1) The wait is over for Pokemon Go fans in Japan.
Players began tweeting about it as soon as it was available Friday morning, and the Pokemon Co and the developer of the augmented reality game, U.S.-based Niantic Inc, confirmed its launch.
Pokemon Go is expected to be a huge hit in Japan, the country of the character’s birth.
2) When Saori Ito went on maternity leave last year and stopped getting a regular paycheck from her cosmetics company, she became worried about her future – and wondered if this kind of anxiety is what awaits her after retirement.
The 34-year-old married mother of a one-year-old girl had doubts about the government’s ability to fund retirement for Japan’s growing ranks of elderly in the world’s oldest population.
So she set up a private, self-managed pension account.
Japan’s government loosened laws on pensions in May, allowing almost all working-age Japanese to join private defined-contribution retirement plans – similar to individual retirement accounts (IRAs) in the United States that allow workers to make regular contributions to an investment fund with tax breaks.
3) Declaring America in crisis, Donald Trump pledged to cheering Republicans and still-skeptical voters Thursday night that as president he will restore the safety they fear they’re losing, strictly curb immigration and save the nation from Hillary Clinton’s record of “death, destruction, terrorism and weakness.”
4) Is Honda’s walking robot Asimo marrying Pepper, the chattering robot from SoftBank?
Automaker Honda Motor Co. and internet company SoftBank said Thursday they will work together on artificial intelligence to develop products with sensors and cameras that can converse with drivers.
Asimo, first shown in 1996, walks, runs, dances and grips things.
Pepper, which went on sale last year, doesn’t have legs but is programmed to recognize mood swings in people it interacts with.
Major automakers and technology companies are interested in robotics to improve driving safety and comfort.
5) The number of criminal cases detected by police in Japan in the January-June period fell 9.3% from a year earlier to 488,900, the lowest since 1989 when data for the half-year period became available, a preliminary report from the National Police Agency said Thursday.
The figure is well below that of the first half of 2015 when the police detected 538,778 crimes. The number of crimes for the whole of 2015 hit a postwar low of 1,098,969.
NPA chief Masahito Kanetaka told a press conference, “I believe a wide range of measures taken by the public and private sectors together for crime prevention are achieving effects.” An agency official attributed the decline also to measures taken against street crimes including installations of security cameras.
6) The European Central Bank has decided not to alter its monetary policy while it waits to observe the longer-term impact of Britain’s vote to leave the European Union.
The bank’s policy board members met on Thursday in Frankfurt.
They opted to leave the main interest rate at 0 percent, and the bank deposit rate at minus 0.4 percent.
7) Executives at Japanese telecom operator Softbank and Honda Motor say they are going to start joint research on artificial intelligence for vehicles.
Softbank Group officials say the companies will develop voice interaction technology that enables AI-equipped cars to understand the driver’s emotions.
8) Japan’s central government has filed a fresh lawsuit against the Okinawa prefectural government over the planned relocation of a US base within the southwestern prefecture. The move is likely to intensify the clash over the relocation.
The central government plans to move the US Marine Corps Futenma Air Station from a densely populated area in the city of Ginowan to the less-populated Henoko district in Nago City. The Okinawa prefectural government opposes the plan.
9) North Korea says it has carried out a firing drill of ballistic rockets, simulating preemptive strikes on South Korea.
The North’s state-run media reported on Wednesday that the nation’s leader Kim Jong Un ordered the drill by the Strategic Force of the Korean People’s Army.
10) IEC Corp has officially announced that the Samurai Studio will open again in Asakusa, Tokyo, for a limited time this summer, following a successful project in the spring.
IEC, which has been providing educational services to the business community in Japan for the last 60 years, says the idea of the Samurai Studio is to provide an authentic cultural experience for foreign tourists. This time, the price has been reduced to 30,000 yen from 36,000 yen (not including tax) for two persons.
Guests will be able to dress up in samurai armor and pose for photos. The armor the studio will offer is authentic and used in TV period dramas on NHK.