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All the latest news on Japan

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    The violence and scandals that have plagued Japan's sumo world came full circle just after the year's sixth and final tournament, leaving maiden victories by the sport's young up-and-comers in the shadows. (Japan Today)

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    Tokyo's benchmark Nikkei Average plummeted more than 1,000 points. The index finished below the key 20,000-mark for the first time since September 2017. (NHK)

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    Japan Airlines Co. said Tuesday an internal probe has concluded that a female flight attendant who tested positive for alcohol last week consumed alcohol while on duty. (Kyodo)

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    Japan’s swine fever epidemic is spreading further with a sixth case identified Tuesday in the central part of the country, leading to the first dispatch of Ground Self-Defense Force troops and the launch of a crisis control unit by the central government. (Japan Times)

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    The estimated number of cats being kept as pets outnumbered that of dogs for the second straight year in 2018, the Japan Pet Food Association said Tuesday. (Japan Times)

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    A close aide to former Nissan Motor Chairman Carlos Ghosn has been released from detention. Greg Kelly posted bail of about 635,000 dollars. (NHK)

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    A total of seven women have come forward to claim that they were sexually abused by famous photojournalist Ryuichi Hirokawa, a weekly tabloid reports in its latest issue. (tokyoreporter.com)

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    Police on Tuesday arrested a woman for allegedly dumping trash off the balcony of her 31st-floor condo in Kobe on a number of occasions. (Japan Times)

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    Prime Minister Shinzo Abe on Wednesday asked business leaders to raise wages to spur consumption and mitigate the impact of next October’s planned sales tax hike, the sixth consecutive year he has requested such an increase. (Japan Times)

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    Tokyo Metropolitan Police arrested an intoxicated 36-year-old man over the alleged theft of a wallet from a woman in Toshima Ward on Tuesday, reports Fuji News Network (tokyoreporter.com)

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    The Japanese government officially announced on Wednesday to withdraw from the International Whaling Commission, a move that drew criticism from a global community worried about depleted whale populations. (Nikkei)

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    A total of 210 teachers at public schools in Japan were disciplined over sexual behavior in fiscal 2017, which ended in March, according to an education ministry survey. (Japan Times)

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    Five-year prison terms were sought Wednesday for three former executives of Tokyo Electric Power Company Holdings Inc. for their alleged failure to prevent the Fukushima nuclear disaster triggered by the March 2011 earthquake and tsunami. (Japan Times)

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    The instruction was issued two months after fuel meltdowns at the plant in northeastern Japan were triggered by a massive earthquake and a tsunami on March 11, 2011, for about 3,500 cows kept within the area adjacent to the Fukushima Daiichi complex. Regarding their cows as "family members," some farmers ignored the instruction, while others who followed it say they still suffer psychologically. The central government allowed cattle breeding in the 20-km zone in 2012, but shipments are still banned. Keiji Okada, a professor of veterinary science at Iwate University and a researcher of animals exposed to radiation, has been taking blood and urine samples from cows at a couple of farms in the zone to see if there are any genetic abnormalities in them. One farmer who is cooperating with the research is Fumikazu Watanabe, a 60-year-old local cattle farmer, in the town of Namie, several kilometers from the Fukushima plant. Watanabe said he wants to protect his 50 cows "until they die a natural death just like human parents protect their children." Before returning to Namie in October last year after evacuation orders for some parts of the town were lifted, Watanabe used to shuttle between the farm and his shelter, which was about 50 km away, by applying for special entry permission to take care of his cows. Radiation levels at Watanabe's farm stand at 15 to 20 microsieverts per hour, the highest among the seven farms where the 430 cows are kept, but his cows are "so far in perfect health," Okada said. (Japan Today)

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    A dog handed over its responsibilities to wild boar at a ceremony marking the change of year under the Oriental zodiac. (NHK)

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    Two death row inmates who killed a company president and an employee at the firm were hanged Thursday morning in Osaka, the Justice Ministry said, bringing the number of executions in the country this year to 15. (Japan Times)

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    Japanese weather officials say snow is intensifying along the Sea of Japan coast. They are warning of possible transportation disruptions during the year-end holiday season. (NHK)

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    Police were called out to deal with traffic congestion and noise disturbance in the early hours of Thursday after a huge crowd gathered to watch a popular entertainment TV program being filmed at an amusement park in Tokyo. (Japan Today)

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    About 40 percent of those aged between 17 and 19 think sex education at school is useless, an online survey by the Nippon Foundation think tank showed Thursday. (Japan Times)

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    The benchmark Nikkei average snapped a six-year winning streak Friday to end 2018 down more than 12 percent after being pressured by selling following a spike the previous day. (Japan Times)

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