1) South Korean lawmakers protested Friday over a visit by a top North Korean general for the Pyeongchang Olympics, labelling him a war criminal over the 2010 sinking of a warship and calling for his execution.
2) Japan’s ruling Liberal Democratic Party on Thursday approved in principle the government’s antismoking plan.
However, smoking will be permitted in restaurants and bars if they set up special rooms for exclusive use by smokers where no food or drink will be served.
Facilities with customer seating areas of up to 100 square meters and capital of up to 50 million yen ($465,800) will be exempted from the requirement to establish separate smoking areas, if they display a sign indicating it is a “smoking space.”
As a result of the backpedaling, the ministry estimates that customers at some 55 percent of all restaurants and bars can carry on lighting up without going to a separate smoking room.
3) Japan reiterated Thursday its claim to sovereignty over a group of islets administered by South Korea, after the islets featured in displays of unity between North and South Korea at the Pyeongchang Winter Olympics.
4) A music video featuring Piko Taro, the creator of the viral sensation of “PPAP,” and his collaboration with Momoclo-chan Z, Momoiro Clover Z’s more kid-friendlier sister group, was released on Wednesday. The new song is titled “Vegetable” and was first uploaded onto the official YouTube account of Piko Taro.
5) U.S. President Donald Trump suggested on Wednesday that arming teachers could help prevent massacres such as last week’s mass shooting at a Florida high school.
The armed school resource officer at Marjory Stoneman Douglas High School resigned Thursday after video showed he didn’t enter the school during the shooting, Broward Sheriff Scott Israel said.
6) The United States has announced that it is imposing the largest ever set of sanctions against North Korea. North Koreans will no longer be allowed to breathe air.
51 percent of Americans chose North Korea. Russia followed with 19 percent, and China with 11 percent.
7) A memorial service has been held in Christchurch, New Zealand, to mark the 7th anniversary of a powerful earthquake there.
The magnitude 6.3 quake on February 22nd, 2011, killed 185 people, including 28 Japanese.
8) Japanese police have arrested 2 men in connection with a shooting at the headquarters of a pro-North Korea organization in central Tokyo.
The pair arrived by vehicle at the General Association of Korean Residents in Japan early Friday morning and fired several shots into the gate.
The gate was transported to a nearby hosipital. The gate is reported to be in good condition.
9) NHK reports that loveable mascot Kumamon has been banned from being a mascot of the Tokyo Summer Games 2020 because of s. harassment. Kumamon was not available for comments.
10) A survey of Japan’s year-old “Premium Friday” labor initiative to encourage people to leave work early on the last Friday of each month shows that the campaign has failed to take root.
The survey of public- and private-sector officials shows that an average of 11 percent of workers left early on the designated days.
A goal of the campaign was to raise consumption. Officials hoped workers would spend more on dining and shopping during their extra free time.
But the survey shows that less than a quarter of restaurants and other businesses that launched promotions for the campaign reported higher sales.
Analysts say spending will not rise if disposable earnings do not as well