1) The head of Japanese automaker Subaru bowed deeply in apology Friday as the company admitted that it has been carrying out flawed inspections of its Japan-made cars for years.
2) The number of reported bullying cases at Japanese schools hit a record high of more than 320,000 in the 2016 academic year due partly to efforts to detect early signs, the education ministry says.
Altogether 323,808 bullying cases at elementary, junior high and high schools were reported, up 43.8% from a year before, with the figure for elementary schools jumping 1.5-fold. 90.6% of the total cases had been resolved.
3) A Japanese teenager is suing the government of Osaka, saying her public high school repeatedly forced her to dye her naturally-brown hair black or be banned from attending school, local media reported on Friday.
In a lawsuit filed in Osaka District Court, the 18-year-old girl said her mother informed Kaifukan School in Habikino city upon her enrolment that she was born with brownish hair, as the school had a policy banning hair coloring, media reported.
Educators, however, instructed her to color her hair black, telling her repeatedly that the dye job was insufficient and forcing her to “either dye the hair black or quit school”, Kyodo news reported, citing the lawsuit.
4) Japan’s Nikkei share average rose more than 1% to a fresh 21-year high on Friday, led by banking shares as U.S. yields remained high and by tech shares after their U.S. counterparts posted strong earnings.
5) Approximately 1,000 apples were stolen earlier this week from an orchard in Hirosaki City, Aomori Prefecture, shortly after they were picked.
According to police, at around 4:30 p.m. on Oct 24, the owner of the orchard reported that 1,000 Fuji apples awaiting their scheduled shipment had been stolen, Fuji TV reported. The stolen apples are worth about 40,000 yen
6) Prime Minister Shinzo Abe on Thursday called for pay hikes through negotiations between management and labor unions next spring, making such a request for the fifth straight year to inject fresh momentum into wage growth.
“I hope to see wages raised by 3% in next spring’s wage talks,” Abe told a government panel meeting at his office. It’s rare for the prime minister to refer to a specific number for wage increase.
7) Don’t want Amazon boxes sitting on the porch? The company hopes you’ll let a stranger inside to drop them off.
Amazon said Wednesday it’ll launch a service called Amazon Key next month that will let people allow the door to be unlocked when they’re not there so packages can be left inside.
The proposal drew plenty of humorous reactions on social media, as well as concerns about safety or delivery employees being mistaken for intruders. Amazon said the drivers would be well-vetted, while one expert said the company has built up trust with customers and younger customers were more likely to try it out.
8) With the arrival of the cold-and-cough season, you may be thinking about cooking up a big batch of chicken soup as a cure for what ails us.
I love the stuff, too, but I suggest you stock up on some fresh ginger root instead. Ginger, of course, is one of the many flavors to be found in a stir-fry Asian dish or Indian curry. But used in larger quantities than specified for those recipes, it can become quite spicy. Of all the home remedies out there, I have found tea, prepared with fresh ginger, to be the most effective.
9) Percent of men who favor the addition of male-only trains cars
● Age 20-29: 66 percent
● Age 30-39: 51 percent
● Age 40-49: 47 percent
● Age 50-59: 38 percent
Percent of women who favor the addition of male-only trains cars
● Age 20-29: 58 percent
● Age 30-39: 53 percent
● Age 40-49: 63 percent
● Age 50-59: 57 percent
10) The regional parliament of Catalonia has voted to unilaterally declare independence from Spain. The move comes after voters overwhelmingly chose to break away in a referendum earlier this month.
The 135-member Catalan parliament reconvened a plenary session on Friday to discuss the issue. 70 voted in favor, 10 were against and 2 submitted blank ballots.
Meanwhile, the upper house of Spain’s parliament authorized Spanish Prime Minister Mariano Rajoy to impose direct rule on Catalonia. Rajoy says he will first dismiss Catalan President Carles Puigdemont.
11) US President Donald Trump has stressed that he will be working to solve the problems of North Korea’s missile and nuclear threats.
Trump spoke in an interview with FOX TV on Wednesday, ahead of his visit to Japan, South Korea and China from November 5th.
He said he hopes his Asian tour will be historic and positive. He said they have to solve the North Korea issue, which he said is a very big problem. Trump said he will get it solved.
12) Malicious software has been used to launch a massive cyber-attack against computers in Russia and Ukraine.
Russian media outlets say the malware took down the country’s Interfax news agency on Tuesday.
The attack also affected Ukraine’s Odessa airport and Kiev’s subway system. Flights were delayed, as staff members had to handle boarding procedures manually.
Bulgaria, Germany, and Turkey were similarly targeted.
An expert at the Israeli information security firm Kela says the malware, called BadRabbit, locks computers using encryption and demands a ransom for their release.
13) A driverless bus has taken to the roads in the southeastern German state of Bavaria.
The first self-driving shuttle service in Germany, operated by state-owned rail company Deutsche Bahn, started in Bad Birnbach, a spa resort with a population of about 6,000, on Wednesday.
The small, 6-seat electric vehicle developed by a French startup doesn’t have a driver’s wheel. It detects its surrounding environment with sensors and relies on GPS to confirm where it is running.
The bus shuttles some 700 meters linking the town center and spas at a speed of less than 15 kilometers per hour.
14) Kobe Steel says its JIS or Japanese Industrial Standards certificate has been revoked for some products at a subsidiary for data falsification.
Its officials said on Thursday that quality control authorities Japan Quality Assurance Organization removed the certification for some copper products.
15) A private study group says economic losses from unclaimed land in Japan last year amount to about 1.6 billion dollars.
When legal heirs or other successors fail to register their ownership of estates, their land becomes unclaimed.
The group estimated in June that Japan’s unclaimed land totaled about 4.1 million hectares. That’s equivalent in size to the southwestern island of Kyushu.
16) Japan’s Finance Ministry has presented a plan to review and curb medical and other social security expenses in forming the fiscal 2018 budget.
Medical, nursing and other social security expenses account for about one-third of government spending. The plan proposes an additional increase in the 10 percent ceiling on co-payment for seniors aged 75 or older. It says the ceiling should be reviewed in fiscal 2019 or after. The government hopes to gradually raise the ceiling to 20 percent.
17) Japan’s opposition party Hope led by Tokyo Governor Yuriko Koike has decided not to name a co-leader for the time being in the wake of their setback in Sunday’s general election.
The decision comes after Koike said she will remain party president while serving as Tokyo governor
18) The leader of Japan’s opposition Democratic Party, Seiji Maehara, has expressed his intention to resign from the post.
19) Japan’s Emperor Akihito and Empress Michiko have visited victims of torrential rains in northern Kyushu, western Japan, where more than 1,000 people are still living in temporary housing 3 months after the disaster struck.
20) The Tokyo Metropolitan Police Department is tightening security in the capital ahead of US President Donald Trump’s visit next month.
Trump will arrive in Tokyo on November 5th. The president’s 3-day trip to Japan is part of his Asian tour.