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 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)
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)
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)
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)
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)
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)
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)
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)
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)
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)
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)
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)
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)
Five people suffered burns after fireworks sparks fell on them at a fireworks festival in Fuji City, Shizuoka Prefecture, on Saturday night. (Japan Today)
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)