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 annual "kanji" Chinese character of the year in Japan went to "ring" on Thursday, after Tokyo's successful bid to host the 2020 Olympics, often referred to in local print media as "five rings." (Straits Times )
Two death-row inmates were hanged Thursday in the fourth round of executions since the launch last December of Prime Minister Shinzo Abe's government, Justice Minister Sadakazu Tanigaki said. (Japan Times )
South Korea has condemned Japan for publishing a video in 10 languages challenging its sovereignty over a tiny group of islets at the heart of a territorial dispute, demanding Tokyo remove it. (channelnewsasia.com )
Japan's Supreme Court has upheld the petition of a female-to-male transgender man to be recorded on the official family registry as the father of a boy born to his wife after the use of semen from a donor, it was learned on Wednesday. (Jiji Press )
A 12-year battle for justice took an enormous financial, emotional and physical toll, says Catherine Jane Fisher. But for the Australian teacher of English and mother of three, it's time to savor a landmark court victory. (womensenews.org )
The number of shoplifting cases accounted for nearly 10 pct of all criminal offenses recognized by Japanese police, with the rate increasing, a National Police Agency survey showed Wednesday. (Jiji Press )