April 14th, 2018


1)   Agriculture Minister Ken Saito says a document related to a controversial project to open a veterinary school in Ehime Prefecture has been found in his ministry.

The document outlines exchanges that took place when Ehime officials and representatives of the school’s operator visited the prime minister’s office 3 years ago to discuss opening the school.

The document includes Prime Minister Shinzo Abe’s then secretary Tadao Yanase’s description of the project as “a matter related to the prime minister.”

2)   A Japanese government survey shows the country’s population continues to shrink and age.

The internal affairs ministry said on Friday that the total population, including foreign residents, was 126.7 million on October 1st last year.

That’s a fall of 227,000 from the previous year, for a 7th straight year of decline.

3)   A 19-year-old police officer accused of murdering his colleague in western Japan has reportedly said that he fired his gun without hesitation.

Police in Shiga Prefecture arrested the officer on Thursday for fatally shooting the 41-year-old sergeant in Hikone City the previous day.

4)   French President Emmanuel Macron says he has proof that the Syrian government attacked a town near Damascus with chemical weapons last weekend.

Macron said France has “proof that last week chemical weapons were used, at least chlorine, and that they were used by Bashar al-Assad’s regime.” Macron did not describe the evidence or say how France got it.

US President Donald Trump tweeted earlier that Russia needed to get ready. His post indicated that missiles would be coming.

5)   Japan’s Major League Baseball newcomer Shohei Ohtani is already having a big impact for the Los Angeles Angels.

In the 6th inning, Ohtani was intentionally walked and, in his next at-bat, he hit the ball to right-center, for a three-run triple, capping a 5 run, 7th inning.

6)   US President Donald Trump has welcomed Chinese President Xi Jinping’s speech signaling that he wants to further open up China’s economy to other countries.

Trump tweeted on Tuesday that he is “very thankful for President Xi of China’s kind words on tariffs and automobile barriers.”

Trump was referring to Xi’s indication on Tuesday that China will step up efforts to open its markets. Xi said the measures will include major cuts in tariffs on automobiles.

7)   Japan is facing a serious labor shortage with a shrinking working population. The government has come up with a plan to address the problem by allowing certain non-Japanese to come and work in the country.

The newly proposed status would allow foreigners with certain skills to work in the country for up to 5 years. Those who have completed internships would be eligible on the condition they do not bring their families to Japan.

8)   Facebook CEO Mark Zuckerberg has revealed that he is one of the 87 million people whose personal data was leaked. He has again stated the need for regulation of the social media industry.

Zuckerberg faced a second day of congressional testimony at a House committee in Washington on Wednesday. He gave about 5 hours of testimony.

9)   The Japanese government on Friday greeted with cautious optimism the news that U.S. President Donald Trump is willing to explore re-entering the Trans-Pacific Partnership trade deal, while stressing that Washington should accept the original terms.

10)   Hundreds of Japanese police searched on Thursday for a convicted thief who escaped from prison and was believed to be on a small island with abundant hide-outs – about 1,000 houses made vacant by an aging and shrinking population.

Tatsuma Hirao, 27, has been at large since Sunday, when he fled from a low-security prison in Ehime Prefecture while serving a 5 ½ year sentence for theft.

11)   A California technology billionaire said on Thursday that his longtime effort to partition the Golden State into multiple new states could soon be put before voters.

The plan would divide the state into Northern California, Southern California and California. Los Angeles, home to the state’s storied movie industry, would remain in the new California, but farmland and forested areas, along with San Francisco and the Silicon Valley technology hub, would be separated into the two other states.