1) Japanese Prime Minister Shinzo Abe said Friday the government is considering designating May 1 next year, when Crown Prince Naruhito will ascend the throne, as a one-off holiday, in a move that would create a 10-day Golden Week holiday period.
2) U.S. President Donald Trump on Thursday criticized Japan, China and other countries for dumping into oceans a massive amount of garbage that has drifted ashore on the U.S. West Coast.
Trump said a “vast,” “tremendous” and “unthinkable” amount of garbage is floating to the West Coast, causing a “very unfair situation” as the United States is charged with cleaning it up.
Trump cited a trilateral trade deal revised recently with Mexico and Canada as the first U.S. trade agreement ever to include commitments by the parties to cooperate in addressing land- and sea-based pollution and improve waste management.
3) A man died after he fell, seriously injuring himself, while picking mushrooms in Shiojiri, Nagano Prefecture, on Wednesday afternoon, police said. The man suffered head injuries and was taken to hospital by helicopter where he died about five hours later.
Since August, 11 people have died and six others have been injured while picking mushrooms on mountain slopes in Nagano Prefecture, Fuji TV reported.
In the latest case, Shigeya Komatsu, 62, a local farmer, fell about 100 meters down a mountain forest slope. According to the police, he had gone mushroom picking with a male relative, and lost his footing.
4) Japan plans to expand the scope of foreign nationals who can stay permanently, the government said Friday, as the aging nation seeks to loosen its traditionally strict immigration rules to cope with acute labor shortages.
Under a scheme slated for launch in April, foreign nationals who have Japanese-language proficiency will be given a new resident status to work in sectors deemed short of labor, such as nursing, construction and farming. Depending on their skills and experience, their stays can be extended repeatedly with no preset limits.
Japan, known for its cautious stance on immigration, has mainly accepted highly skilled professionals in such fields as medicine, law, education and research to date.
5) The possibility of esports joining the Olympics program has gained traction in recent years but not everybody involved in the sport favors it.
Rahul Sood, the CEO of esports betting company Unikrn, believes the benefits for the International Olympic Committee (IOC) far outweigh those for stakeholders already invested in electronic sports gaming.
Last November, the IOC recognized esports as a sporting activity and it is set to be a full medal event at the 2022 Asian Games in Hangzhou.
6) Auctioneers take part in a wasabi auction at the greengrocery area on the opening day of the new Toyosu market, which has been relocated from Tsukiji market, in Tokyo, on Thursday.
7) The US government has announced restrictions on exports of civil nuclear technology to China to prevent its diversion for military or other unauthorized uses.
The Department of Energy issued a statement on the new policy on nuclear technology controls on Thursday.
The policy will in principle ban exports of US civil nuclear technology to China’s state-owned companies.
8) Hurricane Michael left 6 people dead and many buildings destroyed by strong wind in its path across Florida and other southern US states.
Michael made landfall in Florida on Wednesday.
9) A US Congressional panel has asked the International Olympic Committee to change the venue of the 2022 Beijing Winter Olympics, citing human rights abuses by the Chinese government.
The bipartisan panel released a letter addressed to IOC President Thomas Bach. The same panel issued an annual report on China, accusing the country of detaining more than one million Uighur Muslims.
10) The new governor of Okinawa in southern Japan has asked the prime minister to launch new talks on a plan to relocate a US military base in the prefecture.
Denny Tamaki met Prime Minister Shinzo Abe and Chief Cabinet Secretary Yoshihide Suga in Tokyo on Friday. The meeting was their first since Tamaki was elected last month.
11) Former Japanese Prime Minister Junichiro Koizumi has expressed a negative view on a move to revise the Constitution next year. Prime Minister Shinzo Abe is aiming to submit amendment proposals at the Diet this fall.
Later, Koizumi told reporters that it is impossible to revise the Constitution next year.
He said approval from more than 2 thirds of the Diet is needed to initiate constitutional amendments.
11) Australians are up in arms over the use of the iconic Sydney Opera House for advertising.
The New South Wales government decided to allow a horse racing ad to be displayed on the World Heritage building.
Upset citizens gathered in front of the building on Tuesday to protest the move, using flashlights to disrupt the projected ad.
1) The cost of the 2020 Tokyo Olympics and Paralympics has already soared to 2.81 trillion yen ($24.7 billion), more than double the last official estimate, according to calculations by the Board of Audit.
2) Japanese police referred to child welfare authorities a record-high 37,113 suspected victims of child abuse in the first half of this year, a report released Thursday showed.
The preliminary figure marks an increase of 6,851 children aged 17 or younger being affected, as compared to the same period last year, according to the National Police Agency.
3) The mayor of Osaka says he’s ending a six-decade sister city relationship with San Francisco to protest a statue honoring women forced to have sex with Japanese soldiers during World War II.
Osaka Mayor Hirofumi Yoshimura this week sent a letter to San Francisco announcing he’s withdrawing from the largely ceremonial relationship, the San Francisco Examiner reported Wednesday.
4) Japan has decided not to take part in an international fleet review in South Korea next week after Seoul effectively asked Tokyo not to fly its “Rising Sun” flag on a warship, Japan’s defense minister said on Friday, the latest spat between the two sides.
5) New Okinawa GovDenny Tamaki said Thursday he will dedicate all his strength to trying to block the Japan-U.S. plan to relocate a key American military facility within the southern island prefecture.
The radio personality-turned-politician won Sunday’s gubernatorial election with a pledge to stop the controversial plan to move U.S. Marine Corps Air Station Futenma from a crowded residential area of Ginowan to the less populated coastal district of Henoko in Nago, both in Okinawa.
6) U.S. President Donald Trump and Abe agreed in a meeting last week in New York to start negotiations for a bilateral trade agreement on goods, or TAG. The move is a concession by Tokyo, which dropped its earlier insistence on a multilateral approach to trade issues.
7) Kumamoto councilwoman who took baby to work kicked out of conference for using cough drop.
8) A survey has found that radio was the most useful means of getting information after a powerful earthquake hit the northern Japanese prefecture of Hokkaido a month ago.
9) Typhoon Kong-rey is battering Japan’s south. At least 10 people have been injured. It’s the second storm to hit the region in less than a week. The typhoon is moving north over the sea. It has caused blackouts in some areas.
10) An escapee from a police station in Osaka Prefecture carried out a daring deception, purporting to be a cyclist while he was at large. He evaded the police for 48 days.
Junya Hida, indicted for robbery and other charges, escaped from a police station in Tondabayashi City on August 12th. He was apprehended after he was caught stealing food last Saturday in the city of Shunan, Yamaguchi Prefecture.
The police discovered Hida pretended to be a tourist travelling by bicycle, along with another man whom he met.
11) Japan’s space agency, JAXA, says it has successfully released another landing probe from its Hayabusa2 spacecraft toward the asteroid Ryugu. JAXA made the announcement on Wednesday morning, Japan time.
JAXA says it won’t be able to confirm whether the robot has landed on Ryugu until late Wednesday afternoon at the earliest.
12) US Vice President Mike Pence has sharply criticized China over a naval incident in the South China Sea last month. He says the US “will not be intimidated” as it counters China’s increasing maritime presence. Pence claims China’s aggression was on display when its warship came within about 40 meters of the USS Decatur that was conducting freedom-of-navigation operations.
13) A man who made a dramatic escape from a French prison by helicopter has been captured after 3 months on the run. Redoine Faid escaped from a prison in July by jumping aboard a helicopter.
Prosecutor Francois Molins told a news conference on Wednesday that investigators acted on witness reports last month of a man walking around in a burqa, the traditional Muslim women’s wear.
14) The Japanese government has lodged a protest with China after learning it placed a buoy inside Japan’s exclusive economic zone near the Senkaku Islands in the East China Sea.
Chief Cabinet Secretary Yoshihide Suga spoke to reporters on Wednesday. He said the government protested via a diplomatic channel after it confirmed the buoy was on the Japanese side of a median line that separates the 2 countries’ exclusive economic zones.
15) The US jobless rate in September declined to its lowest level in nearly 49 years, suggesting a further tightening of the labor market. But employment growth has missed market expectations.
The Labor Department said on Friday that the unemployment rate fell to 3.7 percent. That’s the lowest level since December 1969.
1) Japan’s Meteorological Agency forecasts strong winds, high waves, storm surges and heavy rain in wide areas across the country until Monday.
2) Japanese travel agency H.I.S. has canceled wedding package tours to Hawaii for 260 couples due to delays in venue construction.
The company says the couples had made reservations for the tours up to September of next year. The tours went on sale last December.
The facility on the island of Oahu was to open on September 1st.
H.I.S. says the operator of the facility gave notice of the delay on August 15th, citing bad weather and other reasons.
3) U.S. President Donald Trump and Japanese Prime Minister Shinzo Abe agreed on Wednesday to start trade talks in an arrangement that, for now, protects Japanese automakers from further tariffs, seen as a major threat to the export-dependent economy.
4) Tokyo Medical University has appointed its first woman president following a series of scandals, including the revelation that female applicants were prevented from gaining places at the school by systemically docking their entrance exam scores.
The appointment of Yukiko Hayashi, 56, chief professor of pathophysiology, was approved by the university’s board members Sept. 25. She will assume the post Oct. 1.
5) The EU and other countries have boosted their contributions to the United Nations agency that supports Palestinian refugees after the US cut off funding.
The UN Relief and Works Agency, or UNRWA, is struggling to support more than 5 million Palestinian refugees.
6) An Indonesian teenager has made it home safely after spending almost 50 days adrift at sea alone.
18-year-old Aldi Novel Adilang from the island of Sulawesi was fishing on a wooden raft in July when a storm hit.
His raft was swept away after its moorings snapped.
Adilang had only several days’ worth of food and water.
He burned part of his raft to cook fish.
Adilang said; “After the raft that I used snapped from the floating fish traps, I still had water to drink for about a week. Then I drank water by squeezing it from my clothes which were dipped in the sea, because it was impossible to drink sea water directly.”
On August 31st, a large ship rescued him off the western Pacific island of Guam, about 2,000 kilometers away from Sulawesi.
7) The Tokyo Metropolitan Government will begin using paper straws on a trial basis from October to help reduce the amount of plastic waste.
The paper straws will be provided at 3 cafeterias at the Tokyo government building in the capital’s Shinjuku district.
Tokyo Governor Yuriko Koike visited one of the cafeterias on Friday. She says she hopes the use of paper straws will encourage people to think about environmental issues.
The Tokyo government will purchase 20,000 paper straws, which are several times more expensive than plastic ones.