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 has been stung by its third political scandal in a week after the country's new industry minister - whose predecessor resigned over allegations of misspending - admitted that his staff had spent office money at a sex bar. (The Guardian)
The government said Friday it has chosen Nobel physics prize laureates Shuji Nakamura and Hiroshi Amano and five others as this year's winners of Japan's top cultural award, the Order of Culture. (Kyodo)
In possibly a legal first, a female civil servant on Tuesday sued the government over what she calls institutional sexism at the ministry she works for, citing almost two decades of blocked promotions and pay raises. (Japan Times)