December 2013
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69 articles published/printed


LLC Vanilla Air launches first flight

Dec 21, 2013

LLC Vanilla Air launches first flight

Vanilla Air, a reborn low-cost carrier under ANA Holdings Inc., on Friday began flights linking its base at Narita International Airport with Naha and Taipei. The first flight left for Okinawa at around 7 a.m. with 166 passengers. Around 20 Vanilla Air employees saw ...

Japan Inc. builds mountain of cash

Dec 21, 2013

Japan Inc. builds mountain of cash

by Toru Fujioka

Japanese companies’ cash holdings rose to a record last quarter, highlighting Prime Minister Shinzo Abe’s struggle to spur the investment and wage increases needed to end a 15-year deflationary malaise. Corporate holdings of cash and deposits rose to ¥224 trillion, up 5.9 percent from ...

Ise Jingu parlays Shinto ritual into record crowds

Dec 21, 2013

Ise Jingu parlays Shinto ritual into record crowds

Ise Jingu Shrine, fresh off its Sengyo-no-gi in October, the main event in the “shikinen sengu” ritual of transferring the deity to a new shrine building every two decades, is drawing record crowds. The number of worshippers flocking to the shrine in Ise, Mie ...

Canadian regulator OKs oil pipeline to Pacific

Dec 21, 2013

Canadian regulator OKs oil pipeline to Pacific

Canada’s regulator recommended Thursday that the government approve a proposed pipeline to the Pacific coast that will allow Canada’s oil to be shipped to Asia despite environmental concerns. A three-person review panel said opening Pacific markets to Canadian oil is important to the economy ...

Limited EU defense cooperation OK'd

Dec 21, 2013

Limited EU defense cooperation OK'd

European Union leaders agreed on limited steps toward greater defense cooperation Thursday, but British opposition to separate armed forces for the bloc highlighted differences over how far they can go. The leaders also gave an enthusiastic thumbs-up to a new mechanism to handle ailing ...

Women want cash for Xmas, Ford advises

Dec 21, 2013

Women want cash for Xmas, Ford advises

Toronto Mayor Rob Ford triggered fresh controversy on Thursday with dubious advice about Christmas shopping for women. “Women love money. Give ‘em a couple thousand bucks and they are happy,” the disgraced mayor told a Washington sports radio show, “The Sports Junkies.” Ford added ...

Kirobo put through its paces on ISS

Dec 21, 2013

Kirobo put through its paces on ISS

The first humanoid robot in space with speech capability made small talk with astronaut Koichi Wakata and said it had no problem with zero-gravity on the International Space Station. Footage released by the its developers Friday showed Kirobo performing its first mission on the ...

Haiyan victims still suffering as Christmas nears

Dec 21, 2013

Haiyan victims still suffering as Christmas nears

More than a month has passed since Typhoon Haiyan demolished a large number of towns and villages in the central Philippines, and the people now have sufficient supplies of food and other basics. But most lost their homes and are now having to live ...

Monitor sees improvement in Tepco culture

Dec 21, 2013

Monitor sees improvement in Tepco culture

by Kazuaki Nagata

Forcing Tokyo Electric Power Co. into bankruptcy so the battered utility can get a fresh start is a notion that has been floated by critics and lawmakers, but it’s a bad idea, says Barbara Judge, deputy chairwoman of Tepco’s nuclear reform monitoring committee. Facing ...

Dec 21, 2013

Tokushukai founder to escape indictment for election fraud

Prosecutors are expected not to indict Torao Tokuda, founder and former head of the hospital group Tokushukai embroiled in a high-profile election fraud case, due to his extreme ill health, according to informed sources. The Tokyo District Public Prosecutor’s Office believes that Tokuda, 75, ...

Dec 21, 2013

Parties rush to pick candidates for Tokyo governor

The ruling and opposition parties were caught off guard by the resignation of scandal-hit Tokyo Gov. Naoki Inose and are now scrambling to find candidates for the special election to pick his successor. “We must find someone who can win,” Shigeru Ishiba, secretary-general of ...

Putin to pardon tycoon Khodorkovsky ahead of Olympics

Dec 21, 2013

Putin to pardon tycoon Khodorkovsky ahead of Olympics

Russian President Vladimir Putin said Thursday that he intends to pardon Mikhail Khodorkovsky, his country’s most famous political prisoner, in a broad amnesty that comes just weeks before the opening of the Winter Olympics in Sochi. The amnesty is expected to free hundreds of ...

Dec 21, 2013

Dictatorship of the majority

by Jiro Yamaguchi

Japanese civic movements conspicuously picked up steam to oppose the state secrets bill just before its enactment into law, illustrating that many Japanese voters become critical of the Abe administration when it takes up issues other than the economy.

Dec 21, 2013

Behind the Pyongyang purge

by Gwynne Dyer

So far, only two aides of Jang Song Thaek, the late No. 2 of North Korea, have been killed, but hundreds or thousands of other people thought to be linked to him may also be executed.

Dec 21, 2013

Inose must still come clean

Tokyo Gov. Naoki Inose's announcement of his intention to resign does not relieve him of the public duty to explain why he received a so-called ¥50 million loan from a scandal-tainted hospital operator group without having to put up collateral or pay interest.

Dec 21, 2013

Cyber-attack probe inconclusive

The Metropolitan Police Department has given up on its investigation of a 2010 cyber-attack against Japan's biggest defense contractor, unable to confirm the source of the attack.

Flyers pound Jackets in 3rd

Dec 21, 2013

Flyers pound Jackets in 3rd

Claude Giroux’s backhanded, blind, stumbling swing at the puck was only supposed to knock it close to the net. It turned into his 100th career NHL goal — and No. 1 on his highlight reel. Giroux scored the tying and winning goals 2:08 apart ...

Beltran signs $45 million contract with Yankees

Dec 21, 2013

Beltran signs $45 million contract with Yankees

Outfielder Carlos Beltran and the New York Yankees have finalized a $45 million, three-year contract. The agreement, reached Dec. 6, was announced by the team Thursday. The eight-time All-Star is to be introduced at a Yankee Stadium news conference Friday. The 36-year-old played for ...

Harbaugh plans on remaining with 49ers for the long term

Dec 21, 2013

Harbaugh plans on remaining with 49ers for the long term

Yes, Jim Harbaugh wants to coach the San Francisco 49ers for years to come. No, he doesn’t want to discuss a contract extension in a public forum. Harbaugh twice said he “absolutely” wants to stay put coaching the 49ers for the long haul. The ...

Kobe out 6 weeks with injury

Dec 21, 2013

Kobe out 6 weeks with injury

Kobe Bryant is expected to miss about six weeks with an injured left knee. The Lakers said Thursday that an MRI showed Bryant has a fracture of the lateral tibial plateau of his knee. The team said Bryant had hyperextended the knee in Tuesday ...