June 4th, 2016


1)   A boy who had been missing since Saturday was found Friday morning in a town in Hokkaido, northern Japan.

Yamato Tanooka was found at a Self-Defense Force exercise range in Shikabe Town, about 4 kilometers from the spot where he went missing 6 days ago.

When an SDF member found the boy inside a rest facility on the range, the 7-year-old said his name was Yamato. Police say his parents later confirmed his identity.

2)   Japan’s government has decided on a new growth strategy aimed at boosting the country’s gross domestic product to 600 trillion yen, or about 5.5 trillion dollars.

The strategy aims to stimulate a 4th industrial revolution by creating a new growth market making full use of artificial intelligence.

It aims for the use of self-driving vehicles on highways by 2020, and goods delivery by drones within 3 years.

The government plans to promote technology development to make better use of robots and drones for search and rescue operations in disasters.

3)   Mitsubishi Materials Corp, one of dozens of Japanese companies that used Chinese forced laborers during World War II, reached a settlement covering thousands of victims Wednesday that includes compensation and an apology.

The deal was signed in Beijing with three former workers representing the company’s more than 3,000 Chinese victims of forced labor, Mitsubishi Materials said in a statement.

4)   Groups of residents from remote mountainous areas in Japan and Taiwan plan to work together on projects to lure tourists by promoting local ghost stories, those involved on the Japanese side said.

A group in Miyoshi, Tokushima Prefecture, western Japan, and the other in Nantou County in central Taiwan signed a cross-promotion agreement in February, allowing each to sell the other’s souvenirs and attend events with their sister organization.

5)   Cafes are nice relaxing places. Cats are cute cuddly animals. Sooner or later – with hindsight it seems almost inevitable – an entrepreneur would come along, put the two together and launch a “cat cafe” boom. It happened about eight years ago, and now there are some 200 cat cafes nationwide, most of them doing a brisk business premised on the joys – innocent joys, you’d think – of interacting with cats over coffee.

Actually not so innocent, Spa! (May 31) finds. There is a dark side to the business which is not, in fact, limited to cats or cafes. The disposal each year of roughly 100,000 cats and dogs suggests too many pets being bred and sold to too many people with too little knowledge of what’s involved in raising a pet. Nor are cats the only cafe mascots – there are rabbit cafes, reptile cafes, monkey cafes, owl cafes and so on.

6)   Leaving the European Union would be an act of “economic self-harm,” British Prime Minister David Cameron said Thursday during a televised grilling that saw him challenged on the emotive topic of immigration and accused of scaremongering about the impact of quitting the 28-nation bloc.

7)  A Japanese comedian will run the marathon for Cambodia at the Olympics in Brazil this summer, an official said Thursday, a second attempt by the funnyman to go to the Games for the Southeast Asian sporting minnows.