People flock to stores for lucky bags
NHK -- Jan 03
People have flocked to department stores in Japan to buy New Year bargain packages known as lucky bags.

A store in Osaka opened earlier than normal on Monday morning. 7,000 people were waiting outside before it opened its doors. Staffers had prepared 50,000 lucky bags.

Beside only selling goods in the bargain events, department stores have been working hard to sell bags that let buyers have various special experiences.

A bag that sold for almost 700 dollars includes tableware for a baby's first meal, clothing for its first shrine visit and a photography session. Another with a price tag of more than 5,000 dollars features an imported camera and the photo session with a traditional female entertainer in the ancient capital of Kyoto.

Buyers of the bag can receive instructions from a professional photographer.

In Ofunato, northeastern Japan, which was hit by the 2011 earthquake and tsunami, a makeshift shopping district opened for its last New Year sales.

Temporary shops set up after the disaster will be demolished after 5 years of business. Permanent facilities are scheduled to be completed in April.

News source: NHK
Mar 25
A court in Japan has sentenced a 21-year-old former university student to life imprisonment for murdering an elderly woman and poisoning classmates when she was a minor. (NHK)
Mar 25
The Meteorological Agency on Friday warned that an underwater volcano about 400 km south of Tokyo could erupt soon, spurring the Japan Coast Guard to issue an alert to ships in the area. (Japan Times)
Mar 25
Japan's Liberal Democratic Party on Friday submitted a record of email exchanges in which Akie Abe, Prime Minister Shinzo Abe's wife, denies her alleged payment of one million yen to an embattled school operator. (Jiji)
Mar 25
Japanese Defense Minister Tomomi Inada ordered the Ground Self-Defense Force on Friday to withdraw its engineering troops taking part in a U.N. peacekeeping mission in South Sudan by the end of May. (Jiji)
Mar 25
The Tokyo District Court on Friday found a former employee of business newspaper publisher Nikkei Inc. guilty of intercepting the email of female celebrities. (Japan Times)
Mar 24
Saitama Prefectural Police have arrested a chef from Osaka for allegedly releasing dozens of live cockroaches during an anime song concert at an arena last year, reports TBS News. (tokyoreporter.com)
Mar 23
The head of a scandal-hit school operator has told the Diet that he received a donation of one million yen, or about 9,000 dollars, from the wife of Prime Minister Shinzo Abe. (NHK)
Mar 23
Fewer Japanese are taking their own lives, a positive sign in a country with one of the world's highest suicide rates. (Japan Times)
Mar 23
Kobe District Court on Wednesday sentenced a man to death, as sought by public prosecutors, for fatally stabbing a total of five men and women in Awajishima, an island in the western Japan prefecture of Hyogo, in March 2015. (Jiji)
Mar 23
A Japanese woman has given birth to a girl after receiving in-vitro fertilization treatment with an egg from an anonymous third-party donor, a nonprofit organization based in the western Japan city of Kobe said Wednesday. (Jiji)