March 31st, 2018


1)   The education ministry is taking more action after learning that 32 female students at public high schools dropped out due to pregnancy or childbirth after being advised to do so in fiscal 2015 and 2016.

In some cases, schools urged them to drop out despite the fact that students were willing to continue their education or take a leave of absence. There is a concern that some may have ended up leaving school against their will.

2)   Five cryptocurrency exchanges have withdrawn their applications to be licensed in Japan, saying they can’t meet the government’s requirements.

The Financial Services Agency said Thursday that two exchanges, Tokyo GateWay and Mr. Exchange, recently told the government they no longer want to apply for licenses. Three other exchanges: Raimu, bitExpress and Bit Station, dropped out earlier.

3)   U.S. President Donald Trump insisted Thursday that U.S. forces would pull out of Syria “very soon” and lamented what he said was Washington’s waste of $7 trillion in Middle East wars.

4)   Sumo elder Takanohana, who was faulted for his absence from the most recent Spring Grand Sumo Tournament and lack of supervision of a wrestler from his stable, was handed a two-rank demotion by the Japan Sumo Association on Thursday.

5)   The organizer of Japan’s famed Awa Odori festival collapsed, as a court said Thursday it decided to begin bankruptcy proceedings.

6)   Russia expelled 60 U.S. diplomats on Thursday and announced it would eject scores from other countries that have joined London and Washington in censuring Moscow over the poisoning of a spy.

7)   Japan’s education ministry has completed the screening of moral education textbooks to be used in junior high schools. Textbooks published by 8 companies passed the screening and they all take up the issue of bullying.

Moral education is currently an extracurricular activity.
It will become a subject in the regular curriculum for junior high schools from April 2019.

8)   A 5-day work week is something many people take for granted. But that’s often not the case for construction workers in Japan. Now, government officials promoting labor reforms are looking to change that.

Japan’s infrastructure ministry will lengthen the timeframe for construction on public works projects.
Officials say workers currently have a hard time taking days off due to tight build schedules. They note that this also leads to labor shortages and increased accidents.

9)   Chinese state-run media reports that North Korean leader Kim Jong Un met President Xi Jinping in Beijing. This was Kim’s first official overseas trip since he took power in 2012.

10)   One year from today, Britain’s membership in the European Union will come to an end. British people opted to leave the bloc in a referendum in June 2016.
But the future outlook for the UK and the European Union remains unclear.

The 2 sides have reached a basic agreement on the terms of Britain’s withdrawal, which includes Britain’s financial settlement with the bloc, and ensuring the rights of EU citizens living in the country after Brexit.

11)   Nobel laureate Malala Yousafzai is back in her home country of Pakistan.
It’s her first visit since she was shot by the Pakistani Taliban more than 5 years ago.

The 20-year-old university student was greeted by a heavy security presence when she landed in Pakistan.
She’s using her trip to urge people in the country to join her campaign for girls’ education and women’s rights.

12)   US electric car maker Tesla is recalling 123,000 of its “Model S” vehicles to replace power steering bolts.

In an announcement on Thursday, Tesla cited “excessive corrosion” in the power steering bolts of cars built before April 2016.

13)   Japan’s finance minister has apologized for saying newspapers think a document-falsifying scandal involving his ministry is more important than the Trans-Pacific Partnership free trade deal.

Taro Aso made the apology at a meeting of an Upper House committee on Friday, amid mounting criticism that he takes the scandal lightly.

14)   Japanese government officials are discussing what regulations are needed to ensure that self-driving vehicles are safe to put on the road.

Officials expect such vehicles to be on highways and in other places by 2020, the year of the Tokyo Olympic and Paralympic Games. They say guidelines on what equipment the cars need must be decided by the middle of this year.

15)   Trump Claims Amazon Doesn’t Pay Taxes and is Abusing US Postal System

16)   A top Customs and Border Protection (CBP) official pushed back Friday on reports that frontline border agents do not support President Trump’s border wall, telling reporters that “walls work” and that “agents know it.”