Top students shunning Japan
Japan Times -- Jun 24
A student seeking to study at a graduate school in the United States must take two sets of test - the Test of English as a Foreign Language (TOEFL) and the Graduate Record Examination (GRE).

The GRE consists of three sections: analytical writing, verbal (assessing comprehension, critical reasoning and vocabulary usage in English) and quantitative (assessing basic-level math knowledge and reasoning skills).

The GRE is required of both American and foreign students, and those from outside the U.S. will need to achieve high scores in the analytical writing and quantitative sections because they cannot expect to do equally as well as Americans in the English-language verbal section.

Students from India, where English is almost a mother tongue, naturally do well in TOEFL and score high grades in the English verbal section of the GRE, compared with Americans. Those from countries like China and South Korea study so hard that they, too, get high marks in both TOEFL and the GRE.

Many Japanese university students do quite poorly in both TOEFL and the GRE, perhaps because the English language is taught in Japan primarily to pass university entrance examinations - a way that is not beneficial when it comes to taking TOEFL. The average TOEFL scores of students from 30 Asian countries show that Japan ranked 27th, with only Laos, Tajikistan and Cambodia trailing behind.

Lately the Japanese government appears to have sensed a crisis over the decline in the number of both foreign students coming to this country and Japanese students going abroad for study.

Source: Japan Times
Oct 31
The operator of the disaster-hit Fukushima Daiichi nuclear plant on Friday tentatively removed part of the cover shrouding the No.1 reactor building installed in the wake of the 2011 disaster to keep radioactive materials from dispersing. (Kyodo)
Oct 31
Police in Tokyo have arrested a 39-year-old member of the Air Self-Defense Force on a charge of attempted murder after he pushed a man onto the train tracks at JR Okubo Station in Shinjuku Ward. (Japan Today)
Oct 31
The Tokyo metropolitan government on Friday reopened all of Yoyogi Park, 57 days after dengue-carrying mosquitoes were found there. (Japan Today)
Oct 31
The Japanese government has drafted a new space development policy that will enhance its ability to provide security. The plan includes increasing the number of intelligence-gathering satellites. (NHK)
Oct 31
A 63-year-old man who died in Waikiki Saturday has been identified as a deputy mayor from Japan. (khon2.com)
Oct 31
Until only recently, Japan never celebrated Halloween. And why would it? The nation honors the spirits of its ancestors in August, during the ancient Buddhist festival of O-bon, when ancestral spirits are said to revisit the family altars -and when reported encounters with ghosts and spirits reach a fevered peak. (marketwatch.com)
Oct 31
A 41-year-old man, who was arrested in August for abusing his 14-year-old stepson, has also been charged with coercing the boy to commit suicide. (Japan Today)
Oct 30
Tokyo Metropolitan Police on Thursday announced the bust of a risque bar in Machida City for licensing violations, reports Jiji Press (Oct. 30). (Tokyo Reporter)
Oct 30
Police in Komae City, Tokyo, on Thursday questioned the owner of a beauty salon over the murder of the salon manager whose body was found on the premises. (Japan Today)
Oct 30
A 25-year-old man who works as a host at a club in Tokyo's Kabukicho district has been arrested for trying to extort 3 million yen from his girlfriend by threatening her. (Japan Today)
Oct 30
Japan's Crown Princess Masako attended a banquet for visiting Dutch royals on Wednesday in her first such appearance since developing a stress-related illness more than a decade ago. (abcnews.go.com)
Oct 30
In spite of a recent fall in organized crime membership, Fukuoka Prefectural Police on Monday released a manga comic to discourage participation in yakuza gangs, reports the Nishi Nippon Shimbun (Oct. 27). (Tokyo Reporter)
Oct 29
Japan's Crown Princess Masako on Wednesday is attending a banquet at the Imperial Palace for the first time in 11 years. (NHK)
Oct 29
Three types of Japanese-style paper, or "washi," are to be added to UNESCO's list of intangible cultural heritage. (NHK)
Oct 28
Parts of Hokkaido experienced the first snowfall of the season on Tuesday morning. (Japan Today)