July 15th, 2017


1)   The leader of the junior partner in Japan’s ruling coalition on Friday urged Prime Minister Shinzo Abe to focus on regaining public trust after a slide in his popularity, and said revising the pacifist constitution was not a priority for voters.

2)   A vice minister has given up using a chauffeured official car to take her child to daycare after drawing political flak following a media report, but some working mothers expressed sympathy for the 39-year-old lawmaker.

The Shukan Shincho weekly magazine accused Megumi Kaneko of “mixing up official and private matters” when it reported in late June that she had used an official vehicle to transport her 1-year-old son to his nursery.

3)   The operator of nuclear power plants in South Korea has decided to suspend work on 2 reactors.

Massive amounts of radiation-contaminated water that has been processed and stored in hundreds of tanks at the plant are slowing decommissioning work and are a safety risk in case another massive quake or tsunami strikes. TEPCO needs to release the water – which contains radioactive tritium that is not removable but considered not harmful in small amounts – into the Pacific Ocean,

4)   Researchers say large foreign longhorn beetles are spreading in Japan, causing serious damage to cherry, peach and other fruit trees.

The insect spends a few years within fruit trees such as cherry, peach and plum, eating the wood. Cutting down affected trees alone has not stopped the spread of the species.

Hundreds of highly poisonous fire ants have been found at the port of Yokohama, near Tokyo.

5)   Two Japanese firms have created a self-driving car that can deliver sushi to a hungry customer’s doorstep.

The ever-growing demand for home delivery has left many companies with a problem. They don’t have enough drivers to transport the goods.

6)   The Japanese government has compiled a plan to support domestic cheese makers who are facing increased competition from European products.

Japanese and European Union negotiators reached a broad agreement on an economic partnership agreement last week. Japan will create a quota for European soft cheeses and abolish tariffs over a 15-year period. But Japanese cheese producers are worried about greater competition.

7)   Workers at major firms in Japan won an average monthly pay hike of over 60 dollars for the 4th year in a row.
That’s as a result of annual labor negotiations.

8)   Japan’s Prime Minister Shinzo Abe has said his country will provide aid in the amount of 1.4 billion yen, or about 12.4 million dollars, to Jordan.

9)   The death toll from last week’s record downpour in southwestern Japan has risen to 32.
10)   A US Democratic congressman has submitted a resolution to the House of Representatives to seek the impeachment of President Donald Trump.

11)   One of the biggest icebergs on record has broken off Antarctica, raising fears it could create more flow of ice into the sea and possibly raise the sea level.

12)   North Korea has threatened to retaliate if the United Nations Security Council imposes additional sanctions over its nucleaar and missile programs.

13)   The US government wants to renegotiate its free trade agreement with South Korea. Trade Representative Robert Lightheizer sent a letter to his counterpart in Seoul.

The letter says the US and South Korea are important allies and key trading partners. It says they need free, fair and balanced trade to strengthen the relationship.

It also says the US has real concerns about its significant trade imbalance with South Korea.