July 15th, 2016


Police in Dazaifu, Fukuoka, said Friday they have arrested a 34-year-old man on suspicion of theft after he was seen rummaging through the mailbox of an empty house on July 1.
The man, who was wearing wearing a Playboy bunny girl costume when he was seen at the house, is also believed to be the same man seen wearing a Spider-Man costume and loitering outside empty houses earlier this year, Sankei Shimbun reported.
According to police, a woman witnessed the man looking through the mailbox of an unoccupied house at around 12:30 p.m. on July 1. She called a nearby police koban and said a strange man wearing black fishnet tights and high heels was loitering outside the house. When the “bunny girl” spotted the woman, he fled in a car.
Police identified the suspect, Tetsuya Fujisawa, from his car license plate; however, he has denied the charge and said he has no idea what they are talking about.

“Pokemon Go” has established a new US record as the most popular smartphone game.

The augmented reality game was developed by Japan’s Nintendo and other companies. A US research firm says “Pokemon Go” has about 21 million active daily users, surpassing the previous record of 20 million set by Candy Crush.

Players can visit real-life locations to capture virtual pocket monsters, or Pokemon.

Since its US release on July 6th, the number of free downloads has increased at a substantial speed and the game has topped the app charts.

A government survey on living conditions of households in Japan shows that 60 percent of the respondents are having difficulty making ends meet.

The welfare ministry conducted the survey in June and July of last year. More than 46,000 households responded.


Police on Saturday said a Chinese man, who was arrested earlier this month for overstaying his visa, has admitted to putting the body of a Chinese woman in a suitcase and dumping in a canal in Tokyo.

The body of Yang Mei, 34, was found in the suitcase floating in the canal near Tennozu Isle Station in Shinagawa Ward on June 27. Yang had been missing for more than two years.

Police quoted the suspect, in his 30s, was quoted as saying he used to live with Yang. Police said he will be charged with abandoning a corpse.

The corpse, clad in a camisole and short pants, was not badly decomposed when discovered. Reports said the woman had not been dead for long.


Yang came to Japan in September 2013 as a trainee to participate in the government’s Industrial Trainee and Technical Internship Program (TTIP). She was working at an auto-parts plant in Kyoto but disappeared from her dormitory after being seen in its cafeteria in March 2014. She was placed on a missing persons watch list by police in Kyoto.


1)   Reports that Japanese Emperor Akihito intends to abdicate within a few years could re-open debate about female succession, but any such move is likely to provoke strong opposition within the current conservative ruling party.

The 82-year-old monarch, who has had heart surgery and been treated for prostate cancer in recent years, expressed his intention to abdicate in a few years to the Imperial Household Agency, public broadcaster NHK said on Wednesday.

No reason was cited and agency officials later denied the earlier reports.

2)   A gunman at the wheel of a heavy truck plowed into a crowd celebrating Bastille Day in the French city of Nice on Thursday night, killing at least 84 people and injuring scores more in what President Francois Hollande called a terrorist act.

The attacker, identified by a police source as a 31-year-old Tunisian-born Frenchman, also opened fire before police shot him dead. He had been known to the police for common crimes but not to the intelligence services, the source said.

3)   Police in Tokyo said Thursday have arrested an Air Self-Defense Force officer for using his smartphone to film up the skirt of a woman on a train.

According to police, Yukifumi Fujita, 50, a major at an ASDF academy in Meguro Ward, used a smartphone camera inside a bag to film up the skirt of a woman in her 20s on a train on the JR Yamanote line between Shibuya and Ebisu stations at around 5:30 p.m. on Tuesday, Sankei Shimbun reported.

A male passenger saw what Fujita was doing and detained him, police said.

4)   Twenty-one candidates have started official 17-day campaigning for the Tokyo gubernatorial election to be held at the end of this month.

Voters will go to the polls on July 31st to choose a successor to Yoichi Masuzoe. He resigned last month following a scandal over alleged misuse of political funds.

Masuzoe’s predecessor, Naoki Inose, also stepped down because of a political funds scandal.

5)   The Kansai Electric Power Company has appealed against a court injunction that blocks the restart of 2 reactors at its Takahama nuclear plant in central Japan.

On Tuesday the Otsu District Court in Shiga Prefecture issued a fresh injunction to suspend the operations of the No. 3 and No. 4 reactors at the plant in neighboring Fukui Prefecture.

In March, the Otsu District Court issued an injunction to suspend the operations of the 2 reactors. It was the first injunction for reactors in operation. Residents in Shiga Prefecture sought the injunction.
5A)   Japan’s state minister for industry has ruled out the option of sealing off disabled reactors at the Fukushima Daiichi nuclear plant with a Chernobyl-style sarcophagus.

Yosuke Takagi met Fukushima Governor Masao Uchibori in Tokyo on Friday.

Uchibori said he was shocked to hear the word “sarcophagus” and called the option unacceptable.

6)   Japan’s Prime Minister Shinzo Abe plans to use an upcoming summit to urge China to accept a recent ruling by an arbitration tribunal in The Hague regarding its claims in the South China Sea.

Abe will attend the 2-day Asia-Europe Meeting, or ASEM, that opens in the Mongolian capital, Ulan Bator, on Friday.

Abe plans to join other leaders in calling on China to accept the tribunal’s decision for a peaceful settlement of territorial disputes in the South China Sea. The tribunal ruled on Tuesday that there is no legal basis for China’s claims.
7)   People in southwestern Japan are still trying to find places to stay and rebuild their lives 3 months after the first in a series of earthquakes hit the region.

The jolts killed 49 people in Kumamoto Prefecture. An additional 6 were confirmed to have died due to the effects of the quakes, such as physical fatigue from the evacuation. One person remains unaccounted for.

Authorities say that as of Wednesday, 4,692 people remain in shelters. Many others are said to be spending the night in their garages or tents.

Officials say the quakes have affected more than 157,000 houses in the prefecture. More than 34,000 homes were fully or partially damaged.

8)   Japan’s Prime Minister Shinzo Abe has suggested that he will seek approval of the Trans-Pacific Partnership free trade deal at an extra session of the Diet this year.

Abe was speaking to business leaders including Sadayuki Sakakibara, the chair of Japan’s largest business federation, Keidanren.

Japan and 11 other countries signed the TPP last year but none has completed domestic procedures needed for the deal to take effect.

9)   US government officials have launched a challenge against China at the World Trade Organization.

They say China’s export duties on key raw materials impose higher costs and substantial disadvantages on US manufacturers.

US Trade Representative Michael Froman has criticized China for imposing export duties of 5 to 20 percent on 9 raw materials including cobalt, copper and lead.

The USTR says these duties give Chinese manufacturers a competitive advantage by making the materials more expensive for US automakers and aircraft makers.

US trade officials hope to eliminate the duties by first aiming for a negotiated settlement with China.

10)   Japanese automaker Nissan Motor has introduced driver-assist features that enable its new minivan model to handle congested highway traffic on its own.

Nissan showed the minivan equipped with limited autonomous driving technology to media on Wednesday.

The firm said the model has an advanced camera that can recognize other vehicles and white lines between lanes.

The car can accelerate, brake and navigate highway traffic in one lane.