Prime Minister Shinzo Abe pledged Wednesday to restore stability to Japanese politics by winning the upper house election later this month, adding he is facing the "last chance" over the next decades to lift the Japanese economy out of its chronic deflation.
In a debate with other party leaders a day before official campaigning commences for the July 21 House of Councillors election, Abe said he will not clarify whether he will visit the war-linked Yasukuni Shrine in Tokyo, which China and South Korea see as glorifying Japan's militaristic past.
"I will address the twisted relations between the two chambers of parliament by winning the upper house election, and will secure stability in politics," Abe said during the debate organized by the Japan National Press Club, reiterating his strong desire to end the dominance of opposition parties in the chamber.
Shibuya Ward, Tokyo, became on Tuesday the nation's first municipality to adopt an ordinance allowing it to issue certificates recognizing same-sex relationships as being "equivalent to marriage." (Japan Times)
In the wake of the suspicious crash of a Germanwings jet, the transport ministry is moving quickly to require all Japanese airlines to have two crew members in the cockpit at all times during flights. (Asahi)
The Japanese government said Monday it will send up to 142,600 personnel in emergency teams within 72 hours to 10 prefectures that are expected to suffer tremendous damage in the event of a major earthquake at the Nankai Trough off Japan's Pacific coast. (Jiji Press)
A third-party committee investigating the deaths of 11 patients who received laparoscopic surgery at the Chiba Cancer Center said Monday that at least seven patients received treatment without prior ethical screening despite the extremely difficult nature of the operations, which were not covered by public health insurance. (The Japan News)
Public prosecutors demanded Tuesday that former Aum Supreme Truth cult member Katsuya Takahashi, 56, be sentenced to life in prison for his roles in the 1995 deadly sarin nerve gas attack on Tokyo's subway system and other crimes by the doomsday cult. (The Japan News)
An elementary school teacher in Hyuga, Miyazaki Prefecture, has been arrested after it was discovered that he had lied to a newspaper reporter regarding the presence of a foreign substance in a rice ball ("onigiri") lunch that he purchased at a convenience store. (Japan Today)
In the first application in Tokyo of a law that seeks to restrict the distribution of sexually explicit content for revenge purposes, police on Friday announced the arrest of a 50-year-old male for releasing illicit images of his former girlfriend, reports the Sankei Shimbun (March 27). (Tokyo Reporter)