'Captain Ozawa' kicks off campaign
Japan's "shadow shogun" is trying to reinvent himself once again, this time as the people's last line of defense against Abenomics.

In a political advert for the upper house election later this month, the latest incarnation of Ichiro Ozawa dons a goalkeeper's shirt and gloves as he literally kicks off his campaign with fire in his eyes and a laser-intense look of resolve.

The eye-catching TV ad, titled "Fiery Saves by 'Captain Ichiro Ozawa,'" shows the 71-year-old saving the nation from employment uncertainty, a trans-Pacific trade deal and an increase in the sales tax.

Shooting at him from the prime position of the penalty spot is a dark-uniformed striker wearing a No. 96 shirt-a likely reference to Prime Minister Shinzo Abe's desire to revise Article 96 of Japan's pacifist constitution. Mr. Abe is aiming to lower the parliamentary majority needed for revising the basic law, another objective opposed by Mr. Ozawa.

Indeed, viewers could be forgiven for thinking the policy agenda of the People's Life Party is largely negative in formation, since "Captain Ozawa" is essentially appealing to the public that he will just block the policy goals of the current administration.

Still, Mr. Ozawa's campaign ad is certainly a lot more fun than a much more conservative offering by Mr. Abe, in which he can be seen from behind confidently marching onward and upward as he seeks to reestablish Japan.

May 06
Japanese officials are warning of a possible minor volcanic eruption in Hakone, a hot spring resort town near Tokyo. (NHK)
May 06
An evacuation order has been issued around the Owakudani area of Mount Hakone. (NHK)
May 06
Airports, trains and expressways in Japan continued to be packed on Wednesday as travelers returned from their spring getaways on the last day of the Golden Week holiday period. (Japan Times)
May 06
Japan launched a major push at the United Nations on Tuesday to rally support for its drive to settle lingering questions over the decades-old abductions of Japanese nationals by North Korea. (zeenews)
May 05
The number of children under 15 years of age hit a record low of 16.17 million in Japan as of April 1, marking the 34th straight year of decrease, the government estimated Monday. (Jiji Press)
May 06
A survey by a leading Japanese advertising agency suggests that one out of 13 respondents can be classified as sexual minorities. (NHK)
May 06
For most parents the harrowing sound of a baby crying is one they could probably do without. But for competitors at the 400-year-old Naki Zumo festival in Japan, the more sobs your little one can muster, the better. (dailymail.co.uk)
May 06
Taylor Swift kicked off the Japan portion of her "1989" world tour Tuesday after she touched down in Tokyo at Narita Airport and incited a fan frenzy Sunday. (ibtimes.com)
May 05
A 15-year-old boy, driving without a license, and four passengers in his mini-vehicle were injured when they crashed into a 10-ton truck in Nagoya on Monday morning. (Japan Today)
May 04
A group of Nepalese living in a city north of Tokyo have gathered to mourn the victims of the earthquake that hit their country a week ago. (NHK)
May 04
Police in Utsunomiya, Tochigi Prefecture, arrested a 28-year-old man on Sunday on suspicion of stabbing his 53-year-old mother to death at their home. (Japan Today)
May 04
In the geisha quarters of Kyoto's Miyagawacho, training to become a maiko requires around 10 months. During that time, all the young trainees sleep and eat with their proprietress and senior geisha, who are called geiko in Kyoto. Trainees are immersed in what they must learn to work in the geisha quarters. (The Japan News)
May 03
A suicide attempt by a 33-year-old Korean male on Saturday lead Tokyo Metropolitan Police to the discovery of his girlfriend's body inside a hotel room in Minato Ward, reports the Asahi Shimbun (May 3). (Tokyo Reporter)
May 03
The bodies of seven people, including three children, were found at the site of a house that burned down in Yuzawa, Akita Prefecture, according to police. (The Japan News)
May 03
A 62-year-old Chinese woman died after being stabbed and strangled in her apartment in Osaka, police said Saturday. (Japan Today)