Sept. 15th, 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.


Sept 8th, 2018


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.


Sept 1st, 2018



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.


August 25th, 2018


1)   Police in Osaka have arrested a 25-year-old woman on suspicion of abandoning the bodies of three infants in an apartment where she used to live in Sendai, Miyagi Prefecture.

2)   Prices in Japan edged up only marginally in July, according to government data on Friday, as the world’s third-largest economy showed little sign of winning its battle with deflation. Inflation stood at 0.8 percent year-on-year in July, unchanged from the previous month.

3)   US President Donald Trump said on Friday he has canceled a planned trip to North Korea by Secretary of State Mike Pompeo.

Trump said on Twitter “I have asked Secretary of State Mike Pompeo not to go to North Korea, at this time, because I feel we are not making sufficient progress with respect to the denuclearization of the Korean Peninsula.”

4)   Scientists say they have “directly observed definitive evidence” of water ice on the Moon’s surface for the first time. The scientists say water ice exists in the south and north polar areas, and that most of it lies in the shadows of craters, where sunlight never reaches.

5)     NHK has learned that there are about half as many people with disabilities employed by the Japanese government’s ministries as figures suggest.

 The labor and welfare ministry has been investigating government offices after it was learned that more than 10 had inflated their numbers.

6)   Authorities in Hawaii are calling on residents and tourists to avoid unnecessary travel and exercise extreme caution as a powerful hurricane churns toward the island state.

7)   Britain’s government is proposing a ban on pet shop sales of puppies and kittens less than 6 months old.

It means those wanting to buy or adopt a pet less than 6 months old will have to go directly to a breeder or a rescue center.

8)   Tokushima Mayor Akiyoshi Endo took the blame for the flop of the city’s Awa Odori dance festival at a news conference on Aug. 23, admitting preparations ended in “chaos” that led to a dancers’ revolt and poor attendance.

9)   Japan’s first female fighter pilot will make her debut on Aug. 24.

1st Lt. Misa Matsushima, 26, will be assigned to the Air Self-Defense Force’s 5th Air Wing, headquartered at Nyutabaru Air Base here.

10)  The trade conflict further escalated on Thursday as the United States and China heaped more tariffs on each other’s goods. Since early July, the world’s two largest economies have slapped each other with tariffs on a combined $100 billion of goods.


July 14th, 2018


1)   Municipal workers struggled on Friday to restore water supply in the flood-hit western region a week after inundation caused by a record downpour killed more than 200 people in the worst weather disaster in 36 years.

Communities that grappled with rising floodwaters last week now find themselves battling scorching summer temperatures well above 30 degrees Celsius, 

2)   Japan risks more severe weather and must find ways to alleviate disasters, a government spokesman said on Thursday, as intense heat and water shortages raised fear of disease among survivors of last week’s floods and landslides.

“It’s an undeniable fact that this sort of disaster due to torrential, unprecedented rain is becoming more frequent in recent years,” Chief Cabinet Secretary Yoshihide Suga told a news conference in Tokyo.

3)   Police on Thursday raided the apartment of a nurse who is in custody on suspicion of fatally poisoning at least two elderly patients at a terminal care hospital.

Local media have reported the woman confessed to police she poisoned about 20 patients to have them die when she was off-duty and could avoid the trouble of explaining the deaths to their families.

4)   New Zealand scientists have performed the first-ever 3-D, color X-ray on a human, using a technique that promises to improve the field of medical diagnostics, said Europe’s CERN physics lab which contributed imaging technology.

The new device, based on the traditional black-and-white X-ray, incorporates particle-tracking technology developed for CERN’s Large Hadron Collider, which in 2012 discovered the elusive Higgs Boson particle.

5)   The rise of robots in manufacturing in Southeast Asia is likely to fuel modern slavery as workers who end up unemployed due to automation face abuses competing for a shrinking pool of low-paid jobs in a “race to the bottom”, analysts say.

6)   Britain’s data regulator has said it will fine Facebook half a million pounds ($660,000) for failing to protect users’ data, in an inquiry into whether personal information had been misused by campaigns on both sides of Britain’s 2016 EU referendum.

Evidence emerged that an app had been used to harvest the data of tens of millions of Facebook users worldwide.

7)   Japan’s population, excluding resident foreigners, declined as of Jan. 1 in 2018 from the year before at the fastest pace since the current survey started in 1968, with fewer than 1 million births for the second straight year, government data showed Wednesday.

8)   The torch relay for the 2020 Tokyo Olympics will start in Fukushima Prefecture, with an emphasis on areas hit hard by the 2011 quake, tsunami and nuclear accident.

9)   Drone-delivered shopping moved closer to reality when three of Japan’s biggest companies announced they are joining forces for the ambitious “Drone Highway” project on July 12.

TEPCO Ventures Inc., a subsidiary of Tokyo Electric Power Co. Holdings Inc. (TEPCO), map publisher Zenrin Co. and Internet giant Rakuten Inc. aim to ease the burden of shipping goods on the transportation industry through the project.

Under the plan, goods will be moved off the roads and flown along power grids by drones, cutting distances, journey times and costs.

10)   Teaching materials obtained by NHK show that Aleph, a renamed successor to the Aum Shinrikyo cult, is trying to make its members faithfully follow the teachings of executed leader Shoko Asahara. His real name was Chizuo Matsumoto.


July 7th, 2018


1)   Japanese Justice Minister Yoko Kamikawa, who ordered the executions of Aum Shinrikyo cult founder Shoko Asahara and six of his followers, said Friday capital punishment is “unavoidable” for heinous crimes

2)   Two people were found dead near rain-swollen rivers in Japan on Friday, officials said, as record downpours prompted authorities to order more than 210,000 people to evacuate their homes.

Hundreds of thousands of people across a wide swathe of western and central Japan were evacuated from their homes on Friday as torrential rains pounded the nation, flooding rivers, setting off landslides and leaving at least two people dead.

3)   North Korea has said it will not comply with Tokyo’s demand for a resolution of the issue of Japanese citizens abducted by the North decades ago unless Japan lifts unilateral economic sanctions, sources close to bilateral ties said Thursday.

4)   The Japanese squad that competed at soccer’s World Cup in Russia has tweeted a good-luck message to the 12 members of a youth soccer team trapped with their coach in a cave in northern Thailand. 

5)   Thirty-two pregnant Cambodians were detained on Friday for their suspected involvement in an illegal surrogacy operation, carrying babies for Chinese clients, a court official said on Friday.

Five other people, including a Chinese person, were arrested and charged with human trafficking following raids at two apartments in the Cambodian capital, Phnom Penh.

6)   Sumo’s grand champion Kisenosato will sit out the upcoming tournament. He has so far missed all or part of the last 7 tourneys.

7)   China has imposed tariffs of 25 percent on hundreds of American products in retaliation for US duties on Chinese goods.

 Earlier on Friday, US President Donald Trump pulled the trigger on tariffs on billions of dollars-worth of Chinese products.

 This is the first round of Trump’s punishment of China for allegedly stealing US technology.

8)  Independence Day celebrations were held across the US on Wednesday amid increased security for possible terrorist attacks.

 Americans hold parades and firework displays to mark the anniversary of their declaration of independence from Britain on July 4, 1776.

 About 6,000 personnel, including police officers with automatic rifles, stood guard as fireworks lit up the sky.

9)  Greenpeace has crashed a drone into a nuclear plant complex in France. The international environmental group says it wanted to show the vulnerability of such plants to outside attacks.

 Greenpeace claims that it wanted to highlight nuclear plant vulnerability before the French parliament releases a report on the security of such facilities. The group calls for improving the safety of nuclear plants.

10) Japan’s first hotel featuring the cartoon character Snoopy is to open on August 1st in the western city of Kobe.



June 30, 2018


1)   Japan’s unemployment rate fell to the lowest level in more than 25 years in May in the latest sign of a strengthening economy, government data showed Friday, but rising job availability underscored the shortage of workers amid a shrinking population.

The jobless rate stood at 2.2 percent, beating market forecasts to remain unchanged from 2.5 percent in April and hitting a low not seen since October 1992, according to the Ministry of Internal Affairs and Communications.

2)   Fair play, a newly implemented tiebreaker in the group stage of the world’s biggest soccer tournament, was put into use for the first time Thursday and Japan came out as the beneficiary.

Despite losing 1-0 to Poland, the Japanese were able to advance to the round of 16 because they received fewer yellow cards than Senegal, which lost to Colombia by the same score at the same time.

3)  The Tokyo metropolitan government on Wednesday passed strict new anti-smoking rules ahead of the 2020 Olympics, leapfrogging national legislation on lighting up that has been watered down after opposition from pro-smoking MPs.

The city’s new laws ban smoking entirely on school premises from kindergartens to high schools, although a space can be created outside university and hospital buildings for smokers.

Lighting up will be outlawed at restaurants in the capital, regardless of size. Restaurants can set up a separate indoor smoking space but customers cannot eat or drink inside the smoking area.

4)   The Diet on Friday enacted into law a bill aimed at reforming working styles in the country despite opposition concern that the legislation would encourage long working hours.

The legislation consists of three key pillars — setting a legal cap on overtime work, ensuring “equal pay for equal work” for regular and nonregular workers, and exempting skilled professional workers with high wages from working-hour regulations.

The last item, known as the “white collar overtime exemption,” has been a major source of contention between the ruling and opposition parties.

5)   The rainy season has ended in the Kanto and Koshin regions, the earliest conclusion of the wet weather since record-keeping began in 1951, the Japan Meteorological Agency said June 29.

The agency’s declaration came seven days earlier than in 2017 and 22 days earlier than usual. It marked the first end to the rainy season in the regions in June and broke the previous record of July 1 set in 2001.

6)   wo longtime political rivals will cooperate for the first time in decades to promote a single issue–moving Japan away from its dependence on nuclear energy.

Junichiro Koizumi and Ichiro Ozawa are both 76 and former members of the Liberal Democratic Party.

7)   A third-party panel investigating a violent tackle in a college American football game has denounced university officials for engaging in a cover up to protect coaching staff who ordered the hit.

The damning comments are the latest development in an off-field drama over the on-field incident, which occurred in a game in May between Nihon University and Kwansei Gakuin University.

8)   A city mayor in Kyoto Prefecture has returned to work after collapsing in a sumo ring in April.

Manazuru Mayor Ryozo Tatami suddenly collapsed while making a speech at a sumo event in the city.

He said the tradition which bans women from the ring is out of date. He added that providing treatment is the top priority in emergencies, and that it should not matter whether providers are women or men. He said the women who rushed to help him must have felt obliged to do so because they are professional nurses.

9)   Officials in Thailand are still trying to locate and rescue 12 boys and their soccer coach believed to be trapped in a flooded cave network.

As the search stretches into its 6th day, crews are exhausting all available options.

Heavy rainfall has been complicating rescue efforts throughout the week as the situation becomes more desperate by the minute.

10)   number of female reporters covering the FIFA World Cup in Russia have been sexually harassed. The incidents have drawn worldwide rebuke.

Before Sunday’s game between Japan and Senegal in Ekaterinburg, a man rushed up to a Brazilian TV reporter and tried to kiss on the cheek. She was about to give a live report in front of the stadium.

The reporter dodged the man and angrily shouted at him in English, “Don’t do this, I don’t allow you to do this, never, OK?” She added, “This is not polite, this is not right.”

11)   A Japanese electric power company that’s grappling with the aftermath of a nuclear meltdown accident says it will begin a geological survey for a possible new nuclear plant.

Tokyo Electric Power Company, or TEPCO, said on Friday the survey is planned from the 2nd half of fiscal 2018 through fiscal 2020 in Higashidori in Aomori Prefecture, northern Japan.

13)   Japanese employers can often be heard complaining about the nationwide labor shortage. Some will be taking heart after seeing a successful trial of self-driving trucks near Tokyo.

Researchers put 2 trucks through tests in a convoy led by a manned vehicle. The autonomous trucks used sensors and wireless technology to follow the leader.

There were people on board just in case things didn’t go exactly to plan.

June 23rd, 2018


1)   Police in Tempe, Arizona said evidence showed the “safety” driver behind the wheel of a self-driving Uber was distracted and streaming a television show on her phone right up until about the time of a fatal accident in March, deeming the crash that rocked the industry”entirely avoidable.”

2)   The ruling Liberal Democratic Party is arranging to hold its presidential race on Sept 20, with party president and Prime Minister Shinzo Abe seeking to win a third term to become Japan’s longest-serving leader, party lawmakers said.

Former LDP Secretary General Shigeru Ishiba, the party’s policy chief Fumio Kishida and Internal Affairs and Communications Minister Seiko Noda are viewed as possible candidates.

3)   A powerful earthquake hit Osaka and other parts of Japan’s second-largest metropolitan area Monday morning, leaving at least four people dead and more than 300 injured as concrete walls around buildings crumbled, water pipes burst and power was cut off.

4)   Komeito, the junior party in the ruling coalition, changed its stance and voted in favor of a bill that will legalize casinos.

5)   An elementary school principal revealed on June 21 she was warned in 2015 of the danger of a wall that collapsed in an earthquake on June 18, killing a 9-year-old schoolgirl.

The wall beside the swimming pool of Juei Elementary School here was identified as one of a few safety concerns by a disaster prevention adviser, who was invited by the school and the PTA to give a disaster prevention workshop on Nov. 2, 2015.

Yoshimi Tanaka, the school principal, informed the city education board about the warning and requested a safety inspection.

6)   Six major Japanese companies plan to introduce a new labor system for “highly skilled professionals,” while 31 will not mainly over fears of possible “karoshi” (death from overwork), a survey of 100 companies showed.

Under the proposed “highly skilled professionals system,” employees engaged in certain jobs would be exempted from labor regulations concerning working hours.

7)   The operator of Legoland Discovery Center Tokyo apologized for refusing to allow four hearing-impaired customers, including two children, to enter the amusement facility in April because of their disabilities.

8)   The Japan Coast Guard is alerting ships navigating Tokyo Bay to watch out for a large whale.

Coast Guard officials say they received a report on Friday morning from a ship’s crew that had seen a whale, about 15 meters long, near Tokyo Gate Bridge.

9)   About 150,000 people with intractable diseases lost their financial support at the start of this year after a Japanese government program was revised.

10)   Japanese soccer fans have been celebrating their national squad’s 2-1 win over Colombia in its first group match in the World Cup finals.

11)   The Thai government says it will ban imports of recyclable waste, amid a public outcry over environmental degradation. Government officials say they are prepared to revise existing legislation.

The government says most of the waste the country accepted up to last month came from Japan.

The import ban will likely have an impact on Japan, which exports huge amounts of waste to the Southeast Asian country.

12)   North Korean leader Kim Jong Un reportedly wants denuclearization to be carried out in stages, with the backing of China.

Kim is in China on a 2-day visit, his third in recent months. It comes just one week after the historic summit with US President Donald Trump.

June 16th


1)   The Japanese government says foreign travelers with unpaid medical bills will be denied entry to the country in the future, with the number of foreign visitors set to surge in the run-up to the Tokyo 2020 Olympics and Paralympics.

2)   Wandering off by people with dementia continues to be a serious problem in Japan’s rapidly aging society, with a record 15,863 such people reported missing in 2017, police data showed Thursday.

3)   A 78-year-old man died after he was shot by a hunter who thought he was shooting at a wild monkey on a mountain slope in Kamogawa, Chiba Prefecture, police said Friday.

Police said Masaru Takahashi, 67, who has a license to use firearms for culling wild animals, has been charged with negligence resulting in death after he shot Hisashi Mori with a shotgun. Sankei Shimbun reported that the incident occurred at around 5 p.m. Thursday. Hunters have been culling wild monkeys in the mountain forest recently.

4)   The Japanese government is looking to arrange a summit between Prime Minister Shinzo Abe and North Korean leader Kim Jong Un in September in Russia, with Kim having expressed readiness to meet with Abe during his meeting with U.S. President Donald Trump, a government source said Thursday.

5)   EU countries on Thursday approved a raft of tariffs targeting U.S. goods including whiskey and motorcycles in retaliation against painful duties imposed by President Donald Trump on European metals.

6)   A new law stipulating the rules on operations of “minpaku” private lodgings took effect on June 15.

The “Jutaku Shukuhaku Jigyo-ho” (House stay business law), among other stipulations, compels people or companies to register their properties with prefectural governments and have them approved before they can rent them to tourists for overnight stays.

7)   A railway company in western Japan has partially suspended operations on a Shinkansen bullet train line, after finding evidence that one of its trains hit a person.

West Japan Railway says the driver of a bullet train on its Sanyo Shinkansen line reported seeing a major dent in the nose of another train as they passed each other.

The damage was spotted at around 2 PM on Thursday soon after the Tokyo bound train left Hakata Station in Fukuoka Prefecture.

8)   Japan’s national soccer team has arrived at its training base in the Russian city of Kazan ahead of the start of the FIFA World Cup on Thursday.

9)   An 18th century Chinese vase that was found in an attic in France has sold for about 19 million dollars.

The vase was auctioned in Paris on Tuesday for 16.2 million euros.

It is 30 centimeters tall and depicts deer beside a pine tree with cranes. The neck is decorated with gold.

The auctioneer says the piece was discovered in a shoebox. The owner used public transport to bring it to the auction venue.

10)   Electronics maker Sharp is branching out into a new product area with a so-called smart kitty litter box that helps owners track the health of their pets.

Company officials developed the device together with researchers at Tottori University, and they aim to sell it in Japan and overseas.

The device has 2 sensors that are connected to the Internet —

11)   The head of US electric-car maker Tesla has announced a 9-percent cut of its workforce.

The move is to reduce costs and make the company profitable.

Tesla CEO Elon Musk revealed the plan on Tuesday.
His announcement does not say how many employees would be laid-off. US media reports put the number from 3,000 to 4,000.

June 8th, 2018


1)   Rental site Airbnb said Thursday it had been forced by Japanese authorities to cancel thousands of reservations ahead of a new law regulating short-term rentals, apologising for the “extraordinary disruption.”

2)   Keiichiro Koyama, 34, and Shigeaki Kato, 30, members of popular group News, promoted by Johnny & Associates, are in hot water for allegedly encouraging an underage girl to drink at a party.

The scandal was reported by tabloid magazine Shukan Bunshun in its June 7 edition. The story said the party was organized by Koyama himself, and that a then 19-year-old girl had been urged to drink alcohol in gulps.

3)   A 41-year-old man has been sentenced to 19 years in prison for the arson-murders of his 31-year-old wife and two children aged 3 and 1, last year in Tome, Miyagi Prefecture.

The Sendai District Court handed down its verdict against Yoshiaki Shimaya, who had pleaded guilty to killing his wife Miyu, daughter Mao and son Kyosuke, Fuji TV reported Thursday.

4)   U.S. President Donald Trump said on Thursday after White House talks with Japanese Prime Minister Shinzo Abe that the two leaders were working together to improve trading relations and that Abe promised new Japanese investment in the United States.


5)   The summit of the Group of 7 nations will open in Canada on Friday. But the leaders may struggle to put on a show of unity.

On free trade, Abe is expected to speak out in the G7 summit against retaliatory tariffs, saying they benefit no country. He will also express Japan’s stance of strengthening multilateral trade systems and promoting economic partnership deals.

6)   An NHK crew has been allowed to enter a village engulfed by lava and ash from the Fuego volcano in Guatemala.

The volcano, about 40 kilometers southwest of the capital Guatemala City, erupted violently on Sunday.

Villages at the foot of the mountain were swamped and destroyed by pyroclastic flows.

7)   Nearly 80 percent of respondents to a survey in Japan said they are interested in the 2020 Tokyo Olympics, but only 15 percent are willing to work as volunteers for the event.

8)   The Reuters news agency reports that North Korean leader Kim Jong Un is expected to arrive in Singapore on Sunday. His summit with US President Donald Trump is scheduled to take place on Tuesday in the city-state.

9)   Data from China show that the trade surplus with the United States grew further in May. That’s despite trade talks the 2 countries held last month.

Imports from the US rose more than 10 percent to 14.7 billion dollars. But exports to the US also rose. As a result, China posted a bilateral trade surplus of about 24.5 billion dollars. That’s up more than 10 percent from the level a year earlier.

10)   A record number of foreign tourists came to Japan last year. But a government report says they are spending less these days.

The annual white paper on tourism shows almost 29 million people visited Japan in 2017, marking a record high for the fifth straight year. They spent a total of 40 billion dollars.

May 26th, 2018

モーガンフリーマンが!? ショックだよーと言っていた。

1)   US President Donald Trump says it’s still possible that a summit between him and North Korean leader Kim Jong Un can go ahead on June 12th as originally planned.

2)   Oscar-winning actor Morgan Freeman is facing multiple allegations of sexual harassment. The 80-year-old movie veteran has apologized to anyone who felt uncomfortable or disrespected.

CNN reported on Thursday that 8 women said they had been subjected to inappropriate behavior or harassment by Freeman.

3)   A US district court has ruled that President Donald Trump cannot block Twitter users from his account because of their political views. Trump has been blocking tweets that criticize him.

On Wednesday, a judge in New York described the president’s Twitter account as a public forum, and said blocking Twitter users for their views violated their right to free speech under the First Amendment of the Constitution. The judge ordered Trump to unblock his account.

4)   The US State Department says an employee stationed in southern China has been diagnosed with a brain injury after hearing strange sounds.

The worker at the US Consulate General in Guangzhou reported abnormal sensations of sound and pressure from last year until April. The employee returned to the US for tests, and was found to have brain trauma.

More than 20 employees at the US Embassy in Havana became ill last year after what the media described as a “sonic attack.”

5)   The former head of an Osaka-based school operator, the central figure in an alleged favoritism scandal, has been released on bail. He says his detention was politically motivated.

Yasunori Kagoike, who ran Moritomo Gakuen, and his wife, Junko, were arrested by prosecutors late last July. They allegedly defrauded the government out of money in connection with the construction of a planned elementary school.

6)   The former head coach of Nihon University’s American football team has been caught on tape praising a player who injured an opponent in a match earlier this month.

In the audio clip recorded just after the game on May 6th, Uchida was questioned by reporters about the player being sent off for a series of fouls. He replied that it was inevitable because he was the head coach, and said the team had always been that way.

7)   Police in Kumamoto Prefecture, southwestern Japan, say at least 10 components believed to have fallen from an airplane have been found around a local airport.

A Japan Airlines Boeing 767 carrying 217 people returned to Kumamoto Airport on Thursday afternoon due to engine trouble. The plane was bound for Tokyo’s Haneda Airport.

8)   Japanese Olympic swimmer Junya Koga has tested positive for substances banned by the World Anti-Doping Agency.

Koga said the banned substances may have been in nutritional supplements he began taking in February of this year.

He claimed he did not take the banned substances intentionally, and said he is ashamed to have tested positive.

9)   US civil rights groups are asking to stop offering its facial recognition services to police and other government agencies.

The services have been used in police investigations, checking IDs at building entrances and searching for lost children at amusement parks.

The group also warned that the services could unfairly target minorities and immigrants in particular.

10)   A self-driving vehicle is being tested on public roads near Tokyo in an initiative led by a Japanese retail giant.

Aeon hopes the technology will make it easier for customers who don’t own cars to get to its supermarkets.

11)   A Japanese government-backed fund and a major Japanese trading house have jointly invested in a venture firm that makes food from algae.

The venture produces spirulina, an algae rich in vitamins. Demand for the so-called superfood has been growing, as it’s a popular addition to fruit juices.

12)   Chinese authorities detained 21 Japanese nationals in the southwestern city of Chongqing and elsewhere this month, a source close to Japanese-Chinese relations said Friday.

The Japanese are said to have been Christian group members and their detention may have been part of the authorities’ efforts to crack down on missionary work, categorizing it as illegal activity.

May 19th, 2018


1)   Nearly all respondents to an internet survey of media workers, prompted by news of a TV reporter being sexually harassed by a top Finance Ministry bureaucrat, say they experienced sexual harassment multiple times.

A total of 103 women and four men responded to the questionnaire, and 102 of the women reported having been sexually haarassed, of whom 51 said they had experienced it 10 or more times and 47 said between two to nine times.

2)   At least 100 bamboo trees in Kyoto’s Arashiyama district have been vandalized by tourists, who apparently engraved their names and initials, a company managing the iconic groves of the popular tourist spot said Thursday.

The engravings carved on tree surfaces are in foreign language letters, including alphabets and Hangul characters.

3)   The Diet on Wednesday passed a law to encourage female candidates to stand for elections in a country where women are vastly underrepresented in politics.

Under the new law, political parties are urged to make the number of male and female candidates as equal as possible and are encouraged to set targets for gender parity.

But the law includes no penalties for parties that fail to do so, nor incentives to encourage them.

4)   To thwart groping and other crimes, train cars equipped with security cameras will run on the Yamanote Line in central Tokyo for the first time on May 19, East Japan Railway Co. (JR East) said.

JR East said it plans to replace all current trains on the line with new “E235 series” trains by spring 2020, a few months before the Tokyo Summer Olympics.

The railway company also intends to install security cameras inside all new trains on other lines from this fiscal year, which started in April.

5)   A vicious and extremely late hit against a defenseless quarterback in an American football game has led to a suspension, boycotted games and a government demand for an investigation.

The Nihon University football player under fire for a vicious cheap shot said his coach ordered him to “break” the quarterback or be benched, a teammate told The Asahi Shimbun on May 17.

6)   Japanese teenage shogi chess sensation Sota Fujii has set a new record. The 15-year-old high school freshman has become the youngest player to achieve the rank of 7th-dan.

7)   The Japanese singer Hideki Saijo has died. He was 63.

His agency said Saijo died of acute heart failure late Wednesday in a hospital in Yokohama, near Tokyo.

Saijo was born in Hiroshima City and made his debut at the age of 17. He won a huge following, especially among young women, for his energetic singing style.

8)   In the United States, Texas Governor Greg Abbott says at least 10 people are dead and 10 others were injured in a shooting at a high school in Santa Fe on Friday morning.

Explosive devices were also found at the school and at another site nearby.

Authorities say gunshots were fired at around 7:30, and that many of the victims are students.

A male suspect believed to be a student at the school has been detained and another is being questioned.

9)   North Korea has demanded that South Korea halt its ongoing joint military drills with the United States as a precondition to resume inter-Korean dialogue.

10)   Hawaii’s Kilauea volcano has erupted explosively, sending a cloud of ash about 9 kilometers into the sky.

The US Geological Survey says the massive eruption took place near the volcano’s summit at 4:17 AM Thursday local time.

11)   The World Health Organization says the Ebola outbreak in the Democratic Republic of the Congo has spread to an urban area.

The WHO said on Thursday that an Ebola case had been confirmed in Mbandaka, a city in the northwest of the country with a population of around a million.

12)   The Japanese government has notified the World Trade Organization that it is prepared to take countermeasures against US tariffs on steel and aluminum.

The government announced that it is ready to implement rebalancing measures worth about 440 million dollars. The tariffs that the US is imposing on Japan come to about that much.

The notification is a procedure required under international trade rules, if Japan actually takes the reciprocal step against the US in the future. Specific items have not yet been mentioned.

May 12th, 2018

1)   An elementary schoolgirl was attacked by a man as she walked to school in Tokyo’s Koto Ward on Friday morning.

According to police, the incident occurred at around 7:50 a.m. in Ogibashi, Fuji TV reported. The girl, a 4th-grade student, told police that a man suddenly came up behind her, grabbed her left wrist and slashed the palm of her left hand with a box cutter, and then ran away without saying a word.

2)   Shoei Sugita, a biology professor at Utsunomiya University, went so far as theorize that the Tickt crow was “almost definitely” kept as a pet at some point in its life, as it appears to be especially relaxed around humans, even occasionally perching on the arm or shoulders of people in the area.

3)   U.S. President Donald Trump said Thursday he will meet with North Korean leader Kim Jong Un on June 12 in Singapore for what will be the first-ever summit between the two countries.

4)    U.S. President Donald Trump on Tuesday pulled the United States out of an international nuclear deal with Iran, raising the risk of conflict in the Middle East, upsetting European allies and casting uncertainty over global oil supplies.

5)   Days before President Trump was to decide whether to pull out of the 2015 nuclear deal with Iran, Mr. Netanyahu presented records from a secret warehouse in Tehran, making the case that Iranian leaders had deceived the international nuclear agency when they insisted their nuclear program was for peaceful purposes. Israeli spies seized the documents in an overnight raid in January, a senior Israeli official said.

6)   Japan’s golf venue for the Tokyo 2020 Olympics has granted full membership to women for the first time, after lifting a ban under pressure from Games authorities.

The upscale Kasumigaseki Country Club told AFP it had upgraded three women to full membership after agreeing last year to admit female members, following criticism from the International Olympic Committee.

7)   With international attention long focused on North Korea’s nuclear weapons program, Kim Jong Un’s relatively unknown economic reforms could be behind his power at home and his recent diplomatic moves, experts say.

Nuclear arms development and economic reforms make up Kim’s “pyongjin” dual-track policy that he announced during a Central Committee meeting of the ruling Workers’ Party of Korea on March 31, 2013.

Pyongyang has declared it has accomplished its military objectives, namely completing its nuclear program and developing intercontinental ballistic missiles to deter the threat of attack from the United States.

In the meantime, Kim has steadily introduced market mechanisms to the country’s economy.

8)   A former top aide to Prime Minister Shinzo Abe on May 10 testified before committees of both chambers of the Diet about his meetings with officials of the Kake Educational Institution, whose successful bid to open a veterinary medicine faculty has raised suspicions of Abe’s political involvement.

Tadao Yanase appeared as an unsworn witness in a session of the Lower House Budget Committee in the morning. His testimony came one month after it was revealed that a document compiled by an Ehime prefectural government employee quotes him as saying that the project planned by the institution was “a matter related to the prime minister.”

9)   A ruling party lawmaker reluctantly retracted his remarks about telling young women to have at least three children or else the taxes paid by other people’s offspring will cover their care in nursing homes.

Kanji Kato, 72, made the comments on May 10 at a meeting of the Hosoda faction of the Liberal Democratic Party.

“I always tell brides and grooms at wedding parties that I would like them to have three or more children,” he said. “We need three or more children from those people to make up for couples who cannot bear a child no matter what they do.”

10)   Couples in de facto marriages have sued the government over a legal provision that requires either the wives or husbands to give up their surnames.

The seven men and women filed their lawsuits against local authorities and the central government on May 10 with the Tokyo District Court, its Tachikawa Branch and the Hiroshima District Court. They are represented by the same group of lawyers, led by Tokyo-based Fujiko Sakakibara.

The plaintiffs argue that inequality exists in the current legal system that recognizes marriages of couples with one surname but denies that status to couples who want to keep separate surnames.


May 3rd, 2018


1)   Tatsuya Yamaguchi, a member of Japanese all-male pop group Tokio, has expressed his intent to leave the five-member band after coming under fire for kissing a high school student against her will, other group members revealed Wednesday.

2)   Bus drivers in Okayama working with Ryobi Group have taken to the streets in an unusual form of protest. While technically on strike, they are continuing to drive their routes while refusing to take fares from passengers.

3)   Japanese Prime Minister Shinzo Abe sought public support Tuesday for his long-cherished goal of revising the country’s war-renouncing constitution amid widening scandals that have hurt his government’s popularity.

4)   Medical Services Law will prohibit such misleading claims as “100 percent safe surgery,” with fines on violators. It will also, in principle, ban the inclusion of patients’ testimonies of their experiences and touting medical treatments that use unapproved drugs.

5)   Dozens of thrill seekers got more than they bargained for when a roller coaster stalled, leaving them hanging face down 30 meters above the ground for up to two hours.

6)   The president of Chisso Corp., whose mercury pollution caused the debilitating Minamata disease that sickened tens of thousands, sparked outrage for saying that redress for the victims has ended.

7)   NHK has learnt that a convicted thief told police he escaped from prison because he wasn’t allowed to be the leader of the inmates.

8)   Tatsuma Hirao escaped from the low-security prison in Imabari City in Ehime Prefecture on April 8th. He was recaptured on Monday in Hiroshima City, after more than 3 weeks on the run.

9)   A government survey suggests Japanese consumers felt negative about the economic outlook in April for the first time in 2 months.

The Cabinet Office monthly survey of 8,400 households asks consumers how they feel about the coming 6 months.

10)   Japan’s annual summertime “Cool Biz” campaign has started, with people across the country encouraged to dress casually to use less air conditioning.

During the 5-month campaign, the Environment Ministry is urging people to set air conditioners to around 28 degrees Celsius at work and home.

April 28th, 2018


1)   North Korean leader Kim Jong Un and South Korean President Moon Jae-in embraced after pledging on Friday to work for the “complete denuclearisation.

2)    Police investigated a record 1,813 cases involving minors who fell victim to sexual and other crimes perpetrated through the use of social media in 2017, official data showed Thursday.

3)   A Japanese TV network has released a statement by an employee who is believed to have been sexually harassed by a former Finance Ministry top bureaucrat. This comes after the ministry acknowledged the misconduct by the former administrative vice finance minister, Junichi Fukuda, and punished him.

4)    member of a Japanese all-male pop group has been referred to prosecutors for suspected indecent behavior with a high-school girl. The news is having widespread repercussions.

Tatsuya Yamaguchi, a 46-year-old member of the band TOKIO, is accused of forcibly kissing a high-school girl at his home in February this year. Tokyo police have sent papers to prosecutors on suspicion of an indecent sexual assault.

5)   Japan’s Foreign Ministry has lodged a protest with the South Korean government over a menu item that will be served at the dinner being prepared for the inter-Korean summit scheduled for Friday.

Japan’s Foreign Ministry says a dessert has a map of the Korean Peninsula along with the Takeshima Islands in the Sea of Japan on the surface.

6)   Chinese scientists say the nuclear test site in North Korea that the country has pledged to scrap has been rendered unsafe by a mountain collapse.

7)   A stabbing spree on Friday evening in China’s Shaanxi Province has left seven junior high school students dead and 12 others injured.

Police have arrested a 28-year-old man, who is believed to be a former student. Police have been quoted as saying that the assailant wanted to exact revenge, because he was bullied during his school years.

8)   The prolonged war in Syria is resulting in donor fatigue among countries struggling to provide humanitarian aid to people displaced by the fighting.

The participants pledged new aid measures and raised 4.4 billion dollars. But the amount fell short of the UN target of 6 billion dollars because the United States has refused to contribute.

9)   Japan’s fast food sector is set to get more competitive with the arrival of another player from the US. Fatburger is the latest in a line of foreign chains aiming to take a bite out of the market.

The Fatburger line-up is slightly more expensive than most afast food here in Japan.

10)   Japanese airline All Nippon Airways is planning to introduce a new type of Airbus A380 with cabins that are equipped with novel bench-style seats.

The group-friendly seating will be available on 3 Airbus A380 airliners going into service between Japan and Hawaii. The flights will begin next spring.

April 21st, 2018


1)   Japanese Finance Minister Taro Aso said Thursday he has no intention of stepping down over a sexual harassment scandal involving the ministry’s top official.

2)   Japan’s consumer prices edged up 0.9 percent in March, government data showed Friday, but inflation was slightly weaker than the previous month and still far below a longstanding target. Japan has notched up eight straight quarters of economic growth — the longest positive run since the “bubble” boom days.

3)   Trump turned down Prime Minister Abe’s top economic and trade priorities. Principal among them: allowing Japan an exemption from new U.S. steel and aluminum tariffs and persuading Trump to re-join the Trans-Pacific Partnership trade deal.

4)   North and South Korea have installed a direct phone link between their leaders. South Korean President Moon Jae-in and North Korean leader Kim Jong Un are to use the hotline before their planned summit next Friday.

5)   A Japanese Cabinet minister will meet women reporters and others to grasp the full picture of sexual harassment in the media industry.

The top bureaucrat at the Finance Ministry tendered his resignation on Wednesday in connection with allegations that he made sexually harassing remarks to women journalists.

Women’s Empowerment Minister Seiko Noda suspects that other female employees of media companies may have experienced sexual misconduct.

6)   The newly-discovered email says that on the same day the Ehime officials were to meet Tadao Yanase, who was the prime minister’s secretary at the time. The Ehime document quotes Yanase as saying the school project was a “matter related to the prime minister.” Yanase says he did not meet the Ehime officials as far as he can recall.

7)   Japan and Malaysia have concluded an agreement on the transfer of defense equipment and cooperation in defense technology.

This comes as Japan has been signing similar deals with the United States, European and Asian countries to transfer patrol planes, radars and other defense hardware and technology.

8)   A 10-day-old girl has become the first baby to appear on the floor of the US Senate during a vote.

Senator Tammy Duckworth of the Democratic Party brought her daughter, Maile, to the chamber on Thursday.

On Wednesday, the Senate unanimously approved a change to its rules to allow senators’ children under the age of one to be brought into the chamber during votes.

9)   The administration of US President Donald Trump has unveiled measures to expand exports of domestically produced weapons.

The measures announced on Thursday include broadening the range of drones that can be exported, and allowing US firms to proceed directly with sales to foreign governments.

But US defense contractors were critical, saying the move allowed Chinese drone manufacturers to increase their share of the global market.

10)   NHK has uncovered hundreds of instances in which inspection data at the Japanese automaker Subaru was falsified.

The alterations were happening on a regular basis.

A probe has revealed that workers at a plant near Tokyo have falsified inspection data on fuel efficiency and exhaust gases for the past several years.



April 14th, 2018


1)   Agriculture Minister Ken Saito says a document related to a controversial project to open a veterinary school in Ehime Prefecture has been found in his ministry.

The document outlines exchanges that took place when Ehime officials and representatives of the school’s operator visited the prime minister’s office 3 years ago to discuss opening the school.

The document includes Prime Minister Shinzo Abe’s then secretary Tadao Yanase’s description of the project as “a matter related to the prime minister.”

2)   A Japanese government survey shows the country’s population continues to shrink and age.

The internal affairs ministry said on Friday that the total population, including foreign residents, was 126.7 million on October 1st last year.

That’s a fall of 227,000 from the previous year, for a 7th straight year of decline.

3)   A 19-year-old police officer accused of murdering his colleague in western Japan has reportedly said that he fired his gun without hesitation.

Police in Shiga Prefecture arrested the officer on Thursday for fatally shooting the 41-year-old sergeant in Hikone City the previous day.

4)   French President Emmanuel Macron says he has proof that the Syrian government attacked a town near Damascus with chemical weapons last weekend.

Macron said France has “proof that last week chemical weapons were used, at least chlorine, and that they were used by Bashar al-Assad’s regime.” Macron did not describe the evidence or say how France got it.

US President Donald Trump tweeted earlier that Russia needed to get ready. His post indicated that missiles would be coming.

5)   Japan’s Major League Baseball newcomer Shohei Ohtani is already having a big impact for the Los Angeles Angels.

In the 6th inning, Ohtani was intentionally walked and, in his next at-bat, he hit the ball to right-center, for a three-run triple, capping a 5 run, 7th inning.

6)   US President Donald Trump has welcomed Chinese President Xi Jinping’s speech signaling that he wants to further open up China’s economy to other countries.

Trump tweeted on Tuesday that he is “very thankful for President Xi of China’s kind words on tariffs and automobile barriers.”

Trump was referring to Xi’s indication on Tuesday that China will step up efforts to open its markets. Xi said the measures will include major cuts in tariffs on automobiles.

7)   Japan is facing a serious labor shortage with a shrinking working population. The government has come up with a plan to address the problem by allowing certain non-Japanese to come and work in the country.

The newly proposed status would allow foreigners with certain skills to work in the country for up to 5 years. Those who have completed internships would be eligible on the condition they do not bring their families to Japan.

8)   Facebook CEO Mark Zuckerberg has revealed that he is one of the 87 million people whose personal data was leaked. He has again stated the need for regulation of the social media industry.

Zuckerberg faced a second day of congressional testimony at a House committee in Washington on Wednesday. He gave about 5 hours of testimony.

9)   The Japanese government on Friday greeted with cautious optimism the news that U.S. President Donald Trump is willing to explore re-entering the Trans-Pacific Partnership trade deal, while stressing that Washington should accept the original terms.

10)   Hundreds of Japanese police searched on Thursday for a convicted thief who escaped from prison and was believed to be on a small island with abundant hide-outs – about 1,000 houses made vacant by an aging and shrinking population.

Tatsuma Hirao, 27, has been at large since Sunday, when he fled from a low-security prison in Ehime Prefecture while serving a 5 ½ year sentence for theft.

11)   A California technology billionaire said on Thursday that his longtime effort to partition the Golden State into multiple new states could soon be put before voters.

The plan would divide the state into Northern California, Southern California and California. Los Angeles, home to the state’s storied movie industry, would remain in the new California, but farmland and forested areas, along with San Francisco and the Silicon Valley technology hub, would be separated into the two other states.


April 7th, 2018


1)   Japan’s household spending suffered the biggest annual decline in nearly a year in February as inflation-adjusted wages continued to fall, data showed on Friday, suggesting the economy’s longest run of growth since the 1980s asset bubble has peaked

2)   Police arrested two acquaintances of conservative commentator Susumu Nishibe late Thursday for allegedly helping the 78-year-old in his suicide preparations in January.

3)   A South Korean court jailed former President Park Geun-hye for 24 years on Friday over a scandal that exposed webs of corruption between political leaders and the country’s conglomerates.

4)   Some fans of professional baseball team the Chunichi Dragons have been caught on video chanting “Let the atomic bomb drop” on the Hiroshima Carp, Dragons officials said Thursday.

In the 20-second footage uploaded to YouTube, believed to have been taken during a game last weekend at Mazda Stadium in the city of Hiroshima, several men can be heard chanting, “Go for it. Die. Let the atomic bomb drop (on the) Carp.” Hiroshima was devastated by the first U.S. atomic bombing in 1945.

5)   The Japan Sumo Association chairman has apologized after women who were trying to save the life of the mayor, who suddenly collapsed during a sumo event here on April 4, were ordered to leave the dohyo.

Traditionally, women are barred from entering the sumo ring.

6)   Police said Thursday they noted 68 cases of illegal drone flights in 2017, almost double the previous year’s 36.

Japan’s aviation law bans drone flights in airspace around airports and above densely populated areas. Drones are restricted to flying in daylight hours and need to be monitored at all times.

7)   In an unprecedented move, the Olympic torch will visit three prefectures in the disaster-hit Tohoku region before starting its relay in Okinawa Prefecture, Tokyo 2020 Olympics and Paralympics sources said April 5.

The sacred flame, which will be brought from Greece, is to be lit during the three events in Iwate, Miyagi and Fukushima prefectures before being moved to the southernmost prefecture to start the relay in late March, the sources said.

8)   Shohei Ohtani, a two-way baseball star from Japan, hit his first major league homerun at his Los Angeles Angels’ home stadium in Anaheim.

It was the first inning. Ohtani came to the plate as designated hitter against the Cleveland Indians on Tuesday.

9)   US President Donald Trump has signed a presidential memorandum to deploy the National Guard along the border with Mexico.

Trump signed the memo on Wednesday as part of measures to tighten control of illegal immigrants.

10)   Facebook officials are responding to revelations that a major privacy breach went deeper than first thought. They have instructed engineers to remove a search function that could be used to expose personal details.


March 31st, 2018


1)   The education ministry is taking more action after learning that 32 female students at public high schools dropped out due to pregnancy or childbirth after being advised to do so in fiscal 2015 and 2016.

In some cases, schools urged them to drop out despite the fact that students were willing to continue their education or take a leave of absence. There is a concern that some may have ended up leaving school against their will.

2)   Five cryptocurrency exchanges have withdrawn their applications to be licensed in Japan, saying they can’t meet the government’s requirements.

The Financial Services Agency said Thursday that two exchanges, Tokyo GateWay and Mr. Exchange, recently told the government they no longer want to apply for licenses. Three other exchanges: Raimu, bitExpress and Bit Station, dropped out earlier.

3)   U.S. President Donald Trump insisted Thursday that U.S. forces would pull out of Syria “very soon” and lamented what he said was Washington’s waste of $7 trillion in Middle East wars.

4)   Sumo elder Takanohana, who was faulted for his absence from the most recent Spring Grand Sumo Tournament and lack of supervision of a wrestler from his stable, was handed a two-rank demotion by the Japan Sumo Association on Thursday.

5)   The organizer of Japan’s famed Awa Odori festival collapsed, as a court said Thursday it decided to begin bankruptcy proceedings.

6)   Russia expelled 60 U.S. diplomats on Thursday and announced it would eject scores from other countries that have joined London and Washington in censuring Moscow over the poisoning of a spy.

7)   Japan’s education ministry has completed the screening of moral education textbooks to be used in junior high schools. Textbooks published by 8 companies passed the screening and they all take up the issue of bullying.

Moral education is currently an extracurricular activity.
It will become a subject in the regular curriculum for junior high schools from April 2019.

8)   A 5-day work week is something many people take for granted. But that’s often not the case for construction workers in Japan. Now, government officials promoting labor reforms are looking to change that.

Japan’s infrastructure ministry will lengthen the timeframe for construction on public works projects.
Officials say workers currently have a hard time taking days off due to tight build schedules. They note that this also leads to labor shortages and increased accidents.

9)   Chinese state-run media reports that North Korean leader Kim Jong Un met President Xi Jinping in Beijing. This was Kim’s first official overseas trip since he took power in 2012.

10)   One year from today, Britain’s membership in the European Union will come to an end. British people opted to leave the bloc in a referendum in June 2016.
But the future outlook for the UK and the European Union remains unclear.

The 2 sides have reached a basic agreement on the terms of Britain’s withdrawal, which includes Britain’s financial settlement with the bloc, and ensuring the rights of EU citizens living in the country after Brexit.

11)   Nobel laureate Malala Yousafzai is back in her home country of Pakistan.
It’s her first visit since she was shot by the Pakistani Taliban more than 5 years ago.

The 20-year-old university student was greeted by a heavy security presence when she landed in Pakistan.
She’s using her trip to urge people in the country to join her campaign for girls’ education and women’s rights.

12)   US electric car maker Tesla is recalling 123,000 of its “Model S” vehicles to replace power steering bolts.

In an announcement on Thursday, Tesla cited “excessive corrosion” in the power steering bolts of cars built before April 2016.

13)   Japan’s finance minister has apologized for saying newspapers think a document-falsifying scandal involving his ministry is more important than the Trans-Pacific Partnership free trade deal.

Taro Aso made the apology at a meeting of an Upper House committee on Friday, amid mounting criticism that he takes the scandal lightly.

14)   Japanese government officials are discussing what regulations are needed to ensure that self-driving vehicles are safe to put on the road.

Officials expect such vehicles to be on highways and in other places by 2020, the year of the Tokyo Olympic and Paralympic Games. They say guidelines on what equipment the cars need must be decided by the middle of this year.

15)   Trump Claims Amazon Doesn’t Pay Taxes and is Abusing US Postal System

16)   A top Customs and Border Protection (CBP) official pushed back Friday on reports that frontline border agents do not support President Trump’s border wall, telling reporters that “walls work” and that “agents know it.”


Mar 24th, 2018


1)   The ruling Liberal Democratic Party on Thursday decided to pursue a constitutional amendment plan proposed by Prime Minister Shinzo Abe to recognize Japan’s defense forces in the war-renouncing Article 9, despite objections from some of its lawmakers.

2)   President Donald Trump spelled out in new detail several steps he favors to fight a U.S. epidemic of opioid abuse, including the execution of drug dealers, a proposal that has gained little support from drug abuse and judicial experts.

3)   The government spent about 90 percent of its “secret funds” under a category that requires no receipts and lets the chief Cabinet secretary decide where the money goes, a civic group said March 20.

The government’s so-called secret funds may have been used to buy souvenirs, gauge public opinion ahead of elections and even further enrich royal family members overseas, according to people once in charge of the money.

4)   A key figure in the Moritomo land sale scandal that is rocking Japan’s Diet has reportedly confirmed that he kept the prime minister’s wife informed about the deal.

5)   Japanese Prime Minister Shinzo Abe will have lunch with former US President Barack Obama in Tokyo on Sunday.

Obama is due to arrive on Saturday for a 2-day visit to attend an international conference in Tokyo sponsored by a private organization. This will be his first visit to Japan since he left office in January of last year.

6)   Thirteen men and women, who were unable to leave a mountain trail in western Tokyo due to heavy snow, have been found after an overnight search.

All 13 are said to be conscious, but one person was seriously injured in a fall. Authorities say 6 of the climbers were able to walk by themselves. They were taken to a hospital. Police say the remaining 7 were rescued by helicopter and then taken to a hospital.

7)   North Korea’s state media says momentum toward change is emerging in the country’s relations with the United States.

The Korean Central News Agency on Tuesday carried a commentary on the North’s prospective talks with the US and South Korea.

It says measures led by North Korea have created an atmosphere of reconciliation between the 2 Koreas, as well as a momentum toward change in North Korea-US relations.

8)   Rising Japanese tennis star, Naomi Osaka, has defeated 23-time Grand Slam champion, Serena Williams, in the first round of the Miami Open.

Osaka is coming off her first career title at Indian Wells on Sunday. Williams returned to the court earlier this month after maternity leave.

9)   Thousands of rebels have reportedly pulled out of Syria’s Eastern Ghouta, which is under siege by troops loyal to President Bashar al-Assad.

Government troops began bombarding the area, near the capital Damascus, last month. It has been a stronghold of 3 rebel groups.

10)   One of Japan’s biggest solar power plants has gone into operation near Tokyo. What makes it different is that it is on the reservoir of a dam.

More than 50,000 solar panels cover about 18 hectares of a lake behind a dam in Chiba Prefecture.

The operator claims it’s the biggest solar power plant on water in Japan.
Annual output is projected at more than 16 million kilowatt hours. That’s equivalent to the power consumed by about 5,000 households in one year.

11)   Facebook CEO Mark Zuckerberg has admitted that “mistakes” were made in the company’s handling of user data. He pledged to step up measures to protect personal information.

Verified Facebook pages of Elon Musk’s rocket company SpaceX and electric carmaker Tesla Inc disappeared on Friday,

12)   China’s commerce ministry says it’s preparing to take countermeasures to the US tariffs on steel and aluminum imports.

It will target 128 US products including dry fruit, wine and stainless-steel pipes. Those imports were worth about 3 billion dollars last year.

13)   The European Union is proposing to tax IT giants based on their revenues instead of their profits.

The European Commission unveiled its proposals on Wednesday, seeking fair solutions to the digital activity tax.

Under the plan, EU member countries will be able to tax companies that do business within the bloc, even if they are not physically present there.

14)   Supreme Court Justice Ruth Bader Ginsburg has declared a ruling on a white-hot issue, announcing that hot dogs are indeed sandwiches.

The octogenarian made her decision on the “The Late Show With Stephen Colbert” on March 21.

15)   The Communist Party of China announced this week a consolidation of state-run media, part of a broader push by President Xi Jinping to tighten supervision over broad swaths of Chinese public life, or what he calls “unity in thought” among officials and citizens.

Movies, television, books and radio programs will now be under the direct control of the Communist Party. The announcement comes weeks after China voted to end a two-term limit on the presidency.


March 10th, 2018

トランプ大統領が北の人と会談するんだねぇ。良い方に向かうかなぁ。と言ったら、Don’t count your chickens before they are hatched. だそう。

1)   White House officials confirm US President Donald Trump accepts the idea of meeting with North Korea’s leader by May.

Trump is tweeting “great progress” is being made.

South Korean delegates made the initial announcement at the White House after they hand-delivered a letter from Kim Jong Un to Trump.

2)   A group of researchers in the United States has found that fake news on Twitter spreads faster and farther than the truth.

The researchers at the Massachusetts Institute of Technology looked at more than 4.5 million tweets on true and false news stories distributed between 2006 and 2017. They published the results in the journal Science

3)   Women around the world took to the streets on International Women’s Day on Thursday, demanding equal rights.

In the Spanish capital of Madrid, women marchers held pots and spoons, demanding equal pay with men and an end to domestic violence. They said housekeeping and childrearing are not only women’s work.

4)   Britain’s top counter terrorism officer says a nerve agent was used on two people who were found unconscious on the weekend.

Mark Rowley of London Metropolitan Police said, “This is being treated as a major incident involving attempted murder by administration of a nerve agent. As you know, these two people remain critically ill in hospital. ”

5)   A finance ministry official who was involved in the sale of state-owned land to a school operator has died.

Investigative sources say the official from the ministry’s local branch in western Japan was found hanging in his residence in Kobe City on Wednesday. He later died. Police say he left what appears to be a suicide note at his home.

6)  NHK has learned that the head of the National Tax Agency intends to step down after coming under fire for his answers to questions in the Diet over the sale of state-owned land to a school operator.

7)   The mayor of Nagasaki has sent a letter to Barack Obama asking the former US president to visit the atomic-bombed city during his planned trip to Japan.

Obama is arranging a visit in late March at the invitation of a private organization.

8)   Criticism is spreading over a footage showing an orangutan puffing on a cigarette in a zoo in Indonesia.

The video was taken on Sunday and posted online by a visitor to the zoo in Bandung.

The footage shows the orangutan puffing on a half-smoked cigarette which was thrown into the animal’s enclosure by another visitor.

9)   Major Asian nations reacted sharply on Friday to U.S. President Donald Trump’s decision to impose tariffs on steel and aluminium imports, warning of damage to relations amid industry calls for retaliation.

Japan said the move would have a “big impact” on the countries’ close bilateral ties, while China said it was “resolutely opposed” to the decision and South Korea said it may file a complaint to the World Trade Organization.

10)   Trade ministers of 11 countries will sign the Trans-Pacific Partnership on Thursday.

The group does not include the world’s biggest economy, as Trump pulled the US out of the free-trade deal soon after he was elected president.

The ministers will adopt a statement before putting their signatures on the agreement in Santiago, Chile.


Feb 17th, 2018


1)   Defending men’s figure skating champion Yuzuru Hanyu took the lead for Japan after the short program at the Pyeongchang Winter Olympics on Friday.

2)   Japan’s economic outlook remains far from robust as uncertainty abounds over wage growth and business investment at home despite the longest growth run in nearly three decades under the “Abenomics” policy mix.

3)   The Japanese government on Thursday presented ruling lawmakers a plan to limit the number of times people living in the country can enter casinos to around 10 per month.

4)   The Federal Bureau of Investigation was warned in September about an ominous online comment by the 19-year-old man accused of killing 17 people at his former high school but was unable to locate him, an agent said on Thursday.

5)   Nearly half of the elderly drivers who caused fatal traffic accidents last year have been found to have shown signs of dementia or declined cognitive ability.

In Japan, cognitive ability tests are required for drivers, who are aged 75 or older when their driver’s licenses expire.

6)   After the conversation with the Japanese prime minister, Trump told reporters that he suggested Shinzo Abe should ask companies to invest more in the US.

Trump also said that Japanese firms earlier announced plans to open a number of factories in Michigan and other states but he wants them to set up

7)   The head of US Pacific Command has issued a strong warning about China’s military buildup.

Admiral Harry Harris says China is trying to win dominance in the Indo-Pacific region as it issues a challenge globally.

8)   McDonald’s Holdings Japan posted a record profit in 2017, marking a turnaround from huge losses 2 years earlier.

9)   —Police on Wednesday were trying to piece together how a 49-year-old skier whose disappearance sparked a massive search on a snowy New York mountainside ended up six days later in California, confused and still in ski clothes.

“”Toronto firefighter Constantinos “Danny” Filippidis told investigators he doesn’t know what happened after he was reported missing Wednesday, Feb. 7, from Whiteface Mountain during an annual ski trip with colleagues. The search ended Tuesday when Filippidis turned up in Sacramento, California.

10)   —An elk leaped into a research helicopter that was trying to capture it and brought down the helicopter in a collision that also killed the elk, authorities said Tuesday.

The elk jumped into the chopper’s tail rotor as the aircraft flew about 10 feet (3 meters) above ground in a mountainous part of eastern Utah, with its crew trying to drop a net on the elk, said Jared Rigby of the Wasatch County Sheriff’s Office.

Jan 10th, 2018


1)   Princess Mako, the eldest granddaughter of Emperor Akihito, met with her longtime calligraphy teacher at an exhibition in Tokyo on Friday in her first official duty since the Imperial Household Agency announced she will postpone her marriage until 2020.

2)   Japan’s financial regulator has begun on-site inspections of multiple digital currency exchanges to check their risk management systems, following a massive theft of digital money worth 58 billion yen ($533 million) from Coincheck Inc, a minister said Friday.

3)   Roughly 260 vehicles remained stranded on a snowy road on the Sea of Japan coast Thursday morning, with many people already having spent two nights there while snow plowing efforts continued.

Heavy snow started to block traffic Tuesday morning and roughly 1,500 vehicles were stuck in a 10-kilometer stretch of Route 8 in Fukui Prefecture.

4)   AKB48 has dominated the sales charts and become such a cultural phenomenon, in spite of the fact that some would say they aren’t very good at singing or dancing.

5)   Drones can be used to survey crops and take photos of plants, allowing farmers to find insects, pest damage, weeds, diseased plants, and mold. A special  feature allows farmers to attach a pesticide bottle to the drone and spray only areas where insects are detected, reducing labor and the amount of chemicals used.

6)   The powerhouse Canadian squad, which is expected to challenge the team of Russians for the gold medal, compiled 17 points through the first two disciplines. The U.S. team was second with 14 points, followed by Japan and the Russians with 13 points apiece.

7)   A public elementary school in central Tokyo has drawn criticism for its plan to introduce uniforms designed by Italian fashion house Armani.

Taimei elementary school, located in the upscale Ginza shopping district, plans to introduce the new uniforms for first-graders starting in April.

Currently, a boy’s uniform for the school costs just over 155 dollars and a girl’s costs around 180 dollars. The Armani-designed uniforms will cost about two and a half times as much.

8)   Japan is to submit 14 items for inclusion in the UNESCO list of intangible heritage of high historical and cultural value.

The cultural agency made the decision on Wednesday.

The 14 submissions include the skills and craftsmanship of people involved in restoring cultural and traditional monuments, such as shrine carpenters and plasterers.

9)   US President Donald Trump has told Pentagon officials to plan a large-scale military parade in the nation’s capital this year.

Trump attended the Bastille Day parade in Paris on July 14th, following an invitation from French President Emmanuel Macron. He praised the French military parade and said he may do something like it in Washington.

10)   The US government has partially shut down for the second time this year after Congress failed to meet a deadline to vote on a new budget.

Feb 3rd, 2018


1)   Snow blanketed Tokyo and surrounding areas for the second time this winter on Friday, disrupting transport and forcing delays in entrance exams at educational institutions.

2)   Officials at Kyoto University say a mistake has been found in its entrance exam held last year and some applicants were rejected as a result of the error.

17 applicants were denied entry, while 11 others were not accepted to their top-choice departments.

They apologized for the error and said the university will accept the entrance of the students.

3)   Japan’s Cabinet has approved a tax reform plan for the next fiscal year starting in April. It includes a measure that gives companies tax breaks if they boost salaries by at least 3 percent and increase capital investment by a certain level.

Smokers can also expect to pay more. A hike amounting to about 3 cents per cigarette will be introduced from October to 2021.

The Cabinet also approved a bill aimed at raising funds to improve tourism services. Anyone leaving the country would need to pay about 9 dollars from next January.

4)    Oily objects that may have come from a tanker that sank off a southwestern island in Japan has reached the Japanese coast.

Japan’s Coast Guard says it received a report on Thursday about oily objects that had washed ashore on a beach of Amami Oshima Island, Kagoshima Prefecture.

5)   With the opening of the PyeongChang Winter Olympics one week away, 25 percent of the tickets remain unsold.

As of Friday, athletes from a record 92 countries and territories have registered to take part in the Games, which run from February 9th through 25th.

An athlete from Tonga is creating a global buzz.
34-year-old Pita Taufatofua will take part in the PyeongChang Winter Games as a cross-country skier, representing his snowless tropical homeland in the South Pacific.

6)    A fire at a facility for needy people in Hokkaido, northern Japan, has killed 11 people and injured 3 others. Police are working to identify the victims.

7)   Japanese police have arrested a murder suspect whose life as a fugitive in Thailand ended when a photo of his tattoo was posted on Facebook.

Investigators arrested 74-year-old Shigeharu Shirai on Friday when a plane carrying him from Thailand landed at the Chubu international airport in central Japan.

The former gangster is suspected of shooting and killing a senior member of the Yamaguchi Gumi crime syndicate in 2003.

8)   Japan and the European Union have pledged additional aid for Palestinians, counter to the US decision to suspend support.

The US administration of President Donald Trump partially froze aid for Palestinian refugees after recognizing Jerusalem as the capital of Israel.

9)   A lawmaker with Shinzo Abe’s ruling Liberal Democratic Party drew gasps of disapproval from opposition party members for suggesting the prime minister should catch the flu to skip the Opening Ceremony of the Pyeongchang Winter Olympics.

Upper House member Takashi Uto said at the Jan. 31 session of the chamber’s Budget Committee, where Abe was present, “I get the feeling after watching the prime minister that your real intention is that you do not want to go.

Jan 27th, 2018


1)   Tokyo’s ambulance service has experienced its busiest day in more than 80 years, officials said Thursday, amid icy conditions as the Japanese capital shivers through its coldest temperatures in decades.

The Tokyo fire department, which runs the ambulance service, said it had responded to 2,826 calls on Wednesday following rare and heavy snow that sparked chaos in one of the world’s most populous cities.

2)   U.S. President Donald Trump’s latest suggestion he may be open to Washington re-entering the Trans-Pacific Partnership trade deal will not alter Tokyo’s path toward bringing the renegotiated pact into force in March, a Japanese minister said Friday.

3)   Kawasaki Heavy Industries Ltd said Thursday its U.S. subsidiary has received an order worth $3.7 billion to build up to 1,612 cars for the New York subway.

4)   Japanese consumers are well known for their preference for cash. But a growing number are showing an interest in bitcoin and other digital currencies.
Corporations here are hoping to capitalize on the shift.

Telecom operator Internet Initiative Japan set up a new company earlier this month.

18 major firms will invest in the company to set up a virtual currency exchange. They plan to eventually launch payment services, too.

5)   About 530 million dollars’ worth of crypto-currency has gone missing from a major virtual exchange in Japan due to hacking.

The site operator, Coincheck, announced the currency called NEM disappeared at around 3 AM Friday. It has notified the Financial Services Agency and the police.

It says the assets belonged to customers, and is considering compensation and other measures.

6)      A Japanese research team says that in an experiment it conducted, poorly protected webcams were hacked only one hour after the devices were set up.

The team at Yokohama National University was trying to find out how hackers exploit Internet-linked cameras that people use to remotely monitor their homes and offices.

The team installed 4 webcams not protected with personal passwords and another that used a password but had a security flaw.

In just over one month, 148 unknown sources accessed the webcams. 33 of them manipulated the devices, such as by changing their angles.

7)   Japan’s Prime Minister says he wants to pursue a world free of nuclear weapons from a realistic standpoint, at a time when the imminence of the North Korean threat makes the US nuclear umbrella an absolute imperative.

Shinzo Abe’s comments on Friday before the Upper House were in response to the leader of the ruling coalition partner, Komeito.

8)   Police and firefighters have ended search operations for the day at a ski resort at Mount Kusatsu-Shirane, which erupted on Tuesday, killing one and injuring 11.

More than 40 members combed the Kusatsu ski resort in Gunma Prefecture on Thursday to see if anyone is stranded. They say they have found no one so far. Police plan to keep looking on Friday.

9)   A US decision to freeze in part financial contributions to the UN agency supporting Palestinian refugees is prompting concerns among other UN member states.

US President Donald Trump has threatened to freeze more financial aid to the Palestinians unless they return to peace talks with Israel.

10)   The governor of Okinawa, which hosts most US military facilities in Japan, has severely criticized the US Marine Corps commander over a remark he made regarding emergency landings by military aircraft in the prefecture.

On Thursday, General Robert Neller referred to the situation during a speech in Washington. He said he is glad they were precautionary landings because no one was hurt and the Marines didn’t lose any planes.

Jan 20th, 2018


1)   The total number of suicides in Japan in 2017 was 21,140, a decrease for the 8th consecutive year, according to a preliminary report issued by the National Police Agency (NPA) on Friday.

The Health, Labor and Welfare Ministry said the government aims to reduce the number of suicides further by addressing such issues as excessive working hours, postpartum depression and websites for people with suicidal thoughts, Kyodo reported.

2)   Families of Japanese individuals suspected to have been abducted by North Korea will urge the International Criminal Court next week to prosecute the country’s leader Kim Jong Un, saying his refusal to provide information on their whereabouts constitutes continued human rights abuses against them.

3)   The rival Koreas agreed Wednesday to form their first unified Olympic team and have their athletes parade together for the first time in 11 years during the opening ceremony of next month’s Winter Olympics in South Korea, officials said.

4)   Tetsuya Komuro, one of Japan’s most famous music producers and songwriters, announced his retirement from show business at a press conference on Friday afternoon, just days after a tabloid magazine broke the news of his extramarital affair.

Komuro, 59, is married to Keiko, 45, the former lead vocalist of the pop group Globe, which he formed and produced in 1995.

5)   Apple Inc will open a new campus as part of a five-year, $30 billion U.S. investment plan and will make about $38 billion in one-time tax payments on its overseas cash, one of the largest corporate spending plans announced since the passage of a tax cut signed by U.S. President Donald Trump.

The company has been under increasing pressure to make U.S. investments since the 2016 presidential campaign, when Trump targeted the iPhone maker for making products in Asian factories.

6)   All court action for former members of the Aum Shinrikyo cult is to end, after the Supreme Court rejected an appeal by a man who took part in the 1995 deadly nerve gas attack on the Tokyo subway system.

Now that all the court action is finished, attention is focused on when the death penalty will be carried out on 13 Aum members.

7)   The number of criminal offenses in Japan has dropped to a record low last year, based on data available since 1946. The National Police agency attributes the decline in criminal offenses and the improved clear up rate to the spread of security cameras and more crime prevention volunteers. They say they will make more effort to crack down on rampant money transfer frauds.

8)   An event to mark the 40th anniversary of the debut of the iconic arcade game Space Invaders is attracting large crowds in Tokyo.

Space Invaders first hit game arcades in 1978 and became a phenomenal hit. Players are supposed to shoot and destroy invading enemies as they descend, while warding off their attacks.

9)   An exhibition in Tokyo is putting the spotlight on cutting-edge wearable devices, including shirts with sensors that might help prevent heatstroke.

A textile maker is displaying shirts with sensors to gauge the wearer’s heart-rate and other biometrics. The data can be sent to smartphones or tablets.

The company says the devices are being tested out on construction workers to see if the technology can prevent heatstroke in the summer.

10)   British Prime Minister Theresa May has appointed a minister for loneliness to deal with issues related to the emotion felt by elderly and other people.

May said in a statement that loneliness is the sad reality of modern life and called on everyone for help in addressing the loneliness endured by the elderly, by carers, and by those who have lost loved ones.

Government data show that more than 9 million people say they are always or often lonely. They also show about 200,000 older people have not had any conversation with a friend or relative in more than a month. Experts say loneliness poses a health risk.

Jan 13th, 2018

トランプ支持の先生は失言についてはフェイクニュースだよ。と言っていた^^ このまま収まるとは思えないけどどうだろう。

1)   A stricken Iranian oil tanker has drifted into Japan’s exclusive economic zone (EEZ), a spokesman for Japan’s Coast Guard told Reuters on Friday, as strong winds pushed the burning ship away from the Chinese coast.

2)   A newly appointed female judge on Japan’s Supreme Court has said she will use her maiden name when handing down rulings, a legal first in a country criticised for its attitudes to gender equality.

Married couples in Japan are required to have a common surname under a law that was upheld in 2015, sparking criticism from activists who complain it is sexist and outdated.

3)   Thai police said they have arrested a 74-year-old fugitive Japanese gang member who was recognized when photos of his full-body tattoos were circulated online.

A police statement said Shigeharu Shirai was arrested Wednesday in a province north of Bangkok where he has been hiding for over 10 years to evade murder charges in Japan in connection with the death of a rival gang member.

4)   Local authorities inKagawa Prefecture began culling about 92,000 chickens Thursday after the highly pathogenic H5 strain of avian influenza was detected.

The outbreak was confirmed at a poultry farm in the city of Sanuki as the chickens tested positive in genetic tests, making it the first bird flu case affecting livestock in Japan this season. The culling operation is to be completed within 24 hours.

5)   Emperor Akihito and Empress Michiko will not be attending sumo’s new year tournament as the ancient sport deals with a string of deep scandals, the palace told local media Thursday.

Imperial Household Agency Grand Steward Shinichiro Yamamoto said the Japan Sumo Association had cancelled a customary invitation, issued in October, for the couple to watch the tournament later this month, citing “recent situations”.

6)   Japan’s foreign minister has urged Myanmar’s de facto leader Aung San Suu Kyi to ensure the safe and voluntary return of Rohingya Muslims who have fled violence in the country.

He said Japan will give 3 million dollars in emergency aid to Myanmar to help provide the refugees with daily commodities such as generators and water purifiers.

7)   Fishermen are worried about extremely small catches of baby eels in Japan’s Shizuoka Prefecture. It is known as the birthplace of eel farming in the country.

Local officials say the catch in December totaled only 184 grams. That’s about 0.04 percent compared to the same month in 2016.

It is the third time since 1989 that less than one kilogram was registered for December in Shizuoka.

8)   The US government has approved the sale of 4 new interceptor missiles to Japan, to counter the threat from North Korea.

US State Department officials said on Tuesday they had notified Congress of the decision. The US and Japan are jointly developing the SM-3 Block 2A missiles.

They are the successor to the SM-3 Block 1A missiles currently mounted on Japanese Self-Defense Force Aegis destroyers.

They are expected to have a much longer range and a wider capability to intercept.

9)   The Court of Arbitration for Sport, or CAS, has said 42 Russian athletes have filed appeals against Olympic bans.

The International Olympic Committee disqualified the athletes following revelations of Russia’s systematic doping during the 2014 Sochi Winter Olympics. They include bobsledder Aleksandr Zubkov, who won 2 gold medals. CAS announced on Tuesday that it has registered the appeals.

10)   Sony has put its iconic pet robot dog “aibo” back on sale for the first time in 12 years.

Sony held an event at its headquarters in Tokyo on Thursday to mark the release of the updated version of the product. Five parties selected by lottery each received a new aibo.

The new version has a miniature camera and 20 sensors in its body. It walks around and wags its tail while detecting its surroundings.

The new model recognizes human faces. Its artificial intelligence analyzes images captured by its camera. Aibo shows different expressions and reactions depending on whom it faces.


Dec 29th, 2017

今年最後の英語!See you next year!で終了。英語の勉強というか娯楽と感じているから続けられていると思う。来年も土曜の朝のお楽しみにします!

1) What better way to spend Christmas than eating fried chicken and strawberry shortcake? While it may not be exactly traditional from a Westerner’s point of view, that’s the way they do it in Japan, especially if the chicken is from good ol’ American fast food restaurant, Kentucky Fried Chicken. With it being tradition to eat KFC on Christmas, it’s no wonder that KFC Japan’s sales between December 23 and 25 are calculated to be over 6 billion yen.

2)   The New Year holiday exodus from Tokyo and other cities began on Friday, with vacationers crowding train stations, airports and expressways.

Travel agents and airlines said about 880,000 people are estimated to depart and return to Japan by plane between Friday and Jan 3. Travel agents said the most popular destinations this year are Hawaii, Hong Kong, Taiwan and Cebu in the Philippines.

3)   Yamato Transport Co, Japan’s largest package delivery company, plans to open a new distribution facility with labor-saving technology near Tokyo early next year, its chief executive says.

The move comes amid widening labor shortage and a surge in parcel volumes because of the country’s growing use of e-commerce retailers such as Inc.

The Bank of Japan’s quarterly survey on Friday showed Japanese companies were faced with the most severe staff shortages since 1992.

“It’s especially difficult to find workers in big cities. The labor shortage got more severe in December,” Yamato Transport CEO Yutaka Nagao said in an interview.

4)   Authorities are trying to crack down on “shirotaku” taxis, the relatively cheap but illegal and potentially dangerous services that have grown in popularity among tourists from overseas.

Many of these unlicensed taxis are found in and around tourist destinations and airports across Japan.

Tourists can easily book shirotaku through apps on their smartphones in Chinese and other languages..

5)  U.S. President Donald Trump on Thursday made light of climate change science as an Arctic chill settled on much of the central and northeastern United States and Canada, forcing people indoors, stranding motorists with dead car batteries and complicating firefighting duties.

“In the East, it could be the COLDEST New Year’s Eve on record,” Trump tweeted from his Mar a Lago resort in Florida, where he is on holiday vacation.

“Perhaps we could use a little bit of that good old Global Warming that our Country, but not other countries, was going to pay TRILLIONS OF DOLLARS to protect against. Bundle up!”

6)   Japanese authorities on Thursday indicted the North Korean captain of a boat that drifted to its coast on charges of stealing a generator, appliances and other equipment from an uninhabited island, officials and media reports said.

The captain and his nine crewmembers on the dilapidated boat were rescued near a tiny island off of Hokkaido, northern Japan, in late November. Japanese police said they arrested the captain and two crewmembers earlier this month on suspicion they stole a generator and appliances from a barn on the island.

7)  A report by a British research firm predicts a growing dominance of Asian nations in the global economy in 15 years, with China becoming the world’s largest economy.


The Centre for Economics and Business Research on Tuesday released a report on the global economic outlook for the next 15 years.


The report says that by 2032, China is likely to overtake the United States in the size of gross domestic product. At present, the US is the largest economy while China is ranked second.

8)   Taiwanese President Tsai Ing-wen has said she plans to start mass production of surveillance drones as Chinese military jets become more active in the region.


Tsai unveiled the plan in a year-end news conference at a military facility on Friday.


Tsai pointed to the recent surge in Chinese jets flying around the island. She said China’s ambition to expand militarily in East Asia is becoming more apparent.

9)  The South Korean Navy started a 2-day maritime drill around the Takeshima Islands in the Sea of Japan on Thursday.


Japan lodged a strong protest, as it claims territorial sovereignty over the islands.

10)    A decision by Japan to deploy a U.S. missile defense system will damage Moscow’s relations with Tokyo and is a breach by Washington of a landmark arms control treaty, Russian Foreign Ministry spokeswoman Maria Zakharova said on Thursday.

Japan formally decided this month it would expand its ballistic missile defense system with U.S.-made ground-based Aegis radar stations and interceptors in response to a growing threat from North Korean rockets.

Dec 29th, 2017

Dec 23rd, 2017


1)   Japan’s government approved a record military budget on Friday but did not earmark enough extra money to stop a splurge on U.S.-made ballistic missile defense kit from putting a squeeze on funding for an ambitious domestic jet fighter project. The military expenditure is part of a record-high 97.71 trillion yen budget plan for fiscal 2018.

2)   The Japanese government said Friday it will use revenue from an envisaged departure tax only for boosting tourism, amid concern that it would be directed to a wider range of purposes. Japan plans to introduce the departure tax from Jan 7, 2019, requiring each passenger, regardless of nationality, to pay 1,000 yen when they leave the country by air or sea.

Its revenue will be allocated to three areas — creating an environment for pleasant and stress-free journeys, facilitating access to information on the country’s tourist attractions,

3)   The latest price tag for the 2020 Tokyo Olympics has been trimmed slightly, but is still nearly twice the initial estimate even after a major cost-cutting effort.The organizers said Friday that the event will cost a total 1.35 trillion yen ($11.9 billion).

In their release, Tokyo 2020 officials said the U.S. dollar cost would be $12.6 billion. But at the current exchange rate of about 113 yen to the dollar, it is just under $12 billion.

4)   Kobe Steel Ltd, at the center of a data-falsification scandal that has shaken Japan’s manufacturing industry, admitted for the first time that executives were aware of the cheating, and reassigned three senior officials.

Japan’s No. 3 steelmaker, which supplies the manufacturers of cars, planes and trains across the world, has said about 500 customers had received products with falsified specifications, throwing global supply chains into turmoil.

5)    North Korea’s foreign ministry has denied involvement in a massive cyberattack that the United States publicly blamed on the country.

The WannaCry virus infected computers in May around the world, including Japan. A senior White House official said this week that North Korean leader Kim Jong Un’s government was responsible.

6)   The South Korean military says a North Korean soldier fled to the South on Thursday morning by going over the border of the demilitarized zone dividing the 2 countries.

A spokesman of the Joint Chiefs of Staff, Roh Jae-cheon, made the announcement about the defection at a regular news conference later on Thursday.

7)   Members of the US Senate have passed a bill that would deliver the biggest rewrite of the tax code in a generation.

Senate members voted along party lines with 51 supporting the bill and 48 voting against it. The legislation is now just one step away from becoming a reality.

The bill calls for a reduction in the corporate tax rate from 35 percent to 21. It also includes a break for the richest Americans, who’ll get a reduction in individual income tax from nearly 40 percent to 37.

8)   Taiwan’s authorities plan to make all new vehicles there electric by 2040 to fight worsening air pollution.

Dec 14th, 2017


1)   Six of 10 North Korean “fishermen” rescued from a tiny wooden boat drifting off northern Japan will be deported back to their country, an immigration official told AFP Tuesday.

Three of the crew have been arrested on suspicion of theft after they reportedly admitted to “taking out” electronic products from a remote Japanese island where they landed briefly to take refuge.

One of the men is still in hospital, reportedly suffering from a stomach illness, said Tanaka.

2)   A metal-framed window fell from a U.S. military helicopter onto a school sports field near a U.S. Marine Corps air base on Okinawa on Wednesday, the Marines said, the latest in a series of accidents that have fanned safety concerns on Japan’s southern island.

3)   Japan’s greenhouse gas emissions shrank 0.2% in fiscal 2016 from the previous year to 1.32 billion tons, declining for the third consecutive year, Environment Ministry data showed Tuesday.

The latest figure for the year until March 2017 is 4.6% below fiscal 2005 levels. Japan has already met its goal of a 3.8% cut by fiscal 2020 set in its COP19 commitment,

The fall in greenhouse gas emissions was mainly attributable to the increased use of solar and wind energy resources, with renewables growing about 50% from the previous year.

4)   A 33-year-old man has been arrested on suspicion of committing an indecent act after he kissed a woman who was sleeping on a train in September.

According to police, the incident occurred at around 2 p.m. in the afternoon aboard a train heading to Kansai Airport from Kyobashi Station in Osaka, Sankei Shimbun reported.

5)   Toshiba has settled legal disputes with U.S. production partner Western Digital, both firms said Wednesday, clearing the way for the embattled Japanese conglomerate’s multi-billion-dollar sale of its prized chip business.

Toshiba has been on the ropes after the disastrous acquisition of U.S. nuclear energy firm Westinghouse, which racked up billions of dollars in losses before being placed under bankruptcy protection.

6)   For the first time, a Japanese high court has ordered the operator of a nuclear plant not to restart a reactor.

The Hiroshima High Court issued the injunction on Wednesday. It ordered Shikoku Electric Power Company not to restart the No. 3 reactor at its Ikata plant in Ehime Prefecture. It’s currently offline for regular inspections.

7)   Members of the International Olympic Committee have enjoyed food from areas of northeast Japan that were hit by the massive earthquake and tsunami 6 years ago.

The head of the IOC coordination commission for the 2020 Olympic and Paralympic Games, John Coates, and other officials attended a dinner in Tokyo on Tuesday.

They are making the visit to see how the Japanese capital is preparing for the Games. The recovery from the 2011 disaster will be a key theme for the events.

Food from the 3 prefectures of Iwate, Miyagi and Fukushima was used for dishes and snacks. The diners also sampled sake from these regions.

8)   Japan’s government has revised its basic space policy so the country can take part in an international manned exploratory mission to the Moon.

The government held a meeting of its Strategic Headquarters for Space Development on Tuesday.

Prime Minister Shinzo Abe chaired the meeting, and Science and Technology Policy Minister Masaji Matsuyama also attended.

The panel decided to start discussions next year on how Japan can contribute its technological expertise to the lunar probe.

9)   Japan’s leading construction equipment firm plans to develop a new automatic control system for its machines to offset a labor shortage.

Komatsu officials say the artificial intelligence-controlled machinery will be developed in cooperation with US chip company Nvidia.

The AI would be capable of recognizing people and obstacles in images captured by cameras installed on hydraulic excavators and avoid possible accidents.

AI would also judge the optimum amount of soil to load on a truck.

Komatsu hopes to have construction sites be unmanned in the future.

10)   Analysts are predicting that business sentiment at large Japanese manufacturing firms will show a 5th straight quarterly improvement in a forthcoming Bank of Japan report.

Fifteen private-sector institutions have come up with their projections for the BOJ Tankan report to be issued on Friday, covering about 11,000 businesses in Japan.

The quarterly survey measures how executives feel about the economy. The Tankan index represents the difference in the percentage of companies that say business is good and those that say it’s bad. A positive reading means more companies are optimistic.

11)   US Secretary of State Rex Tillerson has indicated a potential shift of policy, saying that the US is ready to begin talks with North Korea without pre-conditions.

The US has been demanding Pyongyang change its stance and give up its nuclear program before coming to the table. But Tillerson now says that is just not “realistic.”

Tillerson made wide-ranging remarks about the issue at a foreign policy forum in Washington.

He said “I don’t think it’s realistic to say we are only going to talk if you come to the table ready to give up your program.”

12)   US President Donald Trump has called for tougher immigration rules after a man from Bangladesh was detained for allegedly setting off an explosion in New York.

Trump said in a statement on Monday, “As I have been saying since I first announced my candidacy for President, America must fix its lax immigration system.”

Trump said the current system allows far too many dangerous, inadequately vetted people to access the United States.

13)   The man arrested for exploding a pipe bomb in New York may have been affected by online extremist propaganda.

The Monday morning blast in an underground passage connecting the Port Authority bus terminal and the Times Square subway station wounded 3 people.

Police detained 27-year-old Akayed Ullah from Bangladesh at the site on suspicion of setting off a pipe bomb strapped to his body.

Ullah is thought to be a lone perpetrator identifying with the Islamic State militant group.