1) Torrential rains continue to batter western Japan for a third day. Eleven people are dead and at least 14 are missing.
Over 54,000 residents were ordered to evacuate their homes while thousands of rescuers search for survivors.
Parts of Fukuoka prefecture, on the island of Kyushu, were hit by over 600 millimeters of rain in 2 days, almost double the amount that usually falls in all of July.
2) A shipment of reprocessed nuclear fuel destined for a Japanese power plant has left France.
Two specially fitted vessels left the port of Cherbourg, northwestern France, on Wednesday.
French nuclear energy firm Areva manufactured the MOX, or mixed oxide, fuel, a mixture of uranium and plutonium reprocessed from spent nuclear fuel.
The fuel is to be used in the No. 4 reactor at the Takahama nuclear plant, which Kansai Electric Power Company restarted in May.
3) Japan’s defense minister has defended her temporary absence from her office while Self-Defense Force personnel engaged in rescue operations in rain-devastated northern Kyushu, western Japan.
Japan’s Meteorological Agency had issued for parts of the region emergency heavy rain warnings, which are issued for disasters that could occur only once every few decades.
Tomomi Inada left the ministry for about an hour around noon on Thursday to attend a defense policy seminar.
4) A single poisonous fire ant has been found at Tokyo Port. It was in a shipping container that arrived from China.
The ant was found during an inspection at a port wharf on Monday. An analysis by the Environment Ministry has confirmed that it was a fire ant. Officials have no reports of anyone being stung by the ant.
5) Japan and the European Union have reached a broad deal on an Economic Partnership Agreement that would affect about 30 percent of the world’s gross domestic product.
The EPA is the first of its kind among large, advanced economies, and would be one of Japan’s biggest trade deals.
6) Japan’s tax revenue for the fiscal year that ended in March dropped for the first time in 7 years.
The Finance Ministry says total revenue came to nearly 55.5 trillion yen, or about 490 billion dollars. That’s down 1.5 percent from the figure for the previous year.
Corporate tax income dropped 4.6 percent. The stronger yen has dampened corporate earnings. Revenues from income and consumption taxes both fell 1.1 percent.
One economist says the drop in revenue has brought Prime Minister Shinzo Abe’s economic policies to a crossroads.
7) Anti-capitalist protesters have clashed with police in Hamburg ahead of the G20 summit that opens on Friday. Authorities say more than 70 police officers were injured.
Police say about 12,000 people took part in a rally at a port on the Elbe River on Thursday.
8) A United Nations conference is expected to adopt a final draft on Friday of a legally binding treaty to ban nuclear weapons.
Conference President Elayne Whyte Gomez presented the final draft on Thursday to the 129 non-nuclear countries taking part in the negotiations at the UN headquarters in New York.
9) A United Nations conference is expected to adopt a final draft on Friday of a legally binding treaty to ban nuclear weapons.
Conference President Elayne Whyte Gomez presented the final draft on Thursday to the 129 non-nuclear countries taking part in the negotiations.
10) Leaders of the Group of 20 economies have opened their summit in Germany, with free trade and climate change among the key issues.
German Chancellor Angela Merkel welcomed the leaders in the northern city of Hamburg on Friday. Merkel will chair the 2-day summit.
The leaders will discuss terrorism, the world economy and trade, as well as climate change on the first day.
A key focus is whether the G20 can issue a clear message in support of free trade for sustainable growth, amid rising protectionism.