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。
Mar 29
A Tokyo aquarium at which large numbers of tuna and bonito have mysteriously died has announced plans to reintroduce bluefin tuna around June. (The Japan News)
Mar 28
Japanese research whaling vessels have returned to a port in Yamaguchi Prefecture, western Japan, after completing a survey expedition in the Antarctic Ocean. The expedition was unusual in that it did not involve catching any whales. (NHK)
Mar 28
With the arrival of the cherry blossom season, the Tokyo metropolitan government has taken steps to manage the influx of revelers expected at Ueno Park in Taito Ward, where a hanami festival is being held. (The Japan News)
Mar 28
One in 10 adult women in Japan has experience of becoming a stalking victim and 30 pct of such women felt that their lives were in danger, a Cabinet Office survey suggested Friday. (Jiji Press)
Mar 27
The Japan Tourism Agency (JTA) says the amount of money spent by foreign tourists in 2014 surpassed the preceding year by 43.1%, totaling 2.0278 trillion yen and exceeded two trillion yen for the first time ever. (Japan Today)
Mar 29
One man died and another was rescued after a workboat capsized at sea off Hakodate, Hokkaido, on Friday. (The Japan News)
Mar 28
Police in Nishinomiya City, Hyogo Prefecture, said Friday that more body parts have been found in the Tsuto River near where two severed arms were found on Tuesday. (Japan Today)
Mar 28
A teen model smiles sweetly at the camera. Deftly using her hands, she produces a considerable volume of white, goopy liquid. Then she turns to the camera and asks, innocently, "It all came out?" (rocketnews24.com)
Mar 28
Six months after the deadly eruption of Mount Ontake in central Japan, mourners on Friday offered flowers for the victims of the disaster. (NHK)
Mar 27
Police in Tokyo have arrested the leader and one member of a large con-artist group accused of defrauding elderly people out of hundreds of millions of yen with various scams. (Japan Today)
Mar 27
Lee Dong Cheol, 61, and an employee of his trading firm were arrested by the Kyoto, Kanagawa, Shimane and Yamaguchi prefectural police departments on Thursday for allegedly importing North Korean matsutake mushrooms under the pretense that they were Chinese ones. (The Japan News)
Mar 26
Police reported a record-high 28,923 minors aged below 18 to child welfare authorities as suspected victims of child abuse in 2014, up 33.9 percent from a year earlier, the National Police Agency said Thursday. (Kyodo)
Mar 26
A five-year-old boy drowned in a pond five years after his older sister drowned in the same pond in Mitoyo, Kagawa Prefecture. (Japan Today)
Mar 25
The two names of what appears to be Japanese are on the boarding list of a Germanwings airplane that crashed in southeastern France Tuesday, according to the Japanese consulate general in Barcelona. (Jiji Press)
Mar 25
Police on Wednesday arrested a 42-year-old man in connection with the deaths of his parents, who were found fatally stabbed the day before in a factory the family ran in Takarazuka, Hyogo Prefecture. (Japan Times)