of his first post-election moves as part of his “America First” clarion call, declaring the 12-nation trade pact a “job killer”.
5) Facebook says it’s expanding its fact-checking program to include photos and videos as it fights fake news and misinformation on its service.
The company has been testing the image fact-checks since the spring, beginning with France and the news agency AFP. Now, it will send all of its 27 third-party fact-checkers disputed photos and videos to verify — or the fact-checkers can find them on their own.
6) Apple Inc introduced its largest-ever iPhone and a watch that detects heart problems on Wednesday in an attempt to get customers to upgrade to more expensive devices in the face of stagnant global demand for smartphones.
7) Automation will soon make millions of low-skilled jobs — from cashiers and machine operators to waiters and drivers — redundant across Southeast Asia, experts said Wednesday, warning the region to upskill fast or face huge employment problems.
The topic was center stage at the World Economic Forum (WEF) in Hanoi, where warnings abounded that countries including Vietnam, Indonesia and Thailand where manufacturing has driven GDP and employed millions would be among the worst affected.
8) Russia and China have begun joint military drills in the Russian Far East.
The Vostok military exercises are held every 4 years. Russia’s Defense Ministry says the 2018 drill, which kicked off in Siberia on Tuesday, is the largest since the fall of the Soviet Union. It involves 300,000 soldiers, 36,000 tanks and other vehicles, some 1,000 aircraft and 80 vessels.
9) British author Kazuo Ishiguro has been bestowed Japan’s Order of the Rising Sun, Gold and Silver Star, in an award ceremony.
The Japanese government issued the award to the Nobel Prize-winning author, who was born in Japan, in recognition of his contribution to promoting cultural exchange with the UK.
10) The UN Food and Agriculture Organization says more than 820 million people around the world are going hungry.
The FAO released a report on the state of food security and nutrition on Tuesday.
The agency estimates that the number of undernourished in the world reached 821 million in 2017, or around one out of every 9 people.
11) The Alipay payment method is simple. Customers use their smartphone to scan a QR code displayed by a business, or the business can scan the QR code in the customer’s phone. Each user’s app is linked to a bank account in China. The transaction goes through Alipay. More than 700 million Chinese people use the service to pay for groceries, public transport, street food, and more.
12) Japanese machinery maker Kubota revealed on Wednesday it had tampered with inspection data to sell substandard products.
Officials say the data fixing affected rolls used by steel makers and other companies to produce thin metal plates.
Kubota officials said some of the products had not met the hardness levels or compounding ratio of metals that had been agreed upon with customers.
The officials said an employee first reported the data tampering, and they’ve confirmed nearly 4,400 cases of misconduct out of the more than 20,000 products sold for about 5 years until July.
1) Floods, typhoons, earthquakes and a record-shattering heat wave. The summer of 2018 has been an unusually destructive and deadly one in Japan, even for a country prone to natural disasters:
2) A group of hackers has been planning to target the American and Japanese public by emailing fake offers of tickets to the 2020 Tokyo Olympics in order to steal private information, a Singaporean security firm reported Thursday.
3) North Korea’s Kim Jong Un has given his first time line for denuclearization, aiming for the end of U.S. President Donald Trump’s first term, Seoul officials said on Thursday, prompting thanks from Trump who said they would “get it done together.”
4) Burt Reynolds, the handsome film and television star known for his acclaimed performances in “Deliverance” and “Boogie Nights,” commercial hits such as “Smokey and the Bandit” and for an active off-screen love life which included relationships with Loni Anderson and Sally Field, has died at age 82.
5) A powerful typhoon ripped through western Japan on Tuesday, leaving at least two dead and many injured, while strong winds and high waves closed Kansai International Airport and caused a ship to smash into a bridge linking the airport with the main island.
6) A powerful earthquake paralyzed Hokkaido on Thursday, killing at least nine people, triggering landslides and knocking out power to its 5.3 million residents.
The death toll from the 6.7-magnitude, pre-dawn quake was likely to rise as rescuers searched houses buried by landslides. About 33 people were missing and 300 were injured, public broadcaster NHK said.
7) Nauru President Baron Waqa is seeking a formal apology from China for what he calls the insolent behavior of a Chinese official at an international forum.
Waqa said on Tuesday that a Chinese diplomat demanded to speak when another country’s prime minister was due to give a speech. He slammed the move as bullying. He said bigger countries should not disrespect Pacific island nations, adding that China just needs them for its own purposes.
8) A Russian presidential aide says President Vladimir Putin is considering visiting Japan in June next year.
9) The US trade deficit with China for July hit a record high. The Commerce Department says the deficit stood at 36.8 billion dollars. That’s up 10% from the previous month and the gap is widening at its fastest pace since 2015.
Washington is expected to announce a third round of additional duties as early as this week. The trade deficit with Japan was 5.4 billion dollars, up 2.9%. Analysts say Tokyo could face more pressure from Washington to boost imports of American farm produce.
10) The operator of Chinese online payments giant Alipay has revealed his future business plans. They include attracting more tourists to Japan.
“We want to offer visitors to Japan a cashless experience, and work together with business partners to contribute to the Japanese economy.”
11) The operator of Kansai International Airport on Sept. 6 apologized for inconveniencing thousands of travelers after being overwhelmed by a powerful typhoon and announced plans to partially resume domestic flights from the next day.
12) The Tokyo District Court on Sept. 5 accepted the written statement of a former Tokyo Electric Power Co. executive who claimed that his boss abruptly postponed tsunami prevention measures at the Fukushima No. 1 nuclear power plant in 2008.
Tsunehisa Katsumata, 78, former TEPCO chairman, former TEPCO Vice President Sakae Muto, 68, and Ichiro Takekuro, 72, former TEPCO vice president, are on trial on charges of professional negligence resulting in death and injury from the 2011 nuclear disaster.
A 17-year-old boy on a motorcycle crashed and died in Osaka on Thursday night after being chased by police who were searching for a fugitive in a high-profile manhunt.
A patrol car began chasing the teen around 9:20 p.m. after police received a report of a sighting of a man resembling Junya Hida, 30, who escaped from a police station in mid-August .
The high school student, who did not have a driver’s license, driving the wrong way down a one-way road and running a red light before crashing into a roadside pole.
Police said the motorcycle had been stolen two weeks ago.
2) Six people died and two others were seriously injured in a motorcycle accident in the city of Nara early Friday, police said.
3) Job availability in Japan rose to a fresh 44-year high in July amid a severe labor crunch, while unemployment edged up as more people newly began seeking work, government data showed Friday.
4) Uber Technologies Inc said it will choose from five countries including Japan to test its flying taxi services, aiming to launch the commercial operation in 2023.
The other candidate countries are Australia, Brazil, France and India, the company said
Uber picked the five countries based on such criteria as population and lack of extreme weather. The U.S. firm said Japan is one of the countries with the most advanced public transportation systems.
5) The Okinawa prefectural government has revoked a landfill permit for a new US Marine Corps base in a coastal area of Nago City. The move is aimed at blocking reclamation work by the central government.
6) Child consultation centers across Japan handled more than 130,000 reported child abuse cases in fiscal 2017, a record high.
The welfare ministry on Thursday released the figures for the year through March 2018 at a meeting of the heads of child consultation centers nationwide.
7) Many people at a public hearing have criticized a plan to release water containing radioactive tritium into the sea from the crippled Fukushima Daiichi nuclear plant.
Contaminated water is generated daily at the plant in the process of cooling the damaged reactors. The water is being treated to get rid of radioactive substances, but tritium is difficult to remove.
Among the possible options to dispose of the tritium-laced water, the government says diluting and releasing it into the sea is the quickest and most inexpensive way.
8) housands of people gathered in a Spanish town to hurl some 145 tons of tomatoes at each other in an annual summer festival.
La Tomatina festival, also known as the world’s biggest food fight, was held on Wednesday in Spain’s eastern town of Bunol.
9) A US newspaper is reporting that senior US officials expressed irritation that Japan concealed a meeting with North Korea last month.
The Washington Post reported in Tuesday’s electronic version that the secret meeting took place in July in Vietnam.
It says a top Japanese intelligence official, Shigeru Kitamura, met a senior North Korean official in charge of reunification, Kim Song Hye. They reportedly discussed the North’s abductions of Japanese nationals.
10) Weather officials suggest a powerful typhoon could come very close to Japan next week.
The country’s Meteorological Agency says Typhoon Jebi turned “violent” in its intensity scale on Friday.
ご近所の仲良しのOさんから「野菜取りにおいでー」と電話があり、また、巨大きゅうりやナスやトマトや人参かぼちゃをたくさんもらう。妹さんの自家菜園の野菜を定期的に持ってきてくれるけど、処理できなくて全部ダメにしちゃうからまさごちゃんに持って行ってもらうと助かるわーと言ってくれる。我が家は夏野菜はラタトゥユにしてモリモリ食べているので大量にあっても全く困らない。嬉しい。ラタトゥユ食べてみる？と一度持って行ったらあれはどうやって作るの？とレシピを聞かれたので説明したのだが、Oさんの顔が途中で？？？な感じになったので、その後は野菜をもらったらラタトゥユを作って半分返すことで落ち着いた。^^ まさにwin-win! 母が夏野菜の好き嫌いが多くてラタトゥユはとても食べられない（見るだけでイヤ！だと言う）のがちょっと残念だが。