The deadly collapse last weekend of hundreds of concrete ceiling slabs in a tunnel outside Tokyo is raising calls for more spending on Japan's aging infrastructure, but the country might simply not have the money.
Nine people were killed Sunday in the tunnel, a major link between the capital and central Japan that opened in 1977 at the peak of the country's postwar road construction boom. Police searched the tunnel operator's offices Tuesday, looking for evidence of negligence.
The transport ministry has ordered inspections of 49 other highway and road tunnels of similar construction around the mountainous country.
Much more of Japan's transportation system may require refurbishing after years of spending cuts that starved projects of funding, including for needed basic maintenance.
The infrastructure ministry, which is in charge of land and roads, joined with three government highway operators last month in forming a panel on how to handle problems of deteriorating expressways and tunnels.
Experts told the panel that about 40 percent of the 8,716 kilometers of expressways the agencies run had been in operation for more than 30 years, the Yomiuri newspaper reported Tuesday.
Japanese police arrested former sumo ozeki Kotomitsuki on Wednesday on suspicion of violating the immigration law by employing foreigners illegally at a barbecue restaurant he runs in Nagoya, central Japan. (Jiji Press )
A thousand days have passed since the Great East Japan Earthquake struck. However, only 1.2 percent of the planned land development for collective relocation of disaster-affected communities and construction of publicly operated housing have materialized, according to a survey conducted by The Yomiuri Shimbun. (Yomiuri )
There is a fairly well-documented sex doll subculture in Japan, and one of its leading manufacturers is Orient Industry. Gaga and Universal Music Group's Japanese branch recruited the company to make replicas of the pop star. (businessinsider.com.au )
A 28-year-old Japanese woman was aboard a commuter train that crashed after derailing in the Bronx borough of New York on Sunday morning, the Japanese consulate-general in the city said Monday. (Jiji Press )