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1) The Tokyo Metropolitan Police Department says internet users were denied access to its website on Friday afternoon in a suspected cyber-attack.
The department said on Friday it is the first time that internet users have been prevented from accessing its website due to a massive amount of data.
2) More than a dozen journalists in Japan have protested a government-sponsored anti-terrorism bill. They say the law could suppress freedom of thought.
The bill would punish a criminal organization planning a serious crime, such as a terrorist attack, if a member of the group is found to make any preparations. A Diet committee is deliberating the bill.
3) A Cabinet Minister in charge of rebuilding areas hit by the 2011 earthquake and tsunami has resigned after making a remark seen as offensive to those affected by the disaster.
Reconstruction Minister Masahiro Imamura submitted his letter of resignation to Prime Minister Shinzo Abe on Wednesday morning.
4) South Koreans are taking issue with US President Donald Trump’s recent call for their country to pay for a missile defense system being deployed there.
Amid rising tensions over North Korea’s accelerated nuclear and missile programs, the United States is deploying the Terminal High-Altitude Area Defense, or THAAD, in South Korea.
On Thursday, Trump said in an interview with Reuters that he wants South Korea to pay for THAAD, which costs an estimated 1 billion dollars.
5) The US Navy has unveiled on its website a photo of its aircraft carrier Carl Vinson and destroyers from Japan’s Maritime Self-Defense Force engaged in joint exercises.
The Carl Vinson strike group was joined by 2 Maritime Self-Defense Force destroyers on Sunday off the coast of the Philippines for the joint drills.
6) US President Donald Trump says he wants to solve the problem of North Korea’s nuclear and missile programs diplomatically, but it’s very difficult.
Trump spoke with the Reuters news agency at the Oval Office on Thursday, ahead of his 100th day in office on Saturday.
7) Russian President Vladimir Putin says that if his country and Japan conclude a peace treaty, it must benefit the national interests of both sides.
Putin attended a joint news conference with Japanese Prime Minister Shinzo Abe after their talks in Moscow on Thursday.
Putin described the meeting as constructive, saying Russia and Japan are ready to solve the most difficult issue facing them.
8) The Japanese government has released key economic figures for the month of March. They show a mixed picture.
The labor market remains tight, with the unemployment rate at 2.8 percent. That’s unchanged from February.
The ratio of job offers to applicants rose very slightly, to 1.45. This means there were 145 job openings for every 100 people looking for work.
On the downside, industrial output fell 2.1 percent from the previous month. That’s the first decline in 2 months.
The consumer price index was up 0.2 percent from March last year. That was the third consecutive monthly increase.
Household spending was down 1.3 percent from a year earlier, declining for the 13th month in a row.
9) The Japanese government says the country’s catch of young bluefin tuna has exceeded its annual quota, two months early.
Japan agreed in 2015 to limit its catch of Pacific bluefin weighing less than 30 kilograms, under an international accord aimed at conserving the species.
The country’s quota is 4,007 tons, but the Fisheries Agency said the total catch had reached 4,008 tons as of Thursday. The tuna fishing season ends in June.
It is the first time Japan has failed to keep within its quota. The Agency blamed underreporting of catches and illegal fishing in 9 prefectures.
10) Executives at struggling electronics maker Toshiba are considering selling the company’s semiconductor business to a Japan-US group.
Sources say the group includes US investment firm KKR and a Japanese government-backed fund, the Innovation Network Corporation of Japan.
Also in the group are the government-affiliated Development Bank of Japan and several other Japanese businesses.
But it remains unclear whether the Japan-US group can come up with the roughly 18 billion dollars needed to cover Toshiba’s massive losses.