Japan's current account surplus narrowed 63% from a year earlier in May while core machinery orders in the month fell 15% from April, the government said Monday in figures suggesting at least a temporary weakening in the overall economy.
The surplus in the current account, the broadest measure of Japan's trade with the rest of the world, stood at ¥215.1 billion, or $2.7 billion, in May before seasonal adjustment, the data showed, deteriorating for the 15th straight month.
The figure was also much smaller than expected by economists surveyed by Dow Jones and Nikkei, who predicted a surplus of ¥511 billion.
The current account measures trade in goods, services, tourism and investment. It is calculated by determining the difference between Japan's income from foreign sources against payments on foreign obligations and excludes net capital investment.
The number of people who committed suicide in Japan in 2012 was 27,858, dropping below 30,000 for the first time in 15 years, the Cabinet Office said in a white paper on Tuesday. The figure was 2,800 fewer than in 2011. (Japan Today )
A collection of materials related to a 17th century mission sent by a Japanese feudal lord to Europe and the world's oldest autographic diary left 10 centuries ago by a Japanese regent have been selected for the UNESCO Memory of the World registry, the Japanese education ministry said Wednesday. (Global Post )
Almost 1,500 people were transported to hospitals by ambulance due to heatstroke last week, up sharply from 942 in the preceding week, the Fire and Disaster Management Agency said Tuesday. (Japan Times )
Among about 200,000 traffic signals nationwide, 16 percent are being used beyond the end of the expected lifetime of their electrical systems and some have even toppled over due to age, according to the National Police Agency. (Yomiuri )
In May, Akira Ikoma, the editor of a guide to men's entertainment called Ore no Tabi (My Journey), said that "Abenomics" had caused a spike in prices at high-end soapland bathhouses in Tokyo. However, the same editor tells Shukan Post (June 28) that the initiative is not impacting the low-end market in the same way. (Tokyo Reporter )