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.
The Supreme Court dismissed Thursday a lower court ruling that nullified suspensions and other disciplinary action against two male members of a company in Osaka due to sexual harassment in the workplace. (The Japan News)
Luxury marque Montblanc is to sell fountain pens made from a "miracle pine" tree that survived the 2011 tsunami, for a hefty $4,400, an official said, with just 20 percent of takings donated to local people. (AFP)
The mobile phone records of a 13-year-old boy who was found fatally stabbed last week along the Tama River in Kawasaki show the Line messaging app was used to contact a former schoolmate just around the time he was killed, it was learned Thursday. (Japan Times)