• The JNTO announced that the number of Japanese travelers overseas is lower than that of foreigners visiting Japan.
  • Staff at Narita are having trouble accommodating Chinese travelers whose last-minute shopping sprees cause their carry-on luggage to exceed size restrictions.
  • A bowhead whale was spotted in Japanese waters for the first time in nearly 50 years. The 10-meter-long beast was seen cruising off the coast of Hokkaido; the last sighting before that was in Osaka Bay in 1969.
  • Luxury hotel and onsen operator Hoshino Resort Co. will allow foreigners with tattoos to use its bathing facilities … if visitors agree to cover up their tats with stickers provided by the staff.


  • In time for the first restart of nuclear reactors since the March 11 disaster, government officials say they’ll raise the maximum permissible radiation dose for emergency personnel.
  • At the same time, a news service poll found that 54.3 percent of Japanese people oppose the restarts, while just 32.7 support them.
  • The annual human rights report from the U.S. State Department castigated Japan for so-called maternity harassment, alleging that companies “often [pressure] pregnant workers to quit.”
  • One year after a female member of the Tokyo Metropolitan Assembly was heckled with sexist remarks during a speech, officials still haven’t enacted concrete measures to stop misogynist behavior.


  • 3,000: Estimated number of people who attended the funeral for Tama, the female calico cat that drew hordes of tourists to Wakayama after being declared “master” of a local train station
  • 132: Number of police officers who were disciplined for official misconduct between January and June, the third consecutive year the figure has dropped
  • >¥2 trillion: Estimated cost of hosting the 2020 Olympics, according to Yoshiro Mori, president of the organizing committee for the Games


  • Left-handed pitcher Kazumi Takahashi, who joined the Yomiuri Giants straight out of high school in 1965 and helped the team win nine consecutive Japan Series titles, died of multiple organ failure at a hospital in Tokyo. He was 69.
  • Relatives of the people who died in the August 1985 crash of a JAL jumbo jet in Gunma have published a book of reminiscences, called Akanegumo (“Rosy Sunset Cloud”), to mark the 30th anniversary of the disaster.
  • The rising cost of soybeans and other ingredients is forcing Kikkoman to hike the price of its sauces for the first time since 1990.
  • TMG authorities say they want to build two new subway lines. One would connect central Tokyo with Ariake in time for the 2020 Olympics; the other would increase accessibility to Shinagawa for the 2027 debut of the maglev express train.


  • Defense ministry staff admitted to losing track of a drone during a demonstration flight in Shinagawa. Cops found the craft 30 minutes later.
  • The National Police Agency says 10,783 people with dementia were reported missing last year.
  • Over 98 percent were eventually found.
  • The health ministry revamped its 24-hour child abuse hotline so users can access it by dialing 189, instead of the previous 10-digit number.


  • Curators at the Battleship Missouri Memorial in Pearl Harbor have put on display an exhibit featuring “wills, letters, and photos that belonged to kamikaze pilots.”
  • Japanese researchers developed a robot dubbed Telenoid that serves as a “telephonic go-between” for elderly people living alone. It allows for speaking with friends, family, or care providers while holding the cuddly humanoid.
  • Officials at the education ministry are mulling a plan to replace the current university entrance exams with a computer-based test.
  • Bottom Story of the Week: “Kitty-Cats Have a Place All Their Own on Tatami Mini-Mats” (via Mainichi Japan)