Japan's Prime Minister Yoshihiko Noda is facing mounting pressure following his justice minister's admission to past links with a yakuza gang, just 10 days after he was appointed.
Justice Minister Keishu Tanaka on Friday apologised that he had associated with members of an organised crime syndicate, after a tabloid magazine reported that he had been presented as top guest of a yakuza member's wedding party.
"If I had known he was a member (of a yakuza group), I would not have been there," he said, admitting that he had attended the party about 30 years ago.
"I was taken there and realised that they were members of a crime syndicate. I am sorry for having had the kind of relations," he said.
Opponents have seized the opportunity to criticise Noda's new cabinet, with some demanding the minister's resignation.
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 )
Tokyo District Court decided on Monday to open planned examinations of three witnesses who are former senior members of the Aum Shinrikyo doomsday cult and now death-row inmates, during an upcoming trial of another former senior Aum member. (Jiji Press )