1) Japan’s Prime Minister Shinzo Abe and Chinese President Xi Jinping have met in Beijing. Both say they’re determined to turn a new page in the relationship between the two countries.
Xi said, “As the international situation changes, China and Japan are becoming increasingly dependent on one another.
2) Japanese journalist Jumpei Yasuda has now returned to Japan. He had been held hostage by rebel forces in Syria for more than 3 years.
3) A government survey has found that more than 410,000 cases of bullying were reported at schools in Japan during the 2017 academic year that ended in March. The figure was the highest ever.
4) The Okinawa assembly has decided to hold a referendum on a plan to relocate a US base within the prefecture. The assembly approved the ordinance on Friday by a majority vote.
Voters will be asked if they approve the plan to relocate the US Marine Corps Futenma Air Station within the island prefecture.
5) A UN envoy has urged Japan to halt the return of children and young women to nuclear accident-hit Fukushima, calling the government’s radiation exposure limit too lax. But the Japanese side is refuting the advice.
6) Farmers in the city of Tome in Miyagi Prefecture have started exporting their own brand of rice to make up for declining sales in Japan.
A ceremony was held on Thursday to mark the first overseas shipment of Hitomebore rice. Trucks left the warehouse with 13 tons of rice that will be shipped to other parts of Asia and the United States from the major rice-producing region.
7) An extraordinary session of the Diet started on Wednesday. The session is the first since the latest change of the Cabinet of Prime Minister Shinzo Abe earlier this month.
During the 48-day session that will run until December 10th, the government and the ruling coalition parties hope to pass a budget bill for this fiscal year that ends in March next year. The bill is focused on funding restoration efforts from severe natural disasters that hit many areas of Japan this year. Constitutional amendments could also be a focus of debate in the upcoming session.
8) The US economy expanded at an annualized rate of 3.5 percent in the July to September period, higher than the 3 percent targeted by the administration of President Donald Trump.
9) India’s Supreme Court decided on Tuesday to allow so-called “green” firecrackers to be used during the Hindu festival of Diwali next month. But the ruling is getting a mixed reaction.
The court banned traditional firecrackers in and around the capital of New Delhi amid growing concerns about air pollution.
But people will be able to set off ones that emit less noise and smoke for 2 hours a day during Diwali, and for shorter periods on Christmas and New Year’s eves.
10) A caravan of migrant Central Americans is continuing its trek north in Mexico toward the United States. US President Donald Trump has hinted at sending troops to block their entry into the country.
The caravan began with about 160 people in Honduras who left a northern town there on October 13th to escape poverty and poor security.
A number of the migrants entered Mexico by swimming across a river along the border. Local authorities say the caravan now comprises about 6,000 people.
11) Japanese retail giant Rakuten is teaming up with Walmart of the US to start an online grocery delivery service. The move is aimed at taking on rival Amazon as well as other retailers in Japan.
Rakuten will jointly operate the service with Japanese supermarket chain Seiyu, which is a Walmart subsidiary.
12) Researchers in Austria say they have detected tiny pieces of plastic in human stool samples for the first time.
Plastic garbage that flows out to sea breaks into pieces called microplastics that are smaller than 5 millimeters.
There’s growing concern that these bits of plastic are being consumed by marine life and are affecting the ecosystem.
13) The Dow Jones Industrial Average in New York has erased all its gains for the year, after another tumble on Wall Street on Wednesday. Uncertainties over the global and US economies sent jitters through the markets.
Market players blame the continuing US-China trade frictions and Saudi Arabia, which is under fire over the death of a journalist.
14) Authorities say a man apparently set a California home on fire while using a blowtorch to kill spiders.
KFSN-TV reports 29 firefighters were called to a Fresno housing development Tuesday night to put out a two-alarm blaze.
Authorities say a man was house-sitting for his parents when he tried to kill black widow spiders with a blowtorch. He got out safely, but the home’s attic and second story were damaged.
15) An Arizona man who fell to the bottom of an old abandoned gold mine shaft, broke both his legs, fought off a trio of rattlesnakes and went two days without food or water before a friend heard his cries for help is lucky to be alive, said the head of a rescue team.
“He is a very fortunate individual,” Operations Commander Roger Yensen of the Maricopa County Sheriff’s Mountain Rescue Posse said Thursday of 62-year-old John Waddell.