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 Amazon.com 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.

Dec 7th, 2017

1) Japanese schoolchildren will help determine the mascot for the Tokyo 2020 Olympics.
Organizers of the Tokyo Olympics and Paralympics on Wednesday unveiled three sets of designs for the Games’ mascots. The schoolchildren will review the shortlisted designs with their classes casting a single vote in favor of one of the three sets.

2) Bank of Japan board member Takako Masai on Wednesday advocated sticking with ultra-easy monetary policy due to uncertainty over how fast inflation will rise, while warning that the central bank should remain on guard against the possible side-effects.
Despite a strengthening economy, Masai conceded that it was taking longer than expected to eradicate Japan’s sticky deflationary mindset, or public perceptions that prices won’t rise ahead.

3) Japan is considering having 10 consecutive days off from April 27 to May 6 in 2019 to coincide with Crown Prince Naruhito’s succession to the throne on May 1, government sources said Wednesday.
April 29 and May 3-6 are already assigned as national holidays in 2019, following the weekend of April 27 and 28. If May 1 is designated as a national holiday, April 30 and May 2 would become public holidays. Japanese holiday law stipulates that a weekday sandwiched by national holidays automatically becomes a public holiday.

4) Bitcoin hit a fresh record of $14,000 Thursday as investors piled in, triggering a warning the cryptocurrency was “like a charging train with no brakes” which would inevitably slip back.
It touched a new a high of $14,400 in Asian trade before slipping back to $13,900, according to Bloomberg News.

5) Big companies are stepping up their plans in case Britain crashes out of the European Union without a deal as Prime Minister Theresa May struggles to get talks back on track after a major setback.
Britain is aiming to agree with the EU on Dec. 14 to move the Brexit talks on to the second phase. This would focus on trade and a two-year transition deal to smooth the departure after March 2019. But the timetable has been thrown into doubt after discussions broke down in Brussels on Monday.

6) Arabs and Muslims across the Middle East on Wednesday condemned the U.S. recognition of Jerusalem as Israel’s capital as an incendiary move in a volatile region and Palestinians said Washington was ditching its leading role as a peace mediator.
The European Union and United Nations also voiced alarm at U.S. President Donald Trump’s decision to move the U.S. Embassy in Israel to Jerusalem and its repercussions for any chances of reviving Israeli-Palestinian peacemaking.

7) The Supreme Court ruled Wednesday that owners of televisions in Japan are legally required to sign up with public broadcaster NHK and pay a subscription fee, dismissing a claim that the fee collection system violates the freedom of contract guaranteed by the Constitution.
The ruling that the fee collection is constitutional was handed down in a lawsuit filed by the broadcaster against a Tokyo man who persistently failed to respond to NHK’s requests from September 2011 for a contract. He owned a TV from March 2006.

8) A lone monkey apparently traveling north has appeared in central Tokyo, roving through an area with high-rise apartment buildings.
The monkey was spotted in a residential area in Minato Ward on Thursday.
Police received a number of reports from residents that they saw a monkey. No wild monkeys are known to live in the area.

9) An association of major social networking service providers in Japan has urged member firms to ban messages soliciting suicide on their sites.
The move follows serial murders near Tokyo, in which a suspect is believed to have lured his victims with suicidal posts on Twitter.
The association comprising 17 firms, including Twitter and LINE, made the appeal on Wednesday. It was originally established to prevent children from becoming victims of social media.

10) Police in Tottori Prefecture will file papers with prosecutors next week on the alleged assault by former sumo grand champion Harumafuji.
They say they are recommending that the wrestler be indicted.
They say Harumafuji admitted to striking fellow wrestler Takanoiwa with his hand and a karaoke remote control device in October.
11) Japan’s Defense Ministry is set to request funds in the next fiscal year to study a plan to equip fighter aircraft with long-range cruise missiles.
The ministry is looking into the Norwegian-made Joint Strike Missile, which has a range of more than 300 kilometers, and the US-made JASSM-ER, with a range of over 900 kilometers.

12) The Japan Atomic Energy Agency has presented a detailed plan for decommissioning its prototype fast-breeder nuclear reactor over 30 years.
The government decided last year to scrap the Monju reactor in Fukui Prefecture, central Japan, after a series of accidents and other safety problems.

Nov 25th, 2017


1)   Police in northern Japan have found eight men near a boat at a seaside marina who said they were from North Korea, and appear to be fishermen whose vessel ran into trouble, rather than defectors, a police official said on Friday.

2)   Mitsubishi Materials Corp., a maker of components used in autos, aircraft and electricity generation, has become the latest among major Japanese companies to report faked quality data.

Executives of the company bowed before reporters in apology Friday as they reported on falsified data by some subsidiaries.

3)   A local Japanese politician has been criticised by lawmakers for trying to bring her baby to a council session.

Yuka Ogata said she wanted to show how difficult it is for women to juggle careers and raise children.

Kumamoto municipal assembly officials said she had violated assembly rules as visitors and observers are forbidden from the floor.

After a lengthy discussion, Ms Ogata left the child with a friend and the session started 40 minutes late.

The council says it will discuss her case and ways to support lawmakers with young children.

4)   A local Japanese politician has been criticised by lawmakers for trying to bring her baby to a council session.

Yuka Ogata said she wanted to show how difficult it is for women to juggle careers and raise children.

Kumamoto municipal assembly officials said she had violated assembly rules as visitors and observers are forbidden from the floor.

After a lengthy discussion, Ms Ogata left the child with a friend and the session started 40 minutes late.

The council says it will discuss her case and ways to support lawmakers with young children.

5)   San Francisco Mayor Edwin Lee signed a document Wednesday formalizing the city’s acceptance of a statue that symbolizes Korean and other Asian women forced into wartime brothels for the Japanese military, city officials said, prompting the mayor of its sister-city Osaka to decide on dissolution of their affiliation.

6)   An employee of the British Embassy in Jordan has become an online sensation after his appointment as… chief mouser.

The embassy adopted a cat from an animal shelter last month, and named him Lawrence of Abdoun.

The name is a reference to Thomas Edward Lawrence, a British officer who helped the Arabs fight the Ottoman Empire during World War One… and who came to be known as Lawrence of Arabia.

Abdoun is the neighborhood Amman where the British Embassy is located.

Photos of the fluffy black-and-white “chief mouser” have attracted huge attention on Twitter. He gained more than 4,500 followers in just one month, surpassing the British ambassador’s own account.

7)   Japanese pro tennis player Kei Nishikori has spoken of his renewed resolve to return to competition in his first interview after sustaining an injury in August.

Nishikori had his right wrist dislocated while practicing serves. The injury forced him to skip all remaining tournaments in the season. His world ranking fell to the 22nd, from the 9th prior to the injury. He ended the season out of the top 10 for the first time in 3 years.

8)   Chinese researchers have released 2 captive-bred pandas of different sex into the wild at one time. It’s the first such experiment.

The 2 were transported from a wilderness training facility and let loose in a nature reserve on Thursday. Both have collar trackers for monitoring.

The release is part of a program begun in 2006 by the China Conservation and Research Center for the Giant Panda based in the inland province of Sichuan.

The center hopes the program will have greater chances of succeeding if the captive-bred pandas form a pair and breed in the wild.

9)   Dozens of Indian Army soldiers have set a world record by riding a single motorcycle for 12-hundred meters.

The challenge took place at an air force station in Bengaluru, southern India.

Participants hopped on the moving motorcycle while clinging to each other.

The bike ultimately carried 58 soldiers and slowly drove the 12-hundred meter distance. The previous record of 56 soldiers was set by another unit 4 years ago.

10)   North Korea has replaced dozens of guards and fortified a section of its border with South Korea following the dramatic defection of one of its soldiers last week, a report said Friday.

Nov 16th, 2017

レッスン普通に受けたら、予約してなかった。多分また忘れてるから開けておいたよ。だって。^^  最近そんなんばっかだな。私。(ためいき) 相撲の事件とザマの事件とThanks giving由来の話。

1)   Illuminated by the light of the moon that drifts in and out of the clouds, wild boars swaggering down a shopping avenue of a desolate town here are captured on camera.

The entire population of the town of Futaba, which co-hosts the crippled Fukushima No. 1 nuclear power plant, is currently living elsewhere. Almost all of Futaba remains designated a “difficult-to-return zone” more than six and a half years after the nuclear disaster.

The streetscape of the area that is a no-entry zone at night remains as it was when the disaster occurred.

2)   When Shinzo Abe, Japan’s prime minister, met with President Xi Jinping of China on the sidelines of a regional summit meeting in Vietnam over the weekend, the pair shook hands and posed for a photo. Xi, who had looked more dour in previous meetings, flashed a grin.

It was a sign, the Japanese news media suggested, of warming relations between the two longtime adversaries.

3)   A 27-year-old American tourist has been arrested for scrawling graffiti on the wall at a construction site in Tokyo’s Shibuya area, police said Thursday.

A police officer on patrol apprehended the man who was drunk at the time.

4)   The grisly beheading of nine young people lured by a suspected serial killer after tweeting suicidal thoughts has sparked debate about the use of social media in Japan, which has one of the world’s highest suicide rates.

5)   The Japanese city of Osaka is seeking support for its bid to host the 2025 World Expo.

6)   Wednesday marks 40 years since a Japanese schoolgirl was abducted by North Korean agents.

Megumi Yokota was 13 years old when she was taken while walking home from school in Niigata City, on the Sea of Japan coast, on November 15th, 1977.

7)   The leaders of Germany and France pledged support for the Paris climate accord on Wednesday at a UN conference to discuss climate change.

8)   Canada’s defense minister is calling for more women to take part in UN peacekeeping operations.

Harjit Sajjan chairs the UN Peacekeeping Defense Ministerial Conference in Vancouver, Canada, which opened on Tuesday.

9)   US President Donald Trump has cited big business deals achieved as well as strengthened ties with regional leaders as the tremendously successful results of his extensive Asian tour.


Nov 11th, 2017


1)   Highly touted Japanese pitcher-outfielder Shohei Otani announced on Saturday he wants to move to Major League Baseball next season.

“The other day I met with team officials and stated my intentions,” Otani said at a press conference. “My request was met with warm words of support so I hope to do my best in America from next year on.”

2)   The co-chairs of the TPP ministerial meeting have announced that a new deal was reached by the members during 4 days of talks in Da Nang, Vietnam.

Japan’s Economic Revitalization Minister, Toshimitsu Motegi, and Vietnam’s Industry and Trade Minister, Tran Tuan Anh, explained the new agreement to reporters on Sunday.

They said that, in the new pact, 20 items will be suspended to accommodate the US’s withdrawal from the deal.

3)   A test-run of a hydrogen fuel-cell powered train has been revealed to the media in Germany. It will be the first train of its kind to be put into commercial operation.

The preview was held at a factory in the northern city of Salzgitter on Friday. French train maker Alstom has been developing the eco-friendly locomotive.

It runs on electricity generated by hydrogen that reacts with oxygen in the air. It emits no exhaust, such as carbon dioxide.

4)   Officials at Ueno Zoo in Tokyo say the baby panda born in June is growing up healthily.

The zoo held a news conference on Friday; one day after Xiang Xiang marked 150 days after her birth.

The officials say the female cub now weighs 9.9 kilograms, and that she is walking around the room and climbing on a 70 centimeter tall log.

The zoo plans to put her on public display with her mother in mid-December.

5)   Japanese Prime Minister Shinzo Abe and Russian President Vladimir Putin held talks in the city of Da Nang on Friday evening on the sidelines of the Asia-Pacific Economic Cooperation summit in Vietnam.

At the beginning of their talks, Putin congratulated Abe on his coalition’s win in the Lower House election last month. Putin said the victory will help with the cooperation plan the 2 leaders had agreed on. He also said he’s happy with the development of bilateral ties, pointing out that political dialogue and economic cooperation between the 2 countries are brisk.

Oct 28th, 2017

今日トピック多過ぎ。^^  日産、スバルときたから来月あたりホンダが。。。


1)   The head of Japanese automaker Subaru bowed deeply in apology Friday as the company admitted that it has been carrying out flawed inspections of its Japan-made cars for years.

2)   The number of reported bullying cases at Japanese schools hit a record high of more than 320,000 in the 2016 academic year due partly to efforts to detect early signs, the education ministry says.

Altogether 323,808 bullying cases at elementary, junior high and high schools were reported, up 43.8% from a year before, with the figure for elementary schools jumping 1.5-fold.  90.6% of the total cases had been resolved.

3)   A Japanese teenager is suing the government of Osaka, saying her public high school repeatedly forced her to dye her naturally-brown hair black or be banned from attending school, local media reported on Friday.

In a lawsuit filed in Osaka District Court, the 18-year-old girl said her mother informed Kaifukan School in Habikino city upon her enrolment that she was born with brownish hair, as the school had a policy banning hair coloring, media reported.

Educators, however, instructed her to color her hair black, telling her repeatedly that the dye job was insufficient and forcing her to “either dye the hair black or quit school”, Kyodo news reported, citing the lawsuit.

4)   Japan’s Nikkei share average rose more than 1% to a fresh 21-year high on Friday, led by banking shares as U.S. yields remained high and by tech shares after their U.S. counterparts posted strong earnings.

5)   Approximately 1,000 apples were stolen earlier this week from an orchard in Hirosaki City, Aomori Prefecture, shortly after they were picked.

According to police, at around 4:30 p.m. on Oct 24, the owner of the orchard reported that 1,000 Fuji apples awaiting their scheduled shipment had been stolen, Fuji TV reported. The stolen apples are worth about 40,000 yen

6)   Prime Minister Shinzo Abe on Thursday called for pay hikes through negotiations between management and labor unions next spring, making such a request for the fifth straight year to inject fresh momentum into wage growth.

“I hope to see wages raised by 3% in next spring’s wage talks,” Abe told a government panel meeting at his office. It’s rare for the prime minister to refer to a specific number for wage increase.

7)   Don’t want Amazon boxes sitting on the porch? The company hopes you’ll let a stranger inside to drop them off.

Amazon said Wednesday it’ll launch a service called Amazon Key next month that will let people allow the door to be unlocked when they’re not there so packages can be left inside.

The proposal drew plenty of humorous reactions on social media, as well as concerns about safety or delivery employees being mistaken for intruders. Amazon said the drivers would be well-vetted, while one expert said the company has built up trust with customers and younger customers were more likely to try it out.

8)   With the arrival of the cold-and-cough season, you may be thinking about cooking up a big batch of chicken soup as a cure for what ails us.

I love the stuff, too, but I suggest you stock up on some fresh ginger root instead. Ginger, of course, is one of the many flavors to be found in a stir-fry Asian dish or Indian curry. But used in larger quantities than specified for those recipes, it can become quite spicy. Of all the home remedies out there, I have found tea, prepared with fresh ginger, to be the most effective.

9)   Percent of men who favor the addition of male-only trains cars

● Age 20-29: 66 percent

● Age 30-39: 51 percent

● Age 40-49: 47 percent

● Age 50-59: 38 percent

Percent of women who favor the addition of male-only trains cars

● Age 20-29: 58 percent

● Age 30-39: 53 percent

● Age 40-49: 63 percent

● Age 50-59: 57 percent

10)   The regional parliament of Catalonia has voted to unilaterally declare independence from Spain. The move comes after voters overwhelmingly chose to break away in a referendum earlier this month.

The 135-member Catalan parliament reconvened a plenary session on Friday to discuss the issue. 70 voted in favor, 10 were against and 2 submitted blank ballots.

Meanwhile, the upper house of Spain’s parliament authorized Spanish Prime Minister Mariano Rajoy to impose direct rule on Catalonia. Rajoy says he will first dismiss Catalan President Carles Puigdemont.

11)   US President Donald Trump has stressed that he will be working to solve the problems of North Korea’s missile and nuclear threats.

Trump spoke in an interview with FOX TV on Wednesday, ahead of his visit to Japan, South Korea and China from November 5th.

He said he hopes his Asian tour will be historic and positive. He said they have to solve the North Korea issue, which he said is a very big problem. Trump said he will get it solved.

12)   Malicious software has been used to launch a massive cyber-attack against computers in Russia and Ukraine.

Russian media outlets say the malware took down the country’s Interfax news agency on Tuesday.

The attack also affected Ukraine’s Odessa airport and Kiev’s subway system. Flights were delayed, as staff members had to handle boarding procedures manually.

Bulgaria, Germany, and Turkey were similarly targeted.

An expert at the Israeli information security firm Kela says the malware, called BadRabbit, locks computers using encryption and demands a ransom for their release.

13)   A driverless bus has taken to the roads in the southeastern German state of Bavaria.

The first self-driving shuttle service in Germany, operated by state-owned rail company Deutsche Bahn, started in Bad Birnbach, a spa resort with a population of about 6,000, on Wednesday.

The small, 6-seat electric vehicle developed by a French startup doesn’t have a driver’s wheel. It detects its surrounding environment with sensors and relies on GPS to confirm where it is running.

The bus shuttles some 700 meters linking the town center and spas at a speed of less than 15 kilometers per hour.

14)   Kobe Steel says its JIS or Japanese Industrial Standards certificate has been revoked for some products at a subsidiary for data falsification.

Its officials said on Thursday that quality control authorities Japan Quality Assurance Organization removed the certification for some copper products.

15)   A private study group says economic losses from unclaimed land in Japan last year amount to about 1.6 billion dollars.

When legal heirs or other successors fail to register their ownership of estates, their land becomes unclaimed.

The group estimated in June that Japan’s unclaimed land totaled about 4.1 million hectares. That’s equivalent in size to the southwestern island of Kyushu.

16)   Japan’s Finance Ministry has presented a plan to review and curb medical and other social security expenses in forming the fiscal 2018 budget.

Medical, nursing and other social security expenses account for about one-third of government spending. The plan proposes an additional increase in the 10 percent ceiling on co-payment for seniors aged 75 or older. It says the ceiling should be reviewed in fiscal 2019 or after. The government hopes to gradually raise the ceiling to 20 percent.

17)   Japan’s opposition party Hope led by Tokyo Governor Yuriko Koike has decided not to name a co-leader for the time being in the wake of their setback in Sunday’s general election.

The decision comes after Koike said she will remain party president while serving as Tokyo governor

18)   The leader of Japan’s opposition Democratic Party, Seiji Maehara, has expressed his intention to resign from the post.

19)   Japan’s Emperor Akihito and Empress Michiko have visited victims of torrential rains in northern Kyushu, western Japan, where more than 1,000 people are still living in temporary housing 3 months after the disaster struck.

20)   The Tokyo Metropolitan Police Department is tightening security in the capital ahead of US President Donald Trump’s visit next month.

Trump will arrive in Tokyo on November 5th. The president’s 3-day trip to Japan is part of his Asian tour.

Oct 14th, 2017


1)   Akira Shimizu, an actor and celebrity impressionist, apologised at a news conference in Tokyo on Thursday night after his son Ryotaro, 29, was arrested earlier in the day on suspicion of violating the Stimulants Control Law.

2)   Police on Wednesday arrested a 66-year-old man on suspicion of violating the Public Election Law after he assaulted a candidate for the Oct 22 lower house election while he was giving a public speech in Kashiwa, Chiba Prefecture.

According to police, Yoshio Amano approached Yoshitaka Sakurada who was campaigning in front of Kashiwa Station at around 7 p.m. Wednesday and hit him in the head, Sankei Shimbun reported. Nearby staff subdued Amano and called police.

Sakurada, a member of Japan’s ruling Liberal-Democratic Party (LDP), was not injured, police said.

3)   A man serving a 10-year jail term for attempted murder has confessed to murdering another woman in 2006, saying he “has changed his mind to repent after falling sick,” investigative sources said.

Hirokazu Suzuki, 37, who is suffering from a cerebral infarction, was arrested Tuesday on suspicion of stabbing Yuri Kuronuma, 27, in Kawasaki, near Tokyo in September 2006.

4)   A key member of an international organization that won this year’s Nobel Peace Prize has criticized the Japanese government for effectively ignoring a landmark U.N. treaty that outlaws nuclear weapons.

5)   Bank of Japan Governor Haruhiko Kuroda on Thursday stressed the central bank’s resolve to maintain its ultra-loose monetary policy, even as its U.S. and European counterparts begin to dial back their massive, crisis-mode monetary stimulus.

Kuroda offered an upbeat view of Japan’s economy, saying it was expanding moderately with rising incomes leading to higher corporate and household spending.

But he said inflation and wage growth were disappointingly low, despite such improvements in the economy.

6)   Shares in Japan’s Kobe Steel dived on Friday on a report that its widening quality scandal has spread to more than 30 foreign customers, including Boeing, General Motors, and French automaker PSA.

The embarrassing scandal for Kobe Steel — a venerable firm that once employed Prime Minister Shinzo Abe — has already hit wide sections of Japanese industry, including automakers Toyota, Nissan and Honda which used the affected materials in their vehicles.

7)   The United States said Thursday that it was pulling out of the U.N.’s culture and education body, accusing it of “anti-Israel bias” in a move criticised by the head of the Paris-based organisation.

8)   Gun control in Japan, combined with the prevailing respect for authority, has led to a more harmonious relationship between civilians and the police than in the U.S. The Japanese police, in choosing to use sub-lethal force on people, generate less widespread fear among the public that they’ll be shot. In turn, people feel less of a need to arm themselves.

The U.S., meanwhile, has a more militarized police force that uses automatic weapons. There is also less widespread trust between people (and between people and institutions). The factors combine to produce a much fearful culture that can seem to be always on edge.

9)   Prime Minister Shinzo Abe’s snap election gamble looked like paying off after media forecasts showed his ruling bloc heading for a surprisingly big win, possibly enough to re-energise his push to revise Japan’s post-World War Two pacifist constitution.

10)   Yuriko Koike says she went into politics to be a player, not a bystander.

Now Tokyo’s first female governor is shaking things up as her new Party of Hope challenges Prime Minister Shinzo Abe’s ruling bloc in an Oct 22 poll, called by the Japanese leader to seek a fresh mandate after nearly five years in office.

11)   Wildfires continue to ravage northern California in the United States, killing 31 people over the past 4 days. California State officials say the fires that started on Sunday have burned about 77,000 hectares of land, mainly in the wine-producing counties of Sonoma and Napa.

They say about 3,500 homes and stores have been destroyed and that more than 20,000 people have been evacuated. Local media are calling the wildfires the deadliest in the state’s history.

12)   The Spanish prime minister has demanded that the leader of Catalonia clarify by next Monday whether he declared independence from Spain.

13)   An Iraqi court has issued arrest warrants for the members of the Kurdish electoral commission that organized last month’s independence referendum. The Kurdish regional government unilaterally conducted the referendum on September 25th, despite objections from Iraq’s central government as well as neighboring Turkey and Iran, and the United States.

The majority of voters supported the independence of the Kurdish autonomous region from Iraq in the poll. The regional government says it wants to proceed with negotiations with the central government for independence, based on the referendum. But the government in Baghdad regards the referendum as invalid.

14)   A record-high 2.47 million foreigners were living in Japan at the end of June.

The Justice Ministry’s Immigration Bureau says the number of foreign residents was 2,471,458

15)   Tokyo’s benchmark stock index ended on Friday above the 21,100 mark for the first time in nearly 21 years, on expectations for strong Japanese corporate earnings.

16)   Japan’s big brewers are struggling to reverse a decline in their business. They say a change to the pricing law and cooler weather led to record low summer shipments.

The top five brewers say, from July to September, combined shipments of beer and beer-like drinks came to just over 1.3 million kiloliters.

That figure is down 4.2 percent from the previous year and represents a 7th consecutive year of decline.

17)   Tokyo’s Haneda Airport is set to introduce Japan’s first unmanned immigration gates as it moves to free up customs officers to handle the growing number of international tourists.

The Justice Ministry’s Immigration Bureau on Friday held a demonstration of the machines’ facial recognition technology. The bureau plans to start operating 3 gates for Japanese citizens next Wednesday.

18)   Australia’s government says it will not allow entry of North Korea’s under-19 soccer team for a championship qualifier next month because of Pyongyang’s continued nuclear and missile development.


Oct 7th, 2017


1)   Japanese Transport Minister Keiichi Ishii said on Friday that unauthorised technicians had been found certifying vehicles at five Nissan Motor Co plants that the ministry has been inspecting.

2)   A gunman perched high on the 32nd floor of a Las Vegas Strip casino unleashed a shower of bullets down on an outdoor country music festival below, killing at least 50 people and wounding more than 200 as tens of thousands of frantic concert-goers screamed and ran for their lives, officials said Monday.

3)   Japan accepted just three refugees in the first half of 2017 despite receiving a record 8,561 fresh asylum applications, the government said on Tuesday, highlighting the nation’s reluctance to accept foreigners.

4)   The Japanese nuclear watchdog’s decision on Wednesday to allow two reactors run by Tokyo Electric Power Company Holdings Inc (TEPCO) to pass its safety review has drawn fierce criticism from citizens who remain evacuated from their home over six years after the nuclear crisis at the utility’s Fukushima complex.

5)   Tokyo Gov Yuriko Koike’s new party unveiled on Friday what it calls “Yurinomics” – policies to revitalise Japan’s economy while cutting reliance on the aggressive spending and monetary easing that are central to Prime Minister Shinzo Abe’s strategy.

It has made populist calls to freeze a scheduled sales tax hike in 2019 and phase out nuclear power, as part of a effort to set itself apart from the government on key issues.

6)   The infotainment technology that automakers are cramming into the dashboard of new vehicles is making drivers take their eyes off the road and hands off the wheel for dangerously long periods of time, an AAA study says.

Cars used to have a few buttons and knobs. Some vehicles now have as many as 50 buttons on the steering wheel and dashboard that are multi-functional. There are touch screens, voice commands, writing pads, heads-up displays on windshields and mirrors and 3-D computer-generated images.


In one of the most bizarre British political speeches in a generation, May’s address on Wednesday to her annual conference was ruined by a comedian handing her a fake employment termination letter, repeated coughing fits and even by letters falling off the slogans on the set behind her.

May’s authority was already diminished by her botched bet on a June snap election that lost her party its majority in parliament just days before the opening of formal Brexit talks with the European Union.

8)   A magnitude 5-point-9 earthquake has struck northeastern Japan.

The quake was focused off the coast of Fukushima Prefecture at a depth of 50 kilometers.

The Nuclear Regulation Authority says there are no reports of abnormalities at 2 nuclear plants in Fukushima, including the crippled Daiichi plant.

9)   About 500 people enjoyed the first outdoor ski run of the season in Japan at a resort at the base of Mt. Fuji. The slope in Susono City in Shizuoka Prefecture opened on Friday.

The resort is the first to open for outdoor runs in Japan for the 19th straight year. This year’s opening comes 2 weeks earlier than last year.

10)   The Japan Table Tennis Association is trying to confirm whether China’s Super League has decided not to accept foreign players for its 2017 season, which usually starts in October.

Association officials say World Championship bronze medalist Miu Hirano applied to join a Super League team to improve her skills, but was rejected in late September due to financial reasons.

The team also said the league decided not to accept foreign players this season.

11)   A Chinese billionaire living in the United States has stepped up criticism of China’s Communist Party ahead of the party’s National Congress later this month.

Guo said there is no rule of law in China. He claimed that the family of Wang Qishan, a Politburo member who has led the party’s anti-corruption campaign, secretly possesses massive assets in the US and elsewhere.

Guo warned that the Chinese government has dispatched 27 agents to the United States this year on espionage missions. He showed a picture of what he said was a secret Chinese government document.
12)   Spain’s Constitutional Court has ordered the suspension of a Catalan parliamentary session next week.

The region’s legislature is expected to declare unilateral independence from Spain on Monday.

The suspension order on Thursday follows an appeal from Catalan lawmakers opposing independence.

13)   Japan’s leading advertising agency Dentsu has been fined for excessively overworking its employees.

A summary court in Tokyo ordered the firm on Friday to pay a fine of 500,000 yen, or over 4,400 dollars.

Dentsu was indicted on suspicion of violating the labor standards law. The company forced 4 employees to work illegally long hours.

14)   US Vice President Mike Pence says the United States will return its astronauts to the moon and build a base there to send them to Mars and beyond.

Pence delivered a keynote speech as the chair of the inaugural meeting of the National Space Council near Washington on Thursday.

The administration of President Donald Trump set up the Council to promote manned space exploration.

15)  Retailer Takashimaya has opened a specialty section in one of its Tokyo department stores that sells only robots. Most of them cost between 900 and 2,700 dollars.

One small robot uses artificial intelligence to help people learn English. It uses the program to respond at the learner’s level.

Another AI-equipped robot helps with the laundry. It folds clean clothes and sorts them according to whom they belong to.

16)    US Agriculture Secretary Sonny Perdue has expressed an interest in negotiating a bilateral free trade agreement with Japan.

Perdue affirmed his eagerness to boost farm exports to Japan in a speech in Washington on Wednesday. The secretary said he wants Japan to lower what he called high tariffs on American farm products, such as beef, pork, and dairy products, as well as fruits and vegetables.

Perdue stressed that he wants the 2 nations to enter into negotiations to remove trade barriers.

17)   Saudi Arabia said last month that it’s lifting its ban on female drivers next year. With that in mind, many women are heading to a major motor show in the country, looking forward to getting behind the wheel.

18)   Sony is planning to roll out smart speakers controlled by Japanese language commands in December.

They say Sony’s product will feature high quality sound for playing music, as well as allowing users to give commands either with voice or hand movements.

AI speakers are already popular in the United States, but not in the Japanese market.

Sept 23rd, 2017


1)   A Japanese court ordered Tokyo Electric Power Company Holdings Inc (TEPCO) on Friday to pay damages over the nuclear disaster at its Fukushima Daiichi nuclear power plant following a deadly 2011 earthquake and tsunami, but dismissed claims against the state.

Friday’s ruling stemmed from a lawsuit filed by 45 people who were forced to flee Fukushima Prefecture to Chiba Prefecture near Tokyo. The Chiba court awarded a total of 376 million yen to 42 of them, including all four who voluntarily evacuated.

2)   President Donald Trump vowed Tuesday to “totally destroy North Korea” if the U.S. is forced to defend itself or its allies against the renegade nation’s nuclear weapons program, making his case in a combative debut speech to the U.N. that laid out a stark, good-vs-evil view of a globe riven by chaos and turmoil.

3)   Dozens of descendants of Japanese soldiers killed in World War II visited Pearl Harbor in Hawaii on Thursday to pay respects to fallen American soldiers. Nippon Izokukai, the Bereaved Family Association of Japan, sent about 36 children, grandchildren and other relatives of fallen Japanese soldiers to the U.S. to mark the 70th anniversary of the group’s founding.

4)   Apple Inc’s latest iPhone 8 and iPhone 8 Plus smartphones featuring upgraded cameras and wireless charging went on sale in Japan on Friday, with eager buyers forming lines at retail outlets in the morning.

5)   Japanese police reported a record-high 30,262 children as suspected abuse victims to welfare authorities in the first half of 2017, on the back of increased public awareness of the issue, the National Police Agency said Thursday.

An agency official attributed the rise to heightened awareness among citizens that prompted more people to report child abuse cases. The child consultation centers provide temporary shelter to children or dispatch staff to families with potentially abused children as a way to keep problems from getting worse.

6)   Japan’s ruling coalition is aiming to advance procedures in line with Prime Minister Shinzo Abe’s plan to dissolve the Lower House on the day the Diet opens. But the opposition is reacting sharply, saying such a move is tantamount to suppressing Diet debate.

Another focus of attention is a new party to be launched next week by Masaru Wakasa, an ally of popular Tokyo Governor Yuriko Koike and former Environment Minister Goshi Hosono, who defected from the Democratic Party.

Koike could assume a post in the new party. She is expected to make a decision after taking into account the overall political situation and public opinion.

7)   Japan’s prime minister wants to use revenue from the increased consumption tax to provide tuition-free preschool and higher education. Shinzo Abe says the move would be part of his drive to invest more in human resource development.

He also called for improving childcare and nursing care services and making preschool education tuition-free. This would include tuition-free higher education for children from low-income households.

Abe said reforming human resource development will require substantial financial resources. He said he is determined to meet this challenge for the future of Japan.

8)   Popular Japanese singer Namie Amuro has announced that she will retire next September.

Amuro made the announcement on her official website on Wednesday, the day of her 40th birthday.

She said she will retire on September 16th, 2018. She stated that she made the decision because September 16th of this year marked the 25th anniversary of the start of her career.

9)   A major credit-rating agency S&P Global Ratings has cut China’s sovereign rating by a notch. Analysts at the agency say growing debt has increased the country’s economic and financial risks.

China’s rating has gone from double A minus to single A plus.

Still, they say the outlook is stable with the country expected to maintain robust economic performance over the next 3 to 4 years.

The analysts expect authorities to implement tougher restrictions on borrowing to curb debt.

10)   Japan has urged the 10 other remaining members of the Trans-Pacific Partnership free trade pact to swiftly reach a new broad agreement without the United States.

11)   Officials at the Bank of Japan have just wrapped up their 2-day policy meeting. They have decided to continue with their massive monetary easing.

The bank says it will keep its focus on a framework to manage short- and long-term interest rates in its bid to achieve the 2-percent inflation target.

12)   Bangladesh’s prime minister has urged the United Nations to protect Rohingya Muslims, a persecuted ethnic minority fleeing neighboring Myanmar.

13)   South Korea has approved 8-million-dollars of humanitarian aid to North Korea through UN agencies.
Opponents to the plan say it could run against international efforts to put pressure on Pyongyang.

14)   A group of North Korean defectors has protested a decision by the South to offer humanitarian aid to its northern neighbor.

The man from the defector group said he wants the South Korean government to understand why defectors, who have families in the North, oppose the aid. He said the supplies will not reach North Koreans, but end up within the country’s regime.

Sept 9th, 2017


1)   South Florida is bracing for a major storm surge and powerful winds even as Hurricane Irma weakened to a Category 4 storm as it races toward the U.S. mainland.

2)   Japan’s agriculture ministry said Friday it is aiming to more than quadruple the country’s annual rice and rice product exports to 100,000 tons in 2019, ministry officials said Friday.

Domestic demand for rice has been decreasing by around 8 tons a year, necessitating the expansion of exports, according to the ministry.

3)   The Halloween season “officially” kicks off in Japan on Friday with the festivities beginning at major theme parks Tokyo Disneyland, Tokyo DisneySea where parades and other events will be held until Oct 31.

Although many stores have been selling Halloween merchandise since late August, the “official” start of the Halloween season in Japan is usually considered to be when the theme parks start.

4)   Japanese wrestler-turned-lawmaker Antonio Inoki arrived in North Korea on Thursday to possibly meet with the country’s top official in charge of foreign affairs, amid deepening tensions over its nuclear and missile programs.

5)   The Japanese government on Friday approved a change to guidelines to allow local education boards to set summer holidays at different times of the year to encourage more family time in the chronically overworked country.

6)   The Tokyo Metropolitan Government plans to introduce a comprehensive indoor smoking ban in public spaces in an effort to eradicate secondhand smoking.

The proposed regulation targets all cigarettes, cigars and electric cigarettes. It would ban smoking anywhere inside medical institutions, as well as elementary and junior high schools, central and local government offices, welfare facilities for the elderly, and gymnasiums.

Indoor smoking would also be prohibited at hotels, company offices and restaurants, except in designated smoking rooms.

7)   Japan’s transport ministry says it is studying the possibility of charging tolls at 4 popular tourist spots to ease traffic congestion.

The ministry plans to survey traffic in the ancient capital of Kyoto; Kamakura, near Tokyo; Kobe, in western Japan, and the central resort of Karuizawa as early as next month.

Roads in the areas are busy on weekends and during tourist seasons, affecting local residents’ daily lives.

8)   A survey by a French institute shows that up to 70 percent of coral reefs in Japan’s southwestern prefecture of Okinawa are dead due to warm temperatures.

9)   The government of Mexico says it has given the North Korean ambassador 72 hours to leave the country.

The government on Thursday declared the ambassador, Kim Hyong Gil, persona non grata as a protest against the North’s nuclear and missile tests.

10)   China’s central bank has banned the practice of raising funds with Bitcoin and other virtual money. The measure took effect earlier this week.

The People’s Bank of China announced on Monday that the bank banned “initial coin offerings,” or ICOs as a form of unauthorized and illegal public fundraising.

The bank suspended websites providing ICO services after the announcement, linking the practice to financial fraud, pyramid schemes and other criminal activities.

11)   The new leadership of Japan’s main opposition Democratic Party will likely suffer damage from an alleged scandal involving one of its key lawmakers.

A weekly magazine reports that the party’s former policy research committee chair, Shiori Yamao, has been engaged in an extramarital affair with a lawyer.

Sept 2nd, 2017


1)   A US ban on its citizens travelling to North Korea has come into effect, at a time of heightened tensions over North Korean missile launches.

2)   Houston’s recovery from Hurricane Harvey flooding will be a “multi-year project”, Texas Governor Greg Abbott has said.

3)   Growing concern about children eating alone has spurred a drive in Japan to offer free or low-cost meals for them at makeshift cafeterias.

Since the launch of the first such facility in Tokyo in 2012, the number of children’s diners has sharply increased to about 500.

4)   North Korea fired a missile that flew over Japan and landed in waters off the northern region of Hokkaido at around 6 a.m. on Tuesday, South Korean and Japanese officials said, marking a sharp escalation of tensions on the Korean peninsula.

5)   President Donald Trump is pledging $1 million in personal money to Harvey storm relief efforts.

6)   Hundreds of people have paid tribute to the late atomic bomb survivor and peace activist Sumiteru Taniguchi.

The lifelong activist who called for the elimination of nuclear weapons died of cancer on Wednesday at the age of 88.

7)   A Japanese government body has officially recommended a method known as “dry removal” to retrieve nuclear fuel debris from the damaged Fukushima Daiichi power plant.

8)   A civic group is suing Japan’s government for using an inappropriate arbitrary figure to lower the price of state-owned land sold to a school corporation in Osaka.

The state-owned land in Toyonaka City, Osaka Prefecture, was sold to Moritomo Gakuen last year for about 7.3 million dollars less than its value.

9)   Britain must use billions of pounds into new power plants, grid networks and electric vehicle charging points if it is to avoid local power shortages when a planned ban on new diesel and petrol cars begins.

10)   A conference on the future of Pacific bluefin tuna stocks has wrapped up in South Korea. The delegates from tuna fishing countries around the Pacific Rim have agreed to a Japanese proposal on managing tuna stocks, but with tougher conditions.


Aug 19th, 2017


1)   Spanish police are investigating a possible link between an incident at a Spanish seaside resort and the deadly terror attack in Barcelona.

Local media say a car hit pedestrians and injured 6 in the town of Cambrils. Police killed the 5 suspects that were in the car.

Local authorities told the media that they suspect the incident was carried out by the same group that is responsible for Thursday’s attack in Barcelona.

2)   survey conducted by Japan’s welfare ministry shows that 52 children died from abuse by their parents or others in the year ending in March of last year.

The number is up 8 from the previous fiscal year. About 80 percent, or 42, of the victims were children aged 3 or younger. Thirty were infants under one year old.
3)   A giant tortoise that went missing from a zoo in western Japan more than 2 weeks ago has been found about 100 meters from where it disappeared.

The female tortoise escaped from the Shibukawa Zoo in Tamano, Okayama Prefecture, on August 1st.
4)   Oita City in southwestern Japan has become the latest area of the country to test the benefits of driverless vehicle technology.

Local officials are trialing an autonomous microbus that could eventually be used to shuttle people around the city.
5)   Japan’s Defense Ministry has decided to consider introducing a new US-made missile defense system known as “Aegis Ashore” in light of progress in North Korea’s missile development.
The Aegis advanced radar system is designed to intercept a missile outside the atmosphere and a land-based PAC 3 system is capable of intercepting a missile entering the atmosphere.
6)    Japanese researchers say an extinct variety of otter formerly widespread across the country may still survive in southwestern Japan. The Japanese river otter was officially declared extinct in 2012.

Izawa said that a camera set up for an ecological survey of wild animals on Tsushima Island, Nagasaki Prefecture, filmed an otter in February.
7)    Japan’s Foreign Minister Taro Kono says the government will offer assistance worth about 500 million dollars to enhance the maritime security capabilities of Indo-Pacific coastal nations.
8)   US trade officials are expected to hold a special session of a joint panel meeting on a free trade agreement with South Korea next Tuesday. The US has urged the South to start renegotiations.

After talks with South Korean President Moon Jae-in, US President Donald Trump said the 2 countries’ current free trade deal is not necessarily good. Trump indicated willingness to renegotiate with the South to press it to further open its auto market.

9)   A Canadian woman who lost her engagement ring over a decade ago has found it in an unlikely spot. It was wrapped around a carrot growing on her family farm.

84-year-old Mary Grams lost the diamond ring 13 years ago on the farm located in Alberta. Her husband gave her the ring 66 years ago.
10)   US President Donald Trump’s latest remark on the removal of Confederate leader monuments has fueled criticism of his stance toward white supremacists.

A deadly clash last Saturday in Charlottesville, Virginia, between white supremacists and their opponents prompted removal of monuments around the country.


Aug 11th, 2017


1)   North Korea has warned the United States that it will complete its plan by mid-August to fire ballistic missiles toward waters off Guam.

2)   Many parts of Japan are in the grip of a heat wave, including Tokyo where the temperature on Wednesday reached 37 degrees Celsius.

3)   Labor authorities have officially acknowledged that a Japanese doctor killed himself due to overwork. His suicide has drawn attention to the harsh working conditions of people in the medical field.

4)   The latest data shows Japan continues to depend on imported food.

Japan’s Agriculture Ministry says the food self-sufficiency rate in fiscal 2016 fell for the first time in 6 years. The rate is based on calorie intake.

5)   A Japanese government panel has begun reviewing the country’s medium-to long-term energy policy. The group of experts is focusing on what to do about nuclear power generation and on ways to promote renewables.

6)   Trial runs have started at a Tokyo airport for a range of services that employ new technologies to help elderly, disabled and foreign travelers.

One of the services allows users to get directions to bus stops, including images and multilingual maps, when they take a photo of a guide sign on their smartphones.

Another lets users ride an automated wheelchair to any destination in the airport, such as a check-in counter, as designated via smartphone.

7)   The ruling parties of Japan and China are to make proposals to help improve bilateral relations.

Executives of Japan’s Liberal Democratic Party and Komeito and the Chinese Communist Party will issue a set of proposals when they conclude 3 days of talks in Tokyo on Wednesday.

8)   The organizers of the PyeongChang Winter Olympics in South Korea are trying to raise public interest in the games that will open in 6 months.

But public interest is low. This is partly due to the recent political turmoil that led to the impeachment of former president Park Geun-hye.


Aug 5th, 2017


1)    New Justice Minister Yoko Kamikawa said Friday that the ministry is considering submitting a bill to lower Japan’s legal age of adulthood from 20 to 18 in the extraordinary Diet session likely be convened this fall.

2)   Prime Minister Shinzo Abe, seeking to repair his tattered approval ratings by reshuffling his cabinet, said Thursday he would focus on bread-and-butter issues such as jobs, a pledge he’s made in the past only to prioritize conservative issues such as amending the constitution.

3)   Japan’s Prime Minister Shinzo Abe has indicated that he will let his party and the Diet decide the timeframe for his plan to submit a draft of constitutional amendment to the Diet. But some governing party members say Abe should not push forward the matter quickly at a time the rate of support for his cabinet is falling.

4)   Japanese business leaders have welcomed the new lineup. They say the incoming ministers have the experience to make policy, but insist much remains to be done.

Japan Business Federation Chairman Sadayuki Sakakibara told reporters that the new Cabinet needs to refocus on the economy.

He said business leaders want the new Cabinet to go back to the Abe administration’s top priorities: mounting an economic recovery and escaping deflation.

5)   North Korea has renewed its demand that the United States change its policy of hostility toward Pyongyang.

North Korea’s state-run media on Wednesday carried a statement issued by a spokesperson for the Korea Asia-Pacific Peace Committee. It serves as liaison between North Korea and South Korea.
6)   Japan has agreed to step up cooperation with India in developing the country’s strategically important northeastern region.

Government officials and representatives from both countries reached the agreement at a meeting in New Delhi on Thursday. It focuses on road building and other infrastructure projects.
7)   Mexico’s foreign secretary has indicated that his country could quit the North American Free Trade Agreement, or NAFTA, if upcoming renegotiations on the accord end up unfavorable to Mexico.

8)   US scientists say they have successfully corrected disease-causing genes in human embryos with genome editing technology.

Researchers from the Oregon Health and Science University, collaborating with other institutes, published their work in the British science journal Nature on Wednesday. It is the first report of genome editing on human embryos outside China.

9)   US President Donald Trump’s plan to limit the number of legal immigrants is drawing rebuke not only from the Democratic Party but also from some members of his own Republican Party.

Trump on Wednesday unveiled an immigration reform bill drafted by 2 Republican senators.

He says that many green card holders with permanent resident status are low-skilled workers and are depriving American workers of jobs.

10)   Some employees at an IT company in the US state of Wisconsin are having a microchip that contains personal information implanted in their hands.

The chip allows employees to open doors and log onto computers by simply waving their hand.
Workers can also buy products from in-house stores.

July 29th, 2017

ヒアリのことでこれほど大騒ぎになっている日本が不思議らしい。^^ アメリカにはもっと危険生物がたくさんいそうだからなぁ。トランスジェンダーの軍入隊禁止の理由も知らなかったので興味深かった。

1)   A Malaysian court says it will begin on October 2nd the trial of 2 women accused of killing the estranged half-brother of North Korean leader Kim Jong Un.

The two women have been indicted for killing Kim Jong Nam, who died after having his face smeared with the lethal VX nerve agent at Kuala Lumpur International Airport in February.
2)   NHK has learned that 12 cargo containers have been moved out of a port in Fukuoka City, western Japan, without being checked for venomous fire ants.

The alien species has been sighted at the city’s Hakata Port on a number of occasions. A worker was stung and slightly injured on Thursday.

3)   A survey in Japan shows that one in 6 women have suffered violence by their husbands or others but that most of the victims did not contact the police.
4)   Japan’s defense minister has been replaced, closing a chapter in a major cover-up scandal.

It centers on the withholding of records on Japan’s former peacekeeping mission in South Sudan.

Tomomi Inada stepped down to take responsibility after an internal inspection found a series of violations.
5)   The leader of Japan’s largest opposition Democratic Party, Renho, has expressed her intention to resign from the post.

Party sources say she told people close to her on Thursday that she intends to step down as president in a bid to revamp the struggling party.
6)    People in Japan are marking the first anniversary of a mass killing at a care home for the disabled just outside Tokyo.

Former care worker Satoshi Uematsu stormed the facility in Sagamihara city last year in the early hours of July 26th, wielding a knife. He killed 19 people. 27 others suffered stabbing wounds.
7)   The US Senate has passed a bill to impose sanctions on Russia over its alleged interference in the 2016 US presidential election.

Russia says it will seize some US diplomatic property in the country in retaliation for the passage of a new bill by the US Congress that imposes sanctions against Russia.
8)   US President Donald Trump has declared a ban on transgender people from serving in the US military, citing costs and other reasons. Democrats and human rights advocates have criticized the decision.

9)   Japanese government officials say the country’s unemployment rate in June stood at 2.8 percent.

That’s a 0.3-percentage-point improvement from the previous month.

The ratio of job offers to applicants rose to 1.51.
That means there were 151 job openings for every 100 people looking for work.

10)   The Japanese government has announced that it will impose a safeguard measure on frozen beef imports in order to protect domestic farmers.

Officials will apply higher tariffs on the products starting next month.

Duties on frozen beef imports from countries such as the US, New Zealand and Canada will be raised to 50 percent.

July 22nd, 2017

1)   The United States will bar Americans from travelling to North Korea in the coming weeks, two travel agencies said Friday, a month after a U.S. tourist, student Otto Warmbier, died following his imprisonment by Pyongyang.

North Korea’s tourism agency has launched a website offering holiday options ranging from surfing to rice planting, despite strong U.S. warnings to avoid travel to a nation where several trips have ended in jail.

2)   Thief returns stolen bicycle, includes written apology and edible gift to say sorry

3)   A number of books aimed at teaching elementary school children about issues concerning the lesbian, gay, bisexual and transgender community have been published recently in an effort to deepen understanding about sexual minorities in Japan.

4)   Chinese censors can’t bear Winnie the Pooh

5)   Sources close to the Defense Ministry say Minister Tomomi Inada was told about the existence of the activity logs in February and this fact was reported to the Inspector General’s Office of Legal Compliance in March.

6)   A pact that allows Japan to export its nuclear power technology to India for peaceful purposes has taken effect.

It entered into force after Japan’s Ambassador to India, Kenji Hiramatsu, and Indian Foreign Secretary S. Jaishankar exchanged documents in New Delhi on Thursday.

The deal, signed by both governments last November, also enables the countries to exchange know-how on nuclear materials and plant equipment.

7)   An association of Japanese Bitcoin exchanges is considering moving forward a plan to suspend transactions of the virtual currency.

It’s taking the step because of growing concerns over a possible sudden split of the Bitcoin system.

8)    Japan’s government will conduct tests of self-driving buses using the country’s version of a global positioning system. It hopes to use such vehicles during Tokyo’s Olympic and Paralympic Games in 2020.

The Cabinet Office says it will start the tests in the southwestern prefecture of Okinawa in November.

9)      The US Justice Department says it has taken down the biggest online black market for illegal goods and services.

Department officials said on Thursday that since its inception, AlphaBay serviced more than 200,000 users, who traded in illegal drugs, toxic chemicals, firearms and stolen identities.

10)   A pro-Russian separatist leader of a breakaway region in eastern Ukraine has proclaimed a new state.

The new state will be called Malorossiya, and its capital will be placed in Donetsk. He added that Malorossiya is consisted of all Ukraine territories except for Russian-annexed Crimea, and a new constitution is being drawn up for the country.

11)   US President Donald Trump faces uncertainty 6 months after his inauguration, as the overhaul of Obamacare has stalled and investigations continue into Russia’s possible meddling in last year’s election.

Trump summoned Republican senators to the White House on Wednesday to pressure them to pass a bill to repeal President Barack Obama’s health care program as early as possible. He said they shouldn’t leave Washington until the bill is enacted.

12)   Nobel Peace Prize laureate Malala Yousafzai has criticized China for its treatment of human rights activist and Peace Prize winner Liu Xiaobo, who died last week.July 22nd, 2017

July 15th, 2017


1)   The leader of the junior partner in Japan’s ruling coalition on Friday urged Prime Minister Shinzo Abe to focus on regaining public trust after a slide in his popularity, and said revising the pacifist constitution was not a priority for voters.

2)   A vice minister has given up using a chauffeured official car to take her child to daycare after drawing political flak following a media report, but some working mothers expressed sympathy for the 39-year-old lawmaker.

The Shukan Shincho weekly magazine accused Megumi Kaneko of “mixing up official and private matters” when it reported in late June that she had used an official vehicle to transport her 1-year-old son to his nursery.

3)   The operator of nuclear power plants in South Korea has decided to suspend work on 2 reactors.

Massive amounts of radiation-contaminated water that has been processed and stored in hundreds of tanks at the plant are slowing decommissioning work and are a safety risk in case another massive quake or tsunami strikes. TEPCO needs to release the water – which contains radioactive tritium that is not removable but considered not harmful in small amounts – into the Pacific Ocean,

4)   Researchers say large foreign longhorn beetles are spreading in Japan, causing serious damage to cherry, peach and other fruit trees.

The insect spends a few years within fruit trees such as cherry, peach and plum, eating the wood. Cutting down affected trees alone has not stopped the spread of the species.

Hundreds of highly poisonous fire ants have been found at the port of Yokohama, near Tokyo.

5)   Two Japanese firms have created a self-driving car that can deliver sushi to a hungry customer’s doorstep.

The ever-growing demand for home delivery has left many companies with a problem. They don’t have enough drivers to transport the goods.

6)   The Japanese government has compiled a plan to support domestic cheese makers who are facing increased competition from European products.

Japanese and European Union negotiators reached a broad agreement on an economic partnership agreement last week. Japan will create a quota for European soft cheeses and abolish tariffs over a 15-year period. But Japanese cheese producers are worried about greater competition.

7)   Workers at major firms in Japan won an average monthly pay hike of over 60 dollars for the 4th year in a row.
That’s as a result of annual labor negotiations.

8)   Japan’s Prime Minister Shinzo Abe has said his country will provide aid in the amount of 1.4 billion yen, or about 12.4 million dollars, to Jordan.

9)   The death toll from last week’s record downpour in southwestern Japan has risen to 32.
10)   A US Democratic congressman has submitted a resolution to the House of Representatives to seek the impeachment of President Donald Trump.

11)   One of the biggest icebergs on record has broken off Antarctica, raising fears it could create more flow of ice into the sea and possibly raise the sea level.

12)   North Korea has threatened to retaliate if the United Nations Security Council imposes additional sanctions over its nucleaar and missile programs.

13)   The US government wants to renegotiate its free trade agreement with South Korea. Trade Representative Robert Lightheizer sent a letter to his counterpart in Seoul.

The letter says the US and South Korea are important allies and key trading partners. It says they need free, fair and balanced trade to strengthen the relationship.

It also says the US has real concerns about its significant trade imbalance with South Korea.

July 8th, 2017

1)   Torrential rains continue to batter western Japan for a third day. Eleven people are dead and at least 14 are missing.
Over 54,000 residents were ordered to evacuate their homes while thousands of rescuers search for survivors.

Parts of Fukuoka prefecture, on the island of Kyushu, were hit by over 600 millimeters of rain in 2 days, almost double the amount that usually falls in all of July.

2)   A shipment of reprocessed nuclear fuel destined for a Japanese power plant has left France.

Two specially fitted vessels left the port of Cherbourg, northwestern France, on Wednesday.

French nuclear energy firm Areva manufactured the MOX, or mixed oxide, fuel, a mixture of uranium and plutonium reprocessed from spent nuclear fuel.

The fuel is to be used in the No. 4 reactor at the Takahama nuclear plant, which Kansai Electric Power Company restarted in May.

3)   Japan’s defense minister has defended her temporary absence from her office while Self-Defense Force personnel engaged in rescue operations in rain-devastated northern Kyushu, western Japan.

Japan’s Meteorological Agency had issued for parts of the region emergency heavy rain warnings, which are issued for disasters that could occur only once every few decades.

Tomomi Inada left the ministry for about an hour around noon on Thursday to attend a defense policy seminar.

4)   A single poisonous fire ant has been found at Tokyo Port. It was in a shipping container that arrived from China.

The ant was found during an inspection at a port wharf on Monday. An analysis by the Environment Ministry has confirmed that it was a fire ant. Officials have no reports of anyone being stung by the ant.

5)   Japan and the European Union have reached a broad deal on an Economic Partnership Agreement that would affect about 30 percent of the world’s gross domestic product.

The EPA is the first of its kind among large, advanced economies, and would be one of Japan’s biggest trade deals.

6)   Japan’s tax revenue for the fiscal year that ended in March dropped for the first time in 7 years.

The Finance Ministry says total revenue came to nearly 55.5 trillion yen, or about 490 billion dollars. That’s down 1.5 percent from the figure for the previous year.

Corporate tax income dropped 4.6 percent. The stronger yen has dampened corporate earnings. Revenues from income and consumption taxes both fell 1.1 percent.

One economist says the drop in revenue has brought Prime Minister Shinzo Abe’s economic policies to a crossroads.

7)   Anti-capitalist protesters have clashed with police in Hamburg ahead of the G20 summit that opens on Friday. Authorities say more than 70 police officers were injured.

Police say about 12,000 people took part in a rally at a port on the Elbe River on Thursday.

8)   A United Nations conference is expected to adopt a final draft on Friday of a legally binding treaty to ban nuclear weapons.

Conference President Elayne Whyte Gomez presented the final draft on Thursday to the 129 non-nuclear countries taking part in the negotiations at the UN headquarters in New York.

9)   A United Nations conference is expected to adopt a final draft on Friday of a legally binding treaty to ban nuclear weapons.

Conference President Elayne Whyte Gomez presented the final draft on Thursday to the 129 non-nuclear countries taking part in the negotiations.
10)   Leaders of the Group of 20 economies have opened their summit in Germany, with free trade and climate change among the key issues.

German Chancellor Angela Merkel welcomed the leaders in the northern city of Hamburg on Friday. Merkel will chair the 2-day summit.

The leaders will discuss terrorism, the world economy and trade, as well as climate change on the first day.

A key focus is whether the G20 can issue a clear message in support of free trade for sustainable growth, amid rising protectionism.

June 30th, 2017


1)     The Japanese government is exploring ways to use cruise ships in order to cope with accommodation shortages expected during the 2020 Tokyo Olympics

2)   These days, we should consider the thought of coming under cyber-attack as just a way of life.

3)   A Japanese team has inspected tourist sites and other facilities on Etorofu Island, one of the 4 Russian-held islands claimed by Japan.

The delegation of about 70 members, including government officials and business people, arrived in Etorofu on Thursday.

They are visiting the islands to study the feasibility of starting joint economic projects with Russia. Etorofu is the second leg of their 5-day tour, which started on Kunashiri Island on Tuesday.

4)   The US government says it is tightening security on inbound flights due to a heightened threat of terror attacks.

Homeland Security Secretary John Kelly announced the new aviation safety rules on Wednesday in Washington.

He said he is concerned about terrorist groups’ renewed interest in targeting the aviation sector. He emphasized the necessity of boosting security in airports around the world for direct flights to the US.

5)   Many Japanese follow a tradition of eating grilled eel to beat the summer heat. But with the price of eel rising in recent years, a major supermarket chain is offering grilled catfish, a less expensive alternative.

Retail giant Aeon unveiled the new product for the Midsummer Day, which falls on July 25th. The company is selling catfish raised in Vietnam for the first time.

Company officials say they are using a type of catfish called pangasius, which is known for its fleshy white meat suitable for grilling.

6)     India’s largest port has been hit by a cyberattack, following ransomware attacks targeting government agencies and companies in Europe and the United States.

The Indian government said in a statement on Wednesday that malicious software crippled operations at one terminal of the port in western city of Mumbai.

7)   A major operator of tax-free stores in Japan is launching a new type of outlet that gives tourists a chance to experience a lifestyle rather than just buy a product.
It caters to a growing number of foreign visitors who want to get a taste of the real Japan.

Tax-free items include products that are popular among tourists, such as home appliances and cosmetics.

Visitors to the store can also enjoy a buffet of various Japanese dishes like sushi and tempura.

They can play a survival game using air guns that shoot plastic bullets.

In addition, there’s a shop that specializes in instant noodles. It sells 42 varieties and many of them are exclusive to Japan. There’s hot water available for people who can’t wait to taste their purchase.
8)   Exactly 3 years have passed since the Islamic State militant group unilaterally declared an Islamic caliphate in an area straddling Iraq and Syria.

The group declared itself the Islamic State after seizing Iraq’s second largest city, Mosul, on June 29th, 2014.

An offensive to retake Mosul from the militants has entered the final phase. Iraqi forces say the insurgents are now trapped in a one-square-kilometer area.

9)   A US survey suggests the image of the United States has sharply worsened worldwide under President Donald Trump.

The non-partisan Pew Research Center surveyed about 40,000 people earlier this year, in 37 countries including Japan.

It reports only 49 percent held a favorable view of the US, compared to 64 percent in the closing years of the Obama administration.

10)   The social-networking giant Facebook says its monthly active users reached 2 billion.
The number has doubled in 5 years.

June 24th, 2017

選挙からパンダから将棋まで諸々。全然上手く話せてはいないけれど何故かこの時間がストレス解消に役立ってるのが分かる。来週のレッスンは誕生日プレゼントにするから予約しないでね。とのこと。sweet! :)

1)    People in Okinawa are marking the 72nd anniversary of the end of a fierce ground battle in the closing days of World War Two.

Every year on June 23rd, Okinawa commemorates the end of the Japanese military’s organized combat against US forces in the southwestern prefecture.

More than 200,000 people, including about a quarter of Okinawa’s residents, were killed in the 1945 battle. The exact figure remains unknown.

2)   Candidates for the Tokyo Metropolitan Assembly have kicked off their campaigns for an upcoming election.
Political parties in Japan see the assembly election as an important bellwether for national ballots.
3)   The announcer and cancer blogger Mao Kobayashi has died. She was 34 years old.

A Tokyo native, Kobayashi started her career as a TV personality while she was still at college.

After graduation, she became a freelance announcer and was a caster for a news program.

She married the kabuki actor Ichikawa Ebizo in 2010 and had 2 children.

4)   The Shinkansen bullet train service in western Japan was suspended for 5 hours from Wednesday night due to a power outage. 72 trains were immobilized, and more than 50,000 passengers were affected.

Central Japan Railway says overhead wiring got severed in Takatsuki, Osaka, shortly before 8 PM on Wednesday.

5)   A former vice education minister has called for a third-party investigation into a favoritism scandal involving the operator of school run by a close friend of Prime Minister Shinzo Abe.

Kake Educational Institution, headed by Abe’s long-time friend, Kotaro Kake, plans to open a veterinary school in a government-designated special economic zone in Imabari City, western Japan.

Kihei Maekawa told a news conference on Friday that the prime minister’s office and the Cabinet Office are being dishonest in repeatedly denying the contents of documents that have turned up in an education ministry probe into the scandal.

6)   Tokyo’s Ueno Zoo says a newborn giant panda cub has turned out to be female.

Zoo officials say the cub that was born on Monday of last week is steadily growing.

They say they conducted the cub’s third physical checkup on Thursday with a Chinese specialist from a giant panda’s protection and research facility.

7)   Another type of venomous ant has been found in western Japan, at the same port where fire ants were earlier confirmed.

Kobe City officials say about 100 of the ants were discovered on Tuesday in Kobe Port.

On May 26th, fire ants were found at the port in a shipping container from China. In mid-June, about 100 of these ants were also discovered in a container storage area at the port.

The ants found on Tuesday are a different variety that has a lower toxicity. But their sting could cause a severe reaction.

8)   The number of foreign tourists visiting Japan is continuing to increase. It hit a new record for the month of May.

The Japan Tourism Organization estimated that nearly 2.3 million foreigners visited in the month. That’s up 21 percent from May last year.

South Korea topped the list.

The number of visitors from the country increased by 85 percent as more direct flights were added. Tourists also returned to Kumamoto, one year after a strong earthquake there.

9)   Japan’s youngest professional shogi player, 14-year-old Souta Fujii, won his 28th game in a row. His winning streak matches a record set 30 years ago.

10)   Tokyo’s governor has been consulting with executives from global firms about how to make the nation’s capital a more attractive place to do business.

Yuriko Koike met Thursday with the CEOs and managers of 8 US- and UK-based institutions that operate in Tokyo.

Koike says she’s determined to turn the capital into an international financial hub.

The Tokyo Metropolitan Government this month outlined its plan to attract overseas financial institutions. It includes cutting corporate taxes, and improving workers’ living environments.

One of the people Koike consulted was the president of fund manager BlackRock Japan.

He noted the difficulty of finding talented mid-career women workers. He said this is because childcare in Japan is so poor. And he called for better support for working mothers.

Another participant said Tokyo needs to develop a bigger talent pool. He suggested creating a university that specializes in finance and gives lectures in English.

Koike said the feedback will help make the city a better place for women and highly skilled professionals to work.

The Tokyo government wants to put the finishing touches on its plan around this autumn.

June 17th, 2017


1)   The number of Japanese people with dementia reported missing hit yet another record high in 2016, figures released Thursday showed, indicating the issue of elderly care is becoming more complex due to Japan’s aging society.

The National Police Agency said 15,432 people with dementia or who are suspected to be suffering the condition were reported missing to police in 2016, up 26.4 percent from the previous year.

2)   Prime Minister Shinzo Abe was under mounting pressure Friday over allegations that he used his influence to help a friend in a business deal after two official reports appeared to back up the claims.

3)      A prominent anti-U.S. base activist in Okinawa said Thursday at a U.N. Human Rights Council meeting that the Japanese government has committed “clear human rights violations” against opponents of the relocation of a U.S. air base within the southern island Japan prefecture.

4)   The death toll in an apartment building fire in west London is likely to rise significantly. Police says they have confirmed at least 30 people died from the fire that engulfed a 24-story building on Wednesday.

5)   A beer garden located higher than any of its competitors in Tokyo attracted a large number of people at its yearly opening.

The summer open-air restaurant is located halfway up the 600-meter Mount Takao in western Tokyo.

On Friday, hikers in groups dropped by for beer on their way down the mountain. They enjoyed a view of skyscrapers in the center of Tokyo in the far distance and a rainbow that appeared in the sky.

6)   Japan’s Foreign Ministry has lodged a strong protest over a South Korean military drill on the Takeshima Islands of Shimane Prefecture.

Foreign Ministry officials said they confirmed that the exercise started on Thursday morning.

South Korea controls the islands. Japan claims them.

7)   A group of Japanese writers is condemning the enactment of anti-terror legislation as an outrage.

The head of the Japan PEN Club, Jiro Asada, released a statement on Thursday, following passage of the bill which criminalizes the act of preparing terror attacks and other organized crimes.

Asada, a novelist, said the new law could seriously threaten freedom of speech and expression by effectively introducing the crime of conspiracy.

8)   Local assemblies in Japan are having hard time in getting citizens to show interest in their activities.

The assembly of Tomakomai City, northern Japan, has started offering 50 yen, or about 45 cents, in community points to citizens who attend its sessions.

Thursday was the first day of the offer. At reception, citizens scanned their community money point cards to get 50 points, worth about 45 cents.

9)   Sources say struggling Japanese auto parts maker Takata is taking final steps to file for bankruptcy as early as this month. The company is one of the world’s top 3 airbag producers but has been involved in a worldwide recall since 2013.

10)   A Japanese convenience store chain is turning to artificial intelligence to reduce its employee workload. The industry is currently struggling with a serious labor shortage.

FamilyMart, free messaging application provider LINE and trading firm Itochu have reached basic agreement on the tie-up. The say their new convenience stores will employ AI technology now being developed by LINE.

They say the system will use sales data to predict customer demand and place the appropriate orders.

They will also try to persuade the approximately 68 million LINE users in Japan to use their smartphones to make payments.

The three firms will study the practical aspects of the tie-up projects and try to open a model store by the end of 2018.

Lawson, another convenience store chain, has been developing an automated checkout system in a tie-up with a major electronics maker.

11)   An expert panel set up by Japan’s Cabinet Office says the economy has likely been expanding since December 2012. That’s more than 4 and a half years, making it the third-longest period of postwar growth.

The panel says the pace of growth did slow between April 2014, when the consumption tax was raised to 8 percent — and early 2016.

But experts have agreed that this period was not a recession.

The current run is longer than the period of growth in the bubble years, which started in 1986 and lasted 4 years and 3 months.

12)   Russian President Vladimir Putin has reiterated that discussing issues arising from the Japan-US Security Treaty is unavoidable to make progress in negotiations on a territorial dispute with Japan.

Putin spoke to reporters in Moscow on Thursday after a televised question-and-answer session with ordinary citizens.

Putin talked about joint economic activity with Japan on a disputed island chain. On-site surveys are set to start late this month.

June 10th, 2017


1)   For the first time in 2 centuries, Japan’s Emperor will be allowed to step down.
The Diet has enacted a bill that allows Emperor Akihito to abdicate, but the law only makes the provision for him. The law is designed to allow him to hand over the throne to his son, Crown Prince Naruhito.

2)   The operator of a nuclear research facility near Tokyo says one of its workers may have suffered a high levels of internal radiation exposure.

Five workers at the facility of the Japan Atomic Energy Agency in Oarai Town, Ibaraki Prefecture, were accidentally exposed to radioactive substances on Tuesday.

3)   A police officer in southwestern Japan has been arrested for allegedly killing his wife. The couple’s young children were also found dead at their home on Tuesday.

Police arrested Mitsuru Nakata based on forensic evidence at the scene. The 38-year-old works for the Fukuoka prefectural police.

4)   Japanese education minister Hirokazu Matsuno says his ministry will reinvestigate the existence of controversial ministry documents.

The documents are alleged to be related to the planned creation of a new veterinary school by Kake Educational Institution, which is run by a close friend of Prime Minister Shinzo Abe.

One of the documents allegedly mentions the intentions of the highest level of the Prime Minister’s Office in calling for swift approval of the opening of the new school.

5)   A man held as a murder suspect in Japan is believed to have been helped by more than 10 members of his radical leftist group while on the run for over 45 years.

Sources with the investigation say members of the Chukaku-ha group gave shelter to Masaaki Osaka and helped him elude the authorities.

Police on Wednesday served Osaka with a fresh arrest warrant in the killing of a police officer during a riot in Tokyo in 1971.

6)   Haagen-Dazs Japan has announced a recall of new ice cream products that may contain black pieces of rubber.

Company officials soon received complaints from consumers saying they found black pieces in the ice cream. The officials say they found worn rubber in manufacturing equipment at a factory, and that fragments may have been mixed into the ice cream.

7)   Japan’s largest business organization is asking Vietnam to help get the Trans-Pacific Partnership free trade deal back on track after the US withdrawal.

Japan and Vietnam are among the 11 remaining signatories of the TPP.

8)   South Korea’s military says it has found small, unmanned aircraft crashed on a mountain in the northern part of the country. The military says the drone’s size and shape are similar to a North Korean drone found on a remote island 3 years ago.

9)   The US state of Hawaii has enacted legislation calling for continued efforts to cut greenhouse gas emissions across Hawaii in line with the Paris climate change agreement.

10)   67 members have joined a new effort to stop multinational tax avoidance. Members of the Organization for Economic Cooperation and Development have backed a convention that stops companies from exploiting countries with lower taxes.

The move follows claims that firms such as Apple and Amazon were shifting profits to low-tax jurisdictions despite having little presence there.