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
Jul 23
A 22-year-old man pleaded guilty Tuesday to stabbing his former girlfriend to death last October in a high-profile stalking-murder case in Mitaka, west Tokyo. (Japan Times)
Jul 23
Japan and Mongolia on Tuesday reached an economic partnership agreement in principle, including an eventual elimination of tariffs on used cars imported from Japan. (The Japan News)
Jul 22
A toxic food scandal in China is spreading fast, dragging in U.S. coffee chain Starbucks, Burger King Worldwide Inc. and others, as well as products of McDonald's Corp. as far away as Japan. (Japan Times)
Jul 22
Japanese authorities have decided to use the term "kiken" or "unsafe" drugs to refer to so-called law-evading drugs to raise the awareness of their risks. (NHK)
Jul 22
Personal information on some 22.6 million Benesse Corp. customers was stored in a smartphone used by a systems engineer arrested last week for allegedly stealing such data from the education service provider, the company has said. (Jiji Press)
Jul 23
Police in Okinawa on Tuesday arrested a 40-year-old woman after her 5-month-old son died in her car while she played pachinko. (Japan Today)
Jul 23
A group of residents from a village near the crippled Fukushima Daiichi nuclear power plant is planning to file for state arbitration so all villagers can be entitled to equal damages regardless of radiation levels of their areas. (NHK)
Jul 23
Inventor and performance artist Showta Mori has been getting a taste of internet fame recently for his videos featuring his quick-draw, arm-mounted iPhone sleeve gun, but that's far from his only creation or even his weirdest creation. (rocketnews24.com)
Jul 23
Earlier this year, a number of news outlets covered last year's launch of a Web site for the Yamaguchi-gumi, Japan's largest organized crime group. (Tokyo Reporter)
Jul 22
A 49-year-old man arrested Saturday on suspicion of confining an 11-year-old girl at his house here has told police he wanted to be with the girl forever, according to a source related to the investigation. (The Japan News)
Jul 22
A series of water-related accidents across Japan during Marine Day on Monday has left six people dead, three missing and one in a critical condition, according to media and Fire and Disaster Management Agency reports. (Japan Today)
Jul 22
Police in Izu, Shizuoka, said Monday that a 60-year-old man who was part of a deer-hunting party, was shot and killed by a fellow hunter. (Japan Today)
Jul 22
For the past three months, Tokyo Metropolitan Police have sought a woman believed to be responsible for the drugging and robbing of multiple men in the metropolis over the last two years. (Tokyo Reporter)
Jul 22
You may remember this this year, Japan's largest organized crime group, the Yamaguchi-gumi, launched its own website in Japan. (japansubculture.com)
Jul 21
Police in Yashio, Saitama Prefecture, said Monday they are investigating the death of a 24-year-old man who came into a 7-Eleven convenience store, bleeding from stab wounds and died shortly after. (Japan Today)