Just when Tokyo got a boost in its campaign to host the 2020 Olympics, a judo coach abuse scandal surfaced within the Japanese sporting culture and threatens to undermine the bid.
Tokyo bid officials were pleased on Jan. 30 when a poll showed public support had risen to 73 percent, given that low public enthusiasm helped derail the 2016 bid.
But the same day, the Japan Judo Federation revealed the head coach of the women's Olympic team, Ryuji Sonoda, had used violence against athletes at a training camp before the London Olympics. He resigned the next day.
The revelations raise concerns for Tokyo 2020 bid officials, knowing an IOC evaluation committee will visit in March. One of the main themes of Tokyo's bid is "athletes first."
On Friday, the Japanese Olympic Committee said a two-day preliminary hearing of its 31 Olympic sports federations found no cases of violence or harassment during training since the 2010 Vancouver Games.
Later Friday, the International Judo Federation issued a statement that members of the Japan women's judo team have been indefinitely suspended while an independent inquiry considers their complaints of ill treatment.
Japan's farm ministry said Thursday that the highly pathogenic avian influenza found at a poultry farm in the southwestern Japan prefecture of Kumamoto has been confirmed to be the H5N8 subtype, the same virus strain as the bird flu found in South Korea. (Jiji Press )
Train operators in Tokyo and surrounding areas will be shutting down coin-operated luggage lockers at main stations before and during US President Barack Obama's visit next week, as a security measure. (NHK )
Just over one ton of water contaminated with radioactive particulates leaked from one of the containment vessels at the stricken Fukushima Daiichi nuclear plant on Wednesday, Tokyo Electric Power Co (TEPCO) said. (Japan Today )
Japan is expected to secure the minimum required power supply capacity when electricity demand peaks in August, even if all the country's nuclear reactors remain offline, estimates by major regional utilities showed Thursday. (Kyodo )
Tochigi prefectural police said Thursday that they are questioning a man in his 30s over the murder of a 7-year-old girl in December 2005. Japanese media quoted police as saying that the man, who was arrested for dealing in fake brand-name goods, has hinted at his involvement in the murder. (Japan Today )
People enjoy viewing the 15-meter snow walls of the Yuki no Otani (Great Snow Valley), along the Tateyama Kurobe Alpine Route that passes through the Northern Japan Alps to link Toyama and Nagano prefectures. (The Japan News )
Tokyo prosecutors plan to look into whether a man, who has been arrested for allegedly vandalizing copies of Anne Frank's diary, is mentally competent to be held criminally responsible for his actions, informed sources said Wednesday. (Jiji Press )