1) Japan’s transport ministry says the latest bus accident that has left more than 10 people dead is the worst in 3 decades in the country.
25 people died in 1985 when a chartered bus carrying holidaymakers to a ski ground fell into a river in Nagano City.
2) Japanese researchers have found the first chick at a new breeding site for an endangered species of albatross on the southern island of Mukojima in the Pacific Ocean.
Researchers from the Yamashina Institute for Ornithology discovered the short-tailed albatross chick during a field survey last Saturday.
3) Officials with Tokyo’s metropolitan government say flu season has started in the Japanese capital.
They said on Thursday that the number of people diagnosed with influenza in the week through Sunday was 1.7 per medical institution. That figure is high enough to indicate an outbreak.
4) Criminal offenses in Japan have dropped for the 13th year in a row to the lowest level since the end of World War Two.
The National Police Agency says it confirmed nearly 1.1 million criminal offenses across the country last year. That’s down more than 9 percent from the previous year.
Thefts from homes and parked cars dropped 10 percent from the previous year to about 800,000. The figure is down 66 percent from its peak in 2002. Thefts account for more than 70 percent of criminal cases.
5) The price of gasoline fell to its lowest level in 6-year-and-8-months at pumps in Japan this week due to the ongoing global slide in crude oil prices.
The Oil Information Center says the average retail price of a liter of gas was 118.9 yen, or about a dollar, on Tuesday.
6) Tokyo stocks fell below the 17,000 mark on Thursday for the first time in more than 3 months amid concerns about the slowing Chinese economy and the slide in oil prices.
7) The United Nations Children’s Fund says one in every four children living in conflict zones around the world is unable to attend school.
A UNICEF report says nearly 24 million children living in crisis zones in 22 countries affected by conflict are out of school.