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。
Apr 21
Wrong and inappropriate names had temporarily appeared on Google Maps for the Imperial Palace, Tokyo's Metropolitan Police Department and many other places in Japan, it was learned Monday. (Jiji Press)
Apr 20
Looking chipper, Paul McCartney arrived at Kansai International Airport here in a chartered plane on the morning of April 20 for the first time since the ex-Beatle canceled his entire Japan tour in May 2014 because of illness. (Asahi)
Apr 20
The Japan Meteorological Agency lifted a tsunami alert about one hour after it was issued following a 6.6 magnitude earthquake that struck off eastern Taiwan on Monday morning. (Japan Today)
Apr 20
The Japan Aerospace Exploration Agency (JAXA) is planning to attempt Japan's first lunar landing in fiscal 2018, sources close to the project said Sunday. (Japan Times)
Apr 19
A British couple who tied the knot at a Kyoto shrine have become the first to receive a memorial marriage certificate from the city, under a newly created program to attract more foreign visitors. (Asahi)
Apr 21
A teacher who buried five newborn kittens, four of which were still alive, on school grounds in Funabashi, Chiba Prefecture, has been charged with violating the law on welfare and management of animals. (Japan Today)
Apr 21
Tokyo metropolitan government officials use nets to catch mosquitoes Monday at Yoyogi Park in Shibuya Ward, Tokyo, to check whether they have dengue fever virus. (The Japan News)
Apr 21
Police in Kawasaki, Kanagawa Prefecture, have arrested a 32-year-old man on suspicion of strangling to death his 32-year-old girlfriend. (Japan Today)
Apr 20
A man broke into an unattended "koban" (police box) at JR Odawara Station in Kanagawa Prefecture on Sunday night and smashed windows before mutilating both his cheeks with a knife, police said Monday. (Japan Today)
Apr 20
A lesbian couple held a symbolic wedding ceremony Sunday as calls grow to legalize same-sex marriage. (Japan Times)
Apr 20
Tokyo Metropolitan Police arrested a boss of the Yamaguchi-gumi organized crime group for the repeated extortion of a 49-year-old IT executive, reports the Sankei Shimbun. (Tokyo Reporter)
Apr 19
Police in Tokyo's Shinjuku Ward said Saturday they have arrested a 21-year-old university student on suspicion of molesting a 9-year-old girl. (Japan Today)
Apr 18
Police in Tatebayashi, Gunma Prefecture, are investigating the murder of an 84-year-old woman whose body was found in the Tatara River on April 15. She had a plastic bag over her head and a scarf pulled tightly around her neck when she was found. (Japan Today)
Apr 17
Investigators have found 7.85 million passwords, credit card numbers and other pieces of stolen personal information on an Internet server seized last year from a Tokyo-based firm that provided proxy servers for Chinese users, Tokyo police said Friday. (Japan Times)
Apr 17
Time magazine has named two Japanese among its list of the world's 100 most influential people of 2015: novelist Haruki Murakami and Marie Kondo, an organizing consultant whose book introducing her art of tidying up became a best-seller. (NHK)