May13th, 2017


1)   The Japanese government for the first time has released a nationwide list of over 300 companies that have violated labor laws, hoping this name-and-shame tactic would help eliminate abuses and prevent karoshi, or death by overwork.

Major companies such as advertising agency Dentsu Inc and electronics maker Panasonic Corp are named for illegal overtime, and a local unit of Japan Post, a subsidiary of Japan Post Holdings Co, is mentioned for failing to report a work-related injury.

2)    A man has been sentenced to 30 months in prison for causing the death of a woman in Kasugai, Aichi Prefecture, last August while playing Pokemon Go as he was driving.

The Nagoya District Court ruled that 27-year-old Yusuke Okuyama from Toki in neighboring Gifu Prefecture was giving his attention to his smartphone when his car hit the 29-year-old Vietnamese woman.

3)   Police in Tokyo have arrested an unemployed 31-year-old man on suspicion of theft after he was caught stealing a wallet from a woman’s tote bag on a train.

According to police, the suspect, Nobutaka Ando, stole the wallet, containing 18,000 yen. Police said Ando may be responsible for at least 21 pickpocketing cases on the Saiko Line this year.

4)   Rice planting for commercial sales began on Wednesday in a village in Fukushima Prefecture for the first time since the disaster at the Fukushima Daiichi nuclear power plant in 2011.

5)   Police say 85 million yen in cash, or about 750,000 dollars, was stolen from a safe in a police station in the city of Hiroshima, western Japan. Police say confiscated evidence is normally kept in a safe in the investigators’ division, but in this case, the cash was stored in a bigger safe in the accounting division, as the amount was large.

6)   The youngest-ever professional player of the Japanese board game shogi, 14-year-old Sota Fujii, has stretched his run of official consecutive victories to a fresh record of 17.

Fujii made headlines last month when he broke an earlier record of 10 straight wins in the game, which is often called Japan’s version of chess. Since then he has continued to dominate.

On Friday, Fujii beat Kazuhiro Nishikawa, a shogi master who holds the rank of 6th dan, to notch his 17th win.

7)   Tokyo police have raided the headquarters of a yakuza crime syndicate in the western prefecture of Hyogo in connection with an extortion case.

About 30 investigators conducted a search of the headquarters of the Kobe Yamaguchi-gumi on Friday.
The group, which was formed in 2015, is an offshoot of Japan’s largest crime syndicate, the Yamaguchi-gumi.

8)   New Zealand has ratified the Trans-Pacific Partnership free trade agreement, becoming the second country to do so after Japan.

9)   The head of a Chinese-led development bank says it wants to cooperate with the region’s long-established lender, the Asian Development Bank.

Asian Infrastructure Investment Bank President Jin Liqun attended a meeting of the World Economic Forum in Cambodia on Thursday.

Jin said his bank was not created to be a rival of the ADB. He added that he believes the 2 lenders can share responsibilities and work together. The ADB promotes health and education, while the AIIB focuses on support for infrastructure.

10)   Japan’s central government debt stood at a record 1,071.56 trillion yen ($9.4 trillion) at the end of fiscal 2016 in March, the Finance Ministry said Wednesday. The amount owed per person came to approximately 8.45 million yen, based on Japan’s estimated population of 126.79 million as of April 1.

11)   Thousands of people took part in a parade in Tokyo’s Shibuya district Sunday to raise awareness of issues related to lesbian, gay, bisexual and transgender people, marching on along busy shopping streets led by a float decorated in rainbow colors about 6,000 participated.

12)   The United States cannot continue to run huge trade deficits with major trading partners, Commerce Secretary Wilbur Ross said following the release of data showing the U.S. merchandise trade deficit with Japan hit a nine-year high in March. “The United States can no longer sustain this inflated trade deficit with Japan.

13)   JR East will open a prayer room within Tokyo Station’s premises due to an increase in travelers from Muslim countries, notably Southeast Asia.

14)   More Japanese Ground Self-Defense Force troops left Juba, South Sudan, on Thursday, to return to Japan.

Their departure is part of the process to end their five-year participation in the ongoing U.N. peacekeeping mission.