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
Feb 01
Militants believed to be with Islamic State have posted an online video that appears to show the killing of Japanese hostage Kenji Goto. (NHK)
Feb 01
Through "tears of sadness," Kenji Goto's mother urged people to respect his wishes for peace hours after a video posted online Feb. 1 apparently showed her son being killed by an Islamic State militant. (Asahi)
Feb 01
Mitsubishi Heavy Industries Ltd. <7011> and the Japan Aerospace Exploration Agency, or JAXA, successfully launched a backup information gathering radar satellite on an H-2A rocket on Sunday. (Jiji Press)
Feb 01
Officials at Japan's Meteorological Agency are warning that a snowstorm could be heading for the eastern coast of Hokkaido as a low pressure system developing off the coast lashes the region with powerful winds. (NHK)
Jan 31
The Aichi Prefectural Police said Friday that the 19-year-old Nagoya University student who has admitted killing a 77-year-old woman last month apparently used her cellphone to take pictures of the victim's corpse. (Japan Times)
Feb 01
Police in Kinokawa, Wakayama Prefecture, have arrested a 32-year-old woman for abusing her 10-year-old son by using a hot lighter to burn his buttocks and other parts of his body. (Japan Today)
Jan 31
Snow blankets houses in Tokyo's Arakawa Ward on Friday morning. (The Japan News)
Jan 31
Manga giant Katsuhiro Otomo won the Grand Prix Award at the prestigious Angouleme International Comics Festival on Jan. 29, marking the first time that a Japanese creator took the event's top honor. (Asahi)
Jan 31
Police in Kawaguchi, Saitama Prefecture, have arrested seven 17-year-old youths over the attack on five other youngsters who had been riding bikes and listening to music last October. (Japan Today)
Jan 31
A Japanese woman who was helping a Fuji TV crew covering the Japanese hostage situation was killed in a traffic accident near the Turkey-Syria border on Thursday. (Japan Today)
Jan 30
Police in Higashi-Osaka said Friday that a 44-year-old woman attacked a group of elementary school boys walking home from school, injuring some of them. (Japan Today)
Jan 30
Police in Saitama Prefecture said Thursday they have arrested 11 people who, as part of an organized scam group, call up individuals claiming that they had missed a payment for using a website that is actually free to use. (Japan Today)
Jan 30
Despite being centuries-old, the core traditions of Setsubun can seem as silly as its common English rendering, The Bean-Throwing Festival. (rocketnews24.com)
Jan 29
A Nagoya University student who says she killed an elderly woman found dead in the 19-year-old's apartment has also admitted poisoning a former high school classmate, investigative sources said Thursday. (Japan Times)
Jan 29
Tokyo Metropolitan Police on Thursday searched a Yamaguchi-gumi headquarters in Chuo Ward for the alleged sale of drugs to musician Aska, reports TBS News (Jan. 29). (Tokyo Reporter)