Companies race to develop English exams
Yomiuri -- Jul 04
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.

Source: Yomiuri
Sep 19
A computer programmer has admitted to killing dozens of cats in Tokyo's Ota Ward, saying he had become enraged by all the strays that had gathered in the neighborhood, police said Sept. 18. (Asahi)
Sep 19
Japan's iPhone fans, some of whom had waited in line for nearly two weeks, finally got their hands on Apple Inc.'s much anticipated iPhone 6 Friday. (Wall Street Journal)
Sep 19
The Japan Coast Guard has confirmed that fresh lava flows have almost covered Nishinoshima Island south of Tokyo. (NHK)
Sep 19
Japan is considering new sanctions against Russia over the Ukrainian crisis, Japanese government officials said Thursday. (Jiji Press)
Sep 19
The International Whaling Commission adopted a resolution Thursday calling for tightening its screening of research whaling programs, as Japan hopes to resume hunting for scientific purposes in the Antarctic Ocean under a new program. (Jiji Press)
Sep 19
A Tokyo man who was so stoned that he fell off his bike became the first bicyclist in Japan arrested on suspicion of driving under the influence of "dappo" (law-evading) drugs, police said. (Asahi)
Sep 19
Police in Saitama said Thursday they have arrested a 41-year-old man for fatally stabbing his 39-year-old wife. (Japan Today)
Sep 18
A 61-year-old truck driver has been arrested after he hit a group of elementary school children in Setagaya Ward, Tokyo, killing one 9-year-old girl and injuring two other children, aged 8 and 9. (Japan Today)
Sep 18
White smoke rose from under Tokyo Station's No. 22 platform Wednesday morning, suspending Shinkansen bullet train services. (The Japan News)
Sep 17
Tokyo Metropolitan Police on Wednesday arrested an organized crime member in the bust of a business in Shinjuku Ward that sold illegal pornographic DVDs, reports AV Asahi (Sept. 17). (Tokyo Reporter)
Sep 17
Following the bust of a shopping site selling shoes containing a miniature camera used to take illicit photographs, Kyoto Prefectural Police are now seeking the return of the merchandise from customers, it was revealed on Tuesday, reports the Mainichi Shimbun (Sept. 17). (Tokyo Reporter)
Sep 17
Police in Kumagaya, Saitama Prefecture, on Tuesday arrested a 19-year-old youth after he stabbed his parents at their home. The suspect's mother later died of her wounds. (Japan Today)
Sep 17
Japanese Emperor Akihito and Empress Michiko may visit Palau next year, the 70th anniversary of the end of World War II, to pay their respects to Japan's war dead, Chief Cabinet Secretary Yoshihide Suga said Tuesday. (Jiji Press)
Sep 16
A car was partially buried due to small mudslide and three people sustained injuries after a magnitude-5.6 quake hit a wide area of Kanto region in Japan around noon on Tuesday, according to local report. (shanghaidaily.com)
Sep 16
Two women died and a third woman was injured after the car they were in went off a mountain road and plunged into a river in Hyuga, Miyazaki Prefecture, on Monday. (Japan Today)