1) People in Okinawa are marking the 72nd anniversary of the end of a fierce ground battle in the closing days of World War Two.
Every year on June 23rd, Okinawa commemorates the end of the Japanese military’s organized combat against US forces in the southwestern prefecture.
More than 200,000 people, including about a quarter of Okinawa’s residents, were killed in the 1945 battle. The exact figure remains unknown.
2) Candidates for the Tokyo Metropolitan Assembly have kicked off their campaigns for an upcoming election.
Political parties in Japan see the assembly election as an important bellwether for national ballots.
3) The announcer and cancer blogger Mao Kobayashi has died. She was 34 years old.
A Tokyo native, Kobayashi started her career as a TV personality while she was still at college.
After graduation, she became a freelance announcer and was a caster for a news program.
She married the kabuki actor Ichikawa Ebizo in 2010 and had 2 children.
4) The Shinkansen bullet train service in western Japan was suspended for 5 hours from Wednesday night due to a power outage. 72 trains were immobilized, and more than 50,000 passengers were affected.
Central Japan Railway says overhead wiring got severed in Takatsuki, Osaka, shortly before 8 PM on Wednesday.
5) A former vice education minister has called for a third-party investigation into a favoritism scandal involving the operator of school run by a close friend of Prime Minister Shinzo Abe.
Kake Educational Institution, headed by Abe’s long-time friend, Kotaro Kake, plans to open a veterinary school in a government-designated special economic zone in Imabari City, western Japan.
Kihei Maekawa told a news conference on Friday that the prime minister’s office and the Cabinet Office are being dishonest in repeatedly denying the contents of documents that have turned up in an education ministry probe into the scandal.
6) Tokyo’s Ueno Zoo says a newborn giant panda cub has turned out to be female.
Zoo officials say the cub that was born on Monday of last week is steadily growing.
They say they conducted the cub’s third physical checkup on Thursday with a Chinese specialist from a giant panda’s protection and research facility.
7) Another type of venomous ant has been found in western Japan, at the same port where fire ants were earlier confirmed.
Kobe City officials say about 100 of the ants were discovered on Tuesday in Kobe Port.
On May 26th, fire ants were found at the port in a shipping container from China. In mid-June, about 100 of these ants were also discovered in a container storage area at the port.
The ants found on Tuesday are a different variety that has a lower toxicity. But their sting could cause a severe reaction.
8) The number of foreign tourists visiting Japan is continuing to increase. It hit a new record for the month of May.
The Japan Tourism Organization estimated that nearly 2.3 million foreigners visited in the month. That’s up 21 percent from May last year.
South Korea topped the list.
The number of visitors from the country increased by 85 percent as more direct flights were added. Tourists also returned to Kumamoto, one year after a strong earthquake there.
9) Japan’s youngest professional shogi player, 14-year-old Souta Fujii, won his 28th game in a row. His winning streak matches a record set 30 years ago.
10) Tokyo’s governor has been consulting with executives from global firms about how to make the nation’s capital a more attractive place to do business.
Yuriko Koike met Thursday with the CEOs and managers of 8 US- and UK-based institutions that operate in Tokyo.
Koike says she’s determined to turn the capital into an international financial hub.
The Tokyo Metropolitan Government this month outlined its plan to attract overseas financial institutions. It includes cutting corporate taxes, and improving workers’ living environments.
One of the people Koike consulted was the president of fund manager BlackRock Japan.
He noted the difficulty of finding talented mid-career women workers. He said this is because childcare in Japan is so poor. And he called for better support for working mothers.
Another participant said Tokyo needs to develop a bigger talent pool. He suggested creating a university that specializes in finance and gives lectures in English.
Koike said the feedback will help make the city a better place for women and highly skilled professionals to work.
The Tokyo government wants to put the finishing touches on its plan around this autumn.