Top Tokyo prosecutor with close ties to Abe resigns after gambling exposé
Japan Times -- May 22
The head of the Tokyo High Public Prosecutor's Office, who has been the focus of intense scrutiny over his close relationship with the administration of Prime Minister Shinzo Abe, submitted his resignation Thursday following a report that he had participated in a game of mahjong while gambling with newspaper employees.

Hiromu Kurokawa, 63, bet money while playing the game with two reporters from the right-leaning Sankei newspaper and one former reporter with the left-leaning Asahi newspaper for several hours on May 1 and 13, according to a report in the Shukan Bunshun magazine published Thursday.

Justice Minister Masako Mori told reporters Thursday that the ministry confirmed the report.

“This kind of behavior is nothing but inappropriate and it is deeply regrettable,” Mori said.

According to the report, they met at the apartment of one of the Sankei reporters in Tokyo — even though the government has been urging residents to avoid nonessential outings under the coronavirus state of emergency.

The meetings also took place as the ruling party was preparing a highly contentious bill that would have cleared the way for Kurokawa to become the nation’s highest-ranking public prosecutor.

The revelation marks the latest controversy surrounding Kurokawa, who has been seen as having a close relationship with the Abe administration. Even worse, the resignation carries more significant and inevitable political repercussions for the administration, which has already been criticized over its coronavirus response.

The magazine report said Kurokawa had used a hired car provided by the Sankei newspaper, which could also be a public servant ethics violation.

Neither of the newspapers has disclosed the names of their implicated staff members, but the magazine report described the Sankei reporters as covering courts and legal affairs, and the former Asahi reporter, who now works in a noneditorial division, as having covered the public prosecutors’ office.

東京高検の黒川弘務検事長は賭け麻雀をしていたことを認め、21日に安倍総理大臣宛てに辞職願を提出しました。22日の閣議で辞職が承認される見通しです。  森法務大臣:「誠に不適切というほかなく、極めて遺憾です。監督上の処分として訓告としました。黒川検事長の勤務延長の閣議請議をしたのは私ですので、責任を痛感しております」  法務省は21日、東京高検の黒川検事長が緊急事態宣言のさなかの1日と13日の2回、新聞記者らと賭け麻雀をしていたことが分かったとして訓告処分にしたと発表しました。黒川検事長は安倍総理宛てに辞職願を提出し、「緊急事態宣言下における私の行動は緊張感に欠け、軽率にすぎるものであり、猛省しています」などとコメントしました。政府は22日の閣議で黒川検事長の辞職を承認する見通しです。
News sources: Japan Times, ANNnewsCH
Nov 25
Chinese Foreign Minister Wang Yi has reasserted his country's sovereignty over the Senkaku Islands. He stressed the necessity of avoiding any action that could complicate matters in the waters around the islands. (NHK)
Nov 24
The Japanese government is considering giving a new honorific title to female imperial family members who lose their royal status after marriage to enable them to engage in public duties, government sources said Monday. (Kyodo)
Nov 23
Governors across Japan have called on the government to let them know as soon as possible about any changes to its programs designed to promote travel and dining. (NHK)
Nov 23
Chinese state media lashed out against Japan and Australia last week over their “confrontational” new defense pact and said the two countries would “pay a corresponding price” if it threatens China’s security. (TomoNews US)
Nov 23
Infectious disease experts have weighed in on Saturday's decision by the government to review its Go To Travel tourism promotion campaign, criticizing the move as too late and likely to have little effect in preventing the further spread of COVID-19. (Japan Times)
Nov 22
Japanese Prime Minister Suga Yoshihide has announced that he's partially halting government programs brought in to boost travel and dining out. (NHK)
Nov 19
Japan will adopt stronger security requirements for drones used in defense and infrastructure surveillance next fiscal year, a move that will essentially shut out Chinese-made devices from government procurement. (Nikkei)
Nov 18
Japan's Prime Minister Suga Yoshihide says his country and Australia have reached broad agreement on a pact related to joint exercises by the Self-Defense Forces and the Australian military. (NHK)
Nov 17
Japan's Prime Minister Suga Yoshihide has conveyed to Australian Prime Minister Scott Morrison hope for a stronger bilateral partnership to realize a free and open Indo-Pacific. (NHK)
Nov 17
Hokkaido's local government heads agreed Monday to ask residents of Sapporo to refrain from nonessential outings following back-to-back days of record coronavirus infections in the region. (Japan Times)
Nov 17
The International Olympic Committee has awarded former Japanese Prime Minister Abe Shinzo its highest honor for his contribution to the Olympic movement. (NHK)
Nov 17
A subtle change in Prime Minister Yoshihide Suga's phrasing of a key Japanese foreign policy concept -- a "free and open Indo-Pacific" -- has raised questions about whether Tokyo has shifted its stance. (Kyodo)
Nov 16
Leaders from 15 Asia-Pacific nations have signed the Regional Comprehensive Economic Partnership, or RCEP, a huge free economic zone. (NHK)
Nov 15
Japanese Prime Minister Suga Yoshihide says he will work with Southeast Asian countries to fight the coronavirus. (NHK)
Nov 14
Japan's Regulatory Reform Minister Kono Taro says the use of personal seals will likely be abolished for most government paperwork. (NHK)
Nov 14
Japan will seek to keep in step with the new U.S. administration under President-elect Joe Biden in taking fiscal stimulus steps to revive the pandemic-hit world economy, while watching whether Washington will seek to return to a Trans-Pacific free trade pact it quit three years ago, Japanese officials say. (Japan Times)
Nov 13
Japan's Prime Minister Suga Yoshihide says US President-elect Joe Biden has suggested that Washington will help Japan defend the Senkaku Islands in the East China Sea under the bilateral security treaty. (NHK)
Nov 12
Japan's Chief Cabinet Secretary Kato Katsunobu says the government is on the highest alert following the recent nationwide surge in coronavirus infections and is taking steps to curb the spread. (NHK)
Nov 11
Japanese Prime Minister Suga Yoshihide has instructed his coronavirus taskforce to use all available means to prevent the spread of the virus, as the daily number of new cases increases ahead of the winter season. (NHK)
Nov 11
Japan's prime minister has instructed his cabinet to compile a third supplementary budget draft for fiscal 2020 (NHK)