Outspoken leaders from Japan's two biggest cities formed a national political party Saturday, seeking to become "a third force" to lure undecided voters and challenge the country's two biggest parties.
Nationalist Shintaro Ishihara, who resigned as Tokyo governor to create his own party this week, said he is scrapping his four-day-old group to join the Japan Restoration Party formed in September by the young and brash mayor of Osaka, Toru Hashimoto.
The announcement comes the day after Prime Minister Yoshihiko Noda dissolved the lower house of parliament, paving the way elections next month. His ruling party is expected to give way to a weak coalition government divided over how to tackle Japan's myriad problems. The biggest problems are getting a stagnant economy going again and reconstruction after the crippling March 2011 earthquake and tsunami.
Elections are set for Dec. 16, with official campaigning starting Dec. 4. If Noda's centrist party loses, the economically sputtering country will get its seventh prime minister in six and a half years.
Shanghai's maritime court has seized a ship owned by Mitsui O.S.K. Lines Ltd. <9104> in connection with a wartime contract dispute involving the Japanese shipping company, according to an announcement by the court. (Jiji Press )
Japan and the United States have agreed in bilateral talks held in connection with the Trans-Pacific Partnership accord negotiations that the tariff on imported U.S. beef will be "9 percent or more," according to government sources. (The Japan News )
Police in Fuso, Aichi Prefecture, said Sunday they have arrested an unemployed 38-year-old man for attempted murder after he broke into the home of his ex-girlfriend and stabbed her and her parents. (Japan Today )
Feeding black-tailed gulls has been a popular activity on the sightseeing boats that cruise around the Matsushima islets, considered to be one of the three most beautiful spots in Japan, but local authorities banned the practice this month in a bid to protect the islets' famous pine trees from withering as a result of nitrogen in the droppings of the gulls, who have bred in large numbers in the area. (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 )
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 )