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.
Osaka Mayor Toru Hashimoto said Saturday he plans to establish a new political party possibly within the year, deepening the strife within Japan's second-largest opposition party. (Kyodo)
A recent series of cable fires at Japan Railway facilities in Tokyo has aroused a suspicion of serial arson, due to the abnormally high frequency of such an incident. (Jiji Press)
The organizing committee of the 2020 Tokyo Olympics on Friday showed the original design of Kenjiro Sano's Olympic and Paralympic Games logo embroiled in a plagiarism dispute, backing the Japanese designer's claim that he did not copy a Belgian theater logo. (Kyodo)
The Diet passed a bill Friday aiming to promote the role of women in the workplace, along with greater female participation in the economy at a time when the country's population is expected to shrink further. (Japan Times)
Japanese police fear a bloody gang war could erupt following the breakup of the Yamaguchi-gumi, the nation's largest organized crime syndicate. (Asahi)
A rift has emerged in Japan's largest yakuza organised crime syndicate, the government said, with police warning Saturday that the split could lead to a wave of gang violence. (Japan Today)
Japan's Empress Michiko has enjoyed playing the piano to the singing voice of a prominent foreign soprano. (NHK)
Tokyo Metropolitan Police have launched a murder investigation following the discovery of the body of 25-year-old woman inside her apartment in Nakano Ward, reports Fuji News Network. (Tokyo Reporter)
Three men and two woman were killed after the minivan they were traveling in flipped over and slammed into the railing of a bridge in Asuka, Nara Prefecture, early Thursday. (Japan Today)
A bogus smartphone tip spreading through tweets is causing a headache for the National Police Agency as users have been tricked into dialing the emergency number 110 in at least 22 prefectures. (Japan Times)
As a part of an investigation into a car accident earlier this year in Utsunomiya City, an organized crime boss has been arrested for a firearms violation, reports Fuji News Network (Tokyo Reporter)
An American man arrested earlier this month in connection with the death of a Japanese woman whose body was found off the coast of Miura, Kanagawa Prefecture, is expected to face another arrest warrant shortly, this time for killing the woman, an investigative source said Wednesday. (Japan Times)
Koji Yamada, the 45-year-old man who was arrested in Osaka Prefecture last week for abandoning a girl's body, was questioned by police in Tokyo before committing the alleged crime, it was learned on Wednesday. (Jiji Press)
Police raided the headquarters of Japan's largest yakuza syndicate Yamaguchi-gumi on Tuesday after 14 workers at a waste disposal plant in Kobe, western Japan, became sick after treating waste from the building early this month. (Japan Times)
Toyama Prefectural Police on Tuesday arrested a 56-year-old woman for allegedly dumping the body of her father outside their home in Takaoka City. Investigators are now working to apply murder charges, reports the Asahi Shimbun (Aug. 26). (Tokyo Reporter)