1) Japan’s unemployment rate fell to the lowest level in more than 25 years in May in the latest sign of a strengthening economy, government data showed Friday, but rising job availability underscored the shortage of workers amid a shrinking population.
The jobless rate stood at 2.2 percent, beating market forecasts to remain unchanged from 2.5 percent in April and hitting a low not seen since October 1992, according to the Ministry of Internal Affairs and Communications.
2) Fair play, a newly implemented tiebreaker in the group stage of the world’s biggest soccer tournament, was put into use for the first time Thursday and Japan came out as the beneficiary.
Despite losing 1-0 to Poland, the Japanese were able to advance to the round of 16 because they received fewer yellow cards than Senegal, which lost to Colombia by the same score at the same time.
3) The Tokyo metropolitan government on Wednesday passed strict new anti-smoking rules ahead of the 2020 Olympics, leapfrogging national legislation on lighting up that has been watered down after opposition from pro-smoking MPs.
The city’s new laws ban smoking entirely on school premises from kindergartens to high schools, although a space can be created outside university and hospital buildings for smokers.
Lighting up will be outlawed at restaurants in the capital, regardless of size. Restaurants can set up a separate indoor smoking space but customers cannot eat or drink inside the smoking area.
4) The Diet on Friday enacted into law a bill aimed at reforming working styles in the country despite opposition concern that the legislation would encourage long working hours.
The legislation consists of three key pillars — setting a legal cap on overtime work, ensuring “equal pay for equal work” for regular and nonregular workers, and exempting skilled professional workers with high wages from working-hour regulations.
The last item, known as the “white collar overtime exemption,” has been a major source of contention between the ruling and opposition parties.
5) The rainy season has ended in the Kanto and Koshin regions, the earliest conclusion of the wet weather since record-keeping began in 1951, the Japan Meteorological Agency said June 29.
The agency’s declaration came seven days earlier than in 2017 and 22 days earlier than usual. It marked the first end to the rainy season in the regions in June and broke the previous record of July 1 set in 2001.
6) wo longtime political rivals will cooperate for the first time in decades to promote a single issue–moving Japan away from its dependence on nuclear energy.
Junichiro Koizumi and Ichiro Ozawa are both 76 and former members of the Liberal Democratic Party.
7) A third-party panel investigating a violent tackle in a college American football game has denounced university officials for engaging in a cover up to protect coaching staff who ordered the hit.
The damning comments are the latest development in an off-field drama over the on-field incident, which occurred in a game in May between Nihon University and Kwansei Gakuin University.
8) A city mayor in Kyoto Prefecture has returned to work after collapsing in a sumo ring in April.
Manazuru Mayor Ryozo Tatami suddenly collapsed while making a speech at a sumo event in the city.
He said the tradition which bans women from the ring is out of date. He added that providing treatment is the top priority in emergencies, and that it should not matter whether providers are women or men. He said the women who rushed to help him must have felt obliged to do so because they are professional nurses.
9) Officials in Thailand are still trying to locate and rescue 12 boys and their soccer coach believed to be trapped in a flooded cave network.
As the search stretches into its 6th day, crews are exhausting all available options.
Heavy rainfall has been complicating rescue efforts throughout the week as the situation becomes more desperate by the minute.
10) number of female reporters covering the FIFA World Cup in Russia have been sexually harassed. The incidents have drawn worldwide rebuke.
Before Sunday’s game between Japan and Senegal in Ekaterinburg, a man rushed up to a Brazilian TV reporter and tried to kiss on the cheek. She was about to give a live report in front of the stadium.
The reporter dodged the man and angrily shouted at him in English, “Don’t do this, I don’t allow you to do this, never, OK?” She added, “This is not polite, this is not right.”
11) A Japanese electric power company that’s grappling with the aftermath of a nuclear meltdown accident says it will begin a geological survey for a possible new nuclear plant.
Tokyo Electric Power Company, or TEPCO, said on Friday the survey is planned from the 2nd half of fiscal 2018 through fiscal 2020 in Higashidori in Aomori Prefecture, northern Japan.
13) Japanese employers can often be heard complaining about the nationwide labor shortage. Some will be taking heart after seeing a successful trial of self-driving trucks near Tokyo.
Researchers put 2 trucks through tests in a convoy led by a manned vehicle. The autonomous trucks used sensors and wireless technology to follow the leader.
There were people on board just in case things didn’t go exactly to plan.