1) Akira Shimizu, an actor and celebrity impressionist, apologised at a news conference in Tokyo on Thursday night after his son Ryotaro, 29, was arrested earlier in the day on suspicion of violating the Stimulants Control Law.
2) Police on Wednesday arrested a 66-year-old man on suspicion of violating the Public Election Law after he assaulted a candidate for the Oct 22 lower house election while he was giving a public speech in Kashiwa, Chiba Prefecture.
According to police, Yoshio Amano approached Yoshitaka Sakurada who was campaigning in front of Kashiwa Station at around 7 p.m. Wednesday and hit him in the head, Sankei Shimbun reported. Nearby staff subdued Amano and called police.
Sakurada, a member of Japan’s ruling Liberal-Democratic Party (LDP), was not injured, police said.
3) A man serving a 10-year jail term for attempted murder has confessed to murdering another woman in 2006, saying he “has changed his mind to repent after falling sick,” investigative sources said.
Hirokazu Suzuki, 37, who is suffering from a cerebral infarction, was arrested Tuesday on suspicion of stabbing Yuri Kuronuma, 27, in Kawasaki, near Tokyo in September 2006.
4) A key member of an international organization that won this year’s Nobel Peace Prize has criticized the Japanese government for effectively ignoring a landmark U.N. treaty that outlaws nuclear weapons.
5) Bank of Japan Governor Haruhiko Kuroda on Thursday stressed the central bank’s resolve to maintain its ultra-loose monetary policy, even as its U.S. and European counterparts begin to dial back their massive, crisis-mode monetary stimulus.
Kuroda offered an upbeat view of Japan’s economy, saying it was expanding moderately with rising incomes leading to higher corporate and household spending.
But he said inflation and wage growth were disappointingly low, despite such improvements in the economy.
6) Shares in Japan’s Kobe Steel dived on Friday on a report that its widening quality scandal has spread to more than 30 foreign customers, including Boeing, General Motors, and French automaker PSA.
The embarrassing scandal for Kobe Steel — a venerable firm that once employed Prime Minister Shinzo Abe — has already hit wide sections of Japanese industry, including automakers Toyota, Nissan and Honda which used the affected materials in their vehicles.
7) The United States said Thursday that it was pulling out of the U.N.’s culture and education body, accusing it of “anti-Israel bias” in a move criticised by the head of the Paris-based organisation.
8) Gun control in Japan, combined with the prevailing respect for authority, has led to a more harmonious relationship between civilians and the police than in the U.S. The Japanese police, in choosing to use sub-lethal force on people, generate less widespread fear among the public that they’ll be shot. In turn, people feel less of a need to arm themselves.
The U.S., meanwhile, has a more militarized police force that uses automatic weapons. There is also less widespread trust between people (and between people and institutions). The factors combine to produce a much fearful culture that can seem to be always on edge.
9) Prime Minister Shinzo Abe’s snap election gamble looked like paying off after media forecasts showed his ruling bloc heading for a surprisingly big win, possibly enough to re-energise his push to revise Japan’s post-World War Two pacifist constitution.
10) Yuriko Koike says she went into politics to be a player, not a bystander.
Now Tokyo’s first female governor is shaking things up as her new Party of Hope challenges Prime Minister Shinzo Abe’s ruling bloc in an Oct 22 poll, called by the Japanese leader to seek a fresh mandate after nearly five years in office.
11) Wildfires continue to ravage northern California in the United States, killing 31 people over the past 4 days. California State officials say the fires that started on Sunday have burned about 77,000 hectares of land, mainly in the wine-producing counties of Sonoma and Napa.
They say about 3,500 homes and stores have been destroyed and that more than 20,000 people have been evacuated. Local media are calling the wildfires the deadliest in the state’s history.
12) The Spanish prime minister has demanded that the leader of Catalonia clarify by next Monday whether he declared independence from Spain.
13) An Iraqi court has issued arrest warrants for the members of the Kurdish electoral commission that organized last month’s independence referendum. The Kurdish regional government unilaterally conducted the referendum on September 25th, despite objections from Iraq’s central government as well as neighboring Turkey and Iran, and the United States.
The majority of voters supported the independence of the Kurdish autonomous region from Iraq in the poll. The regional government says it wants to proceed with negotiations with the central government for independence, based on the referendum. But the government in Baghdad regards the referendum as invalid.
14) A record-high 2.47 million foreigners were living in Japan at the end of June.
The Justice Ministry’s Immigration Bureau says the number of foreign residents was 2,471,458
15) Tokyo’s benchmark stock index ended on Friday above the 21,100 mark for the first time in nearly 21 years, on expectations for strong Japanese corporate earnings.
16) Japan’s big brewers are struggling to reverse a decline in their business. They say a change to the pricing law and cooler weather led to record low summer shipments.
The top five brewers say, from July to September, combined shipments of beer and beer-like drinks came to just over 1.3 million kiloliters.
That figure is down 4.2 percent from the previous year and represents a 7th consecutive year of decline.
17) Tokyo’s Haneda Airport is set to introduce Japan’s first unmanned immigration gates as it moves to free up customs officers to handle the growing number of international tourists.
The Justice Ministry’s Immigration Bureau on Friday held a demonstration of the machines’ facial recognition technology. The bureau plans to start operating 3 gates for Japanese citizens next Wednesday.
18) Australia’s government says it will not allow entry of North Korea’s under-19 soccer team for a championship qualifier next month because of Pyongyang’s continued nuclear and missile development.