1) Japan’s infrastructure ministry has found that more than 500 of the country’s bridges have poorly welded supports. The devices are supposed to keep the bridges from collapsing during major earthquakes.
The ministry surveyed government-managed bridges after learning in August that metal supports retrofitted to a bridge in Kyoto had poorly welded components.
Ministry inspectors checked all bridges fitted with such supports made by Hisatomi Sangyo based in Fukui, central Japan. They also spot-checked other makers’ products.
2) A survey has found that Japanese manufacturers operating in China have become less willing to expand business there as the economy slows and labor costs rise.
3) Japanese police say a man caught on security camera just before an explosion at Yasukuni Shrine in Tokyo last month was a South Korean who has since returned home.
The blast was heard from a restroom near the shrine’s south gate on November 23rd. The explosion triggered a small fire but no one was injured.
4) A Japanese philanthropic organization says a failure to address child poverty in Japan will likely cost the country’s economy about 33 billion dollars.
The Nippon Foundation says its estimate focuses on about 180,000 children aged 15 in needy households, such as those with single parents or on welfare.
5) Tokyo police will refer reports on 7 people, including a former Self-Defense Forces official, to prosecutors on Friday. They are suspected of leaking defense-related documents to Russia.
Police say an SDF official handed an internal manual on personnel training to the Russian officer at a Tokyo hotel in May 2013. Izumi’s former subordinate and 4 others were allegedly involved in acquiring the manual.
6) Officials at Japan’s Honda Motor say they hope to begin selling electric vehicles around 2020.
Automakers around the world are competing to develop eco-friendly models. They predict that stricter environmental standards in the United States, Europe and China will help to fuel an expanding market.
7) The tax panel of Japan’s ruling coalition has agreed that tax breaks granted for solar power suppliers should end at the end of March next year. The current incentive is aimed at promoting solar power generation.
The panel of the Liberal Democratic and Komeito parties decided to abolish the tax break at the end of fiscal 2015 because the incentive is no longer needed now that solar power is widely used in the country.