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。
May 30
The explosive eruption on Mt. Shindake in Kagoshima Prefecture on Friday is likely to have involved the direct ejection of magma, or direct subterranean contact between magma and groundwater, experts say. (The Japan News)
May 29
A sudden volcano eruption on the small southern Japanese island of Kuchinoerabu-jima has forced authorities to raise the alert to the highest level and advise evacuation of the immediate area. (rt.com)
May 29
Twelve of the 29 suma mackerel tuna have died at Tokyo Sea Life Park in Edogawa Ward, Tokyo, since the aquarium released the fish into its tank less than a week ago, it was learned Thursday. There has been a mysterious die-off of kuromaguro bluefin tuna, hatsugatsuo and other species of bonito at the aquarium since December. (The Japan News)
May 29
McDonald's Japan is still reeling from a series of food-safety scandals. Executives have responded by cutting the number of outlets that are open 24 hours a day. (NHK)
May 27
The Japanese health ministry's plan to ban restaurants from serving raw pork including liver and other internal organs was approved at an advisory panel sectional meeting on Wednesday. (Jiji Press)
May 29
A 45-year-old male patient at a clinic in Kadoma, Osaka, has been arrested on suspicion of attacking a woman working at the reception desk with a knife. (Japan Today)
May 29
Police in Sapporo said Thursday they have arrested a 64-year-old woman over the death of her 42-year-old mentally disabled daughter whose body was found at their apartment in Nishi Ward. (Japan Today)
May 28
A 25-year-old man on Wednesday went on trial for fatally stabbing one man and wounding three others during a 10-minute rampage in Kashiwa, Chiba Prefecture, in March 2014. (Japan Today)
May 28
The Japan Association of Zoos and Aquariums says hackers stole phone numbers and email addresses of thousands of zoo and aquarium workers nationwide in an incident earlier this year. (Japan Times)
May 27
Police in Toyota, Aichi Prefecture, have arrested a 65-year-old man after three bodies were found in the ruins of his house that was destroyed by a fire on Tuesday morning. (Japan Today)
May 26
Japan's Emperor Akihito and Empress Michiko have attended a ceremony in Tokyo to pray for the victims of a devastating US air raid during World War Two. (NHK)
May 26
On May 21, police in Japan's Miyagi Prefecture arrested a woman on swindling charges after the cashier at a local store erroneously handed her an extra 45,000 yen (US$370) in change. (rocketnews24.com)
May 26
In a crackdown on a business believed to be supporting organized crime, Tokyo Metropolitan Police on Tuesday announced the bust of an illegal pornographic DVD business in Shinjuku Ward, reports TV Asahi (May 26). (Tokyo Reporter)
May 26
A "Doraemon" movie will be shown in China from Thursday, becoming the first new Japanese film to be released in the country for nearly three years, diplomatic sources said Monday. (Jiji Press)
May 26
A 39-year-old man on Monday pleaded guilty to fatally stabbing two people at random on a street in Osaka on June 24, 2012. (Japan Today)