April 2013
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Apr 28, 2013

Talks with Canada on FTA progress

Japan and Canada have concluded their second round of talks on a free-trade agreement, the Foreign Ministry announced Saturday. The five-day talks that wrapped up Friday in Ottawa are believed to have focused on such issues as intellectual property and energy resources, as well ...

Apr 27, 2013

Groundwater at No. 1 plant tainted

Samples of groundwater taken from monitoring holes around the sunken reservoirs at the Fukushima No. 1 nuclear plant are proving radioactive, Tepco says.

Apr 27, 2013

Corporal punishment meted out by 840 teachers so far: survey

A government survey says that 840 public school teachers used corporal punishment during a 10-month period starting in April 2012 — more than twice the 404 cases tallied in all of fiscal 2011. The sharp rise came amid closer scrutiny by local education boards ...

Apr 27, 2013

China officially labels Senkakus a 'core interest'

The Chinese Foreign Ministry announced for the first time Friday that China regards the Senkaku Islands a “core interest.” “The Diaoyu Islands are about sovereignty and territorial integrity. Of course, it’s China’s core interest,” ministry spokeswoman Hua Chunying said at a press conference, using ...

Apr 27, 2013

Japan, China defense officials eye maritime hotline

Japanese and Chinese military officials met Friday in Beijing to find ways to prevent an accidental clash and other contingencies in the East China Sea as Beijing tries harder to assert its claim over the Japan-controlled Senkaku Islands, a Japanese defense official said. Details ...

Apr 27, 2013

Visa-easing step for Asians advances

A transport ministry panel has outlined a set of measures to help increase tourism, including easier visa criteria for people from Southeast Asia. The Justice Ministry and other agencies will discuss the details before placing the measures into an action plan to be adopted ...

Apr 27, 2013

Ozaki stumbles to 1-over 72

A day after setting the Tsuruya Open on its ear with an opening round of 9-under-par 62, 66-year-old Jumbo Ozaki came back to earth on Friday with a 1-over-par 72. The second day’s play at the Yamanohara Golf Club’s Yamanohara course in was suspended ...

Temple in Gifu seeks elderly disciples

| Apr 27, 2013

Temple in Gifu seeks elderly disciples

Shogen Junior College, a Buddhist institution in Minokamo, Gifu Prefecture, launched a unique course this month that trains elderly students to become Buddhist priests. The curriculum targets people in their 50s and 60s, even though they may find some of Buddhism’s strict ascetic practices ...

Apr 27, 2013

BOJ stands pat on new monetary easing steps

by Jun Hongo

The Bank of Japan on Friday put off additional monetary easing while providing optimistic predictions in its Outlook for Economic Activity and Prices report by boosting inflation forecasts. The outlook, released every six months, predicts that the BOJ and government’s goal of achieving 2 ...

Apr 27, 2013

Letters written by novelist Kobo Abe are found

A series of around 30 letters that novelist and playwright Kobo Abe (1924-1993) wrote to his younger brother between 1947 and 1951 has been found, according to his daughter, Neri. The letters show the author of “The Woman in the Dunes” and “The Box ...

Apr 27, 2013

Consumer prices dip fifth month in a row

Consumer prices fell 0.5 percent in March compared with the previous year, logging five consecutive months of decline and underscoring deflation’s persistent grip, the internal affairs ministry said Friday. The core consumer price index, which excludes volatile prices for fresh foods, stood at 99.5 ...

Apr 27, 2013

Europe forces Google to make searches fairer

There soon could be two Googles: one built for Europeans, with links to rival search engines and labels alerting users whenever Google is featuring its own products, and another version for everyone else. The variations could result from what amounts to a split decision ...

Dutch prepare for 21st-century king

Apr 27, 2013

Dutch prepare for 21st-century king

The Netherlands’ Prince Willem-Alexander will become Europe’s youngest monarch when Queen Beatrix abdicates Tuesday as his country prepares to hail the avowedly 21st-century king with a massive orange-hued party. Willem-Alexander, who turns 46 on Saturday, will be the first Dutch king since 1890 and ...