1) Former Tokyo Gov Shintaro Ishihara urged incumbent Gov Yuriko Koike on Friday to relocate the aging Tsukiji wholesale market to a nearby site without further delays, criticizing her reservations about the long-stalled project.
“She should be held responsible for wasting money,” Ishihara told the Japan National Press Club, referring to the running costs for the unused relocation facility in the Toyosu area which used to host a gas production plant.
2) A bill that would make Saitama Prefecture the first local government in Japan to charge for helicopter mountain rescue operations was submitted to the prefectural assembly Thursday.
3) In March, housing subsidies run out for those who fled the Fukushima nuclear disaster from areas other than the government-designated evacuation zones, and as the clock ticks down, they have had to decide whether to return or move once again.
Many of these so-called voluntary evacuees are mothers concerned to avoid any risk to their children’s health, with the fathers remaining back in Fukushima Prefecture, according to freelance journalist Chia Yoshida.
5) Prime Minister Shinzo Abe said Thursday he does not intend to start a probe into the government or his ruling Liberal Democratic Party as questions mount over their possible roles in a controversial sale of government-owned land in Osaka.
6) The Japanese government pension fund said Friday it posted a record investment profit of 10.50 trillion yen ($91.90 billion) in the October-December period, boosted by a rally in stocks at home and abroad following Donald Trump’s victory in the U.S. presidential election last November.
The Government Pension Investment Fund, the world’s largest pension fund, logged the biggest investment profit for a quarter since fiscal 2001, when it started managing its investments on its own.
7) With a month to go this fiscal year, Japan’s installation of new wind power capacity in 2016-17 is set to come in almost double that of the previous 12 months, propelled by higher tariffs guaranteed by Tokyo and a rising number of offshore wind farms.
8) A North Korean envoy rejected a Malaysian autopsy finding that VX nerve agent killed Kim Jong Nam, saying Thursday the man probably died of a heart attack because he suffered from heart disease, diabetes and high blood pressure. Malaysia dismissed the claim.
9) Prime Minister Shinzo Abe said Monday it was inappropriate that a kindergarten in Osaka run by a controversial school operator made children cheer for him during a sports event.
“I have no intention whatsoever of making a kindergarten say (such a thing). I think it is inappropriate,” Four preschoolers raised their right hands and shouted twice, “Go fight, Prime Minister Abe.”
Video footage showed the children also saying, “Adults should protect the Senkaku Islands and Takeshima. Chinese and South Korean people who treat Japan as a bad (country) should amend their minds.” They also said, “The passage through the Diet of the security legislation was good.”
10) Smartphones have become a mine of personal information, holding bank data, credit card information and addresses, making them the preferred target for cybercriminals, experts warn.
“Cybercriminals go where there is value, and they have understood that the smartphone has become the preferred terminal for online shopping and payment,” said Tanguy de Coatpont, Mobile World Congress in Barcelona.
11) SpaceX plans to launch two paying passengers on a tourist trip around the moon next year using a spaceship under development for NASA astronauts and a heavy-lift rocket yet to be flown.
The launch of the first privately funded tourist flight beyond the orbit of the International Space Station is tentatively targeted for late 2018, Space Exploration Technologies Chief Executive Elon Musk told reporters on a conference call.
12) The Japanese government is planning to reduce penalties for those who plot serious crimes like terrorism but turn themselves in before actually committing them under a contentious anti-conspiracy bill it is preparing, sources close to the matter say.
The government plans to submit the bill to the ongoing Diet session to amend the law on organized crime to criminalize the act of making preparations for terrorism.
13) Japanese Deputy Prime Minister Taro Aso says he’s in the process of arranging his first round of economic talks with US Vice President Mike Pence for mid-April.
Prime Minister Shinzo Abe and President Donald Trump agreed in February to launch dialogue between their deputies to deepen economic relations.
14) A campaign to boycott Lotte Group’s products is growing in China in opposition to the planned installation of an advanced US missile defense system in South Korea.
The protest began when the South Korean government said on Tuesday that it officially acquired a golf course in the country’s south from Lotte Group as a site for deployment of the system.
Seoul says it will install the Terminal High Altitude Area Defense, or THAAD, system this year to boost its defense against nuclear and missile threats from North Korea.
15) Police in Japan have arrested an environment ministry official for alleged bribery over decontamination work following the Fukushima Daiichi nuclear disaster.
Fifty-six-year-old Yuji Suzuki, who works at a ministry sub-branch in the prefecture, is suspected of helping a construction company land such work in exchange for wining and dining.
Fukushima and Tokyo police found that Suzuki was provided entertainment at hostess bars and a free trip worth about 1,750 US dollars from the construction firm in Toyama Prefecture.