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- 11/22/11--22:00: _'Legal high' produc...
- 11/22/11--22:00: _Ex-prosecutor: 'Aum...
- 11/22/11--22:14: _Japan torn over US-...
- 11/22/11--22:14: _Olympus ex-CEO says...
- 11/23/11--11:33: _Japan, China eye 'c...
- 11/23/11--11:33: _Analysis: Stark cho...
- 11/23/11--21:40: _Man fined for ridin...
- 11/23/11--21:40: _Sumo: Hakuho edges ...
- 11/23/11--21:40: _DPJ postpones raisi...
- 11/23/11--21:40: _Late-night dancing ...
- 11/23/11--21:40: _Ikawa gambled until...
- 11/23/11--21:50: _Magnitude-5.9 quake...
- 11/23/11--21:57: _Japanese comedian T...
- 11/23/11--21:57: _Apple moves product...
- 11/23/11--22:05: _Woman arrested for ...
- 11/24/11--08:50: _Japan looks to futu...
- 11/24/11--08:52: _Japan safe, tourism...
- 11/24/11--08:52: _Nikkei falls to low...
- 11/24/11--08:57: _Japan govt repeats ...
- 11/24/11--08:58: _Japan's emperor rel...
- 11/22/11--22:00: 'Legal high' products a growing concern
- 11/22/11--22:00: Ex-prosecutor: 'Aum made preparations to topple the government'
- 11/22/11--22:14: Japan torn over US-led free-trade pact
- 11/22/11--22:14: Olympus ex-CEO says Tokyo police can get to truth
- 11/23/11--11:33: Japan, China eye 'crisis' plan to avoid sea disputes
- 11/23/11--11:33: Analysis: Stark choices face Japan Inc, sick man of Asia
- 11/23/11--21:40: Man fined for riding racing bicycle on road
- 11/23/11--21:40: Sumo: Hakuho edges nemesis Kisenosato on 11th day
- 11/23/11--21:40: DPJ postpones raising pension eligibility age
- 11/23/11--21:40: Late-night dancing should not be a crime in Japan
- 11/23/11--21:40: Ikawa gambled until just before net closed
- 11/23/11--21:50: Magnitude-5.9 quake hits near Japan nuclear site
- 11/23/11--21:57: Japanese comedian Tatekawa dies at 75
- 11/23/11--21:57: Apple moves production to Sharp for TV debut
- 11/23/11--22:05: Woman arrested for stabbing passer-by on Tokyo sidewalk
- 11/24/11--08:50: Japan looks to future with earnest crown prince
- 11/24/11--08:52: Japan safe, tourism leaders insist
- 11/24/11--08:52: Nikkei falls to lowest level since April 2009
- 11/24/11--08:57: Japan govt repeats economy picking up but warns of more risks
- 11/24/11--08:58: Japan's emperor released from hospital
The sale of a mixture of dried plant material and other substances that have hallucinatory and potentially harmful effects is proliferating nationwide, with vendors exploiting a legal loophole to avoid crackdowns.
The substances have effects similar to those of cannabis and other drugs restricted by the Pharmaceutical Affairs Law, but their chemical makeup is slightly different. Vendors argue the substances are therefore legal, but authorities say this is a ploy to get around the law.
Vendors also say the products are meant not for ingestion but for use as incense.
The substances in question can potentially cause mental illness, and police fear young people may be tempted to experiment with them. (Yomiuri)
The Aum Supreme Truth cult could have toppled the government and taken power, even only for a short period, by committing mass murder in Tokyo with 70 tons of deadly sarin gas and 1,000 automatic rifles, a former Supreme Court justice said in an interview with The Yomiuri Shimbun.
Tatsuo Kainaka, 71, led investigations on Aum-related crimes as deputy chief prosecutor at the Tokyo District Public Prosecutors Office before becoming a Supreme Court justice.
As the last of the Aum trials finally ended Monday, Kainaka discussed lessons learned from authorities' failure to crack down on the cult earlier and how the cult's plan to control the capital was prevented. (Yomiuri)
At first glance, Yoshio Hachiro and Masahiko Yamada look like they have been cut from the same piece of wood. Both men worked in agriculture for decades before turning to politics.
Sixty-three-year-old Hachiro was a general manager of a rural farming cooperative in Hokkaido, Japan's most northern prefecture. He promoted Imakane Danshaku, locally grown potatoes considered such a delicacy that they are sold individually wrapped in Tokyo's ritzy and posh department stores.
Yamada, 69, is a farmer, a lawyer as well as a veteran member of the Lower House of parliament and a native from an island 100 kilometers west of the southern prefecture Nagasaki. He is the author of several books on the perceived threat to agriculture in Japan, including Japan will be crushed by imported food and Japan to be smashed by China on food. He also published a novel on food security called The Japan-US food war. (Asia Times)
Former Olympus Corp CEO Michael Woodford said on Wednesday that Tokyo police were best able to get to the truth behind one of Japan's biggest accounting scandals, as speculation mounts of possible links to organised crime.
Woodford, who blew the whistle on accounting tricks at the firm after his sacking a month ago, also said on arrival at Tokyo's Narita international airport that Olympus needed new management but should be allowed to remain a listed company.
Woodford, a Briton, is returning to Japan for the first time since his sacking on October 14. He is due on Thursday to meet prosecutors, regulators and police investigating the scandal, in which Olympus has admitted to hiding losses for two decades and to using merger and acquisition payments to aid the cover-up. (Reuters)
Japan's foreign minister will on Wednesday meet Chinese leaders to discuss setting up a "crisis" mechanism that will aim to avoid conflict over disputed waters, a Japanese embassy official said.
China and Japan have often had strained relations, particularly over claims to East China Sea gas fields and disputed islands known as the Senkaku in Japanese and the Diaoyu in Chinese.
Koichiro Gemba -- on a one-day visit to Beijing -- will meet his counterpart Yang Jiechi and Premier Wen Jiabao in talks that will also lay the ground for a visit by Japanese Prime Minister Yoshihiko Noda's to China later this year. (mysinchew.com)
A sign hanging opposite Tadashi Yanai's spacious 31st floor Tokyo office reads: 'Change or die'. The head of Japan's leading apparel chain, Fast Retailing (9983.T), believes it's a message corporate Japan must heed.
As Japan's lost decade stretches into a lost generation, the nation and its corporations face ever starker choices as grinding competition in foreign markets, fading opportunities at home, and a soaring yen expose the failings of slow moving management and a hesitancy to engage with the rest of the world.
Toyota Motor (7203.T) remains the world's biggest automaker by value, but has seen market share slip to General Motors (GM.N) and Volkswagen AG (VOWG_p.DE) and has South Korea's Hyundai (005380.KS) in its rear-view mirror. (Reuters)
An Osaka man who rode a racing bicycle without brakes on a public road has been fined 6,000 yen by the Osaka Summary Court after an indictment had been filed against him for violation of the Road Traffic Law.
It is the nation's first case in which a cyclist was fined for riding a racing bicycle known as a "piste bike" or "fixie" on a public road.
According to the police, the 29-year-old manager of a restaurant in Osaka received a summary indictment from the public prosecutor as he allegedly rode a piste bike on a public road in Chuo Ward, Osaka, on the evening of Oct. 8. He was indicted for poor brake equipment under a section of the Road Traffic Law. (Yomiuri)
Hakuho moved two wins clear at the Kyushu Grand Sumo on Wednesday and increased the pressure on promotion-chasing Kisenosato in the process by condemning his nemesis to a damaging third defeat at the 15-day basho.
No problem: Hakuho (rear) beats Kisenosato at the Kyushu Grand Sumo Tournament on Wednesday. KYODO
Kisenosato famously upset Hakuho here last year to end the Mongolian yokozuna's winning streak at 63 bouts and shatter his hopes of surpassing yokozuna legend Futabayama's all-time mark.
But Hakuho, who also lost to Kisenosato at this year's New Year and autumn meets, watched ozeki debutant Kotoshogiku fall to a second straight loss and took full advantage in the day's finale at Fukuoka Kokusai Center. (Japan Times)
A Democratic Party of Japan committee discussing public pension reform has deferred a plan to raise the eligibility age for private employees to receive pension benefits to between 68 and 70, according to its interim report.
The team, under the party's council for health, labor and welfare affairs, said in the report released Tuesday that mutual pension schemes mainly for public servants should be incorporated into the private employees' pension plan.
The group also insisted that the coverage of the employees pension scheme should be expanded to include part-time workers and other laborers with short working hours who are not covered by the scheme. (Yomiuri)
Imagine a town where playing rock music is under a curfew and police crack down on unlicensed late-night dancing. Are you thinking of the town from the film "Footloose"? Or are you thinking of Fukuoka? Kumamoto? Yokohama?
This unbelievable scenario is the result of a 1984 addition to the 1948 Fūzoku Eigyō Torishimari Hō (Entertainment Business Control Law), which was originally designed to regulate hostess bars, cabaret clubs and gambling establishments.
Over the past year, however, police have been increasingly enforcing sections of the law and creating a climate of worry and fear among operators of live-music venue and nightclubs across the country. (Japan Times)
Former Daio Paper Corp. Chairman Mototaka Ikawa, who was arrested over huge loans he allegedly borrowed from subsidiaries to gamble, visited a casino in Singapore until just before the case was exposed in September and wagered up to 150 million yen a day, according to sources.
As of this month, more than 1 billion yen still remained in a bank account in which Ikawa kept money for gambling.
The Tokyo District Public Prosecutors Office's special investigation unit had been secretly looking into Ikawa since this spring. However, Daio Paper only started its own internal investigation after being tipped off by an e-mail sent from a whistleblower in a group subsidiary Sept. 7.
According to sources, Ikawa frequently visited a casino at a high-class resort that opened in central Singapore in April 2010. (Yomiuri)
A strong earthquake struck Thursday morning near the Japan nuclear power plant hit by a powerful tsunami earlier this year. There were no immediate reports of damage or injuries.
The U.S. Geological Survey said the magnitude-5.9 quake struck shortly before 4:30 a.m. local time. It hit 62 miles (101 kilometers) east of the Fukushima Dai-ichi nuclear power plant. The quake struck at a depth of 23 miles (37 kilometers).
The quake struck 151 miles (244 kilometers) northeast of Tokyo.
The Pacific Tsunami Warning Center did not immediately issue a tsunami alert. (AP)
Danshi Tatekawa, master storyteller of Japan's traditional "rakugo" comic stories who inspired many comedians, has died at the age of 75, reports said Wednesday.
He died Monday after a long battle with cancer, according to major media, including national broadcaster NHK and Jiji Press.
Tatekawa, whose real name was Katsuyoshi Matsuoka, was known for his sharp tongue, dark humour, and free-spirited ways on and off the stage.
He was a major influence on many Japanese comedians, including Takeshi Kitano, acclaimed filmmaker and comedian, who learned rakugo storytelling under him. (AFP)
Apple Inc. is shifting production of iPhone and iPad displays to Sharp Corp. in Japan and may introduce a television with screens from the same partner as early as the middle of 2012, Jefferies & Co. said.
Apple is moving its business to Sharp in Japan largely at the expense of Samsung Electronics Co., a growing rival in smartphones and tablets, said Peter Misek, a New York-based analyst at Jefferies. The company's relationship with Samsung is deteriorating, Misek said. Besides diversifying away from Samsung for displays, Apple has shifted some purchases of flash memory from Samsung to Toshiba Corp., he said. The deal with Sharp gives Apple more control over manufacturing. (BusinessWeek)
Police said Wednesday they have arrested a 37-year-old woman for allegedly stabbing a 40-year-old woman in Tokyo on Tuesday night.
According to Fuji TV, the victim was walking along a street in Setagaya Ward's Mishuku at about 7 p.m. when the incident occurred. Police say the accused walked toward the victim, then turned and stabbed her in the lower back with a fruit knife, causing serious injuries. Neither woman knew each other, police said. (Japan Today)
Over the past few weeks, Japanese Crown Prince Naruhito has been in the public eye as rarely before, whether tipping a wine glass in toasts at a state banquet or conferring imperial decorations as he stands in for Emperor Akihito, who has been in hospital.
Naruhito's prominence while his 77-year-old father recovers from what court officials say is a mild case of pneumonia has given Japan a fresh look at the scholarly, unassuming man who likes animals and watching sumo wrestling with his 9-year-old daughter, Aiko.
Whereas Emperor Akihito had a relatively clear role to play when he ascended the Chrysanthemum throne, trying to heal the wounds of a war waged across Asia in the name of his father, Emperor Hirohito, Naruhito, 51, may find it harder to forge a path of his own. (Reuters)
Japan's embattled tourism leaders have delivered a fresh appeal to stay-away consumers by insisting the country is safe and free of radiation risk.
The Japan Tourism Agency (JTA) took the step at the Japan Travel Mart yesterday of producing radiation readings in key Japanese cities - although significantly not Sendai, one of the closest cities to the Fukushima power station - and comparing the levels to six other cities around the world.
The JTA claimed the levels of airborne radiation in Japan "are well within safe levels and in fact lower than many other destinations".
According the Japanese Government, all cities measured in Japan on October 3 - Sapporo, Chiba, Tokyo, Osaka and Okinawa - had levels below that of New York, Beijing, Berlin, Seoul and Singapore. (Travel Weekly)
The Nikkei average fell more than 1.5 percent to its lowest intraday level since April 2009 on Thursday, hurt by a worrying German bond sale and expectations that mounting European debt concerns will continue to push overseas equities markets lower.
But strategists say that Tokyo's fall is being tempered by expectations of buying by public pension funds, as well as the Bank of Japan's exchange-traded fund (ETF) purchases which are part of the central bank's liquidity-boosting program.
"There are no reasons to be optimistic, but there is reason to expect BOJ and public pension fund buying, so the downside is supported for now," said Norihiro Fujito, senior investment strategist at Mitsubishi UFJ Morgan Stanley. (Reuters)
The Japanese government on Thursday left its overall
economic assessment unchanged in its monthly report for November after
downgrading it last month, but it also warned about growing downside
risks due to the European debt crisis and the flooding in Thailand.
"The Japanese economy is still picking up slowly, while
difficulties continue to prevail due to the Great East Japan
Earthquake," it said.
Looking ahead, it repeated: "Reflecting the supply chain recovery
(from the earthquake) and the effect of policy measures, the Japanese
economy is expected to continue to pick up."
But the government warned that Japan's export-led recovery faces
more downside risks - the strong yen and weaker share prices triggered
by the European sovereign debt crisis and the supply chain constraints
caused by the major flooding in Thailand, a key Southeast Asian
production center fro Japanese car and electronics makers. (forexlive.com)
Japan's Emperor Akihito has been released from the hospital after being treated for a high fever and mild bronchial pneumonia.
Akihito, 77, was admitted into the University of Tokyo Hospital on Nov. 6.
His eldest son, Crown Prince Naruhito, took over his official duties while he was ill. Palace officials said Akihito would resume his duties as soon as his health permits.
Akihito ascended the throne after his father, Hirohito, died in 1989. Since the end of World War II in 1945, Japan's emperor has a largely ceremonial function as the "symbol of the nation." (AP)