Mascots selected for 2020 Tokyo Games
NHK -- Mar 01
The mascots for the 2020 Tokyo Olympics and Paralympics have been announced.

School children from about 16,000 elementary schools across Japan and overseas voted from among 3 sets of mascots shortlisted by a panel of experts.

The results were unveiled by the organizers of the 2020 Games at an elementary school in Tokyo on Wednesday, drawing cheers from the 550 students packing the venue.

The winning mascots are a pair of humanoid characters clad in the checkered pattern that is featured on the Games' official emblems.

The Olympic mascot features a white body with an indigo blue checkered pattern. The Paralympic character sports a pink checkered pattern.

The mascots do not have names yet. The committee plans to announce their names this summer.

News source: NHK
Dec 15
Japan's central government is pushing ahead with a controversial plan to relocate an American military base within the southern prefecture of Okinawa. They've started full-scale land reclamation work despite strong local opposition. (NHK)
Dec 15
A court on Friday sentenced a 26-year-old man to 18 years in prison for a highway road rage incident last year in which a couple died and their two teenage daughters were injured. (Japan Times)
Dec 15
The government will temporarily suspend an extra medical fee that pregnant women were required to pay out of pocket to see doctors, health minister Takumi Nemoto said Friday. (Japan Times)
Dec 15
Japanese education companies are expanding their language offerings overseas, seeing business opportunities in meeting growing demand for Japanese-speaking foreign manpower as the nation opens its doors to workers from overseas. (Nikkei)
Dec 15
Japan Post Holdings Co. plans to acquire a 7 to 8 percent stake in U.S. insurer Aflac Inc. for about ¥300 billion as part of its strategy to expand operations overseas, sources familiar with the matter said Thursday. (Japan Times)
Dec 14
A Japanese government panel says a run of growth that began in December 2012 has now become the second-longest period of expansion in the post-war era. But that verdict comes as Japan struggles with sluggish wage growth and a chronic labor shortage. (NHK)
Dec 14
An officer who was on duty when a 30-year-old suspect escaped from a police station in Tondabayashi City earlier this year was watching an adult video (AV) clip, it was learned on Thursday, reports Nikkan Sports (Dec. 13). (tokyoreporter.com)
Dec 14
Traditional female entertainers in Kyoto have started offering early New Year greetings. (NHK)
Dec 14
The Japanese government plans to take measures to make regional labor markets accessible to foreign blue-collar workers to avoid them concentrating in large cities such as Tokyo when the country starts accepting them under the new visa system next year, the government's top spokesman said Thursday. (Japan Today)
Dec 14
Sixteen-year-old shogi prodigy Sota Fujii has reached his 100th victory in official matches of the Japanese board game, becoming the youngest professional player to reach the milestone at the fastest pace in history. (Japan Today)