The Kerama Islands of Okinawa Prefecture and the surrounding sea, home to stunning coral reefs and a mating area for humpback whales, could be designated as a national park in 2014, Environment Minister Nobuteru Ishihara has announced.
If the plan materializes, it would be the first new national park since the Kushiro Shitsugen marshland was designated in 1987.
According to the Environment Ministry, the area is blessed with a magnificent marine environment, with its reefs, very transparent water and white sand beaches.
Eleven people in Fukushima Prefecture aged 18 or younger at the time of the 2011 triple meltdown were recently diagnosed with thyroid cancer, bringing the number of confirmed cases to 115 since the accident at the Fukushima No. 1 nuclear power plant. (Asahi)
Japan's education ministry is considering ways to improve the English language ability of junior high school students. The ways may include requiring students to take new kinds of speaking tests. (NHK)
A restaurant featuring ramen noodles took its place among the more exalted gourmet restaurants as Tokyo kept its crown as the Michelin guide's dining capital of the world for the ninth straight year on Tuesday. (Japan Times)
Japan's whaling fleet set out for the Antarctic on Tuesday to resume a hunt for the mammals after a year-long hiatus, prompting criticism from Australia as well as key ally, the United States. (Japan Today)
The Metropolitan Police Department on Tuesday filed criminal papers against three men, including a 30-year-old company employee of Tahara, Aichi Prefecture, on suspicion of obstructing business of a Tokyo-based law office by rewriting facility names on Google Maps. (Japan Times)
Manga artist Shigeru Mizuki, who died Nov. 30 at age 93, enjoyed living like a cat--sleeping whenever he felt like it, and then waking up with a big yawn. He was convinced from boyhood that he "could never live any other way than as a lazy bum." (Asahi)
Tochigi Prefectural Police on Monday arrested a 33-year-old housewife in Utsunomiya City for attempting to kill her estranged husband by poisoning his alcohol, reports Nippon News Network (Nov. 30). (Tokyo Reporter)
Police in Yonezawa, Yamagata Prefecture, have arrested a 23-year-old man and his 17-year-old wife over the fatal abuse of their 16-day-old daughter. The infant died after she was placed in a trash can, Fuji TV reported. (Japan Today)
The Osaka District Court on Monday found a 20-year-old mother not guilty of causing the death last year of her 3-year-old daughter, who had an intractable disease, by not feeding her sufficiently. (Japan Today)
Seventy seated Buddhist monks intoned "nenbutsu" prayers and "wasan" hymns while swaying their bodies in unison during the annual memorial service at the famed Higashi-Honganji temple in Shimogyo Ward here on Nov. 28. (Asahi)
Tokyo Metropolitan Police on Friday re-arrested more than a dozen suspects, including one organized crime member, as a part of an ongoing health insurance fraud investigation that now includes comedians affiliated with a major entertainment agency, reports Sports Hochi (Nov. 28). (Tokyo Reporter)