1) Snow blanketed Tokyo and surrounding areas for the second time this winter on Friday, disrupting transport and forcing delays in entrance exams at educational institutions.
2) Officials at Kyoto University say a mistake has been found in its entrance exam held last year and some applicants were rejected as a result of the error.
17 applicants were denied entry, while 11 others were not accepted to their top-choice departments.
They apologized for the error and said the university will accept the entrance of the students.
3) Japan’s Cabinet has approved a tax reform plan for the next fiscal year starting in April. It includes a measure that gives companies tax breaks if they boost salaries by at least 3 percent and increase capital investment by a certain level.
Smokers can also expect to pay more. A hike amounting to about 3 cents per cigarette will be introduced from October to 2021.
The Cabinet also approved a bill aimed at raising funds to improve tourism services. Anyone leaving the country would need to pay about 9 dollars from next January.
4) Oily objects that may have come from a tanker that sank off a southwestern island in Japan has reached the Japanese coast.
Japan’s Coast Guard says it received a report on Thursday about oily objects that had washed ashore on a beach of Amami Oshima Island, Kagoshima Prefecture.
5) With the opening of the PyeongChang Winter Olympics one week away, 25 percent of the tickets remain unsold.
As of Friday, athletes from a record 92 countries and territories have registered to take part in the Games, which run from February 9th through 25th.
An athlete from Tonga is creating a global buzz.
34-year-old Pita Taufatofua will take part in the PyeongChang Winter Games as a cross-country skier, representing his snowless tropical homeland in the South Pacific.
6) A fire at a facility for needy people in Hokkaido, northern Japan, has killed 11 people and injured 3 others. Police are working to identify the victims.
7) Japanese police have arrested a murder suspect whose life as a fugitive in Thailand ended when a photo of his tattoo was posted on Facebook.
Investigators arrested 74-year-old Shigeharu Shirai on Friday when a plane carrying him from Thailand landed at the Chubu international airport in central Japan.
The former gangster is suspected of shooting and killing a senior member of the Yamaguchi Gumi crime syndicate in 2003.
8) Japan and the European Union have pledged additional aid for Palestinians, counter to the US decision to suspend support.
The US administration of President Donald Trump partially froze aid for Palestinian refugees after recognizing Jerusalem as the capital of Israel.
9) A lawmaker with Shinzo Abe’s ruling Liberal Democratic Party drew gasps of disapproval from opposition party members for suggesting the prime minister should catch the flu to skip the Opening Ceremony of the Pyeongchang Winter Olympics.
Upper House member Takashi Uto said at the Jan. 31 session of the chamber’s Budget Committee, where Abe was present, “I get the feeling after watching the prime minister that your real intention is that you do not want to go.