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.
Japan's foreign minister announced a $7 billion initiative Monday to promote development in Southeast Asia's Mekong region, which encompasses parts of Vietnam, Laos and Thailand through which the river flows. (Japan Today)
Japan on Monday began its annual "Cool Biz" campaign, which encourages workers to dress more casually to help reduce energy use, with government offices allowing polo shirts, Hawaiian-style aloha shirts and similar attire. (Japan Times)
The search on the ground for the last missing person in the series of powerful earthquakes that hit Kumamoto Prefecture recently was terminated on Sunday due to persistent fears of secondary disasters. (Jiji Press)
The Osaka District Public Prosecutor's Office has filed charges of drug trafficking against a 40-year-old woman who left a large quantity of illegal drugs inside a fast-food outlet, reports the Asahi Shimbun (April 30). (Tokyo Reporter)
An increasing number of people are using the "furusato nozei" hometown donation program to support Kumamoto Prefecture, southwestern Japan, which has been hit hard by a recent series of strong earthquakes. (Jiji Press)