- McDonald’s Japan announced that it has banned smoking in all 3,135 of its restaurants.
- Officials at the defense ministry say they plan to establish a “monitoring force” in outer space by 2019.
- The Japanese government bestowed names on 158 remote islets that “define the country’s territorial waters.” Needless to say, the move drew a rebuke from China.
- Executives at Toshiba say they’re ready to ship the first batch of vegetables grown in a former floppy-disk factory in Yokosuka.
- A survey by Kirin has found that 2013 was the 29th straight year during which global beer production hit a record high.
- And, for the 12th consecutive year, China remained the world’s top beer producer.
- Members of a government committee have found that employees of the Sukiya gyudon chain regularly work more than 100 hours of overtime a month.
- The welfare ministry is set to introduce a labeling system that’s intended to help consumers identify “healthy” prepared foods at supermarkets and conbini.
- Officials in Saitama say they were “unaware” that about 2,400 evacuees from Fukushima are taking shelter in the prefecture.
- The Reconstruction Agency revealed that more than 35 percent of the fiscal 2013 budget for rebuilding areas affected by the March 2011 disaster went unused.
- Authorities at the land ministry say they want to make it easier for local officials to remove cars stranded on roads during disasters, even if the owners aren’t around.
- Officials in Kita-ku have spent about ¥200,000 to remove graffiti from the Iwabuchi Floodgate, which was built in 1924 and has been designated a historic structure.
ON THE WILD SIDE
- The Consumer Affairs Agency says it has received a rash of reports from people who were injured at unlicensed massage parlors.
- Meanwhile, the National Consumer Affairs Center says it’s been holding “around 100 consultations a year related to eyelash extensions.”
- The MPD has begun deploying armed plainclothes officers on flights between Haneda and the U.S.
- A company in Yamagata has found success by recycling old baseballs and selling them to high schools around the country for less than half the price of new ones.
- All five of the Japanese teenagers who participated in the annual International Physics Olympiad, held this year in Kazakhstan, took home medals.
- For the first time, the government has launched a comprehensive survey on people who don’t have a family register.
- The operator of Tokyo Skytree says 7 percent of visitors to the facility are non-Japanese.
- Bottom Story of the Week: “Ichihara Zoo Celebrates Rare Event of Elephant Nursing Calf Not Her Own” (via The Asahi Shimbun)
Compiled from reports by AP, Japan Today, The Japan Times, Jiji, The Tokyo Reporter, The Mainichi, The Japan News, AFP, Reuters and Kyodo