“There are fewer opportunities for children to spontaneously exercise, and they are losing their stamina.”
—Yoshihiro Horigome, a fitness trainer, on the rising popularity of exercise classes for kids


  • An Ibaraki man biking home from work last month was shot in the leg by an unidentified assailant wielding a bow and arrow.
  • After an outcry by human rights activists, an auction house in New Jersey canceled the sale of 450 pieces of art made by Japanese-Americans held in WWII internment camps.
  • It was reported that JAXA plans to land a small spacecraft on the moon within the next three years.
  • At the Kosodate Kitchen cooking school in Bunkyo-ku, children as young as two can learn basic knife skills and stovetop techniques.


  • Officials at the justice ministry say their new hotline for hate-speech victims has received nearly 100 calls in its first year of operation.
  • But many users have complained that, instead of receiving advice on how to deal with their problems, staff told them it “was important … to help themselves.”
  • Authorities at the agriculture ministry are getting a jump on climate change by “developing heat- and drought-tolerant crops.”
  • Police in Gifu say an 86-year-old woman scammed the government out of ¥51 million over the course of five decades by receiving pension payments intended for her mother and father, both of whom died in the 1960s.


  • Seismologists claim the “increased activity” they’re seeing in volcanoes nationwide can be traced back to the March 11 megaquake.
  • Officials at the environment ministry announced that fiscal 2013 was Japan’s second worst year ever in terms of greenhouse gas emissions.
  • Authorities in 38 of the 41 prefectures participating in last month’s local assembly elections say voter turnout was the lowest on record.
  • A newspaper report revealed that Japanese zoos had 96 koalas in 1997, but now the number has fallen by nearly half.


  • 4: Consecutive years that the top eight execs of ailing Sony Corp have returned their bonuses
  • 13: Age of soccer prodigy Takefusa Kubo, who was signed by FC Tokyo this month after a stint in Barcelona’s youth system
  • 943: Number of times defense officials scrambled fighter jets in response to foreign aircraft approaching Japanese airspace in fiscal 2014—the second highest total on record


  • The National Police Agency says 1,421 minors were victims of crimes involving SNS and other online communication tools last year. That’s the most since the NPA began keeping track in 2008.
  • An education ministry survey found 52 percent of kids between fifth grade and junior year of high school use smartphones or similar devices “until just before going to sleep at night.”
  • Maybe that’s why nearly two-thirds of parents, in a TMG poll, say they’re worried about children becoming addicted to smartphones.
  • So it’s a good thing the technology ministry has established a treatment center for teenaged internet addicts that helps kids become “aware of interesting aspects of life in the real world.”


  • Scientists with the Fisheries Research Agency have discovered that Japanese eels swim “deeply during day [and] shallower at night.”
  • The Kawasaki Gender Equality Center issued a handbook for new fathers that includes such advice as, “When you have time, take your child to and from daycare instead of having your wife do it” and “Get up 15 minutes earlier to talk with your child.”
  • The operator of a ferry that runs between Tokyo and the Ogasawara Islands will spend ¥9.1 billion to build a bigger, faster ship. The number of visitors to the area has surged since the islands were granted World Heritage status in 2011.
  • Bottom Story of the Week: “Archer Doll Finely Re-Created” (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