'World's fastest bullet train' starts test runs in Japan
Nikkei -- May 10
The newest shinkansen bullet train from Japanese rail operator JR East begins test operation Friday, with its top speed expected to exceed the fastest now in service by at least 40 kph.

Green stripes grace the Alfa-X's bluish-silver body, featuring a 22-meter nose on the front car -- the longest for a shinkansen. JR East, formally East Japan Railway, previewed the full 250-meter, 10-car version for the media Thursday at a Miyagi Prefecture facility.

The 360 kph top speed bests the 320 kph of E5 series shinkansen currently running in Japan and TGV bullet trains in France.

The Alfa-X will be tested on the Tohoku shinkansen line between the cities of Sendai and Aomori in northeastern Japan. The trials will take place late at night approximately twice a week. The first phase, to gauge the feasibility of a 360 kph cruising speed, will run until fiscal 2021. Second-phase trials geared toward launching commercial operation will kick off the following year.

世界最速の時速360キロを目指し、試験走行が始まる次世代新幹線の車両が公開されました。 JR東日本が開発した次世代新幹線の試験車両「ALFA-X」の最大の特徴は先頭車両の「長い鼻」です。
News sources: Nikkei, ANNnewsCH
Jul 18
Police have confirmed 25 people have died in a suspected arson attack in Kyoto. They say 36 others were injured and five others are still unaccounted for. (NHK)
Jul 18
Johnny and Associates Inc., one of the most powerful talent agencies in Japan, is suspected of having pressured commercial broadcasting television stations to stop inviting three former members of popular boy band SMAP on their shows after they left the office in 2017, sources familiar with the matter said Wednesday. (Kyodo)
Jul 18
A Japanese policeman stabbed another officer by mistake during training when he used a real knife instead of a replica. (NHK)
Jul 18
Tokyo DisneySea will launch a new flight simulator attraction Tuesday that promises to make visitors feel as if they are soaring over famous landmarks such as the Great Wall of China and the Egyptian pyramids. (Japan Times)
Jul 17
School-related matters led to more suicides last year among youth aged between 10 and 19 than any other issue, the government said Tuesday in its annual paper on the topic. (Japan Times)
Jul 17
Over two weeks of cloudy and rainy days in Tokyo and nearby areas has resulted in higher vegetable prices and sluggish sales of summer clothing. (Japan Times)
Jul 17
Former Emperor Akihito briefly suffered from cerebral anemia last week, forcing him to postpone his regular health checkup, the Imperial Household Agency said Tuesday. (Japan Today)
Jul 17
Toyota Motor Corp. and Japan's space exploration agency said Tuesday they have signed a three-year agreement to jointly research and develop a rover to be sent to the Moon in 2029. (Kyodo)
Jul 16
The Tokyo metropolitan region experienced another cloudy and rainy day on Monday, marking the 18th straight day in which the country’s capital has seen less than three hours of sunshine per day. (Japan Today)
Jul 16
The sounds of chanting men carrying huge, decorated floats signaled the climax of the Hakata Gion Yamakasa festival. Each float weighs more than one ton. (NHK)