Official campaigning begins in Japan for Upper House races
Japan Times -- Jul 04
Official campaigning got under way Thursday for the Upper House election later this month in a key test of Prime Minister Shinzo Abe's leadership over the past seven months.

Abe has set the goal of wresting control of the chamber from the opposition parties in the July 21 election and solidifying the Liberal Democratic Party's power base so he can achieve his key policy objectives, including firing all three of his economic policy "arrows" and rewriting the pacifist Constitution.

The opposition camp is struggling to erode Abe's relatively high support rate, which he has enjoyed since the LDP trounced the Democratic Party of Japan in the December general election and returned to power.

Half of the 242 seats in the Upper House are up for grabs every three years under a combination of districts and proportional representation. About 430 candidates are expected to vie for the 121 seats at stake.

昨年12月の第2次安倍内閣発足後、初の大型国政選挙となる第23回参院選が4日午前­、公示され、自民党の安倍晋三総裁は福島市で第一声を上げた。21日投開票。
Dec 21
Tokyo Electric Power Co. finished on Saturday removing all nuclear fuel assemblies from the cooling pool at the No. 4 reactor building at the stricken Fukushima No. 1 nuclear power plant. (Jiji Press)
Dec 20
The Ministry of Labor, Health and Welfare and the National Institute of Infectious Diseases said Friday that an influenza epidemic is spreading across Japan. (Japan Today)
Dec 20
The government has decided to levy consumption tax on e-books, digital music and other electronic media sold online by overseas vendors from October, according to sources. (The Japan News)
Dec 20
The probability for the Kanto region to be hit by a powerful earthquake - lower 6 or higher on the Japanese intensity scale of 7 - within 30 years has risen, the government panel's latest quake probability map showed Friday. (The Japan News)
Dec 19
Japan's Prime Minister Shinzo Abe says from next spring he will designate special local zones where the government promotes deregulation and supports regional economic revival. (NHK)
Dec 21
Sales of special Suica cards to commemorate the 100th anniversary of the opening of Tokyo Station were canceled soon after they began Saturday, as a large crowd of people flooded the area. (The Japan News)
Dec 21
Buddhist monks and believers have come together in an annual year-end event to clean up two major temples in Kyoto. (NHK)
Dec 20
The Niigata prefectural government started clearing a section of National Highway Route 405 in Tsunan in the prefecture on Friday, after a landslide mixed with snow blocked off about 50 meters of the road the night before. (The Japan News)
Dec 19
The Tokyo Metropolitan Police plan to limit pedestrian access to Shibuya's famous scramble crossing to avoid trouble from rowdy revelers on New Year's Eve. (Japan Today)
Dec 18
The Osaka District Court has ruled that Osaka Mayor Toru Hashimoto's order to check whether municipal office workers had tattoos was illegal and constituted an invasion of privacy. (Japan Today)
Dec 18
The Chiba Public Safety Commission has banned a 29-year-old man from Matsudo, Chiba Prefecture, from riding a bicycle for 90 days, after he was found guilty of cycling under the influence of "kiken" quasi-legal drugs. (Japan Times)
Dec 18
Police in Nara said Wednesday they have arrested a public school teacher for intruding into the bedroom of a woman who lives in the same apartment building as he does. (Japan Today)
Dec 18
Police in Matsuyama, Ehime Prefecture, said Wednesday that a 37-year-old woman was found dead with knife wounds to her neck in her apartment on Tuesday night. (Japan Today)
Dec 17
A Dallas-bound American Airlines jet coming from South Korea made an emergency landing in Japan early Wednesday after encountering turbulence. At least 12 people on board the plane were injured. (NHK)
Dec 16
A couple in their 80s were stabbed by an intruder in their home in Maebashi, Gunma Prefecture, on Tuesday morning. (Japan Today)