December 2012
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Endure New Year's on TV with the rest of Japan

Dec 28, 2012

Endure New Year's on TV with the rest of Japan

by Philip Brasor

Last year, NHK’s annual New Year’s Eve song contest, “Kohaku Uta Gassen” (7:15-11:45 p.m.), enjoyed its first ratings boost in more than a decade. As the most hallowed tradition in Japanese broadcasting, the program offered some needed end-of-year holiday solace for a nation still ...

Record-setting alpinist feared killed on Russia road

Dec 28, 2012

Record-setting alpinist feared killed on Russia road

Renowned climber Haruhisa Watanabe is believed to have died Wednesday morning when his bicycle was run over by a car in northwest Russia, his relatives and Foreign Ministry officials said Thursday. The ministry informed his father, Hiroyasu, that the victim was “almost certainly” Watanabe, ...

Dec 28, 2012

CIA's security group emerges from shadows

FOCUS The rapid collapse of a U.S. diplomatic compound in Libya exposed the vulnerabilities of State Department facilities overseas. But the CIA’s ability to fend off a second attack that same night provided a glimpse of a key element in the agency’s defensive arsenal: ...

Dec 28, 2012

Police push bike safety training

To stem a rise in accidents involving bikes, riders who flagrantly violate traffic rules or cause accidents due to violations should attend safety training, an advisory panel to the National Police Agency said Thursday. Some two-thirds of 140,884 cyclists killed or injured in accidents ...

60 spots see mercury dip to new low

Dec 28, 2012

60 spots see mercury dip to new low

A cold wave sent temperatures to record lows for December in 60 locations Thursday morning, the weather agency said, warning the cold weather is likely to continue over the weekend. The mercury fell to minus 28.1 in Taiki in Hokkaido, minus 11.2 in Fukushima ...

Dec 28, 2012

U.S. military to relax Eve curfew

The U.S. military in Japan announced Wednesday it will relax its nighttime curfew on New Year’s Eve by two hours, and allow military personnel to stay off base until 1 a.m. The 11 p.m. to 5 a.m. curfew imposed on all military personnel in ...

Dec 28, 2012

Nikkei soars to highest level since quake, tsunami

Stocks climbed for the third straight session Thursday thanks to broad buying following the yen’s further decline, with the Nikkei average ending at its highest level in more than 21 months. The Nikkei 225 closed up 92.62 points, or 0.91 percent, at 10,322.98, the ...

Dec 28, 2012

Evacuation standards toughened

A Nuclear Regulation Authority panel introduced new criteria Thursday for issuing atomic crisis evacuation orders that are twice as stringent as current international benchmarks. The new standards will be reflected in a government guideline for nuclear disaster steps. Under the new standards, in the ...

Dec 28, 2012

Mayor dissolves Futaba assembly amid nuke row

Katsutaka Idogawa, mayor of the fallout-stricken town of Futaba, Fukushima Prefecture, has dissolved the town assembly following the passage of a no-confidence motion against him related to storage facilities for radioactive waste. The assembly unanimously passed the no-confidence motion Dec. 20 after Idogawa missed ...

Dec 28, 2012

Toyota sees sales boom in '13 on overseas demand

Toyota Motor Corp., poised to regain its title as the world’s biggest carmaker this year, said its vehicle sales may rise 2 percent next year to a record, led by demand from overseas markets. Global sales, including those of subsidiaries Hino Motors Ltd. and ...

Dec 28, 2012

Public split over Abe plans to alter the Constitution

Although Liberal Democratic Party leader Shinzo Abe became prime minister Wednesday, the public remains split over his stance toward amending the nation’s pacifist Constitution. Abe has stated his desire to revise Article 96, which stipulates that constitutional amendments “shall be initiated by the Diet, ...

Dec 28, 2012

Abe Cabinet signals big changes ahead

by Masami Ito

Prime Minister Shinzo Abe’s Cabinet got down to work Thursday dismantling various policies of the previous administration, including the zero-nuclear target, and musing on a review of the 1993 Kono Statement, an apology for the coercion of women into sexual slavery during the war. ...

Yucca 'Our Journey''

Dec 27, 2012

Yucca "Our Journey''

by Craig Exton

Six long years after their first two enjoyable albums, Tokyo band Yucca made a welcome return in June 2012 with the even more impressive “Our Journey (to anywhere we want).” It may not be the most innovative album of 2012, but because of its ...

Dec 27, 2012

Sony eyes sales growth in China

The president of Sony (China) Ltd. said the firm plans to increase its sales in China by 10 percent or more in fiscal 2013, which starts in April. Nobuki Kurita said Tuesday Sony’s recent sales in China have recovered to the level before consumers ...

Dec 27, 2012

Per-capita GDP ranks 14th in OECD

Japan’s per-capita gross domestic product in 2011 amounted to $46,192, putting the country in 14th place among the member nations of the Organization for Economic Cooperation and Development, the government said. Bolstered by the yen’s strength, the dollar-quoted number broke the record for the ...

Dec 27, 2012

Nakayama strike thrills crowd at charity match

Retiring striker Masashi Nakayama came on in the second half and scored in a charity match at Sendai’s Yurtec Stadium on Wednesday. Around 13,000 fans showed up to see a team composed of present and former national team players take on a squad made ...