1) Game geeks with a heart for digital romance have something to celebrate as sensual, soft-spoken cyber women are blurring the line between reality and fantasy at the Tokyo Game Show.
Virtual reality took center stage at the annual exhibition Thursday, with Sony Interactive Entertainment showcasing PlayStationVR (PSVR), a much-anticipated head-mounted display debuting next month.
Dozens of software titles for the device are in the pipeline, allowing players to fly like an eagle, drive sports cars in high-speed races, and explore castles.
Gamers can also indulge in fantasy by flirting with virtual females thanks to increasingly realistic VR technology.
2) A Japanese court on Friday ruled against Okinawa Gov Takeshi Onaga’s move to block the relocation of a key U.S. air base within the island prefecture, making the first judicial judgment on the high-profile dispute between Tokyo and Okinawa that is certain to be appealed by the prefectural government.
The Naha branch of the Fukuoka High Court determined that it was “illegal” for Onaga last October to revoke his predecessor’s approval for landfill work required for the controversial plan to move the U.S. Marine Corps Air Station Futenma from a crowded residential area to the less populated Henoko coastal area of Nago.
3) The Tokyo Taxation Bureau has imposed about 12 billion yen in additional tax on a Japan subsidiary of Apple Inc in connection with iTunes Store software sales profits, sources familiar with the matter said Friday.
The tax authority says iTunes K.K., located in Tokyo’s Minato Ward, should have paid taxes on some 60 billion yen in software sales profits it transferred over two years to 2014 to an Apple subsidiary in Ireland that holds the software copyright, they said.
4) The number of child abuse cases Japanese police reported to child consultation centers between January and June rose to a record 24,511, with psychological abuse covering nearly 70% of the cases, police data showed Thursday.
The abuse of minors aged below 18 was up 42.3% from the same period last year, exceeding 20,000 for the first time since half-yearly comparable data became available in 2011, according to the National Police Agency.
5) Tokyo Gov Yuriko Koike announced on Wednesday a new plan to reduce overtime work, stating that Tokyo would be the frontier to enhanced working conditions.
Koike called for the Tokyo Metropolitan Government (“Tocho”) staff to aim for zero overtime work, which she said was a long existing issue in Japanese society that leads to not only health problems but also decreased time for workers to to spend with their families, Fuji TV reported.
The governor plans to make 8 p.m. the latest anyone should be working, and in so doing, will be appointing a “Tocho Overtime Prevention Team” in each department and organizing “Overtime Reduction Marathons” where lights will be turned off in order to encourage staff to go home. She said strict monitoring will take place for staff who leave after 8 p.m.
6) The Democratic Party selected acting leader Renho as its new chief Thursday, making the 48-year-old third-term member of the House of Councillors the first woman to head Japan’s main opposition party.
After easily defeating her competitors, the former administrative reform minister pledged to turn around the largest opposition party, which is doing poorly in opinion polls.
Renho edged out former Foreign Minister Seiji Maehara and lower house lawmaker Yuichiro Tamaki despite fumbling questions over her dual nationality toward the end of the two-week leadership race.
7) In Japan, it’s called “shinrin-yoku,” which translates as forest bathing. It’s the practice of immersing yourself in nature to improve your well-being, and interest in the concept is growing, with spas, resorts, retreat centers, gardens and parks offering guided “forest bathing” experiences.
These programs take participants into the woods for a slow, mindful walk to contemplate nature with all the senses. It’s not a hike, because you don’t go far or fast. And while the term forest bathing may lend itself to jokes about nude hot springs, rest assured: You don’t take off your clothes.
8) What do you think of the quality of school education in Japan? If you have a child at school, are you happy with that school?
9) Japan will step up its activity in the contested South China Sea through joint training patrols with the United States and bilateral and multilateral exercises with regional navies, Japanese Defense Minister Tomomi Inada said on Thursday.
10) Japan’s public spending on education ranked the second lowest among 33 comparable member countries of the Organization for Economic Cooperation and Development, an OECD report for 2013 showed Thursday.
Japan narrowly avoided the last place which it saw in 2012 as the ratio of its educational expenditure to gross domestic product stood at 3.2%, a tad higher than Hungary’s 3.1%.
The average ratio of such public spending-to-GDP among OECD countries was 4.5%, with Norway leading the list at 6.2%, followed by Denmark at 6.1% and Belgium, Finland and Iceland tying at 5.6%.
Japan’s total public and private funding on education per child was, however, found to be higher than the OECD average given higher costs on universities and kindergartens in Japan.