“I’m eager to see her before my health worsens further”
—Sakie Yokota, 79, whose daughter, Megumi, was abducted by North Korean agents in 1977 at the age of 13


  • A nutritional technology firm in Kyoto claims that its “banana-based food material” may be effective in preventing the flu.
  • Authorities at the foreign affairs ministry announced that Japan will no longer respond to whaling-related lawsuits filed with the International Court of Justice.
  • A survey on the reading habits of schoolkids has found that children who enjoy manga are also more likely to read traditional books. That goes against the long-held view that comics turn youngsters away from other forms of literature.
  • Shusse Daimyo Ieyasu-kun, the “mascot character” for the city of Hamamatsu in Shizuoka Prefecture, won the 2015 Yuru-Kyara Grand Prix.


  • A volunteer firefighter in Nagano suffered a fractured skull after being thrown from a fire truck responding to a call.
  • Meanwhile, a visually impaired man in Ibaraki broke his arm after his cane got stuck in the doors of a train and he was dragged along the platform.
  • JR East launched a promotion urging passengers to abstain from checking their mobile phones while walking through train stations.
  • A group of 50 bicyclists from Japan and South Korea completed a three-week goodwill ride that took them from Seoul to Tokyo.


  • 500: GSDF troops to be deployed on Okinawa’s Ishigaki Island to “strengthen the defense” of remote areas in southwestern Japan
  • 20 million: Number of signatures citizens groups are hoping to collect as a show of protest against recently-enacted security legislation
  • ¥81,000: Cost of a pair of men’s trousers at Takashimaya in Shinjuku made from the hides of Yezo deer culled in Hokkaido


  • The president of Nippon Life Insurance says his company will allow policyholders to list same-sex partners as beneficiaries.
  • For its 57th Antarctic research expedition, Japanese icebreaker Shirase will, for the first time, include female crewmembers. The 10 women on the trip are all SDF officers.
  • Authorities at the Meteorological Agency say they’ll expand their e-mail disaster notifications to include not only tsunami and earthquakes, but also volcanic eruptions and heavy rainfall.
  • Officials at the health ministry announced a plan to create 10 research centers around the country for developing robots that can help elderly people lead more independent lives.


  • An annual report by the World Economic Forum placed Japan 101st out of 145 countries in terms of “global gender equality.”
  • That sounds bad—but Japan placed 104th last year.
  • Researchers at Kirin say foreign beers account for just one percent of the total market in Japan. But they would say that, wouldn’t they?
  • A TMG study has found that about 30 percent of daycare centers in the city are too small to have their own playgrounds.


  • JR West is getting ready to open a 30,000-square-meter railway museum in Kyoto. Among the attractions will be 53 train cars and a functioning turntable for steam locomotives.
  • Authorities in Kyushu are blaming a rash of “home invasions and crop damage” on North American raccoons, whose numbers in the region have been surging.
  • Officials at the land ministry say 60 percent of abandoned houses in Japan suffer from “decay and other significant damage.”
  • Bottom Story of the Week: “Aomori Pref. Uses Theme Song, Dance to Promote Life-Extending Dashi Diet” (via The Japan News)

Compiled from reports by AP, Japan Today, The Japan Times, Jiji, The Tokyo Reporter, The Mainichi, The Japan News, AFP, Reuters, and Kyodo