In an act of protest, the opposition-controlled House of Councilors on Friday refused to vote on a bill to rectify the unconstitutional vote-value disparity in the House of Representatives and sent it back to the lower chamber.
The ruling Liberal Democratic Party and junior coalition partner New Komeito, which hold a two-thirds majority in the Lower House, pledged to pass the bill again as early as Monday.
Five days before the end of the Diet session, the standoff between the ruling and opposition camps appeared to be devolving into another round of withering "power game" politics.
Although the ruling camp had pushed to put the bill to a vote Friday, the Upper House Steering Committee, controlled by the opposition, declined to vote, claiming there wasn't enough time for deliberation.
A total of 39 people were confirmed dead and seven remain missing on Wednesday after a series of landslides and flooding triggered by torrential rain overnight engulfed residential areas in Hiroshima, western Japan. (Kyodo)
The Hiroshima city government's response to the deadly rain-triggered landslides that left scores dead or missing will likely be questioned because it issued evacuation notices to residents after the disaster had already occurred. (The Japan News)
The sports ministry has deemed a proposal to renovate the National Stadium for the 2020 Tokyo Olympics and Paralympics unrealistic, because of a number of drawbacks including insufficient earthquake resistance and building regulations that prohibit the blocking of sunlight from nearby structures. (The Japan News)
East Japan Railway Co., or JR East, announced new plans on Tuesday for three train lines linking Tokyo International Airport at Haneda and key stations in the Japanese capital by building a new underground station and tunnel. (Jiji Press)
A U.S.-based social media challenge daring people to douse themselves with buckets of ice water has spread to Japan, with celebrities from billionaire Masayoshi Son to singer Ayumi Hamasaki taking up the gauntlet to boost awareness of what is known as Lou Gehrig's disease. (Japan Times)
The chief suspect in the murder of a wealthy Swiss-based Japanese asset manager and his wife whose bodies were found buried in a vacant lot in Kuki, Saitama Prefecture, in February 2013, pleaded not guilty as his trial opened in Tokyo on Tuesday. (Japan Today)
Local summer festivals in Tokyo were once lined with many street stalls run by organizations with links to organized crime. But festivals have undergone a makeover after a metropolitan government ordinance enacted in October 2011 banned event organizers from allowing gangs from becoming involved. (The Japan News)
A Sapporo assemblyman has drawn fire for posting comments online stating the indigenous Ainu group "no longer exists," and suggesting those who identify as Ainu are motivated by government programs that benefit the ethnic minority. (Japan Times)