March 2013
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Mar 30, 2013

U.S. firm to build wind power plant on Kunashiri

A U.S. firm has won an order for a wind power plant to be built on Kunashiri Island, one of the four-Russian held islands Japan wants returned, a senior Sakhalin Province official said Friday. Sakhalin Machinery LLC, owned by Alabama-based Tiger Machinery LLC, received ...

Mar 30, 2013

Diet OKs ¥13 trillion stopgap budget

The Diet on Friday passed a ¥13.2 trillion stopgap budget for fiscal 2013 to fund the government’s spending for 50 days from Monday, with the principal budget unlikely to be enacted before May. The provisional budget, the biggest of its kind ever passed in ...

Mar 30, 2013

'Loophole drugs' easy for teenagers to obtain

by Jun Hongo

Use of quasi-legal “loophole drugs” is spreading quickly and teens are getting caught up due to easy access and lack of proper awareness, the latest studies show. According to a survey released Thursday of more than 54,000 junior high school students by the National ...

Mar 30, 2013

128 foreigners pass care worker test

A total of 128 Indonesian and Filipino applicants have passed an examination qualifying them to work as care workers in Japan, the health ministry announced. The number of successful applicants jumped 3.5-fold from 36 in the first examination the previous year, the Health, Labor ...

Mar 30, 2013

Industrial output logs slight decline

Industrial production slipped 0.1 percent in February from the previous month for the first decline in three months on weaker demand for electronic parts and devices in China and other markets, the industry ministry said Friday. But as the fall was negligible and many ...

Mar 30, 2013

Bicycle offenders to take classes

The Cabinet approved a proposal Friday to require bicyclists who persistently violate traffic regulations to attend a safety training program. Those who ride a bicycle while drunk or run a red light more than twice within three years will be ordered to attend the ...

Appliance makers get serious about beauty products

Mar 30, 2013

Appliance makers get serious about beauty products

by Kazuaki Nagata

"Beauty" may not be the first thing that pops into people's heads when they think about electronics, but struggling Japanese home electronics manufacturers see a great deal of promise in a range of beauty gadgets targeting women, from high-tech hair dryers to steam skin ...

Mar 30, 2013

Hotel operator Fujita Kanko looking to bring in more non-Japanese

Major hotelier Fujita Kanko Inc. is accelerating its global promotion, especially in other parts of Asia, to raise its profile overseas and attract more foreign guests. “Economic growth in many Asian countries and eased (tourist) visa procedures have broadened the choice of hotels and ...

Mar 30, 2013

Jobless rate inches up to 4.3%

The unemployment rate rose to 4.3 percent in February from 4.2 percent the previous month, the government announced Friday, indicating some companies remain reluctant to hire while they await signs of economic recovery. An official in the Internal Affairs and Communications Ministry, however, took ...

Mar 30, 2013

Lower House panel hands Abe remedy for vote-value disparities

A Diet panel has compiled a formal recommendation that the government rectify the vote-value disparity between the least- and most-populous constituencies by reducing the number of Lower House electoral districts. The panel is seeking to eliminate five single-seat constituencies, in Fukui, Yamanashi, Tokushima, Kochi ...

Mar 30, 2013

Talent show reject phones in bomb threat to NHK

A 70-year-old man was so enraged at being rejected by an NHK TV talent show that he allegedly threatened to blow up the broadcaster in Nagaoka, Niigata Prefecture, police said Friday. Kazumi Yaoita was arrested Thursday on charges of forcible obstruction of business after ...

Satellite schools strive to keep evacuee kids

Mar 30, 2013

Satellite schools strive to keep evacuee kids

Tatsuma Hangai will be entering his third year at Namie High School in April, but he has never taken a class at the home campus in Fukushima Prefecture. The 17-year-old is one of more than 1,000 students at eight high schools in the prefecture ...