1) US President Donald Trump says his country will withdraw from the Paris Agreement on climate change.
Trump said he will keep his promise to US taxpayers. He referred to the largest emitter China and said the Paris deal is unfair to the US as it allows other countries to continue to pollute at a greater rate.
2) A US Defense Department official has expressed confidence about establishing a missile defense system capable of handling threats from North Korea and Iran.
The Pentagon announced on Tuesday that an interceptor launched from Vandenberg Air Force Base in California successfully shot down a mock-up of an intercontinental ballistic missile.
3) Japanese police have arrested 5 women for allegedly trying to smuggle gold from South Korea through an airport in central Japan.
Police say the women arrived at Chubu international airport last December with about 30 kilograms of gold bars hidden in pockets sewn inside their clothes.
The gold is said to be worth about 1.2 million dollars.
Police believe the women were serving as couriers for the ringleader, thought to be a South Korean woman, who allegedly purchased the gold in Hong Kong.
4) The Japan Coast Guard has arrested 5 Japanese and 3 Chinese men on suspicion of smuggling what appears to be over 200 kilograms of gold bullion into the country.
Coast Guard officials say they believe the owner of the small boat used by the suspects is Yasuaki Saito, a resident of the city of Iki in Nagasaki Prefecture.
Saito and the 7 others allegedly unloaded about 206 kilograms of cargos believed to be gold at a fishing port in the city of Karatsu in Saga Prefecture on Wednesday.
5) The UN Human Rights Council released on Wednesday a report compiled by Special Rapporteur David Kaye. He is a professor at the University of California.
Kaye notes that Japanese media face direct and indirect pressure from government officials, urging the government to strengthen media independence.
6) The job interview season has officially started in Japan, as next spring’s graduates begin the task of landing a job with a major firm.
The season is scheduled according to guidelines set by the Japan Business Federation, or Keidanren.
University students are pressing their suits and polishing their interview skills.
7) A government advisory panel on education reform proposed to Prime Minister Shinzo Abe on Thursday steps to ease the workload of teachers in Japan and boost community and parent involvement with schools, amid concerns about overwork.
The panel is recommending introducing a “Teachers’ Day,” designed to make local communities more aware and involved in tasks handled by teachers.
8) Japan’s health ministry on Friday abandoned its plan to completely ban smoking in restaurants as part of measures to lower cancer risks, yielding to a ruling party proposal advocating smokers’ rights.
The Ministry of Health, Labor and Welfare will still aim to fully eliminate smoking in government offices and medical institutions, its officials said, as the host country of the 2020 Olympics and Paralympics seeks to implement tighter measures to counter passive smoking.
9) Apple is preparing to launch a connected speaker to serve as a smart home assistant in a challenge to Amazon Echo and Google Home, a news report says.
The speaker powered by Apple’s digital assistant Siri may be unveiled at the annual Worldwide Developers Conference next week in Silicon Valley, Bloomberg News reported Thursday.
10) Price hikes for a number of items went into effect in Japan on Thursday, among them beer, butter and postcards.
The new law will require mass merchandisers to raise the price of beer and happoshu (low-malt beer-like beverages) by about 10%.