In early September, Yoshihiko Noda passed the one-year mark as Japanese prime minister. That's no small accomplishment-the country is on its sixth premier since 2006. Noda has seen his approval rating drop to 34 percent after doubling a sales tax to 10 percent, however, and he has reshuffled his Cabinet three times. If he's going to make it another year, he'll need to defuse a tricky foreign policy crisis: Japan and China's quarrel over ownership of a group of uninhabited islands in a potentially energy-rich section of the East China Sea.
Noda has called for talks with China, and diplomats from both sides have agreed to hold a meeting soon to resolve the crisis. "These are the second- and third-largest economies in the world, and our interdependence is deepening," Noda, 55, said in an Oct. 10 interview in his office in Tokyo. "If our ties cool, particularly economic ones, then it isn't a question of one or the other country suffering. Both countries lose out."
The Japanese premier says his government won't compromise on its ownership claim on the islands, situated on a continental shelf which is home to between 1 and 2 trillion cubic feet of natural gas and as many as 100 billion barrels of oil, according to Chinese studies cited by the U.S. Energy Information Administration.
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 )