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.
Investigators have found 7.85 million passwords, credit card numbers and other pieces of stolen personal information on an Internet server seized last year from a Tokyo-based firm that provided proxy servers for Chinese users, Tokyo police said Friday. (Japan Times)
Time magazine has named two Japanese among its list of the world's 100 most influential people of 2015: novelist Haruki Murakami and Marie Kondo, an organizing consultant whose book introducing her art of tidying up became a best-seller. (NHK)
Central Japan Railway Co., or JR Tokai, said Thursday its magnetic levitation Shinkansen train achieved the world's fastest train speed of 590 kilometers per hour on a test line in central Japan. (Jiji Press)
Police in Tatebayashi, Gunma Prefecture, are investigating the murder of an 84-year-old woman whose body was found in the Tatara River on April 15. She had a plastic bag over her head and a scarf pulled tightly around her neck when she was found. (Japan Today)
A movie by Japanese director Hirokazu Kore-eda has been shortlisted in competition for best picture at the Cannes International Film Festival in France. Cannes is one of the world's 3 major film festivals. (NHK)
Police in Toride, Ibaraki Prefecture, said Thursday they are questioning a 36-year-old man over an incident on Wednesday morning in which a 47-year-old man was shot in the calf by an arrow from a crossbow as he was riding his bike home. (Japan Today)
The Tokyo Metropolitan Fire Department said Wednesday that its emergency 119 line was down for about four hours from 5 p.m. to 9 p.m. on Tuesday. It was the second time in two months that the 119 had been inaccessible. (Japan Today)