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Japan's bullet train crams in 2 more trips per hour

Dec 15 (Nikkei) - Central Japan Railway will run 12 of its fastest bullet trains between Tokyo and Osaka each hour during high-demand periods starting next spring, up from the usual 10, as newer, faster trains allow for a more packed schedule.

The two extra Nozomi trains will run on the Tokaido Shinkansen line during such times as Friday evenings and long holidays, according to an announcement Friday.

JR Central unveiled a new Nozomi timetable that cuts all one-way trips between Tokyo Station and Shin-Osaka Station to two and a half hours or less, thanks to the retirement of the last of the older, slower 700 series rolling stock. The changes will take effect March 14.

Nozomi service on the Sanyo Shinkansen line between Shin-Osaka Station and Hakata Station in Fukuoka, operated by West Japan Railway, will also run faster. Passengers taking a Nozomi train between Tokyo and Fukuoka will be able to make the trip in just under five hours on average, two minutes less than before.

Also on March 14, East Japan Railway will open its first new station on Tokyo's busy Yamanote loop line in five decades: Takanawa Gateway Station, situated between Shinagawa and Tamachi stations. The additional stop will not change the amount of time taken per loop, according to JR East.

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The Tokyo Metropolitan Police Department has launched an investigation following death threats sent to the office of former House of Councillors member Renho, who is running for the Tokyo gubernatorial election.

In Hokkaido, where bear attacks on cattle have been frequent, stray dogs exhibit wolf-like behavior have now become a serious issue. On June 19, footage captured in Shunan, Yamaguchi Prefecture, showed a stray dog rushing out aggressively towards an already formed pack. This region has been plagued by the problem of stray dogs for around 20 years due to uncontrolled breeding.

Honda's Super Cub, known as the world's best-selling motorbike with over 100 million units produced, will soon see the end of an era. Honda has announced its decision to stop the production of motorbikes with engine capacities of 50cc or less, including the iconic Super Cub.

The Emperor and Empress of Japan have arrived in the UK for an official visit aimed at strengthening friendly relations. This marks the Emperor's first state visit to the UK in 26 years since 1998.

According to a report by the Organisation for Economic Co-operation and Development (OECD), 28.3% of women born in 1975 in Japan are childless, the highest rate among member countries.

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The series 'Sonaeru,' which focuses on disaster preparedness, brings attention to an incident from July 2023 when record-breaking rainfall in Fukuoka Prefecture's Kurume City triggered a massive landslide in the Minoo Mountains, resulting in one fatality. This region faced a similar disaster 300 years ago, with historical documents offering clues on how to prepare for such unexpected events.

Japanese police are stepping up efforts to crack down on the designated gangs Yamaguchi-gumi and Kizuna-kai whose rivalry continues.

In July two years ago, former Prime Minister Abe was shot and killed. It has been revealed that the man accused in the incident said he 'did not expect the situation to become what it is now.'

Police in central Japan are investigating the possibility of a bear attack following the grim discovery of a man in his 50s found dead in a forest with claw marks on his face and back.

A high-profile papa katsu woman who earns 5 million yen a month has shared her insights following the resignation of former MP Miyazawa over a papa katsu scandal. In a candid interview, the woman, identified as Rika, 25, shed light on her two-year experience in the world of compensated dating, commonly referred to as papa katsu.

In a significant ruling regarding the estate of businessman 'Kishu Don Juan,' the court declared on Friday the will, which states that his 1.3 billion yen estate be donated entirely to the city, to be valid. Relatives had contested the will's validity, but the court dismissed their claims.

A hotel in Kyoto refused to accommodate an Israeli man, unilaterally identifying him as a member of the military. The city issued administrative guidance to the hotel on June 20, citing potential violations of the Hotel Business Law.

A steam locomotive (SL) driver at Mooka Railway was found to have exceeded the alcohol limit twice during pre-operation checks but continued to operate the train. The incident came to light following an internal whistleblower's report.