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.
Two vending machines were torched and the money taken from them in Tokyo's Katsushika Ward on Saturday morning, bringing to 19 the number of vending machines which have been destroyed by fire in the area since Sept 15. (Japan Today)
Police in Tokyo said Friday they are looking for a man who sprayed a 17-year-old girl with a liquid resembling paint thinner as she walked home on Wednesday night-the third such incident to occur in the area since last month. (Japan Today)
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)