June 23rd, 2018


1)   Police in Tempe, Arizona said evidence showed the “safety” driver behind the wheel of a self-driving Uber was distracted and streaming a television show on her phone right up until about the time of a fatal accident in March, deeming the crash that rocked the industry”entirely avoidable.”

2)   The ruling Liberal Democratic Party is arranging to hold its presidential race on Sept 20, with party president and Prime Minister Shinzo Abe seeking to win a third term to become Japan’s longest-serving leader, party lawmakers said.

Former LDP Secretary General Shigeru Ishiba, the party’s policy chief Fumio Kishida and Internal Affairs and Communications Minister Seiko Noda are viewed as possible candidates.

3)   A powerful earthquake hit Osaka and other parts of Japan’s second-largest metropolitan area Monday morning, leaving at least four people dead and more than 300 injured as concrete walls around buildings crumbled, water pipes burst and power was cut off.

4)   Komeito, the junior party in the ruling coalition, changed its stance and voted in favor of a bill that will legalize casinos.

5)   An elementary school principal revealed on June 21 she was warned in 2015 of the danger of a wall that collapsed in an earthquake on June 18, killing a 9-year-old schoolgirl.

The wall beside the swimming pool of Juei Elementary School here was identified as one of a few safety concerns by a disaster prevention adviser, who was invited by the school and the PTA to give a disaster prevention workshop on Nov. 2, 2015.

Yoshimi Tanaka, the school principal, informed the city education board about the warning and requested a safety inspection.

6)   Six major Japanese companies plan to introduce a new labor system for “highly skilled professionals,” while 31 will not mainly over fears of possible “karoshi” (death from overwork), a survey of 100 companies showed.

Under the proposed “highly skilled professionals system,” employees engaged in certain jobs would be exempted from labor regulations concerning working hours.

7)   The operator of Legoland Discovery Center Tokyo apologized for refusing to allow four hearing-impaired customers, including two children, to enter the amusement facility in April because of their disabilities.

8)   The Japan Coast Guard is alerting ships navigating Tokyo Bay to watch out for a large whale.

Coast Guard officials say they received a report on Friday morning from a ship’s crew that had seen a whale, about 15 meters long, near Tokyo Gate Bridge.

9)   About 150,000 people with intractable diseases lost their financial support at the start of this year after a Japanese government program was revised.

10)   Japanese soccer fans have been celebrating their national squad’s 2-1 win over Colombia in its first group match in the World Cup finals.

11)   The Thai government says it will ban imports of recyclable waste, amid a public outcry over environmental degradation. Government officials say they are prepared to revise existing legislation.

The government says most of the waste the country accepted up to last month came from Japan.

The import ban will likely have an impact on Japan, which exports huge amounts of waste to the Southeast Asian country.

12)   North Korean leader Kim Jong Un reportedly wants denuclearization to be carried out in stages, with the backing of China.

Kim is in China on a 2-day visit, his third in recent months. It comes just one week after the historic summit with US President Donald Trump.