1) Government narcotics agents have arrested 22 people believed to have formed a “pot community” in depopulated areas in and around Nagano Prefecture, where they hosted music events and allegedly smoked marijuana, the narcotics bureau said Friday.
Narcotics agents from the Kanto-Shinetsu Regional Bureau of the Ministry of Health, Labor and Welfare, whose jurisdiction covers Tokyo and nine surrounding prefectures, coordinated with police from Nagano and Kanagawa prefectures Friday to apprehend the male and female suspects ranging in age from 27 to 64.
2) Japan’s Self-Defense Forces have recalled recruitment flyers that said Defense Minister Tomomi Inada is “not dependable enough,” while highlighting her gender, an SDF provincial office said Friday.
The A4-size advertisement, made by a male SDF member at the office in Odate, Akita Prefecture, said, “Defense Minister Inada is not dependable enough, but we want a dependable person like you to challenge yourself (to a career in the SDF)!” Just after the minister’s name, the word “woman” was inserted in parenthesis.
3) Japan’s consumer prices fell in October, government data showed Friday, extending the longest string of declines in five years and underscoring its struggles to conquer deflation.
The weak inflation data—core prices excluding fresh food fell 0.4 percent from a year ago—come several weeks after Japan’s central bank pushed back the timeline for hitting its 2.0 percent inflation target.
The BOJ’s target is a key part of Prime Minister Shinzo Abe’s faltering bid to pump up the world’s number three economy.
4) Fidel Castro, who led a rebel army to improbable victory in Cuba, embraced Soviet-style communism and defied the power of 10 U.S. presidents during his half century rule, has died at age 90.
With a shaking voice, President Raul Castro said on state television that his older brother died at 10:29 p.m. Friday. He ended the announcement by shouting the revolutionary slogan: “Toward victory, always!”
Castro’s reign over the island-nation 90 miles (145 kilometers) from Florida was marked by the U.S.-backed Bay of Pigs invasion in 1961 and the Cuban Missile Crisis a year later that brought the world to the brink of nuclear war. The bearded revolutionary, who survived a crippling U.S. trade embargo as well as dozens, possibly hundreds, of assassination plots, died 10 years after ill health forced him to hand power over to Raul.
5) U.S. President-elect Donald Trump has said he is going to pull the U.S. out of any further negotiations on the Trans-Pacific Partnership (TPP) pact, while the other 11 nations involved want it to be ratified. Are you for or against the TPP?
6) Japanese Prime Minister Shinzo Abe said on Friday Russia’s deployment of missile systems on islands in the western Pacific isles that are also claimed by Tokyo was “regrettable”.
His comments came less than a month before Russian President Vladimir Putin is to visit Japan for talks aimed at progress on the decades-old territorial row. Moscow has already said it hoped the deployment would not damage efforts to settle the dispute.
7) The Japan High School Baseball Federation (Koyaren) has submitted a proposal to allow girls to take part in baseball practice sessions at Koshien.
The issue of girls being on the field with boys at the National High School Baseball Championship tournament became the focus of media attention last summer when a female baseball team manager from Oita High was warned by tournament organizers for coming onto the field to help at practice sessions.
Tournament regulations specify that only males are allowed to play on the grounds as part of “hazard prevention” measures. The rules also apply to practice sessions.