1) Police arrested a 28-year-old man in Tokyo on Wednesday on suspicion of attempting to murder a teenage girl he became acquainted with on social media who was contemplating suicide, in a reminder of mass murders that shocked Japan last fall.
The suspect admitted to the allegations, saying he tried to kill her because she “asked for” it, they said.
A 32-year-old man has been arrested on suspicion of robbery after drugging a high school girl with sleep-inducing pills last month at a love hotel in Nagareyama, Chiba Prefecture. According to police, the suspect, Isamu Miura, visited the hotel with the 18-year-old girl on Dec 3, Fuji TV reported. The two became acquainted through an online dating site last year.
2) A Japanese man was stabbed to death and two other men were injured in separate attacks on the streets of Ireland Wednesday. Police investigating the incidents said terrorism is one line of inquiry.
Police said an 18-year-old Egyptian national has been arrested and detained at the Dundalk Police Station in the Republic of Ireland just south of the border with Northern Ireland.
3) The Nikkei stock index surged over 3% to end at a 26-year high on Thursday, the first trading day of 2018, as solid manufacturing data from the United States and China reinforced optimism about the world economy.
4) A group of multiparty lawmakers will submit to the Diet this year a bill aimed at dealing with Japan’s low representation of women in politics, which puts the country near the bottom of global rankings on the issue, political sources said Wednesday.
However, the bill will only ask political parties to “make efforts” to field men and women in equal numbers as candidates in national and local elections, and will not penalize its violators.
5) US President Donald Trump renewed his support for protesters in Iran on Wednesday, tweeting that he praises its people as they try to take back their corrupt government.
He also tweeted they will see great support from the United States at the appropriate time.
6) US President Donald Trump has threatened to cut off financial aid to the Palestinian Authority.
Trump on Tuesday tweeted that Washington pays the Palestinians hundreds of millions of dollars a year and gets no appreciation or respect.
He also tweeted, “With the Palestinians no longer willing to talk peace, why should we make any of these massive future payments to them?”
7) Councilors of the Japan Sumo Association have demoted stablemaster Takanohana from the post of director over his handling of an assault scandal.
A court in Japan has fined former sumo grand champion Harumafuji 500,000 yen, or about 4,400 dollars for assaulting and injuring a lower-ranked wrestler.
8) Japanese pro tennis player Kei Nishikori says he is pulling out of the upcoming Australian Open as he has not fully recovered from a wrist injury.
9) Many economists predict the Japanese economy will continue to expand in 2018.
They expect Japan’s exports to grow this year, led by strong global demand. They also say consumer spending will moderately rise, because of an improved job market.
Ten think tanks project Japan’s gross domestic product will expand 1 to 1.3 percent in price-adjusted real terms in fiscal 2018, which starts in April.
10) German automaker Audi this year plans to sell the world’s first automated car that does not require driver control of the steering wheel on expressways.
Audi says it will roll out the model in Germany, the only country which currently allows such technology. It is ranked level 3 on the scale of vehicle automation, with level 5 being the highest.