Education material developers are racing to create English proficiency tests for high school students after the government's Education Rebuilding Implementation Council proposed in May that outside English tests be used for university entrance examinations.
With some high schools starting English classes taught in English this spring, the momentum is building for reviewing the form of English examinations for college admission.
The council originally considered the use of only TOEFL, an English proficiency test created in the United States to gauge English skills of foreign students and used by universities around the world. But it eventually decided to allow other tests after some council members pointed out TOEFL questions may be "too difficult."
Benesse Corp., a major education business operator, is offering a test called "GTEC for Students." Last year, 620,000 middle and high school students took the test, which meaures their proficiency in reading, listening and writing. The company plans to include questions to test their conversation skills sometime during the 2014 academic year.
The Thai man who admitted to killing Yoshinori Shimato, a 79-year-old Japanese teacher who had been missing since late September, has confessed to killing another Japanese man, a Thai police official said Friday. (Japan Times)
Trade chiefs from 12 countries involved in an ambitious Pacific free trade initiative started a three-day meeting Saturday in Sydney in a bid to make progress toward a U.S.-proposed goal of reaching a deal by year-end. (Kyodo)
Police on Friday night arrested a 38-year-old man who stabbed a passerby in front of Tokyo's Ueno Station. (Japan Today)
Japan will check the recent travel histories of all people arriving at international airports in the country to identify those who have visited Ebola-affected West African countries, the health ministry said Friday. (The Japan News)
Japan's Meteorological Agency is warning that a volcano may erupt in the Kirishima mountain range in Kyushu. Mount Ioyama straddles the southwestern prefectures of Kagoshima and Miyazaki. (NHK)
Police in Tokyo's Mizuhomachi area have arrested a 20-year-old man for pouring urine from a PET bottle on a 14-year-old girl earlier this month. (Japan Today)
The Cabinet approved a bill Friday to revise the adult entertainment business law to enable dance clubs to operate past midnight, provided they meet interior lighting regulations. (Japan Times)
Police have arrested a 64-year-old man from Tsubame, Niigata Prefecture, for threatening a former Asahi Shimbun reporter over stories he wrote about the comfort women issue. (Japan Today)
The government said Friday it has chosen Nobel physics prize laureates Shuji Nakamura and Hiroshi Amano and five others as this year's winners of Japan's top cultural award, the Order of Culture. (Kyodo)
Police have confirmed the 57th death in the eruption of Mount Ontake in central Japan. Another 6 people are still missing after Japan's worst volcanic disaster in decades. (NHK)
A 36-year-old woman holding her one-year-old son in her arms jumped off the platform in front of a train at Nezu Station on the Chiyoda subway line in Tokyo, police said. (Japan Today)
The Supreme Court on Thursday rejected a high court ruling that a western Japan hospital was within its rights to demote a physical therapist who sought a lighter workload due to pregnancy. (Kyodo)
A 15-year-old girl was assaulted by a man who stole her school uniform skirt in Tsukuba, Ibaraki Prefecture, police said Thursday. (Japan Today)
A Thai man has admitted killing a 79-year-old Japanese man who has been missing in Thailand since late September, according to local police sources. (Jiji Press)
Police in Hachioji, Tokyo, said Wednesday that a man suspected of fatally stabbing a 35-year-old woman at her home, apparently jumped to his death from the building roof. (Japan Today)