“It is an important mission of ours to reflect on the facts of the past and connect them to the history that is to come”
—From a statement by Tokyo Governor Yoichi Masuzoe, at a ceremony commemorating the more than 20,000 Japanese soldiers who died in the Battle of Iwo Jima


  • According to Japan Railway officials, tickets for this weekend’s inaugural running of the Hokuriku shinkansen sold out in just 25 seconds.
  • The Consumer Affairs Agency has ordered four companies to stop saying their insect repellents are, you know, actually effective at repelling insects.
  • Authorities with the Chiba police and the Japan Racing Association have completed an investigation into a horse’s failed post-race doping test in December—the first such case in 21 years. They say the animal had high levels of caffeine in its system because it ate feed imported from the U.S.
  • Headline of the Week: “Hiroshima Torn Over Oyster Restaurant Near A-Bomb Dome” (via Jiji)


  • In the wake of the Middle East hostage crisis, officials at the Japan Table Tennis Association kept their members home from this month’s tournaments in Kuwait and Qatar.
  • Authorities at the Immigration Bureau deported a Nepalese man who allegedly helped dozens of countrymen find work by teaching them how to forge applications for refugee status.
  • Led by its acquisition of Beam Inc. and strong sales of Premium Malt’s beer, Suntory has become Japan’s leading brewer in terms of sales.
  • The government has pledged more than ¥43 million to a Thai NPO that works to remove land mines along the border with Cambodia.


  • Percent of respondents to a news-service poll who feel that Abenomics has benefitted rural areas


  • Percent who say the gap between rich and poor is widening


  • Cases of foreign objects found in food products in Japan since fiscal 2009, according to the National Consumer Affairs Center


  • Kazumasa Hirai, author of the famed sci-fi manga series Genma Taisen, died of heart failure in Kamakura at age 86.
  • In what’s being called a “rare” move, JR Hokkaido issued a bullet-train license to a rookie driver in his ’50s.
  • After 63 years, construction work has begun on the Yuba Dam in central Gunma. The project had been delayed because of “sharp divisions” in the local community.
  • For the first time, the TMG hired a woman to lead one of its four mobile investigative units. The squads, which operate around the clock, “are usually the first at the scene of a robbery or murder.”


  • Japanese researchers say that people are at a higher risk of developing gout if they have certain gene variations that weaken the body’s ability to release uric acid.
  • A University of Pennsylvania survey ranked the Japan Institute of International Affairs 13th in the world in terms of “achievements in research and analysis and the impact of [its] research on society.”
  • Seismologists say the pressure being exerted by tectonic plates off the coast of northeastern Japan has returned to levels last seen before the March 11 disaster.
  • Discount mega-chain Don Quijote announced it would accept seven types of foreign currency at 20 stores around the country.


  • Officials at the education ministry say about half of all elementary and junior high schools have fewer students than recommended by government guidelines.
  • Analysts at the internal affairs ministry found that just seven of Japan’s 47 prefectures had a net population inflow last year.
  • Tokyo picked up the largest number of new residents (73,280), while Hokkaido saw the biggest decline (8,942).
  • Researchers at the trade ministry say it should be possible for Japan to cut its energy consumption by more than 10 percent by fiscal 2030.

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