1) Japan’s troubled 2020 Olympics will be a success, Tokyo’s new governor insisted Thursday, after she and Prime Minister Shinzo Abe put aside political differences for the good of the Games.
Tokyo’s Olympic preparations have suffered high-profile setbacks including soaring costs, allegations of corruption.
Responsibility for fixing that now lies with Yuriko Koike who became the first woman to be elected chief executive of the megacity at the weekend, in a vote held after the previous governor resigned over a financial scandal.
2) Child abuse in Japan reached its worst level on record in fiscal 2015, with the number of cases handled by welfare officials surpassing 100,000 for the first time, a government survey showed Thursday.
A total of 103,260 cases were handled at child consultation centers nationwide in the year through March, up 16 percent from the year before and marking the 25th consecutive annual increase since the government started taking tallies in fiscal 1990, according to the preliminary report.
3) Tournament officials banned a schoolgirl from a practice game at Koshien Stadium on Tuesday in the lead-up to the 98th National High School Baseball Championship tournament, citing concerns for her safety. The girl, who acts as manager for her high school baseball team, was passing the ball to players on the ground as part of their usual fielding practice, and had been on the field for roughly 10 minutes when tournament officials noticed her and prohibited her from continuing.
4) Emperor Akihito is likely to express his thoughts on his role in a video message Monday amid growing speculation that he is considering abdicating, sources said Thursday.
The Imperial Household Agency is arranging for the 82-year-old emperor’s message to be made public Monday afternoon, the agency sources said, adding he is expected to read out a statement prepared in consultation with senior agency officials.
5) Actress Reiko Takashima, 52, has announced her divorce from former actor Noboru Takachi, 51, who was arrested in June on suspicion of possessing stimulants and marijuana.
Takashima’s agency informed the press in a fax that she had filed for divorce after 17 years of marriage from Takachi whose real name is Joji Osaki. The fax read, “We hope you can understand her decision and continue to warmly watch over her,” Sankei Shimbun reported Tuesday.
6) A rash of thefts around the Haworthia, a popular succulent plant, is taking place in Japan. The plant has been trading at high prices among people who value it recently.
An association of Haworthia lovers in Japan says a pot of Haworthia bred and improved in Japan can be sold online for nearly 1,000 dollars. Some can fetch a price as high as about 10,000 dollars.
7) The International Olympic Committee has approved 5 sports to be added to the Tokyo 2020 Games. IOC officials approved a proposal by the Tokyo organizers on Wednesday.
They agreed to add surfing, skateboarding, karate, sports climbing, plus returning baseball-and-softball.
The new sports will supplement, rather than replace, regular events.
8) Japanese government officials have revealed the details of a stimulus package worth more than 280 billion dollars. They are now working on ways of funding it, as they draw up an extra budget for the current fiscal year.
Officials plan to take about 40 billion dollars out of the general account for the secondary supplementary budget.
From that amount, the government plans to float construction bonds of about 30 billion dollars to bridge a funding gap.
The extra budget will cover a one-time payment of about 150 dollars to people on low incomes.