This weekend, Keanu Reeves' samurai adventure film 47 Ronin opened first in Japan…but not in first place. The movie, which cost Universal around $175 million (before marketing) to make, only grossed $1.3 million at theaters, putting it in 3rd place in the overall Japanese box office ranking.
As it stands, the pic's dismal opening in Japan does not bode well for 47 Ronin's upcoming Christmas Day opening in America. Industry paper Variety hints at all but predicting a disappointing take in the US, too.
A total of 39 people were confirmed dead and seven remain missing on Wednesday after a series of landslides and flooding triggered by torrential rain overnight engulfed residential areas in Hiroshima, western Japan. (Kyodo)
The Hiroshima city government's response to the deadly rain-triggered landslides that left scores dead or missing will likely be questioned because it issued evacuation notices to residents after the disaster had already occurred. (The Japan News)
The sports ministry has deemed a proposal to renovate the National Stadium for the 2020 Tokyo Olympics and Paralympics unrealistic, because of a number of drawbacks including insufficient earthquake resistance and building regulations that prohibit the blocking of sunlight from nearby structures. (The Japan News)
East Japan Railway Co., or JR East, announced new plans on Tuesday for three train lines linking Tokyo International Airport at Haneda and key stations in the Japanese capital by building a new underground station and tunnel. (Jiji Press)
The chief suspect in the murder of a wealthy Swiss-based Japanese asset manager and his wife whose bodies were found buried in a vacant lot in Kuki, Saitama Prefecture, in February 2013, pleaded not guilty as his trial opened in Tokyo on Tuesday. (Japan Today)
Local summer festivals in Tokyo were once lined with many street stalls run by organizations with links to organized crime. But festivals have undergone a makeover after a metropolitan government ordinance enacted in October 2011 banned event organizers from allowing gangs from becoming involved. (The Japan News)
A Sapporo assemblyman has drawn fire for posting comments online stating the indigenous Ainu group "no longer exists," and suggesting those who identify as Ainu are motivated by government programs that benefit the ethnic minority. (Japan Times)