May 12th, 2018

1)   An elementary schoolgirl was attacked by a man as she walked to school in Tokyo’s Koto Ward on Friday morning.

According to police, the incident occurred at around 7:50 a.m. in Ogibashi, Fuji TV reported. The girl, a 4th-grade student, told police that a man suddenly came up behind her, grabbed her left wrist and slashed the palm of her left hand with a box cutter, and then ran away without saying a word.

2)   Shoei Sugita, a biology professor at Utsunomiya University, went so far as theorize that the Tickt crow was “almost definitely” kept as a pet at some point in its life, as it appears to be especially relaxed around humans, even occasionally perching on the arm or shoulders of people in the area.

3)   U.S. President Donald Trump said Thursday he will meet with North Korean leader Kim Jong Un on June 12 in Singapore for what will be the first-ever summit between the two countries.

4)    U.S. President Donald Trump on Tuesday pulled the United States out of an international nuclear deal with Iran, raising the risk of conflict in the Middle East, upsetting European allies and casting uncertainty over global oil supplies.

5)   Days before President Trump was to decide whether to pull out of the 2015 nuclear deal with Iran, Mr. Netanyahu presented records from a secret warehouse in Tehran, making the case that Iranian leaders had deceived the international nuclear agency when they insisted their nuclear program was for peaceful purposes. Israeli spies seized the documents in an overnight raid in January, a senior Israeli official said.

6)   Japan’s golf venue for the Tokyo 2020 Olympics has granted full membership to women for the first time, after lifting a ban under pressure from Games authorities.

The upscale Kasumigaseki Country Club told AFP it had upgraded three women to full membership after agreeing last year to admit female members, following criticism from the International Olympic Committee.

7)   With international attention long focused on North Korea’s nuclear weapons program, Kim Jong Un’s relatively unknown economic reforms could be behind his power at home and his recent diplomatic moves, experts say.

Nuclear arms development and economic reforms make up Kim’s “pyongjin” dual-track policy that he announced during a Central Committee meeting of the ruling Workers’ Party of Korea on March 31, 2013.

Pyongyang has declared it has accomplished its military objectives, namely completing its nuclear program and developing intercontinental ballistic missiles to deter the threat of attack from the United States.

In the meantime, Kim has steadily introduced market mechanisms to the country’s economy.

8)   A former top aide to Prime Minister Shinzo Abe on May 10 testified before committees of both chambers of the Diet about his meetings with officials of the Kake Educational Institution, whose successful bid to open a veterinary medicine faculty has raised suspicions of Abe’s political involvement.

Tadao Yanase appeared as an unsworn witness in a session of the Lower House Budget Committee in the morning. His testimony came one month after it was revealed that a document compiled by an Ehime prefectural government employee quotes him as saying that the project planned by the institution was “a matter related to the prime minister.”

9)   A ruling party lawmaker reluctantly retracted his remarks about telling young women to have at least three children or else the taxes paid by other people’s offspring will cover their care in nursing homes.

Kanji Kato, 72, made the comments on May 10 at a meeting of the Hosoda faction of the Liberal Democratic Party.

“I always tell brides and grooms at wedding parties that I would like them to have three or more children,” he said. “We need three or more children from those people to make up for couples who cannot bear a child no matter what they do.”

10)   Couples in de facto marriages have sued the government over a legal provision that requires either the wives or husbands to give up their surnames.

The seven men and women filed their lawsuits against local authorities and the central government on May 10 with the Tokyo District Court, its Tachikawa Branch and the Hiroshima District Court. They are represented by the same group of lawyers, led by Tokyo-based Fujiko Sakakibara.

The plaintiffs argue that inequality exists in the current legal system that recognizes marriages of couples with one surname but denies that status to couples who want to keep separate surnames.


May 3rd, 2018


1)   Tatsuya Yamaguchi, a member of Japanese all-male pop group Tokio, has expressed his intent to leave the five-member band after coming under fire for kissing a high school student against her will, other group members revealed Wednesday.

2)   Bus drivers in Okayama working with Ryobi Group have taken to the streets in an unusual form of protest. While technically on strike, they are continuing to drive their routes while refusing to take fares from passengers.

3)   Japanese Prime Minister Shinzo Abe sought public support Tuesday for his long-cherished goal of revising the country’s war-renouncing constitution amid widening scandals that have hurt his government’s popularity.

4)   Medical Services Law will prohibit such misleading claims as “100 percent safe surgery,” with fines on violators. It will also, in principle, ban the inclusion of patients’ testimonies of their experiences and touting medical treatments that use unapproved drugs.

5)   Dozens of thrill seekers got more than they bargained for when a roller coaster stalled, leaving them hanging face down 30 meters above the ground for up to two hours.

6)   The president of Chisso Corp., whose mercury pollution caused the debilitating Minamata disease that sickened tens of thousands, sparked outrage for saying that redress for the victims has ended.

7)   NHK has learnt that a convicted thief told police he escaped from prison because he wasn’t allowed to be the leader of the inmates.

8)   Tatsuma Hirao escaped from the low-security prison in Imabari City in Ehime Prefecture on April 8th. He was recaptured on Monday in Hiroshima City, after more than 3 weeks on the run.

9)   A government survey suggests Japanese consumers felt negative about the economic outlook in April for the first time in 2 months.

The Cabinet Office monthly survey of 8,400 households asks consumers how they feel about the coming 6 months.

10)   Japan’s annual summertime “Cool Biz” campaign has started, with people across the country encouraged to dress casually to use less air conditioning.

During the 5-month campaign, the Environment Ministry is urging people to set air conditioners to around 28 degrees Celsius at work and home.

April 28th, 2018


1)   North Korean leader Kim Jong Un and South Korean President Moon Jae-in embraced after pledging on Friday to work for the “complete denuclearisation.

2)    Police investigated a record 1,813 cases involving minors who fell victim to sexual and other crimes perpetrated through the use of social media in 2017, official data showed Thursday.

3)   A Japanese TV network has released a statement by an employee who is believed to have been sexually harassed by a former Finance Ministry top bureaucrat. This comes after the ministry acknowledged the misconduct by the former administrative vice finance minister, Junichi Fukuda, and punished him.

4)    member of a Japanese all-male pop group has been referred to prosecutors for suspected indecent behavior with a high-school girl. The news is having widespread repercussions.

Tatsuya Yamaguchi, a 46-year-old member of the band TOKIO, is accused of forcibly kissing a high-school girl at his home in February this year. Tokyo police have sent papers to prosecutors on suspicion of an indecent sexual assault.

5)   Japan’s Foreign Ministry has lodged a protest with the South Korean government over a menu item that will be served at the dinner being prepared for the inter-Korean summit scheduled for Friday.

Japan’s Foreign Ministry says a dessert has a map of the Korean Peninsula along with the Takeshima Islands in the Sea of Japan on the surface.

6)   Chinese scientists say the nuclear test site in North Korea that the country has pledged to scrap has been rendered unsafe by a mountain collapse.

7)   A stabbing spree on Friday evening in China’s Shaanxi Province has left seven junior high school students dead and 12 others injured.

Police have arrested a 28-year-old man, who is believed to be a former student. Police have been quoted as saying that the assailant wanted to exact revenge, because he was bullied during his school years.

8)   The prolonged war in Syria is resulting in donor fatigue among countries struggling to provide humanitarian aid to people displaced by the fighting.

The participants pledged new aid measures and raised 4.4 billion dollars. But the amount fell short of the UN target of 6 billion dollars because the United States has refused to contribute.

9)   Japan’s fast food sector is set to get more competitive with the arrival of another player from the US. Fatburger is the latest in a line of foreign chains aiming to take a bite out of the market.

The Fatburger line-up is slightly more expensive than most afast food here in Japan.

10)   Japanese airline All Nippon Airways is planning to introduce a new type of Airbus A380 with cabins that are equipped with novel bench-style seats.

The group-friendly seating will be available on 3 Airbus A380 airliners going into service between Japan and Hawaii. The flights will begin next spring.

April 21st, 2018


1)   Japanese Finance Minister Taro Aso said Thursday he has no intention of stepping down over a sexual harassment scandal involving the ministry’s top official.

2)   Japan’s consumer prices edged up 0.9 percent in March, government data showed Friday, but inflation was slightly weaker than the previous month and still far below a longstanding target. Japan has notched up eight straight quarters of economic growth — the longest positive run since the “bubble” boom days.

3)   Trump turned down Prime Minister Abe’s top economic and trade priorities. Principal among them: allowing Japan an exemption from new U.S. steel and aluminum tariffs and persuading Trump to re-join the Trans-Pacific Partnership trade deal.

4)   North and South Korea have installed a direct phone link between their leaders. South Korean President Moon Jae-in and North Korean leader Kim Jong Un are to use the hotline before their planned summit next Friday.

5)   A Japanese Cabinet minister will meet women reporters and others to grasp the full picture of sexual harassment in the media industry.

The top bureaucrat at the Finance Ministry tendered his resignation on Wednesday in connection with allegations that he made sexually harassing remarks to women journalists.

Women’s Empowerment Minister Seiko Noda suspects that other female employees of media companies may have experienced sexual misconduct.

6)   The newly-discovered email says that on the same day the Ehime officials were to meet Tadao Yanase, who was the prime minister’s secretary at the time. The Ehime document quotes Yanase as saying the school project was a “matter related to the prime minister.” Yanase says he did not meet the Ehime officials as far as he can recall.

7)   Japan and Malaysia have concluded an agreement on the transfer of defense equipment and cooperation in defense technology.

This comes as Japan has been signing similar deals with the United States, European and Asian countries to transfer patrol planes, radars and other defense hardware and technology.

8)   A 10-day-old girl has become the first baby to appear on the floor of the US Senate during a vote.

Senator Tammy Duckworth of the Democratic Party brought her daughter, Maile, to the chamber on Thursday.

On Wednesday, the Senate unanimously approved a change to its rules to allow senators’ children under the age of one to be brought into the chamber during votes.

9)   The administration of US President Donald Trump has unveiled measures to expand exports of domestically produced weapons.

The measures announced on Thursday include broadening the range of drones that can be exported, and allowing US firms to proceed directly with sales to foreign governments.

But US defense contractors were critical, saying the move allowed Chinese drone manufacturers to increase their share of the global market.

10)   NHK has uncovered hundreds of instances in which inspection data at the Japanese automaker Subaru was falsified.

The alterations were happening on a regular basis.

A probe has revealed that workers at a plant near Tokyo have falsified inspection data on fuel efficiency and exhaust gases for the past several years.



April 14th, 2018


1)   Agriculture Minister Ken Saito says a document related to a controversial project to open a veterinary school in Ehime Prefecture has been found in his ministry.

The document outlines exchanges that took place when Ehime officials and representatives of the school’s operator visited the prime minister’s office 3 years ago to discuss opening the school.

The document includes Prime Minister Shinzo Abe’s then secretary Tadao Yanase’s description of the project as “a matter related to the prime minister.”

2)   A Japanese government survey shows the country’s population continues to shrink and age.

The internal affairs ministry said on Friday that the total population, including foreign residents, was 126.7 million on October 1st last year.

That’s a fall of 227,000 from the previous year, for a 7th straight year of decline.

3)   A 19-year-old police officer accused of murdering his colleague in western Japan has reportedly said that he fired his gun without hesitation.

Police in Shiga Prefecture arrested the officer on Thursday for fatally shooting the 41-year-old sergeant in Hikone City the previous day.

4)   French President Emmanuel Macron says he has proof that the Syrian government attacked a town near Damascus with chemical weapons last weekend.

Macron said France has “proof that last week chemical weapons were used, at least chlorine, and that they were used by Bashar al-Assad’s regime.” Macron did not describe the evidence or say how France got it.

US President Donald Trump tweeted earlier that Russia needed to get ready. His post indicated that missiles would be coming.

5)   Japan’s Major League Baseball newcomer Shohei Ohtani is already having a big impact for the Los Angeles Angels.

In the 6th inning, Ohtani was intentionally walked and, in his next at-bat, he hit the ball to right-center, for a three-run triple, capping a 5 run, 7th inning.

6)   US President Donald Trump has welcomed Chinese President Xi Jinping’s speech signaling that he wants to further open up China’s economy to other countries.

Trump tweeted on Tuesday that he is “very thankful for President Xi of China’s kind words on tariffs and automobile barriers.”

Trump was referring to Xi’s indication on Tuesday that China will step up efforts to open its markets. Xi said the measures will include major cuts in tariffs on automobiles.

7)   Japan is facing a serious labor shortage with a shrinking working population. The government has come up with a plan to address the problem by allowing certain non-Japanese to come and work in the country.

The newly proposed status would allow foreigners with certain skills to work in the country for up to 5 years. Those who have completed internships would be eligible on the condition they do not bring their families to Japan.

8)   Facebook CEO Mark Zuckerberg has revealed that he is one of the 87 million people whose personal data was leaked. He has again stated the need for regulation of the social media industry.

Zuckerberg faced a second day of congressional testimony at a House committee in Washington on Wednesday. He gave about 5 hours of testimony.

9)   The Japanese government on Friday greeted with cautious optimism the news that U.S. President Donald Trump is willing to explore re-entering the Trans-Pacific Partnership trade deal, while stressing that Washington should accept the original terms.

10)   Hundreds of Japanese police searched on Thursday for a convicted thief who escaped from prison and was believed to be on a small island with abundant hide-outs – about 1,000 houses made vacant by an aging and shrinking population.

Tatsuma Hirao, 27, has been at large since Sunday, when he fled from a low-security prison in Ehime Prefecture while serving a 5 ½ year sentence for theft.

11)   A California technology billionaire said on Thursday that his longtime effort to partition the Golden State into multiple new states could soon be put before voters.

The plan would divide the state into Northern California, Southern California and California. Los Angeles, home to the state’s storied movie industry, would remain in the new California, but farmland and forested areas, along with San Francisco and the Silicon Valley technology hub, would be separated into the two other states.


April 7th, 2018


1)   Japan’s household spending suffered the biggest annual decline in nearly a year in February as inflation-adjusted wages continued to fall, data showed on Friday, suggesting the economy’s longest run of growth since the 1980s asset bubble has peaked

2)   Police arrested two acquaintances of conservative commentator Susumu Nishibe late Thursday for allegedly helping the 78-year-old in his suicide preparations in January.

3)   A South Korean court jailed former President Park Geun-hye for 24 years on Friday over a scandal that exposed webs of corruption between political leaders and the country’s conglomerates.

4)   Some fans of professional baseball team the Chunichi Dragons have been caught on video chanting “Let the atomic bomb drop” on the Hiroshima Carp, Dragons officials said Thursday.

In the 20-second footage uploaded to YouTube, believed to have been taken during a game last weekend at Mazda Stadium in the city of Hiroshima, several men can be heard chanting, “Go for it. Die. Let the atomic bomb drop (on the) Carp.” Hiroshima was devastated by the first U.S. atomic bombing in 1945.

5)   The Japan Sumo Association chairman has apologized after women who were trying to save the life of the mayor, who suddenly collapsed during a sumo event here on April 4, were ordered to leave the dohyo.

Traditionally, women are barred from entering the sumo ring.

6)   Police said Thursday they noted 68 cases of illegal drone flights in 2017, almost double the previous year’s 36.

Japan’s aviation law bans drone flights in airspace around airports and above densely populated areas. Drones are restricted to flying in daylight hours and need to be monitored at all times.

7)   In an unprecedented move, the Olympic torch will visit three prefectures in the disaster-hit Tohoku region before starting its relay in Okinawa Prefecture, Tokyo 2020 Olympics and Paralympics sources said April 5.

The sacred flame, which will be brought from Greece, is to be lit during the three events in Iwate, Miyagi and Fukushima prefectures before being moved to the southernmost prefecture to start the relay in late March, the sources said.

8)   Shohei Ohtani, a two-way baseball star from Japan, hit his first major league homerun at his Los Angeles Angels’ home stadium in Anaheim.

It was the first inning. Ohtani came to the plate as designated hitter against the Cleveland Indians on Tuesday.

9)   US President Donald Trump has signed a presidential memorandum to deploy the National Guard along the border with Mexico.

Trump signed the memo on Wednesday as part of measures to tighten control of illegal immigrants.

10)   Facebook officials are responding to revelations that a major privacy breach went deeper than first thought. They have instructed engineers to remove a search function that could be used to expose personal details.


March 31st, 2018


1)   The education ministry is taking more action after learning that 32 female students at public high schools dropped out due to pregnancy or childbirth after being advised to do so in fiscal 2015 and 2016.

In some cases, schools urged them to drop out despite the fact that students were willing to continue their education or take a leave of absence. There is a concern that some may have ended up leaving school against their will.

2)   Five cryptocurrency exchanges have withdrawn their applications to be licensed in Japan, saying they can’t meet the government’s requirements.

The Financial Services Agency said Thursday that two exchanges, Tokyo GateWay and Mr. Exchange, recently told the government they no longer want to apply for licenses. Three other exchanges: Raimu, bitExpress and Bit Station, dropped out earlier.

3)   U.S. President Donald Trump insisted Thursday that U.S. forces would pull out of Syria “very soon” and lamented what he said was Washington’s waste of $7 trillion in Middle East wars.

4)   Sumo elder Takanohana, who was faulted for his absence from the most recent Spring Grand Sumo Tournament and lack of supervision of a wrestler from his stable, was handed a two-rank demotion by the Japan Sumo Association on Thursday.

5)   The organizer of Japan’s famed Awa Odori festival collapsed, as a court said Thursday it decided to begin bankruptcy proceedings.

6)   Russia expelled 60 U.S. diplomats on Thursday and announced it would eject scores from other countries that have joined London and Washington in censuring Moscow over the poisoning of a spy.

7)   Japan’s education ministry has completed the screening of moral education textbooks to be used in junior high schools. Textbooks published by 8 companies passed the screening and they all take up the issue of bullying.

Moral education is currently an extracurricular activity.
It will become a subject in the regular curriculum for junior high schools from April 2019.

8)   A 5-day work week is something many people take for granted. But that’s often not the case for construction workers in Japan. Now, government officials promoting labor reforms are looking to change that.

Japan’s infrastructure ministry will lengthen the timeframe for construction on public works projects.
Officials say workers currently have a hard time taking days off due to tight build schedules. They note that this also leads to labor shortages and increased accidents.

9)   Chinese state-run media reports that North Korean leader Kim Jong Un met President Xi Jinping in Beijing. This was Kim’s first official overseas trip since he took power in 2012.

10)   One year from today, Britain’s membership in the European Union will come to an end. British people opted to leave the bloc in a referendum in June 2016.
But the future outlook for the UK and the European Union remains unclear.

The 2 sides have reached a basic agreement on the terms of Britain’s withdrawal, which includes Britain’s financial settlement with the bloc, and ensuring the rights of EU citizens living in the country after Brexit.

11)   Nobel laureate Malala Yousafzai is back in her home country of Pakistan.
It’s her first visit since she was shot by the Pakistani Taliban more than 5 years ago.

The 20-year-old university student was greeted by a heavy security presence when she landed in Pakistan.
She’s using her trip to urge people in the country to join her campaign for girls’ education and women’s rights.

12)   US electric car maker Tesla is recalling 123,000 of its “Model S” vehicles to replace power steering bolts.

In an announcement on Thursday, Tesla cited “excessive corrosion” in the power steering bolts of cars built before April 2016.

13)   Japan’s finance minister has apologized for saying newspapers think a document-falsifying scandal involving his ministry is more important than the Trans-Pacific Partnership free trade deal.

Taro Aso made the apology at a meeting of an Upper House committee on Friday, amid mounting criticism that he takes the scandal lightly.

14)   Japanese government officials are discussing what regulations are needed to ensure that self-driving vehicles are safe to put on the road.

Officials expect such vehicles to be on highways and in other places by 2020, the year of the Tokyo Olympic and Paralympic Games. They say guidelines on what equipment the cars need must be decided by the middle of this year.

15)   Trump Claims Amazon Doesn’t Pay Taxes and is Abusing US Postal System

16)   A top Customs and Border Protection (CBP) official pushed back Friday on reports that frontline border agents do not support President Trump’s border wall, telling reporters that “walls work” and that “agents know it.”


Mar 24th, 2018


1)   The ruling Liberal Democratic Party on Thursday decided to pursue a constitutional amendment plan proposed by Prime Minister Shinzo Abe to recognize Japan’s defense forces in the war-renouncing Article 9, despite objections from some of its lawmakers.

2)   President Donald Trump spelled out in new detail several steps he favors to fight a U.S. epidemic of opioid abuse, including the execution of drug dealers, a proposal that has gained little support from drug abuse and judicial experts.

3)   The government spent about 90 percent of its “secret funds” under a category that requires no receipts and lets the chief Cabinet secretary decide where the money goes, a civic group said March 20.

The government’s so-called secret funds may have been used to buy souvenirs, gauge public opinion ahead of elections and even further enrich royal family members overseas, according to people once in charge of the money.

4)   A key figure in the Moritomo land sale scandal that is rocking Japan’s Diet has reportedly confirmed that he kept the prime minister’s wife informed about the deal.

5)   Japanese Prime Minister Shinzo Abe will have lunch with former US President Barack Obama in Tokyo on Sunday.

Obama is due to arrive on Saturday for a 2-day visit to attend an international conference in Tokyo sponsored by a private organization. This will be his first visit to Japan since he left office in January of last year.

6)   Thirteen men and women, who were unable to leave a mountain trail in western Tokyo due to heavy snow, have been found after an overnight search.

All 13 are said to be conscious, but one person was seriously injured in a fall. Authorities say 6 of the climbers were able to walk by themselves. They were taken to a hospital. Police say the remaining 7 were rescued by helicopter and then taken to a hospital.

7)   North Korea’s state media says momentum toward change is emerging in the country’s relations with the United States.

The Korean Central News Agency on Tuesday carried a commentary on the North’s prospective talks with the US and South Korea.

It says measures led by North Korea have created an atmosphere of reconciliation between the 2 Koreas, as well as a momentum toward change in North Korea-US relations.

8)   Rising Japanese tennis star, Naomi Osaka, has defeated 23-time Grand Slam champion, Serena Williams, in the first round of the Miami Open.

Osaka is coming off her first career title at Indian Wells on Sunday. Williams returned to the court earlier this month after maternity leave.

9)   Thousands of rebels have reportedly pulled out of Syria’s Eastern Ghouta, which is under siege by troops loyal to President Bashar al-Assad.

Government troops began bombarding the area, near the capital Damascus, last month. It has been a stronghold of 3 rebel groups.

10)   One of Japan’s biggest solar power plants has gone into operation near Tokyo. What makes it different is that it is on the reservoir of a dam.

More than 50,000 solar panels cover about 18 hectares of a lake behind a dam in Chiba Prefecture.

The operator claims it’s the biggest solar power plant on water in Japan.
Annual output is projected at more than 16 million kilowatt hours. That’s equivalent to the power consumed by about 5,000 households in one year.

11)   Facebook CEO Mark Zuckerberg has admitted that “mistakes” were made in the company’s handling of user data. He pledged to step up measures to protect personal information.

Verified Facebook pages of Elon Musk’s rocket company SpaceX and electric carmaker Tesla Inc disappeared on Friday,

12)   China’s commerce ministry says it’s preparing to take countermeasures to the US tariffs on steel and aluminum imports.

It will target 128 US products including dry fruit, wine and stainless-steel pipes. Those imports were worth about 3 billion dollars last year.

13)   The European Union is proposing to tax IT giants based on their revenues instead of their profits.

The European Commission unveiled its proposals on Wednesday, seeking fair solutions to the digital activity tax.

Under the plan, EU member countries will be able to tax companies that do business within the bloc, even if they are not physically present there.

14)   Supreme Court Justice Ruth Bader Ginsburg has declared a ruling on a white-hot issue, announcing that hot dogs are indeed sandwiches.

The octogenarian made her decision on the “The Late Show With Stephen Colbert” on March 21.

15)   The Communist Party of China announced this week a consolidation of state-run media, part of a broader push by President Xi Jinping to tighten supervision over broad swaths of Chinese public life, or what he calls “unity in thought” among officials and citizens.

Movies, television, books and radio programs will now be under the direct control of the Communist Party. The announcement comes weeks after China voted to end a two-term limit on the presidency.


March 10th, 2018

トランプ大統領が北の人と会談するんだねぇ。良い方に向かうかなぁ。と言ったら、Don’t count your chickens before they are hatched. だそう。

1)   White House officials confirm US President Donald Trump accepts the idea of meeting with North Korea’s leader by May.

Trump is tweeting “great progress” is being made.

South Korean delegates made the initial announcement at the White House after they hand-delivered a letter from Kim Jong Un to Trump.

2)   A group of researchers in the United States has found that fake news on Twitter spreads faster and farther than the truth.

The researchers at the Massachusetts Institute of Technology looked at more than 4.5 million tweets on true and false news stories distributed between 2006 and 2017. They published the results in the journal Science

3)   Women around the world took to the streets on International Women’s Day on Thursday, demanding equal rights.

In the Spanish capital of Madrid, women marchers held pots and spoons, demanding equal pay with men and an end to domestic violence. They said housekeeping and childrearing are not only women’s work.

4)   Britain’s top counter terrorism officer says a nerve agent was used on two people who were found unconscious on the weekend.

Mark Rowley of London Metropolitan Police said, “This is being treated as a major incident involving attempted murder by administration of a nerve agent. As you know, these two people remain critically ill in hospital. ”

5)   A finance ministry official who was involved in the sale of state-owned land to a school operator has died.

Investigative sources say the official from the ministry’s local branch in western Japan was found hanging in his residence in Kobe City on Wednesday. He later died. Police say he left what appears to be a suicide note at his home.

6)  NHK has learned that the head of the National Tax Agency intends to step down after coming under fire for his answers to questions in the Diet over the sale of state-owned land to a school operator.

7)   The mayor of Nagasaki has sent a letter to Barack Obama asking the former US president to visit the atomic-bombed city during his planned trip to Japan.

Obama is arranging a visit in late March at the invitation of a private organization.

8)   Criticism is spreading over a footage showing an orangutan puffing on a cigarette in a zoo in Indonesia.

The video was taken on Sunday and posted online by a visitor to the zoo in Bandung.

The footage shows the orangutan puffing on a half-smoked cigarette which was thrown into the animal’s enclosure by another visitor.

9)   Major Asian nations reacted sharply on Friday to U.S. President Donald Trump’s decision to impose tariffs on steel and aluminium imports, warning of damage to relations amid industry calls for retaliation.

Japan said the move would have a “big impact” on the countries’ close bilateral ties, while China said it was “resolutely opposed” to the decision and South Korea said it may file a complaint to the World Trade Organization.

10)   Trade ministers of 11 countries will sign the Trans-Pacific Partnership on Thursday.

The group does not include the world’s biggest economy, as Trump pulled the US out of the free-trade deal soon after he was elected president.

The ministers will adopt a statement before putting their signatures on the agreement in Santiago, Chile.


Feb 17th, 2018


1)   Defending men’s figure skating champion Yuzuru Hanyu took the lead for Japan after the short program at the Pyeongchang Winter Olympics on Friday.

2)   Japan’s economic outlook remains far from robust as uncertainty abounds over wage growth and business investment at home despite the longest growth run in nearly three decades under the “Abenomics” policy mix.

3)   The Japanese government on Thursday presented ruling lawmakers a plan to limit the number of times people living in the country can enter casinos to around 10 per month.

4)   The Federal Bureau of Investigation was warned in September about an ominous online comment by the 19-year-old man accused of killing 17 people at his former high school but was unable to locate him, an agent said on Thursday.

5)   Nearly half of the elderly drivers who caused fatal traffic accidents last year have been found to have shown signs of dementia or declined cognitive ability.

In Japan, cognitive ability tests are required for drivers, who are aged 75 or older when their driver’s licenses expire.

6)   After the conversation with the Japanese prime minister, Trump told reporters that he suggested Shinzo Abe should ask companies to invest more in the US.

Trump also said that Japanese firms earlier announced plans to open a number of factories in Michigan and other states but he wants them to set up

7)   The head of US Pacific Command has issued a strong warning about China’s military buildup.

Admiral Harry Harris says China is trying to win dominance in the Indo-Pacific region as it issues a challenge globally.

8)   McDonald’s Holdings Japan posted a record profit in 2017, marking a turnaround from huge losses 2 years earlier.

9)   —Police on Wednesday were trying to piece together how a 49-year-old skier whose disappearance sparked a massive search on a snowy New York mountainside ended up six days later in California, confused and still in ski clothes.

“”Toronto firefighter Constantinos “Danny” Filippidis told investigators he doesn’t know what happened after he was reported missing Wednesday, Feb. 7, from Whiteface Mountain during an annual ski trip with colleagues. The search ended Tuesday when Filippidis turned up in Sacramento, California.

10)   —An elk leaped into a research helicopter that was trying to capture it and brought down the helicopter in a collision that also killed the elk, authorities said Tuesday.

The elk jumped into the chopper’s tail rotor as the aircraft flew about 10 feet (3 meters) above ground in a mountainous part of eastern Utah, with its crew trying to drop a net on the elk, said Jared Rigby of the Wasatch County Sheriff’s Office.

Jan 10th, 2018


1)   Princess Mako, the eldest granddaughter of Emperor Akihito, met with her longtime calligraphy teacher at an exhibition in Tokyo on Friday in her first official duty since the Imperial Household Agency announced she will postpone her marriage until 2020.

2)   Japan’s financial regulator has begun on-site inspections of multiple digital currency exchanges to check their risk management systems, following a massive theft of digital money worth 58 billion yen ($533 million) from Coincheck Inc, a minister said Friday.

3)   Roughly 260 vehicles remained stranded on a snowy road on the Sea of Japan coast Thursday morning, with many people already having spent two nights there while snow plowing efforts continued.

Heavy snow started to block traffic Tuesday morning and roughly 1,500 vehicles were stuck in a 10-kilometer stretch of Route 8 in Fukui Prefecture.

4)   AKB48 has dominated the sales charts and become such a cultural phenomenon, in spite of the fact that some would say they aren’t very good at singing or dancing.

5)   Drones can be used to survey crops and take photos of plants, allowing farmers to find insects, pest damage, weeds, diseased plants, and mold. A special  feature allows farmers to attach a pesticide bottle to the drone and spray only areas where insects are detected, reducing labor and the amount of chemicals used.

6)   The powerhouse Canadian squad, which is expected to challenge the team of Russians for the gold medal, compiled 17 points through the first two disciplines. The U.S. team was second with 14 points, followed by Japan and the Russians with 13 points apiece.

7)   A public elementary school in central Tokyo has drawn criticism for its plan to introduce uniforms designed by Italian fashion house Armani.

Taimei elementary school, located in the upscale Ginza shopping district, plans to introduce the new uniforms for first-graders starting in April.

Currently, a boy’s uniform for the school costs just over 155 dollars and a girl’s costs around 180 dollars. The Armani-designed uniforms will cost about two and a half times as much.

8)   Japan is to submit 14 items for inclusion in the UNESCO list of intangible heritage of high historical and cultural value.

The cultural agency made the decision on Wednesday.

The 14 submissions include the skills and craftsmanship of people involved in restoring cultural and traditional monuments, such as shrine carpenters and plasterers.

9)   US President Donald Trump has told Pentagon officials to plan a large-scale military parade in the nation’s capital this year.

Trump attended the Bastille Day parade in Paris on July 14th, following an invitation from French President Emmanuel Macron. He praised the French military parade and said he may do something like it in Washington.

10)   The US government has partially shut down for the second time this year after Congress failed to meet a deadline to vote on a new budget.

Feb 3rd, 2018


1)   Snow blanketed Tokyo and surrounding areas for the second time this winter on Friday, disrupting transport and forcing delays in entrance exams at educational institutions.

2)   Officials at Kyoto University say a mistake has been found in its entrance exam held last year and some applicants were rejected as a result of the error.

17 applicants were denied entry, while 11 others were not accepted to their top-choice departments.

They apologized for the error and said the university will accept the entrance of the students.

3)   Japan’s Cabinet has approved a tax reform plan for the next fiscal year starting in April. It includes a measure that gives companies tax breaks if they boost salaries by at least 3 percent and increase capital investment by a certain level.

Smokers can also expect to pay more. A hike amounting to about 3 cents per cigarette will be introduced from October to 2021.

The Cabinet also approved a bill aimed at raising funds to improve tourism services. Anyone leaving the country would need to pay about 9 dollars from next January.

4)    Oily objects that may have come from a tanker that sank off a southwestern island in Japan has reached the Japanese coast.

Japan’s Coast Guard says it received a report on Thursday about oily objects that had washed ashore on a beach of Amami Oshima Island, Kagoshima Prefecture.

5)   With the opening of the PyeongChang Winter Olympics one week away, 25 percent of the tickets remain unsold.

As of Friday, athletes from a record 92 countries and territories have registered to take part in the Games, which run from February 9th through 25th.

An athlete from Tonga is creating a global buzz.
34-year-old Pita Taufatofua will take part in the PyeongChang Winter Games as a cross-country skier, representing his snowless tropical homeland in the South Pacific.

6)    A fire at a facility for needy people in Hokkaido, northern Japan, has killed 11 people and injured 3 others. Police are working to identify the victims.

7)   Japanese police have arrested a murder suspect whose life as a fugitive in Thailand ended when a photo of his tattoo was posted on Facebook.

Investigators arrested 74-year-old Shigeharu Shirai on Friday when a plane carrying him from Thailand landed at the Chubu international airport in central Japan.

The former gangster is suspected of shooting and killing a senior member of the Yamaguchi Gumi crime syndicate in 2003.

8)   Japan and the European Union have pledged additional aid for Palestinians, counter to the US decision to suspend support.

The US administration of President Donald Trump partially froze aid for Palestinian refugees after recognizing Jerusalem as the capital of Israel.

9)   A lawmaker with Shinzo Abe’s ruling Liberal Democratic Party drew gasps of disapproval from opposition party members for suggesting the prime minister should catch the flu to skip the Opening Ceremony of the Pyeongchang Winter Olympics.

Upper House member Takashi Uto said at the Jan. 31 session of the chamber’s Budget Committee, where Abe was present, “I get the feeling after watching the prime minister that your real intention is that you do not want to go.

Jan 27th, 2018


1)   Tokyo’s ambulance service has experienced its busiest day in more than 80 years, officials said Thursday, amid icy conditions as the Japanese capital shivers through its coldest temperatures in decades.

The Tokyo fire department, which runs the ambulance service, said it had responded to 2,826 calls on Wednesday following rare and heavy snow that sparked chaos in one of the world’s most populous cities.

2)   U.S. President Donald Trump’s latest suggestion he may be open to Washington re-entering the Trans-Pacific Partnership trade deal will not alter Tokyo’s path toward bringing the renegotiated pact into force in March, a Japanese minister said Friday.

3)   Kawasaki Heavy Industries Ltd said Thursday its U.S. subsidiary has received an order worth $3.7 billion to build up to 1,612 cars for the New York subway.

4)   Japanese consumers are well known for their preference for cash. But a growing number are showing an interest in bitcoin and other digital currencies.
Corporations here are hoping to capitalize on the shift.

Telecom operator Internet Initiative Japan set up a new company earlier this month.

18 major firms will invest in the company to set up a virtual currency exchange. They plan to eventually launch payment services, too.

5)   About 530 million dollars’ worth of crypto-currency has gone missing from a major virtual exchange in Japan due to hacking.

The site operator, Coincheck, announced the currency called NEM disappeared at around 3 AM Friday. It has notified the Financial Services Agency and the police.

It says the assets belonged to customers, and is considering compensation and other measures.

6)      A Japanese research team says that in an experiment it conducted, poorly protected webcams were hacked only one hour after the devices were set up.

The team at Yokohama National University was trying to find out how hackers exploit Internet-linked cameras that people use to remotely monitor their homes and offices.

The team installed 4 webcams not protected with personal passwords and another that used a password but had a security flaw.

In just over one month, 148 unknown sources accessed the webcams. 33 of them manipulated the devices, such as by changing their angles.

7)   Japan’s Prime Minister says he wants to pursue a world free of nuclear weapons from a realistic standpoint, at a time when the imminence of the North Korean threat makes the US nuclear umbrella an absolute imperative.

Shinzo Abe’s comments on Friday before the Upper House were in response to the leader of the ruling coalition partner, Komeito.

8)   Police and firefighters have ended search operations for the day at a ski resort at Mount Kusatsu-Shirane, which erupted on Tuesday, killing one and injuring 11.

More than 40 members combed the Kusatsu ski resort in Gunma Prefecture on Thursday to see if anyone is stranded. They say they have found no one so far. Police plan to keep looking on Friday.

9)   A US decision to freeze in part financial contributions to the UN agency supporting Palestinian refugees is prompting concerns among other UN member states.

US President Donald Trump has threatened to freeze more financial aid to the Palestinians unless they return to peace talks with Israel.

10)   The governor of Okinawa, which hosts most US military facilities in Japan, has severely criticized the US Marine Corps commander over a remark he made regarding emergency landings by military aircraft in the prefecture.

On Thursday, General Robert Neller referred to the situation during a speech in Washington. He said he is glad they were precautionary landings because no one was hurt and the Marines didn’t lose any planes.

Jan 20th, 2018


1)   The total number of suicides in Japan in 2017 was 21,140, a decrease for the 8th consecutive year, according to a preliminary report issued by the National Police Agency (NPA) on Friday.

The Health, Labor and Welfare Ministry said the government aims to reduce the number of suicides further by addressing such issues as excessive working hours, postpartum depression and websites for people with suicidal thoughts, Kyodo reported.

2)   Families of Japanese individuals suspected to have been abducted by North Korea will urge the International Criminal Court next week to prosecute the country’s leader Kim Jong Un, saying his refusal to provide information on their whereabouts constitutes continued human rights abuses against them.

3)   The rival Koreas agreed Wednesday to form their first unified Olympic team and have their athletes parade together for the first time in 11 years during the opening ceremony of next month’s Winter Olympics in South Korea, officials said.

4)   Tetsuya Komuro, one of Japan’s most famous music producers and songwriters, announced his retirement from show business at a press conference on Friday afternoon, just days after a tabloid magazine broke the news of his extramarital affair.

Komuro, 59, is married to Keiko, 45, the former lead vocalist of the pop group Globe, which he formed and produced in 1995.

5)   Apple Inc will open a new campus as part of a five-year, $30 billion U.S. investment plan and will make about $38 billion in one-time tax payments on its overseas cash, one of the largest corporate spending plans announced since the passage of a tax cut signed by U.S. President Donald Trump.

The company has been under increasing pressure to make U.S. investments since the 2016 presidential campaign, when Trump targeted the iPhone maker for making products in Asian factories.

6)   All court action for former members of the Aum Shinrikyo cult is to end, after the Supreme Court rejected an appeal by a man who took part in the 1995 deadly nerve gas attack on the Tokyo subway system.

Now that all the court action is finished, attention is focused on when the death penalty will be carried out on 13 Aum members.

7)   The number of criminal offenses in Japan has dropped to a record low last year, based on data available since 1946. The National Police agency attributes the decline in criminal offenses and the improved clear up rate to the spread of security cameras and more crime prevention volunteers. They say they will make more effort to crack down on rampant money transfer frauds.

8)   An event to mark the 40th anniversary of the debut of the iconic arcade game Space Invaders is attracting large crowds in Tokyo.

Space Invaders first hit game arcades in 1978 and became a phenomenal hit. Players are supposed to shoot and destroy invading enemies as they descend, while warding off their attacks.

9)   An exhibition in Tokyo is putting the spotlight on cutting-edge wearable devices, including shirts with sensors that might help prevent heatstroke.

A textile maker is displaying shirts with sensors to gauge the wearer’s heart-rate and other biometrics. The data can be sent to smartphones or tablets.

The company says the devices are being tested out on construction workers to see if the technology can prevent heatstroke in the summer.

10)   British Prime Minister Theresa May has appointed a minister for loneliness to deal with issues related to the emotion felt by elderly and other people.

May said in a statement that loneliness is the sad reality of modern life and called on everyone for help in addressing the loneliness endured by the elderly, by carers, and by those who have lost loved ones.

Government data show that more than 9 million people say they are always or often lonely. They also show about 200,000 older people have not had any conversation with a friend or relative in more than a month. Experts say loneliness poses a health risk.

Jan 13th, 2018

トランプ支持の先生は失言についてはフェイクニュースだよ。と言っていた^^ このまま収まるとは思えないけどどうだろう。

1)   A stricken Iranian oil tanker has drifted into Japan’s exclusive economic zone (EEZ), a spokesman for Japan’s Coast Guard told Reuters on Friday, as strong winds pushed the burning ship away from the Chinese coast.

2)   A newly appointed female judge on Japan’s Supreme Court has said she will use her maiden name when handing down rulings, a legal first in a country criticised for its attitudes to gender equality.

Married couples in Japan are required to have a common surname under a law that was upheld in 2015, sparking criticism from activists who complain it is sexist and outdated.

3)   Thai police said they have arrested a 74-year-old fugitive Japanese gang member who was recognized when photos of his full-body tattoos were circulated online.

A police statement said Shigeharu Shirai was arrested Wednesday in a province north of Bangkok where he has been hiding for over 10 years to evade murder charges in Japan in connection with the death of a rival gang member.

4)   Local authorities inKagawa Prefecture began culling about 92,000 chickens Thursday after the highly pathogenic H5 strain of avian influenza was detected.

The outbreak was confirmed at a poultry farm in the city of Sanuki as the chickens tested positive in genetic tests, making it the first bird flu case affecting livestock in Japan this season. The culling operation is to be completed within 24 hours.

5)   Emperor Akihito and Empress Michiko will not be attending sumo’s new year tournament as the ancient sport deals with a string of deep scandals, the palace told local media Thursday.

Imperial Household Agency Grand Steward Shinichiro Yamamoto said the Japan Sumo Association had cancelled a customary invitation, issued in October, for the couple to watch the tournament later this month, citing “recent situations”.

6)   Japan’s foreign minister has urged Myanmar’s de facto leader Aung San Suu Kyi to ensure the safe and voluntary return of Rohingya Muslims who have fled violence in the country.

He said Japan will give 3 million dollars in emergency aid to Myanmar to help provide the refugees with daily commodities such as generators and water purifiers.

7)   Fishermen are worried about extremely small catches of baby eels in Japan’s Shizuoka Prefecture. It is known as the birthplace of eel farming in the country.

Local officials say the catch in December totaled only 184 grams. That’s about 0.04 percent compared to the same month in 2016.

It is the third time since 1989 that less than one kilogram was registered for December in Shizuoka.

8)   The US government has approved the sale of 4 new interceptor missiles to Japan, to counter the threat from North Korea.

US State Department officials said on Tuesday they had notified Congress of the decision. The US and Japan are jointly developing the SM-3 Block 2A missiles.

They are the successor to the SM-3 Block 1A missiles currently mounted on Japanese Self-Defense Force Aegis destroyers.

They are expected to have a much longer range and a wider capability to intercept.

9)   The Court of Arbitration for Sport, or CAS, has said 42 Russian athletes have filed appeals against Olympic bans.

The International Olympic Committee disqualified the athletes following revelations of Russia’s systematic doping during the 2014 Sochi Winter Olympics. They include bobsledder Aleksandr Zubkov, who won 2 gold medals. CAS announced on Tuesday that it has registered the appeals.

10)   Sony has put its iconic pet robot dog “aibo” back on sale for the first time in 12 years.

Sony held an event at its headquarters in Tokyo on Thursday to mark the release of the updated version of the product. Five parties selected by lottery each received a new aibo.

The new version has a miniature camera and 20 sensors in its body. It walks around and wags its tail while detecting its surroundings.

The new model recognizes human faces. Its artificial intelligence analyzes images captured by its camera. Aibo shows different expressions and reactions depending on whom it faces.


Dec 29th, 2017

今年最後の英語!See you next year!で終了。英語の勉強というか娯楽と感じているから続けられていると思う。来年も土曜の朝のお楽しみにします!

1) What better way to spend Christmas than eating fried chicken and strawberry shortcake? While it may not be exactly traditional from a Westerner’s point of view, that’s the way they do it in Japan, especially if the chicken is from good ol’ American fast food restaurant, Kentucky Fried Chicken. With it being tradition to eat KFC on Christmas, it’s no wonder that KFC Japan’s sales between December 23 and 25 are calculated to be over 6 billion yen.

2)   The New Year holiday exodus from Tokyo and other cities began on Friday, with vacationers crowding train stations, airports and expressways.

Travel agents and airlines said about 880,000 people are estimated to depart and return to Japan by plane between Friday and Jan 3. Travel agents said the most popular destinations this year are Hawaii, Hong Kong, Taiwan and Cebu in the Philippines.

3)   Yamato Transport Co, Japan’s largest package delivery company, plans to open a new distribution facility with labor-saving technology near Tokyo early next year, its chief executive says.

The move comes amid widening labor shortage and a surge in parcel volumes because of the country’s growing use of e-commerce retailers such as Inc.

The Bank of Japan’s quarterly survey on Friday showed Japanese companies were faced with the most severe staff shortages since 1992.

“It’s especially difficult to find workers in big cities. The labor shortage got more severe in December,” Yamato Transport CEO Yutaka Nagao said in an interview.

4)   Authorities are trying to crack down on “shirotaku” taxis, the relatively cheap but illegal and potentially dangerous services that have grown in popularity among tourists from overseas.

Many of these unlicensed taxis are found in and around tourist destinations and airports across Japan.

Tourists can easily book shirotaku through apps on their smartphones in Chinese and other languages..

5)  U.S. President Donald Trump on Thursday made light of climate change science as an Arctic chill settled on much of the central and northeastern United States and Canada, forcing people indoors, stranding motorists with dead car batteries and complicating firefighting duties.

“In the East, it could be the COLDEST New Year’s Eve on record,” Trump tweeted from his Mar a Lago resort in Florida, where he is on holiday vacation.

“Perhaps we could use a little bit of that good old Global Warming that our Country, but not other countries, was going to pay TRILLIONS OF DOLLARS to protect against. Bundle up!”

6)   Japanese authorities on Thursday indicted the North Korean captain of a boat that drifted to its coast on charges of stealing a generator, appliances and other equipment from an uninhabited island, officials and media reports said.

The captain and his nine crewmembers on the dilapidated boat were rescued near a tiny island off of Hokkaido, northern Japan, in late November. Japanese police said they arrested the captain and two crewmembers earlier this month on suspicion they stole a generator and appliances from a barn on the island.

7)  A report by a British research firm predicts a growing dominance of Asian nations in the global economy in 15 years, with China becoming the world’s largest economy.


The Centre for Economics and Business Research on Tuesday released a report on the global economic outlook for the next 15 years.


The report says that by 2032, China is likely to overtake the United States in the size of gross domestic product. At present, the US is the largest economy while China is ranked second.

8)   Taiwanese President Tsai Ing-wen has said she plans to start mass production of surveillance drones as Chinese military jets become more active in the region.


Tsai unveiled the plan in a year-end news conference at a military facility on Friday.


Tsai pointed to the recent surge in Chinese jets flying around the island. She said China’s ambition to expand militarily in East Asia is becoming more apparent.

9)  The South Korean Navy started a 2-day maritime drill around the Takeshima Islands in the Sea of Japan on Thursday.


Japan lodged a strong protest, as it claims territorial sovereignty over the islands.

10)    A decision by Japan to deploy a U.S. missile defense system will damage Moscow’s relations with Tokyo and is a breach by Washington of a landmark arms control treaty, Russian Foreign Ministry spokeswoman Maria Zakharova said on Thursday.

Japan formally decided this month it would expand its ballistic missile defense system with U.S.-made ground-based Aegis radar stations and interceptors in response to a growing threat from North Korean rockets.

Dec 29th, 2017

Dec 23rd, 2017


1)   Japan’s government approved a record military budget on Friday but did not earmark enough extra money to stop a splurge on U.S.-made ballistic missile defense kit from putting a squeeze on funding for an ambitious domestic jet fighter project. The military expenditure is part of a record-high 97.71 trillion yen budget plan for fiscal 2018.

2)   The Japanese government said Friday it will use revenue from an envisaged departure tax only for boosting tourism, amid concern that it would be directed to a wider range of purposes. Japan plans to introduce the departure tax from Jan 7, 2019, requiring each passenger, regardless of nationality, to pay 1,000 yen when they leave the country by air or sea.

Its revenue will be allocated to three areas — creating an environment for pleasant and stress-free journeys, facilitating access to information on the country’s tourist attractions,

3)   The latest price tag for the 2020 Tokyo Olympics has been trimmed slightly, but is still nearly twice the initial estimate even after a major cost-cutting effort.The organizers said Friday that the event will cost a total 1.35 trillion yen ($11.9 billion).

In their release, Tokyo 2020 officials said the U.S. dollar cost would be $12.6 billion. But at the current exchange rate of about 113 yen to the dollar, it is just under $12 billion.

4)   Kobe Steel Ltd, at the center of a data-falsification scandal that has shaken Japan’s manufacturing industry, admitted for the first time that executives were aware of the cheating, and reassigned three senior officials.

Japan’s No. 3 steelmaker, which supplies the manufacturers of cars, planes and trains across the world, has said about 500 customers had received products with falsified specifications, throwing global supply chains into turmoil.

5)    North Korea’s foreign ministry has denied involvement in a massive cyberattack that the United States publicly blamed on the country.

The WannaCry virus infected computers in May around the world, including Japan. A senior White House official said this week that North Korean leader Kim Jong Un’s government was responsible.

6)   The South Korean military says a North Korean soldier fled to the South on Thursday morning by going over the border of the demilitarized zone dividing the 2 countries.

A spokesman of the Joint Chiefs of Staff, Roh Jae-cheon, made the announcement about the defection at a regular news conference later on Thursday.

7)   Members of the US Senate have passed a bill that would deliver the biggest rewrite of the tax code in a generation.

Senate members voted along party lines with 51 supporting the bill and 48 voting against it. The legislation is now just one step away from becoming a reality.

The bill calls for a reduction in the corporate tax rate from 35 percent to 21. It also includes a break for the richest Americans, who’ll get a reduction in individual income tax from nearly 40 percent to 37.

8)   Taiwan’s authorities plan to make all new vehicles there electric by 2040 to fight worsening air pollution.

Dec 14th, 2017


1)   Six of 10 North Korean “fishermen” rescued from a tiny wooden boat drifting off northern Japan will be deported back to their country, an immigration official told AFP Tuesday.

Three of the crew have been arrested on suspicion of theft after they reportedly admitted to “taking out” electronic products from a remote Japanese island where they landed briefly to take refuge.

One of the men is still in hospital, reportedly suffering from a stomach illness, said Tanaka.

2)   A metal-framed window fell from a U.S. military helicopter onto a school sports field near a U.S. Marine Corps air base on Okinawa on Wednesday, the Marines said, the latest in a series of accidents that have fanned safety concerns on Japan’s southern island.

3)   Japan’s greenhouse gas emissions shrank 0.2% in fiscal 2016 from the previous year to 1.32 billion tons, declining for the third consecutive year, Environment Ministry data showed Tuesday.

The latest figure for the year until March 2017 is 4.6% below fiscal 2005 levels. Japan has already met its goal of a 3.8% cut by fiscal 2020 set in its COP19 commitment,

The fall in greenhouse gas emissions was mainly attributable to the increased use of solar and wind energy resources, with renewables growing about 50% from the previous year.

4)   A 33-year-old man has been arrested on suspicion of committing an indecent act after he kissed a woman who was sleeping on a train in September.

According to police, the incident occurred at around 2 p.m. in the afternoon aboard a train heading to Kansai Airport from Kyobashi Station in Osaka, Sankei Shimbun reported.

5)   Toshiba has settled legal disputes with U.S. production partner Western Digital, both firms said Wednesday, clearing the way for the embattled Japanese conglomerate’s multi-billion-dollar sale of its prized chip business.

Toshiba has been on the ropes after the disastrous acquisition of U.S. nuclear energy firm Westinghouse, which racked up billions of dollars in losses before being placed under bankruptcy protection.

6)   For the first time, a Japanese high court has ordered the operator of a nuclear plant not to restart a reactor.

The Hiroshima High Court issued the injunction on Wednesday. It ordered Shikoku Electric Power Company not to restart the No. 3 reactor at its Ikata plant in Ehime Prefecture. It’s currently offline for regular inspections.

7)   Members of the International Olympic Committee have enjoyed food from areas of northeast Japan that were hit by the massive earthquake and tsunami 6 years ago.

The head of the IOC coordination commission for the 2020 Olympic and Paralympic Games, John Coates, and other officials attended a dinner in Tokyo on Tuesday.

They are making the visit to see how the Japanese capital is preparing for the Games. The recovery from the 2011 disaster will be a key theme for the events.

Food from the 3 prefectures of Iwate, Miyagi and Fukushima was used for dishes and snacks. The diners also sampled sake from these regions.

8)   Japan’s government has revised its basic space policy so the country can take part in an international manned exploratory mission to the Moon.

The government held a meeting of its Strategic Headquarters for Space Development on Tuesday.

Prime Minister Shinzo Abe chaired the meeting, and Science and Technology Policy Minister Masaji Matsuyama also attended.

The panel decided to start discussions next year on how Japan can contribute its technological expertise to the lunar probe.

9)   Japan’s leading construction equipment firm plans to develop a new automatic control system for its machines to offset a labor shortage.

Komatsu officials say the artificial intelligence-controlled machinery will be developed in cooperation with US chip company Nvidia.

The AI would be capable of recognizing people and obstacles in images captured by cameras installed on hydraulic excavators and avoid possible accidents.

AI would also judge the optimum amount of soil to load on a truck.

Komatsu hopes to have construction sites be unmanned in the future.

10)   Analysts are predicting that business sentiment at large Japanese manufacturing firms will show a 5th straight quarterly improvement in a forthcoming Bank of Japan report.

Fifteen private-sector institutions have come up with their projections for the BOJ Tankan report to be issued on Friday, covering about 11,000 businesses in Japan.

The quarterly survey measures how executives feel about the economy. The Tankan index represents the difference in the percentage of companies that say business is good and those that say it’s bad. A positive reading means more companies are optimistic.

11)   US Secretary of State Rex Tillerson has indicated a potential shift of policy, saying that the US is ready to begin talks with North Korea without pre-conditions.

The US has been demanding Pyongyang change its stance and give up its nuclear program before coming to the table. But Tillerson now says that is just not “realistic.”

Tillerson made wide-ranging remarks about the issue at a foreign policy forum in Washington.

He said “I don’t think it’s realistic to say we are only going to talk if you come to the table ready to give up your program.”

12)   US President Donald Trump has called for tougher immigration rules after a man from Bangladesh was detained for allegedly setting off an explosion in New York.

Trump said in a statement on Monday, “As I have been saying since I first announced my candidacy for President, America must fix its lax immigration system.”

Trump said the current system allows far too many dangerous, inadequately vetted people to access the United States.

13)   The man arrested for exploding a pipe bomb in New York may have been affected by online extremist propaganda.

The Monday morning blast in an underground passage connecting the Port Authority bus terminal and the Times Square subway station wounded 3 people.

Police detained 27-year-old Akayed Ullah from Bangladesh at the site on suspicion of setting off a pipe bomb strapped to his body.

Ullah is thought to be a lone perpetrator identifying with the Islamic State militant group.

Dec 7th, 2017

1) Japanese schoolchildren will help determine the mascot for the Tokyo 2020 Olympics.
Organizers of the Tokyo Olympics and Paralympics on Wednesday unveiled three sets of designs for the Games’ mascots. The schoolchildren will review the shortlisted designs with their classes casting a single vote in favor of one of the three sets.

2) Bank of Japan board member Takako Masai on Wednesday advocated sticking with ultra-easy monetary policy due to uncertainty over how fast inflation will rise, while warning that the central bank should remain on guard against the possible side-effects.
Despite a strengthening economy, Masai conceded that it was taking longer than expected to eradicate Japan’s sticky deflationary mindset, or public perceptions that prices won’t rise ahead.

3) Japan is considering having 10 consecutive days off from April 27 to May 6 in 2019 to coincide with Crown Prince Naruhito’s succession to the throne on May 1, government sources said Wednesday.
April 29 and May 3-6 are already assigned as national holidays in 2019, following the weekend of April 27 and 28. If May 1 is designated as a national holiday, April 30 and May 2 would become public holidays. Japanese holiday law stipulates that a weekday sandwiched by national holidays automatically becomes a public holiday.

4) Bitcoin hit a fresh record of $14,000 Thursday as investors piled in, triggering a warning the cryptocurrency was “like a charging train with no brakes” which would inevitably slip back.
It touched a new a high of $14,400 in Asian trade before slipping back to $13,900, according to Bloomberg News.

5) Big companies are stepping up their plans in case Britain crashes out of the European Union without a deal as Prime Minister Theresa May struggles to get talks back on track after a major setback.
Britain is aiming to agree with the EU on Dec. 14 to move the Brexit talks on to the second phase. This would focus on trade and a two-year transition deal to smooth the departure after March 2019. But the timetable has been thrown into doubt after discussions broke down in Brussels on Monday.

6) Arabs and Muslims across the Middle East on Wednesday condemned the U.S. recognition of Jerusalem as Israel’s capital as an incendiary move in a volatile region and Palestinians said Washington was ditching its leading role as a peace mediator.
The European Union and United Nations also voiced alarm at U.S. President Donald Trump’s decision to move the U.S. Embassy in Israel to Jerusalem and its repercussions for any chances of reviving Israeli-Palestinian peacemaking.

7) The Supreme Court ruled Wednesday that owners of televisions in Japan are legally required to sign up with public broadcaster NHK and pay a subscription fee, dismissing a claim that the fee collection system violates the freedom of contract guaranteed by the Constitution.
The ruling that the fee collection is constitutional was handed down in a lawsuit filed by the broadcaster against a Tokyo man who persistently failed to respond to NHK’s requests from September 2011 for a contract. He owned a TV from March 2006.

8) A lone monkey apparently traveling north has appeared in central Tokyo, roving through an area with high-rise apartment buildings.
The monkey was spotted in a residential area in Minato Ward on Thursday.
Police received a number of reports from residents that they saw a monkey. No wild monkeys are known to live in the area.

9) An association of major social networking service providers in Japan has urged member firms to ban messages soliciting suicide on their sites.
The move follows serial murders near Tokyo, in which a suspect is believed to have lured his victims with suicidal posts on Twitter.
The association comprising 17 firms, including Twitter and LINE, made the appeal on Wednesday. It was originally established to prevent children from becoming victims of social media.

10) Police in Tottori Prefecture will file papers with prosecutors next week on the alleged assault by former sumo grand champion Harumafuji.
They say they are recommending that the wrestler be indicted.
They say Harumafuji admitted to striking fellow wrestler Takanoiwa with his hand and a karaoke remote control device in October.
11) Japan’s Defense Ministry is set to request funds in the next fiscal year to study a plan to equip fighter aircraft with long-range cruise missiles.
The ministry is looking into the Norwegian-made Joint Strike Missile, which has a range of more than 300 kilometers, and the US-made JASSM-ER, with a range of over 900 kilometers.

12) The Japan Atomic Energy Agency has presented a detailed plan for decommissioning its prototype fast-breeder nuclear reactor over 30 years.
The government decided last year to scrap the Monju reactor in Fukui Prefecture, central Japan, after a series of accidents and other safety problems.

Nov 25th, 2017


1)   Police in northern Japan have found eight men near a boat at a seaside marina who said they were from North Korea, and appear to be fishermen whose vessel ran into trouble, rather than defectors, a police official said on Friday.

2)   Mitsubishi Materials Corp., a maker of components used in autos, aircraft and electricity generation, has become the latest among major Japanese companies to report faked quality data.

Executives of the company bowed before reporters in apology Friday as they reported on falsified data by some subsidiaries.

3)   A local Japanese politician has been criticised by lawmakers for trying to bring her baby to a council session.

Yuka Ogata said she wanted to show how difficult it is for women to juggle careers and raise children.

Kumamoto municipal assembly officials said she had violated assembly rules as visitors and observers are forbidden from the floor.

After a lengthy discussion, Ms Ogata left the child with a friend and the session started 40 minutes late.

The council says it will discuss her case and ways to support lawmakers with young children.

4)   A local Japanese politician has been criticised by lawmakers for trying to bring her baby to a council session.

Yuka Ogata said she wanted to show how difficult it is for women to juggle careers and raise children.

Kumamoto municipal assembly officials said she had violated assembly rules as visitors and observers are forbidden from the floor.

After a lengthy discussion, Ms Ogata left the child with a friend and the session started 40 minutes late.

The council says it will discuss her case and ways to support lawmakers with young children.

5)   San Francisco Mayor Edwin Lee signed a document Wednesday formalizing the city’s acceptance of a statue that symbolizes Korean and other Asian women forced into wartime brothels for the Japanese military, city officials said, prompting the mayor of its sister-city Osaka to decide on dissolution of their affiliation.

6)   An employee of the British Embassy in Jordan has become an online sensation after his appointment as… chief mouser.

The embassy adopted a cat from an animal shelter last month, and named him Lawrence of Abdoun.

The name is a reference to Thomas Edward Lawrence, a British officer who helped the Arabs fight the Ottoman Empire during World War One… and who came to be known as Lawrence of Arabia.

Abdoun is the neighborhood Amman where the British Embassy is located.

Photos of the fluffy black-and-white “chief mouser” have attracted huge attention on Twitter. He gained more than 4,500 followers in just one month, surpassing the British ambassador’s own account.

7)   Japanese pro tennis player Kei Nishikori has spoken of his renewed resolve to return to competition in his first interview after sustaining an injury in August.

Nishikori had his right wrist dislocated while practicing serves. The injury forced him to skip all remaining tournaments in the season. His world ranking fell to the 22nd, from the 9th prior to the injury. He ended the season out of the top 10 for the first time in 3 years.

8)   Chinese researchers have released 2 captive-bred pandas of different sex into the wild at one time. It’s the first such experiment.

The 2 were transported from a wilderness training facility and let loose in a nature reserve on Thursday. Both have collar trackers for monitoring.

The release is part of a program begun in 2006 by the China Conservation and Research Center for the Giant Panda based in the inland province of Sichuan.

The center hopes the program will have greater chances of succeeding if the captive-bred pandas form a pair and breed in the wild.

9)   Dozens of Indian Army soldiers have set a world record by riding a single motorcycle for 12-hundred meters.

The challenge took place at an air force station in Bengaluru, southern India.

Participants hopped on the moving motorcycle while clinging to each other.

The bike ultimately carried 58 soldiers and slowly drove the 12-hundred meter distance. The previous record of 56 soldiers was set by another unit 4 years ago.

10)   North Korea has replaced dozens of guards and fortified a section of its border with South Korea following the dramatic defection of one of its soldiers last week, a report said Friday.

Nov 16th, 2017

レッスン普通に受けたら、予約してなかった。多分また忘れてるから開けておいたよ。だって。^^  最近そんなんばっかだな。私。(ためいき) 相撲の事件とザマの事件とThanks giving由来の話。

1)   Illuminated by the light of the moon that drifts in and out of the clouds, wild boars swaggering down a shopping avenue of a desolate town here are captured on camera.

The entire population of the town of Futaba, which co-hosts the crippled Fukushima No. 1 nuclear power plant, is currently living elsewhere. Almost all of Futaba remains designated a “difficult-to-return zone” more than six and a half years after the nuclear disaster.

The streetscape of the area that is a no-entry zone at night remains as it was when the disaster occurred.

2)   When Shinzo Abe, Japan’s prime minister, met with President Xi Jinping of China on the sidelines of a regional summit meeting in Vietnam over the weekend, the pair shook hands and posed for a photo. Xi, who had looked more dour in previous meetings, flashed a grin.

It was a sign, the Japanese news media suggested, of warming relations between the two longtime adversaries.

3)   A 27-year-old American tourist has been arrested for scrawling graffiti on the wall at a construction site in Tokyo’s Shibuya area, police said Thursday.

A police officer on patrol apprehended the man who was drunk at the time.

4)   The grisly beheading of nine young people lured by a suspected serial killer after tweeting suicidal thoughts has sparked debate about the use of social media in Japan, which has one of the world’s highest suicide rates.

5)   The Japanese city of Osaka is seeking support for its bid to host the 2025 World Expo.

6)   Wednesday marks 40 years since a Japanese schoolgirl was abducted by North Korean agents.

Megumi Yokota was 13 years old when she was taken while walking home from school in Niigata City, on the Sea of Japan coast, on November 15th, 1977.

7)   The leaders of Germany and France pledged support for the Paris climate accord on Wednesday at a UN conference to discuss climate change.

8)   Canada’s defense minister is calling for more women to take part in UN peacekeeping operations.

Harjit Sajjan chairs the UN Peacekeeping Defense Ministerial Conference in Vancouver, Canada, which opened on Tuesday.

9)   US President Donald Trump has cited big business deals achieved as well as strengthened ties with regional leaders as the tremendously successful results of his extensive Asian tour.


Nov 11th, 2017


1)   Highly touted Japanese pitcher-outfielder Shohei Otani announced on Saturday he wants to move to Major League Baseball next season.

“The other day I met with team officials and stated my intentions,” Otani said at a press conference. “My request was met with warm words of support so I hope to do my best in America from next year on.”

2)   The co-chairs of the TPP ministerial meeting have announced that a new deal was reached by the members during 4 days of talks in Da Nang, Vietnam.

Japan’s Economic Revitalization Minister, Toshimitsu Motegi, and Vietnam’s Industry and Trade Minister, Tran Tuan Anh, explained the new agreement to reporters on Sunday.

They said that, in the new pact, 20 items will be suspended to accommodate the US’s withdrawal from the deal.

3)   A test-run of a hydrogen fuel-cell powered train has been revealed to the media in Germany. It will be the first train of its kind to be put into commercial operation.

The preview was held at a factory in the northern city of Salzgitter on Friday. French train maker Alstom has been developing the eco-friendly locomotive.

It runs on electricity generated by hydrogen that reacts with oxygen in the air. It emits no exhaust, such as carbon dioxide.

4)   Officials at Ueno Zoo in Tokyo say the baby panda born in June is growing up healthily.

The zoo held a news conference on Friday; one day after Xiang Xiang marked 150 days after her birth.

The officials say the female cub now weighs 9.9 kilograms, and that she is walking around the room and climbing on a 70 centimeter tall log.

The zoo plans to put her on public display with her mother in mid-December.

5)   Japanese Prime Minister Shinzo Abe and Russian President Vladimir Putin held talks in the city of Da Nang on Friday evening on the sidelines of the Asia-Pacific Economic Cooperation summit in Vietnam.

At the beginning of their talks, Putin congratulated Abe on his coalition’s win in the Lower House election last month. Putin said the victory will help with the cooperation plan the 2 leaders had agreed on. He also said he’s happy with the development of bilateral ties, pointing out that political dialogue and economic cooperation between the 2 countries are brisk.

Oct 28th, 2017

今日トピック多過ぎ。^^  日産、スバルときたから来月あたりホンダが。。。


1)   The head of Japanese automaker Subaru bowed deeply in apology Friday as the company admitted that it has been carrying out flawed inspections of its Japan-made cars for years.

2)   The number of reported bullying cases at Japanese schools hit a record high of more than 320,000 in the 2016 academic year due partly to efforts to detect early signs, the education ministry says.

Altogether 323,808 bullying cases at elementary, junior high and high schools were reported, up 43.8% from a year before, with the figure for elementary schools jumping 1.5-fold.  90.6% of the total cases had been resolved.

3)   A Japanese teenager is suing the government of Osaka, saying her public high school repeatedly forced her to dye her naturally-brown hair black or be banned from attending school, local media reported on Friday.

In a lawsuit filed in Osaka District Court, the 18-year-old girl said her mother informed Kaifukan School in Habikino city upon her enrolment that she was born with brownish hair, as the school had a policy banning hair coloring, media reported.

Educators, however, instructed her to color her hair black, telling her repeatedly that the dye job was insufficient and forcing her to “either dye the hair black or quit school”, Kyodo news reported, citing the lawsuit.

4)   Japan’s Nikkei share average rose more than 1% to a fresh 21-year high on Friday, led by banking shares as U.S. yields remained high and by tech shares after their U.S. counterparts posted strong earnings.

5)   Approximately 1,000 apples were stolen earlier this week from an orchard in Hirosaki City, Aomori Prefecture, shortly after they were picked.

According to police, at around 4:30 p.m. on Oct 24, the owner of the orchard reported that 1,000 Fuji apples awaiting their scheduled shipment had been stolen, Fuji TV reported. The stolen apples are worth about 40,000 yen

6)   Prime Minister Shinzo Abe on Thursday called for pay hikes through negotiations between management and labor unions next spring, making such a request for the fifth straight year to inject fresh momentum into wage growth.

“I hope to see wages raised by 3% in next spring’s wage talks,” Abe told a government panel meeting at his office. It’s rare for the prime minister to refer to a specific number for wage increase.

7)   Don’t want Amazon boxes sitting on the porch? The company hopes you’ll let a stranger inside to drop them off.

Amazon said Wednesday it’ll launch a service called Amazon Key next month that will let people allow the door to be unlocked when they’re not there so packages can be left inside.

The proposal drew plenty of humorous reactions on social media, as well as concerns about safety or delivery employees being mistaken for intruders. Amazon said the drivers would be well-vetted, while one expert said the company has built up trust with customers and younger customers were more likely to try it out.

8)   With the arrival of the cold-and-cough season, you may be thinking about cooking up a big batch of chicken soup as a cure for what ails us.

I love the stuff, too, but I suggest you stock up on some fresh ginger root instead. Ginger, of course, is one of the many flavors to be found in a stir-fry Asian dish or Indian curry. But used in larger quantities than specified for those recipes, it can become quite spicy. Of all the home remedies out there, I have found tea, prepared with fresh ginger, to be the most effective.

9)   Percent of men who favor the addition of male-only trains cars

● Age 20-29: 66 percent

● Age 30-39: 51 percent

● Age 40-49: 47 percent

● Age 50-59: 38 percent

Percent of women who favor the addition of male-only trains cars

● Age 20-29: 58 percent

● Age 30-39: 53 percent

● Age 40-49: 63 percent

● Age 50-59: 57 percent

10)   The regional parliament of Catalonia has voted to unilaterally declare independence from Spain. The move comes after voters overwhelmingly chose to break away in a referendum earlier this month.

The 135-member Catalan parliament reconvened a plenary session on Friday to discuss the issue. 70 voted in favor, 10 were against and 2 submitted blank ballots.

Meanwhile, the upper house of Spain’s parliament authorized Spanish Prime Minister Mariano Rajoy to impose direct rule on Catalonia. Rajoy says he will first dismiss Catalan President Carles Puigdemont.

11)   US President Donald Trump has stressed that he will be working to solve the problems of North Korea’s missile and nuclear threats.

Trump spoke in an interview with FOX TV on Wednesday, ahead of his visit to Japan, South Korea and China from November 5th.

He said he hopes his Asian tour will be historic and positive. He said they have to solve the North Korea issue, which he said is a very big problem. Trump said he will get it solved.

12)   Malicious software has been used to launch a massive cyber-attack against computers in Russia and Ukraine.

Russian media outlets say the malware took down the country’s Interfax news agency on Tuesday.

The attack also affected Ukraine’s Odessa airport and Kiev’s subway system. Flights were delayed, as staff members had to handle boarding procedures manually.

Bulgaria, Germany, and Turkey were similarly targeted.

An expert at the Israeli information security firm Kela says the malware, called BadRabbit, locks computers using encryption and demands a ransom for their release.

13)   A driverless bus has taken to the roads in the southeastern German state of Bavaria.

The first self-driving shuttle service in Germany, operated by state-owned rail company Deutsche Bahn, started in Bad Birnbach, a spa resort with a population of about 6,000, on Wednesday.

The small, 6-seat electric vehicle developed by a French startup doesn’t have a driver’s wheel. It detects its surrounding environment with sensors and relies on GPS to confirm where it is running.

The bus shuttles some 700 meters linking the town center and spas at a speed of less than 15 kilometers per hour.

14)   Kobe Steel says its JIS or Japanese Industrial Standards certificate has been revoked for some products at a subsidiary for data falsification.

Its officials said on Thursday that quality control authorities Japan Quality Assurance Organization removed the certification for some copper products.

15)   A private study group says economic losses from unclaimed land in Japan last year amount to about 1.6 billion dollars.

When legal heirs or other successors fail to register their ownership of estates, their land becomes unclaimed.

The group estimated in June that Japan’s unclaimed land totaled about 4.1 million hectares. That’s equivalent in size to the southwestern island of Kyushu.

16)   Japan’s Finance Ministry has presented a plan to review and curb medical and other social security expenses in forming the fiscal 2018 budget.

Medical, nursing and other social security expenses account for about one-third of government spending. The plan proposes an additional increase in the 10 percent ceiling on co-payment for seniors aged 75 or older. It says the ceiling should be reviewed in fiscal 2019 or after. The government hopes to gradually raise the ceiling to 20 percent.

17)   Japan’s opposition party Hope led by Tokyo Governor Yuriko Koike has decided not to name a co-leader for the time being in the wake of their setback in Sunday’s general election.

The decision comes after Koike said she will remain party president while serving as Tokyo governor

18)   The leader of Japan’s opposition Democratic Party, Seiji Maehara, has expressed his intention to resign from the post.

19)   Japan’s Emperor Akihito and Empress Michiko have visited victims of torrential rains in northern Kyushu, western Japan, where more than 1,000 people are still living in temporary housing 3 months after the disaster struck.

20)   The Tokyo Metropolitan Police Department is tightening security in the capital ahead of US President Donald Trump’s visit next month.

Trump will arrive in Tokyo on November 5th. The president’s 3-day trip to Japan is part of his Asian tour.

Oct 14th, 2017


1)   Akira Shimizu, an actor and celebrity impressionist, apologised at a news conference in Tokyo on Thursday night after his son Ryotaro, 29, was arrested earlier in the day on suspicion of violating the Stimulants Control Law.

2)   Police on Wednesday arrested a 66-year-old man on suspicion of violating the Public Election Law after he assaulted a candidate for the Oct 22 lower house election while he was giving a public speech in Kashiwa, Chiba Prefecture.

According to police, Yoshio Amano approached Yoshitaka Sakurada who was campaigning in front of Kashiwa Station at around 7 p.m. Wednesday and hit him in the head, Sankei Shimbun reported. Nearby staff subdued Amano and called police.

Sakurada, a member of Japan’s ruling Liberal-Democratic Party (LDP), was not injured, police said.

3)   A man serving a 10-year jail term for attempted murder has confessed to murdering another woman in 2006, saying he “has changed his mind to repent after falling sick,” investigative sources said.

Hirokazu Suzuki, 37, who is suffering from a cerebral infarction, was arrested Tuesday on suspicion of stabbing Yuri Kuronuma, 27, in Kawasaki, near Tokyo in September 2006.

4)   A key member of an international organization that won this year’s Nobel Peace Prize has criticized the Japanese government for effectively ignoring a landmark U.N. treaty that outlaws nuclear weapons.

5)   Bank of Japan Governor Haruhiko Kuroda on Thursday stressed the central bank’s resolve to maintain its ultra-loose monetary policy, even as its U.S. and European counterparts begin to dial back their massive, crisis-mode monetary stimulus.

Kuroda offered an upbeat view of Japan’s economy, saying it was expanding moderately with rising incomes leading to higher corporate and household spending.

But he said inflation and wage growth were disappointingly low, despite such improvements in the economy.

6)   Shares in Japan’s Kobe Steel dived on Friday on a report that its widening quality scandal has spread to more than 30 foreign customers, including Boeing, General Motors, and French automaker PSA.

The embarrassing scandal for Kobe Steel — a venerable firm that once employed Prime Minister Shinzo Abe — has already hit wide sections of Japanese industry, including automakers Toyota, Nissan and Honda which used the affected materials in their vehicles.

7)   The United States said Thursday that it was pulling out of the U.N.’s culture and education body, accusing it of “anti-Israel bias” in a move criticised by the head of the Paris-based organisation.

8)   Gun control in Japan, combined with the prevailing respect for authority, has led to a more harmonious relationship between civilians and the police than in the U.S. The Japanese police, in choosing to use sub-lethal force on people, generate less widespread fear among the public that they’ll be shot. In turn, people feel less of a need to arm themselves.

The U.S., meanwhile, has a more militarized police force that uses automatic weapons. There is also less widespread trust between people (and between people and institutions). The factors combine to produce a much fearful culture that can seem to be always on edge.

9)   Prime Minister Shinzo Abe’s snap election gamble looked like paying off after media forecasts showed his ruling bloc heading for a surprisingly big win, possibly enough to re-energise his push to revise Japan’s post-World War Two pacifist constitution.

10)   Yuriko Koike says she went into politics to be a player, not a bystander.

Now Tokyo’s first female governor is shaking things up as her new Party of Hope challenges Prime Minister Shinzo Abe’s ruling bloc in an Oct 22 poll, called by the Japanese leader to seek a fresh mandate after nearly five years in office.

11)   Wildfires continue to ravage northern California in the United States, killing 31 people over the past 4 days. California State officials say the fires that started on Sunday have burned about 77,000 hectares of land, mainly in the wine-producing counties of Sonoma and Napa.

They say about 3,500 homes and stores have been destroyed and that more than 20,000 people have been evacuated. Local media are calling the wildfires the deadliest in the state’s history.

12)   The Spanish prime minister has demanded that the leader of Catalonia clarify by next Monday whether he declared independence from Spain.

13)   An Iraqi court has issued arrest warrants for the members of the Kurdish electoral commission that organized last month’s independence referendum. The Kurdish regional government unilaterally conducted the referendum on September 25th, despite objections from Iraq’s central government as well as neighboring Turkey and Iran, and the United States.

The majority of voters supported the independence of the Kurdish autonomous region from Iraq in the poll. The regional government says it wants to proceed with negotiations with the central government for independence, based on the referendum. But the government in Baghdad regards the referendum as invalid.

14)   A record-high 2.47 million foreigners were living in Japan at the end of June.

The Justice Ministry’s Immigration Bureau says the number of foreign residents was 2,471,458

15)   Tokyo’s benchmark stock index ended on Friday above the 21,100 mark for the first time in nearly 21 years, on expectations for strong Japanese corporate earnings.

16)   Japan’s big brewers are struggling to reverse a decline in their business. They say a change to the pricing law and cooler weather led to record low summer shipments.

The top five brewers say, from July to September, combined shipments of beer and beer-like drinks came to just over 1.3 million kiloliters.

That figure is down 4.2 percent from the previous year and represents a 7th consecutive year of decline.

17)   Tokyo’s Haneda Airport is set to introduce Japan’s first unmanned immigration gates as it moves to free up customs officers to handle the growing number of international tourists.

The Justice Ministry’s Immigration Bureau on Friday held a demonstration of the machines’ facial recognition technology. The bureau plans to start operating 3 gates for Japanese citizens next Wednesday.

18)   Australia’s government says it will not allow entry of North Korea’s under-19 soccer team for a championship qualifier next month because of Pyongyang’s continued nuclear and missile development.


Oct 7th, 2017


1)   Japanese Transport Minister Keiichi Ishii said on Friday that unauthorised technicians had been found certifying vehicles at five Nissan Motor Co plants that the ministry has been inspecting.

2)   A gunman perched high on the 32nd floor of a Las Vegas Strip casino unleashed a shower of bullets down on an outdoor country music festival below, killing at least 50 people and wounding more than 200 as tens of thousands of frantic concert-goers screamed and ran for their lives, officials said Monday.

3)   Japan accepted just three refugees in the first half of 2017 despite receiving a record 8,561 fresh asylum applications, the government said on Tuesday, highlighting the nation’s reluctance to accept foreigners.

4)   The Japanese nuclear watchdog’s decision on Wednesday to allow two reactors run by Tokyo Electric Power Company Holdings Inc (TEPCO) to pass its safety review has drawn fierce criticism from citizens who remain evacuated from their home over six years after the nuclear crisis at the utility’s Fukushima complex.

5)   Tokyo Gov Yuriko Koike’s new party unveiled on Friday what it calls “Yurinomics” – policies to revitalise Japan’s economy while cutting reliance on the aggressive spending and monetary easing that are central to Prime Minister Shinzo Abe’s strategy.

It has made populist calls to freeze a scheduled sales tax hike in 2019 and phase out nuclear power, as part of a effort to set itself apart from the government on key issues.

6)   The infotainment technology that automakers are cramming into the dashboard of new vehicles is making drivers take their eyes off the road and hands off the wheel for dangerously long periods of time, an AAA study says.

Cars used to have a few buttons and knobs. Some vehicles now have as many as 50 buttons on the steering wheel and dashboard that are multi-functional. There are touch screens, voice commands, writing pads, heads-up displays on windshields and mirrors and 3-D computer-generated images.


In one of the most bizarre British political speeches in a generation, May’s address on Wednesday to her annual conference was ruined by a comedian handing her a fake employment termination letter, repeated coughing fits and even by letters falling off the slogans on the set behind her.

May’s authority was already diminished by her botched bet on a June snap election that lost her party its majority in parliament just days before the opening of formal Brexit talks with the European Union.

8)   A magnitude 5-point-9 earthquake has struck northeastern Japan.

The quake was focused off the coast of Fukushima Prefecture at a depth of 50 kilometers.

The Nuclear Regulation Authority says there are no reports of abnormalities at 2 nuclear plants in Fukushima, including the crippled Daiichi plant.

9)   About 500 people enjoyed the first outdoor ski run of the season in Japan at a resort at the base of Mt. Fuji. The slope in Susono City in Shizuoka Prefecture opened on Friday.

The resort is the first to open for outdoor runs in Japan for the 19th straight year. This year’s opening comes 2 weeks earlier than last year.

10)   The Japan Table Tennis Association is trying to confirm whether China’s Super League has decided not to accept foreign players for its 2017 season, which usually starts in October.

Association officials say World Championship bronze medalist Miu Hirano applied to join a Super League team to improve her skills, but was rejected in late September due to financial reasons.

The team also said the league decided not to accept foreign players this season.

11)   A Chinese billionaire living in the United States has stepped up criticism of China’s Communist Party ahead of the party’s National Congress later this month.

Guo said there is no rule of law in China. He claimed that the family of Wang Qishan, a Politburo member who has led the party’s anti-corruption campaign, secretly possesses massive assets in the US and elsewhere.

Guo warned that the Chinese government has dispatched 27 agents to the United States this year on espionage missions. He showed a picture of what he said was a secret Chinese government document.
12)   Spain’s Constitutional Court has ordered the suspension of a Catalan parliamentary session next week.

The region’s legislature is expected to declare unilateral independence from Spain on Monday.

The suspension order on Thursday follows an appeal from Catalan lawmakers opposing independence.

13)   Japan’s leading advertising agency Dentsu has been fined for excessively overworking its employees.

A summary court in Tokyo ordered the firm on Friday to pay a fine of 500,000 yen, or over 4,400 dollars.

Dentsu was indicted on suspicion of violating the labor standards law. The company forced 4 employees to work illegally long hours.

14)   US Vice President Mike Pence says the United States will return its astronauts to the moon and build a base there to send them to Mars and beyond.

Pence delivered a keynote speech as the chair of the inaugural meeting of the National Space Council near Washington on Thursday.

The administration of President Donald Trump set up the Council to promote manned space exploration.

15)  Retailer Takashimaya has opened a specialty section in one of its Tokyo department stores that sells only robots. Most of them cost between 900 and 2,700 dollars.

One small robot uses artificial intelligence to help people learn English. It uses the program to respond at the learner’s level.

Another AI-equipped robot helps with the laundry. It folds clean clothes and sorts them according to whom they belong to.

16)    US Agriculture Secretary Sonny Perdue has expressed an interest in negotiating a bilateral free trade agreement with Japan.

Perdue affirmed his eagerness to boost farm exports to Japan in a speech in Washington on Wednesday. The secretary said he wants Japan to lower what he called high tariffs on American farm products, such as beef, pork, and dairy products, as well as fruits and vegetables.

Perdue stressed that he wants the 2 nations to enter into negotiations to remove trade barriers.

17)   Saudi Arabia said last month that it’s lifting its ban on female drivers next year. With that in mind, many women are heading to a major motor show in the country, looking forward to getting behind the wheel.

18)   Sony is planning to roll out smart speakers controlled by Japanese language commands in December.

They say Sony’s product will feature high quality sound for playing music, as well as allowing users to give commands either with voice or hand movements.

AI speakers are already popular in the United States, but not in the Japanese market.

Sept 23rd, 2017


1)   A Japanese court ordered Tokyo Electric Power Company Holdings Inc (TEPCO) on Friday to pay damages over the nuclear disaster at its Fukushima Daiichi nuclear power plant following a deadly 2011 earthquake and tsunami, but dismissed claims against the state.

Friday’s ruling stemmed from a lawsuit filed by 45 people who were forced to flee Fukushima Prefecture to Chiba Prefecture near Tokyo. The Chiba court awarded a total of 376 million yen to 42 of them, including all four who voluntarily evacuated.

2)   President Donald Trump vowed Tuesday to “totally destroy North Korea” if the U.S. is forced to defend itself or its allies against the renegade nation’s nuclear weapons program, making his case in a combative debut speech to the U.N. that laid out a stark, good-vs-evil view of a globe riven by chaos and turmoil.

3)   Dozens of descendants of Japanese soldiers killed in World War II visited Pearl Harbor in Hawaii on Thursday to pay respects to fallen American soldiers. Nippon Izokukai, the Bereaved Family Association of Japan, sent about 36 children, grandchildren and other relatives of fallen Japanese soldiers to the U.S. to mark the 70th anniversary of the group’s founding.

4)   Apple Inc’s latest iPhone 8 and iPhone 8 Plus smartphones featuring upgraded cameras and wireless charging went on sale in Japan on Friday, with eager buyers forming lines at retail outlets in the morning.

5)   Japanese police reported a record-high 30,262 children as suspected abuse victims to welfare authorities in the first half of 2017, on the back of increased public awareness of the issue, the National Police Agency said Thursday.

An agency official attributed the rise to heightened awareness among citizens that prompted more people to report child abuse cases. The child consultation centers provide temporary shelter to children or dispatch staff to families with potentially abused children as a way to keep problems from getting worse.

6)   Japan’s ruling coalition is aiming to advance procedures in line with Prime Minister Shinzo Abe’s plan to dissolve the Lower House on the day the Diet opens. But the opposition is reacting sharply, saying such a move is tantamount to suppressing Diet debate.

Another focus of attention is a new party to be launched next week by Masaru Wakasa, an ally of popular Tokyo Governor Yuriko Koike and former Environment Minister Goshi Hosono, who defected from the Democratic Party.

Koike could assume a post in the new party. She is expected to make a decision after taking into account the overall political situation and public opinion.

7)   Japan’s prime minister wants to use revenue from the increased consumption tax to provide tuition-free preschool and higher education. Shinzo Abe says the move would be part of his drive to invest more in human resource development.

He also called for improving childcare and nursing care services and making preschool education tuition-free. This would include tuition-free higher education for children from low-income households.

Abe said reforming human resource development will require substantial financial resources. He said he is determined to meet this challenge for the future of Japan.

8)   Popular Japanese singer Namie Amuro has announced that she will retire next September.

Amuro made the announcement on her official website on Wednesday, the day of her 40th birthday.

She said she will retire on September 16th, 2018. She stated that she made the decision because September 16th of this year marked the 25th anniversary of the start of her career.

9)   A major credit-rating agency S&P Global Ratings has cut China’s sovereign rating by a notch. Analysts at the agency say growing debt has increased the country’s economic and financial risks.

China’s rating has gone from double A minus to single A plus.

Still, they say the outlook is stable with the country expected to maintain robust economic performance over the next 3 to 4 years.

The analysts expect authorities to implement tougher restrictions on borrowing to curb debt.

10)   Japan has urged the 10 other remaining members of the Trans-Pacific Partnership free trade pact to swiftly reach a new broad agreement without the United States.

11)   Officials at the Bank of Japan have just wrapped up their 2-day policy meeting. They have decided to continue with their massive monetary easing.

The bank says it will keep its focus on a framework to manage short- and long-term interest rates in its bid to achieve the 2-percent inflation target.

12)   Bangladesh’s prime minister has urged the United Nations to protect Rohingya Muslims, a persecuted ethnic minority fleeing neighboring Myanmar.

13)   South Korea has approved 8-million-dollars of humanitarian aid to North Korea through UN agencies.
Opponents to the plan say it could run against international efforts to put pressure on Pyongyang.

14)   A group of North Korean defectors has protested a decision by the South to offer humanitarian aid to its northern neighbor.

The man from the defector group said he wants the South Korean government to understand why defectors, who have families in the North, oppose the aid. He said the supplies will not reach North Koreans, but end up within the country’s regime.

Sept 9th, 2017


1)   South Florida is bracing for a major storm surge and powerful winds even as Hurricane Irma weakened to a Category 4 storm as it races toward the U.S. mainland.

2)   Japan’s agriculture ministry said Friday it is aiming to more than quadruple the country’s annual rice and rice product exports to 100,000 tons in 2019, ministry officials said Friday.

Domestic demand for rice has been decreasing by around 8 tons a year, necessitating the expansion of exports, according to the ministry.

3)   The Halloween season “officially” kicks off in Japan on Friday with the festivities beginning at major theme parks Tokyo Disneyland, Tokyo DisneySea where parades and other events will be held until Oct 31.

Although many stores have been selling Halloween merchandise since late August, the “official” start of the Halloween season in Japan is usually considered to be when the theme parks start.

4)   Japanese wrestler-turned-lawmaker Antonio Inoki arrived in North Korea on Thursday to possibly meet with the country’s top official in charge of foreign affairs, amid deepening tensions over its nuclear and missile programs.

5)   The Japanese government on Friday approved a change to guidelines to allow local education boards to set summer holidays at different times of the year to encourage more family time in the chronically overworked country.

6)   The Tokyo Metropolitan Government plans to introduce a comprehensive indoor smoking ban in public spaces in an effort to eradicate secondhand smoking.

The proposed regulation targets all cigarettes, cigars and electric cigarettes. It would ban smoking anywhere inside medical institutions, as well as elementary and junior high schools, central and local government offices, welfare facilities for the elderly, and gymnasiums.

Indoor smoking would also be prohibited at hotels, company offices and restaurants, except in designated smoking rooms.

7)   Japan’s transport ministry says it is studying the possibility of charging tolls at 4 popular tourist spots to ease traffic congestion.

The ministry plans to survey traffic in the ancient capital of Kyoto; Kamakura, near Tokyo; Kobe, in western Japan, and the central resort of Karuizawa as early as next month.

Roads in the areas are busy on weekends and during tourist seasons, affecting local residents’ daily lives.

8)   A survey by a French institute shows that up to 70 percent of coral reefs in Japan’s southwestern prefecture of Okinawa are dead due to warm temperatures.

9)   The government of Mexico says it has given the North Korean ambassador 72 hours to leave the country.

The government on Thursday declared the ambassador, Kim Hyong Gil, persona non grata as a protest against the North’s nuclear and missile tests.

10)   China’s central bank has banned the practice of raising funds with Bitcoin and other virtual money. The measure took effect earlier this week.

The People’s Bank of China announced on Monday that the bank banned “initial coin offerings,” or ICOs as a form of unauthorized and illegal public fundraising.

The bank suspended websites providing ICO services after the announcement, linking the practice to financial fraud, pyramid schemes and other criminal activities.

11)   The new leadership of Japan’s main opposition Democratic Party will likely suffer damage from an alleged scandal involving one of its key lawmakers.

A weekly magazine reports that the party’s former policy research committee chair, Shiori Yamao, has been engaged in an extramarital affair with a lawyer.

Sept 2nd, 2017


1)   A US ban on its citizens travelling to North Korea has come into effect, at a time of heightened tensions over North Korean missile launches.

2)   Houston’s recovery from Hurricane Harvey flooding will be a “multi-year project”, Texas Governor Greg Abbott has said.

3)   Growing concern about children eating alone has spurred a drive in Japan to offer free or low-cost meals for them at makeshift cafeterias.

Since the launch of the first such facility in Tokyo in 2012, the number of children’s diners has sharply increased to about 500.

4)   North Korea fired a missile that flew over Japan and landed in waters off the northern region of Hokkaido at around 6 a.m. on Tuesday, South Korean and Japanese officials said, marking a sharp escalation of tensions on the Korean peninsula.

5)   President Donald Trump is pledging $1 million in personal money to Harvey storm relief efforts.

6)   Hundreds of people have paid tribute to the late atomic bomb survivor and peace activist Sumiteru Taniguchi.

The lifelong activist who called for the elimination of nuclear weapons died of cancer on Wednesday at the age of 88.

7)   A Japanese government body has officially recommended a method known as “dry removal” to retrieve nuclear fuel debris from the damaged Fukushima Daiichi power plant.

8)   A civic group is suing Japan’s government for using an inappropriate arbitrary figure to lower the price of state-owned land sold to a school corporation in Osaka.

The state-owned land in Toyonaka City, Osaka Prefecture, was sold to Moritomo Gakuen last year for about 7.3 million dollars less than its value.

9)   Britain must use billions of pounds into new power plants, grid networks and electric vehicle charging points if it is to avoid local power shortages when a planned ban on new diesel and petrol cars begins.

10)   A conference on the future of Pacific bluefin tuna stocks has wrapped up in South Korea. The delegates from tuna fishing countries around the Pacific Rim have agreed to a Japanese proposal on managing tuna stocks, but with tougher conditions.


Aug 19th, 2017


1)   Spanish police are investigating a possible link between an incident at a Spanish seaside resort and the deadly terror attack in Barcelona.

Local media say a car hit pedestrians and injured 6 in the town of Cambrils. Police killed the 5 suspects that were in the car.

Local authorities told the media that they suspect the incident was carried out by the same group that is responsible for Thursday’s attack in Barcelona.

2)   survey conducted by Japan’s welfare ministry shows that 52 children died from abuse by their parents or others in the year ending in March of last year.

The number is up 8 from the previous fiscal year. About 80 percent, or 42, of the victims were children aged 3 or younger. Thirty were infants under one year old.
3)   A giant tortoise that went missing from a zoo in western Japan more than 2 weeks ago has been found about 100 meters from where it disappeared.

The female tortoise escaped from the Shibukawa Zoo in Tamano, Okayama Prefecture, on August 1st.
4)   Oita City in southwestern Japan has become the latest area of the country to test the benefits of driverless vehicle technology.

Local officials are trialing an autonomous microbus that could eventually be used to shuttle people around the city.
5)   Japan’s Defense Ministry has decided to consider introducing a new US-made missile defense system known as “Aegis Ashore” in light of progress in North Korea’s missile development.
The Aegis advanced radar system is designed to intercept a missile outside the atmosphere and a land-based PAC 3 system is capable of intercepting a missile entering the atmosphere.
6)    Japanese researchers say an extinct variety of otter formerly widespread across the country may still survive in southwestern Japan. The Japanese river otter was officially declared extinct in 2012.

Izawa said that a camera set up for an ecological survey of wild animals on Tsushima Island, Nagasaki Prefecture, filmed an otter in February.
7)    Japan’s Foreign Minister Taro Kono says the government will offer assistance worth about 500 million dollars to enhance the maritime security capabilities of Indo-Pacific coastal nations.
8)   US trade officials are expected to hold a special session of a joint panel meeting on a free trade agreement with South Korea next Tuesday. The US has urged the South to start renegotiations.

After talks with South Korean President Moon Jae-in, US President Donald Trump said the 2 countries’ current free trade deal is not necessarily good. Trump indicated willingness to renegotiate with the South to press it to further open its auto market.

9)   A Canadian woman who lost her engagement ring over a decade ago has found it in an unlikely spot. It was wrapped around a carrot growing on her family farm.

84-year-old Mary Grams lost the diamond ring 13 years ago on the farm located in Alberta. Her husband gave her the ring 66 years ago.
10)   US President Donald Trump’s latest remark on the removal of Confederate leader monuments has fueled criticism of his stance toward white supremacists.

A deadly clash last Saturday in Charlottesville, Virginia, between white supremacists and their opponents prompted removal of monuments around the country.


Aug 11th, 2017


1)   North Korea has warned the United States that it will complete its plan by mid-August to fire ballistic missiles toward waters off Guam.

2)   Many parts of Japan are in the grip of a heat wave, including Tokyo where the temperature on Wednesday reached 37 degrees Celsius.

3)   Labor authorities have officially acknowledged that a Japanese doctor killed himself due to overwork. His suicide has drawn attention to the harsh working conditions of people in the medical field.

4)   The latest data shows Japan continues to depend on imported food.

Japan’s Agriculture Ministry says the food self-sufficiency rate in fiscal 2016 fell for the first time in 6 years. The rate is based on calorie intake.

5)   A Japanese government panel has begun reviewing the country’s medium-to long-term energy policy. The group of experts is focusing on what to do about nuclear power generation and on ways to promote renewables.

6)   Trial runs have started at a Tokyo airport for a range of services that employ new technologies to help elderly, disabled and foreign travelers.

One of the services allows users to get directions to bus stops, including images and multilingual maps, when they take a photo of a guide sign on their smartphones.

Another lets users ride an automated wheelchair to any destination in the airport, such as a check-in counter, as designated via smartphone.

7)   The ruling parties of Japan and China are to make proposals to help improve bilateral relations.

Executives of Japan’s Liberal Democratic Party and Komeito and the Chinese Communist Party will issue a set of proposals when they conclude 3 days of talks in Tokyo on Wednesday.

8)   The organizers of the PyeongChang Winter Olympics in South Korea are trying to raise public interest in the games that will open in 6 months.

But public interest is low. This is partly due to the recent political turmoil that led to the impeachment of former president Park Geun-hye.