- Prosecutors in the southern Chinese city of Guangzhou have asked a court to consider the death penalty for a Japanese politician who was caught with more than 3 kilograms of meth at the local airport last October.
- Officials at the defense ministry are miffed at a Swedish company that developed an app allowing users to track the movements of planes carrying the prime minister and Imperial family.
- A Tokyo court acquitted three gangsters of fraud for hiding their identities so they could play golf at a course in Okinawa that prohibited members of the yakuza. Which raises the question: There are golf courses that don’t ban gangsters?
- Authorities in Hyogo suspect foul play in the case of a rare giant salamander that went missing from a local river and turned up on a roadside some 50km away in Osaka.
- In the first operation of its kind, Japanese doctors used a patient’s own blood vessel to patch up an interrupted heart artery. The procedure was carried out on a newborn girl in Kyoto.
- Researchers at the World Health Organization compiled their first-ever report on global suicide patterns. They found that the average suicide rate for all countries is 11.4 per 100,000 people, but in Japan it’s 18.5 per 100,000.
- Only Lithuanians, Russians and South Koreans kill themselves at a higher clip.
- Meanwhile, officials at the OECD say Japan ranks dead last among 32 member nations in terms of public spending on education, as reckoned by a portion of GDP.
- At the same time, the country ranked 13th in education spending per student.
MOVIN’ ON UP
- Kinki University in Osaka has overtaken Meiji University in Tokyo as the school that receives the most applications from students hoping to take its entrance exams.
- Meanwhile, Softbank chief Masayoshi Son ($16.6 billion) has surpassed Fast Retailing Co. Chairman Tadashi Yanai ($16.2 billion) as Japan’s richest man.
- In a bid to help depopulated communities, government officials have proposed the establishment of so-called on-demand transportation systems, which “will allowpassengers to reserve and share small buses and taxis.”
- And authorities at the education ministry are set to debut a “teleclass project” for students in underpopulated areas.
HERE & THERE
- J-pop songstress May J. was among the performers at the inaugural RockCorps Japan, an offshoot of the U.S. concert series that offers free entry to people who perform volunteer work. The show was held in Fukushima.
- Authorities at the agriculture ministry are dealing with a pressing problem ahead of the 2020 Tokyo Olympics: how to provide enough fresh-cut flowers “for use on podiums and along the marathon course.”
- A Tokyo-based photographer says he has located and taken pictures of the Imperial Japanese Navy destroyer Oite, which was sunk in February 1944 by U.S. forces north of the Chuuk Islands in Micronesia.
- Bottom Story of the Week: “Mainichi Reporter Takes Test Ride on U.S. Osprey Aircraft” (via Mainichi Japan)
Compiled from reports by AP, Japan Today, The Japan Times, Jiji, The Tokyo Reporter, The Mainichi, The Japan News, AFP, Reuters and Kyodo