Taipei drops millions on unknown Japan girl group members for promotion
China Post -- Jul 06
In order to promote Taipei to Japanese tourists, the city government recently spent nearly NT$7 million on inviting three members of Japanese girl group AKB48 to Taipei; however, the choice of members has been criticized by local media and the recording industry.

AKB48, the largest girl band in Japan - whose 90-plus members range from their early teens to late 20s - are selected from auditions held regularly in Japan and divided within "teams" based on age and popularity. The band finished its most recent membership popularity tournament in June.

Haruka Katayama, Maria Abe and Ayaka Kikuchi, the three members of AKB48, arrived in Taipei on Monday for a four-day trip.

The city's Department of Information and Tourism (DOIT) said the three singers will visit tourist attractions in the city and film an hourlong television show which will be broadcast in Japan this summer.

The three members signed a NT$6.9 million one-year contract with the DOIT to promote Taipei in Japan, the city government said.

The local recording industry and media have lashed out at the government for forking over such a huge amount on inviting relatively unknown band members to promote the city.

According to the tournament result, Haruka Katayama and Ayaka Kikuchi are ranked 34 and 51 respectively among the performers of AKB48, while Maria Abe is not even within the ranking.

Source: China Post
Sep 02
Kenjiro Sano, whose logo for the 2020 Tokyo Olympics was scrapped Tuesday, stood by his design but said he decided to retract the logo because he felt his design did not have the support of the public and was marring the image of the Tokyo Olympics. (Japan Times)
Sep 02
An investigation into health problems triggered by the 2011 nuclear disaster here turned up a new case of thyroid cancer in a young person who lived near the stricken plant. (Asahi)
Sep 02
South Korea on Tuesday demanded that the Japanese daily Sankei Shimbun delete an online column that likens President Park Geun-hye to the Joseon dynasty's Queen Min, who was assassinated by Japanese. (Japan Times)
Sep 01
Tokyo police introduced the Segway two-wheel electric vehicle Tuesday to strengthen security at Haneda airport ahead of key international events in Japan. (Japan Times)
Sep 01
Mitsubishi Estate Co. announced on Monday it will build a 390-meter tall, 61-story skyscraper near JR Tokyo Station. (The Japan News)
Sep 02
A Japanese salmon fishing boat and its 11 crew members arrived back in Hokkaido on Tuesday morning after being released by Russian authorities. (The Japan News)
Sep 02
Four fishermen were killed and 2 others are missing after 6 fishing boats capsized in the Sea of Japan off the west coast of the country on Tuesday. (NHK)
Sep 01
Wild dolphins off the coastal town of Taiji got a temporary reprieve on Tuesday when fishermen canceled a controversial drive hunt because of bad weather. (Japan Times)
Sep 01
Aficionados of the age of the steam locomotive were out in force Aug. 30 for the final day of the outdoor Umekoji SL Museum in Kyoto's Shimogyo Ward, which closed after 43 years. (Asahi)
Aug 31
Police in Okazaki, Aichi Prefecture, arrested a man who held two hostages at knifepoint for five hours in a 7-Eleven convenience store on Monday morning. (Japan Today)
Aug 31
HIROSAKI, Aomori - The tower of Hirosaki Castle, a state-designated important cultural asset, is being towed dozens of meters away from its original location as part of a project to repair its stone walls. (The Japan News)
Aug 31
While chasing her dream of becoming an "idol," a junior high school girl named Moeka sounded less than confident among hopefuls vying to be chosen for the new Niigata Prefecture-based NGT48. (Asahi)
Aug 31
Ehime Prefectural Police on Friday arrested a 41-year-old male for dumping the body of his mother in Matsuyama City, reports the Sankei Shimbun. (Tokyo Reporter)
Aug 30
A rift has emerged in Japan's largest yakuza organised crime syndicate, the government said, with police warning Saturday that the split could lead to a wave of gang violence. (Japan Today)
Aug 30
A recent series of cable fires at Japan Railway facilities in Tokyo has aroused a suspicion of serial arson, due to the abnormally high frequency of such an incident. (Jiji Press)