The Bank of Japan upgraded its economic assessments for eight of the country's nine regions in a quarterly report released Thursday, reflecting improvements in business and consumer sentiment thanks to the yen's weakening and rises in stock prices.
It was the first time in three years and nine months that the Bank of Japan has revised up its economic assessments for at least eight regions for two straight quarters. In its previous report, the central bank upgraded its assessments for all nine regions.
The latest report said that the economy "has been picking up" in the Hokkaido, Hokuriku, Kanto-Koshinetsu, Tokai and Kyushu-Okinawa regions, "has been picking up moderately" in the Kinki region, "has been picking up moderately as a whole" in the Chugoku region and "has begun to pick up" in the Shikoku region.
The mother of a Japanese hostage held by Islamic State extremists appealed publicly Wednesday to Prime Minister Shinzo Abe to save her son after his captors issued what they said was a final death threat. (Japan Today)
Police have arrested a 19-year-old girl on suspicion of killing a 77-year-old woman. The girl, who is a student at Nagoya University, was quoted by police as saying she wanted to kill someone and that anyone would do, NTV reported Wednesday. (Japan Today)
Last week, officers from the Yotsuya Police Station in Tokyo took Takahiro Arimoto, the 44-year-old manager of massage parlor Honey Candle and one other employee into custody for the harmful employment of minors, a violation under the Labor Standards Act. (Tokyo Reporter)
Workers have begun tearing down structures at a train station here that was devastated in the deadly tsunami of 2011, citing the danger of collapse they pose to the growing number of visitors to the site. (Asahi)
Fukuoka Prefectural Police on Monday took the acting chairman of the Kudo-kai organized crime group into custody for allegedly blackmailing the owner of a building, reports the Yommiuri Shimbun (Jan. 26). (Tokyo Reporter)
Crown Prince Naruhito met Saudi Arabia's new King Salman in the Saudi capital of Riyadh on Sunday and expressed his condolences over the death of King Abdullah, who passed away on Friday. (The Japan News)
A fire drill was conducted at Horyuji temple, a UNESCO World Heritage site in Ikaruga, Nara Prefecture, on Monday, which was Cultural Property Fire Prevention Day. About 100 personnel participated, including temple priests and local firemen. (The Japan News)
Social media users around the world have deluged a special Facebook page calling for the safety of Japanese hostage Kenji Goto, who is being held captive by the Islamic State extremist group, with selfies proclaiming "I AM KENJI." (Asahi)
Tokyo Metropolitan Police on Monday the arrest of a former organized crime member for the sale of stimulant drugs to musician Aska two years ago, reports Nippon News Network (Jan. 26). (Tokyo Reporter)
The Islamic State beheaded one of the two Japanese citizens it has been holding, but signaled a potential willingness to negotiate over the fate of the other one - offering a tiny sliver of hope to a Japan reeling from shock and grief. (foreignpolicy.com)