Jessica Speed
For Jessica Speed's latest contributions to The Japan Times, see below:
Regulating online gambling in Japan can be tricky, particularly when site operators are based overseas in countries where it is legal.
JAPAN / Crime & Legal
Feb 21, 2024
Kyoto police arrest seven on suspicion of running illegal gambling site
The suspects are accused of working for the foreign company operating Dora Mahjong, a membership-based gambling site catering to a Japanese audience.
McDonald's Japan will start charging ¥5 for plastic bags of all sizes at some stores, starting in April.
BUSINESS / Companies
Feb 20, 2024
McDonald's Japan announces trial ¥5 plastic bag charge to curb usage
The firm will eye expanding the fee nationwide following a trial at 23 of its stores in Nagasaki Prefecture starting in April.
A whale confirmed dead in Osaka Bay in Sakai, Osaka Prefecture, on Monday
Feb 20, 2024
Whale found dead in Osaka Bay to be buried on prefectural land
After being buried for up to two years, the skeletal remains will be offered as a specimen to the Osaka Museum of Natural History.
Kasai Rinkai Park on Wednesday in Tokyo's Edogawa Ward. Temperatures are expected to rise to 18 degrees Celsius in Tokyo on Monday.
JAPAN / Science & Health
Feb 19, 2024
Forecast of sudden drop in temperature raises health concerns
The mercury is expected to rise to around 20 degrees Celsius before plunging by more than 10 degrees midweek.
The 2024 cherry blossom forecast released Thursday
Feb 15, 2024
Cherry blossoms expected to bloom in Tokyo on March 17
The earlier-than-usual blossoming is attributed to higher than average temperatures across the country over the past few months, particularly this month.
People relax at a park in the city of Fukuoka on Tuesday as high temperatures were recorded across the country.
Feb 14, 2024
Unseasonably warm temperatures set to continue across Japan
Temperatures in the Kinki, Tokai, and Kanto Koshin regions hovered around 18 C, reaching 19 C in Kanagawa Prefecture and 20 C in Chiba Prefecture.
Domino's Pizza Japan has apologized for a video of its employee pretending to pick his nose and wipe it on pizza dough.
JAPAN / Crime & Legal
Feb 13, 2024
Domino's apologizes over online video of employee's pizza antics
The pizza delivery giant's move came after a video surfaced online Monday of an employee pretending to pick his nose and wipe it on pizza dough.
Okinawa Police have arrested a man on suspicion of murder for allegedly dragging a woman onto a road, leaving her to be run over by a passing taxi in Ginowan, Okinawa Prefecture.
JAPAN / Crime & Legal
Feb 13, 2024
Okinawa man arrested for allegedly leaving woman in street to be run over
Police reports indicate that the pair had been drinking together immediately prior to the incident, with the woman possibly intoxicated and unable to move.
Japanese conductor Seiji Ozawa during a rehearsal in Matsumoto, Nagano Prefecture, in September 2005.
Feb 9, 2024
Seiji Ozawa, Japan’s trailblazing maestro, dies at 88
Throughout his illustrious career, Ozawa was instrumental in popularizing classical music for mainstream audiences in Japan and abroad.
The Temple University Japan campus in Tokyo. The university plans to open a satellite campus in the city of Kyoto in 2025.
JAPAN / Society
Feb 9, 2024
New Temple University campus set to open in Kyoto in January 2025
Temple plans to offer English-language courses to elementary and junior high school students, in addition to its regular undergraduate programs.
Customers look for Valentine's Day chocolate at Kintetsu Department Store's flagship outlet in the city of Osaka in January.
BUSINESS / Economy
Feb 8, 2024
Japan’s Valentine’s Day chocolate budget sees 34% rise
About 22% of survey participants said they would purchase chocolates for themselves — 3.4 times more than those buying for a romantic partner.
Killer whales are trapped in drift ice on Tuesday off the coast of the town of Rausu in Hokkaido.
JAPAN / Society
Feb 7, 2024
Orcas appear to escape after being trapped in drift ice off Hokkaido coast
Local officials are hopeful that the animals escaped to safety as the density of drift ice decreased Wednesday.
Snow falls outside Sensoji Temple in Tokyo on Monday.
Feb 5, 2024
Heavy snow falls in Tokyo and wider region, impacting transport networks
While the snowfall may peak overnight, those commuting on Tuesday morning are likely to encounter icy roads and impacts on trains or roadways.
Aeon is aiming to encourage male workers to take child care leave. While almost all of its female employees currently take child care leave when they have a child, the rate for male employees is only 15%.
Feb 2, 2024
Aeon employees to receive 100% of income during child care leave
The retailer aims to gradually roll out the program from March to some 150 group companies.
Judges at the Kyoto District Court hear a case involving Yoshikazu Okubo, a doctor accused of the consensual killing of a woman with a fatal neurological disease, on Jan. 11. The court is scheduled to deliver its ruling on March 5.
JAPAN / Crime & Legal
Feb 1, 2024
Prosecutors seek 23 years for Japanese doctor in consensual killing case
They claim the accused had an "interest" in killing the elderly and people with disabilities under the false pretense of medical care.
A Japan Post delivery truck. Certain parcels will take longer to arrive under changes set to begin in April.
BUSINESS / Companies
Jan 31, 2024
Japan Post announces delayed timeframes for express deliveries
The changes come as part of an effort to cope with stricter regulations on truck drivers’ working hours.
Taro Aso, vice president of the Liberal Democratic Party, makes a speech in Ashiya, Fukuoka Prefecture, on Sunday.
JAPAN / Politics
Jan 30, 2024
Japan foreign minister brushes off controversial remarks by Taro Aso
Yoko Kamikawa appeared unfazed after Aso called her an old lady and said she's "not that good looking.”
A photo taken by SLIM's camera, released by JAXA on Monday, shows the moon's surface
JAPAN / Science & Health
Jan 29, 2024
Japan’s lunar probe regains power more than a week after landing
JAXA said Monday that the agency was able to reestablish communications with the SLIM probe on Sunday evening.


Hideo Shimoju points to a possible site that his fellow neighbors may relocate to. Such relocations have happened before, but not preemptively.
In disaster-prone Japan, some communities consider major moves