Rents go down, grocery bills shrink, companies lay off workers and people move away to live in the countryside - and yet somehow Tokyo continues to be the world's most expensive city for expatriates to live in.
Most of the blame can be placed firmly on the relentless strength of Japanese currency against the U.S. dollar, according to the annual cost of living survey by international human resources consulting firm, Mercer.
The capital shot back to top of the chart, swapping runner-up position with the Angolan capital of Luanda, which came first last year. Other Japanese cities - Osaka and Nagoya - also placed in the top 10. The results show that, all in all, Japan is one of the most expensive countries on earth for expats.
It's no wonder. Mercer's findings are based on "the relative strength of the relevant currency" against the U.S. dollar in the 12 months between rankings, as well as price fluctuations over the same period, using New York as a benchmark. The survey covers 214 cities across five continents. According to data from the Bank of Japan, the average dollar rate for the survey's most recent period through February 2012 was ¥78.9, an 8.6% decline from the previous year.
Japan will go ahead with research whaling in the northwestern Pacific for fiscal 2014, but by reducing catches following an International Court of Justice ruling that ordered the country to stop whaling in the Antarctic Ocean, the Agriculture, Forestry and Fisheries Ministry said Friday. (The Japan News )
Kanagawa prefectural police said Friday they have arrested an unemployed 42-year-old man on assault charges for allegedly attacked a 10-year-old elementary school boy and two others as they were playing in Yokosuka City in February of this year. (Japan Today )
Japan and the United States ended their three-day ministerial talks in Washington on Friday on the Trans-Pacific Partnership multilateral free trade initiative, being unable to narrow differences over Japanese tariffs in key farm product categories. (Jiji Press )
Hatsune Miku, a computer-generated Japanese pop star who performs as a hologram, is to support some of Lady Gaga's tour of North America next month, the U.S. songstress has announced on Twitter. (Japan Today )
Tochigi prefectural police said Thursday that they are questioning a man in his 30s over the murder of a 7-year-old girl in December 2005. Japanese media quoted police as saying that the man, who was arrested for dealing in fake brand-name goods, has hinted at his involvement in the murder. (Japan Today )