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.
Government figures show a sharp and continuous fall-off in the number of farmers over the past five years that potentially threatens the landscape as its stewards leave the sector and are not replaced. (Japan Times)
Japan plans to boost financial aid to developing countries to help them tackle climate change by providing about ¥1.3 trillion (about $10.6 billion) a year by 2020, Prime Minister Shinzo Abe said on Thursday. (The Japan News)
No major gangster bloodbath has occurred in the three months since Japan's largest yakuza organization, Yamaguchi-gumi, split into two rival mobs, but to say the sides are living in harmony would be an exaggeration. (Asahi)
A 60-year-old man in Tochigi Prefecture, northeast of Tokyo, who claims to be an exorcist was arrested Thursday on suspicion of killing a diabetic boy by halting the administration of insulin, police said. (Japan Today)
Police and animal protection center officials captured the last of two emus, an ostrich-like bird from Australia, that escaped from a farm in Takasaki, Gunma Prefecture, earlier this month. (Japan Times)
Tokyo Metropolitan Police have arrested the head of an adult video (AV) label specializing in productions featuring gay men for employing an underage male actor, reports Nippon News Network. (Tokyo Reporter)