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 31
The average life expectancy for Japanese women rose to a record high of 86.83 years in 2014 from 86.61 years the previous year, marking the world's longest for the third straight year, government data showed Thursday. (Jiji Press)
Jul 31
Authorities in Tokyo's Setagaya Ward will begin to issue official documents to same-sex couples in November, following a similar move in the Japanese capital's Shibuya Ward, it was learned Wednesday. (The Japan News)
Jul 30
Another allegation has emerged regarding the recently disclosed emblem for the 2020 Tokyo Olympics and Paralympics: It appears to use the same colors as a design created in Spain. (NHK)
Jul 30
Japan's Empress Michiko is set to receive checkups on her coronary artery using computed tomography on Aug. 9 at the University of Tokyo Hospital due to suspected myocardial ischemia, the Imperial Household Agency said Wednesday. (Jiji Press)
Jul 30
The rainy season appears to be over in Japan's two remaining regions to the southwest and northeast, the weather agency said on Wednesday, declaring an end to the early summer wet period throughout the archipelago. (Japan Times)
Jul 31
Kanagawa Prefectural Police on Thursday said suffocation was the cause of death of a woman whose corpse was discovered floating off the coast of Miura City, reports TBS News (July 30). (Tokyo Reporter)
Jul 31
Last weekend, it was once again time for Japan's model and garage kit enthusiasts to gather for the summer iteration of Wonder Festival, held at the Makuhari Messe convention center in Chiba Prefecture. (Japan Today)
Jul 30
As a part of a crackdown on illegal drugs connected to musician Aska, Tokyo Metropolitan Police on Monday announced the arrest of a boss in an organized crime group, reports the Mainichi Shimbun. (Tokyo Reporter)
Jul 30
Tokyo Metropolitan Police on Wednesday announced the arrest of a 48-year-old male for stalking a woman and stealing her shoes, reports TBS News. (Tokyo Reporter)
Jul 30
The search resumed Wednesday for people missing as a result of an eruption at Mt. Ontake last September - 9½ months after the operation was suspended due to weather risks. (The Japan News)
Jul 29
It was a triple murder that shocked a nation already reeling from the crime spree by a doomsday religious cult, coming just four months after the cult's deadly nerve gas attack on the Tokyo subway system. (Japan Today)
Jul 28
The pilot of a light plane that crashed into a residential area in the Tokyo suburb of Chofu on Sunday had run a pilot training firm without permission from the transport ministry, it was learned Monday. (Jiji Press)
Jul 27
Police in Fussa, Tokyo, said Monday they have arrested a 24-year-old man over the murder of a woman with whom he went on a date to watch fireworks. (Japan Today)
Jul 27
Five people suffered burns after fireworks sparks fell on them at a fireworks festival in Fuji City, Shizuoka Prefecture, on Saturday night. (Japan Today)
Jul 27
A light plane crashed into a residential area in the Tokyo suburb of Chofu on Sunday morning, leaving three people dead and five others injured. (The Japan News)