Stranded Japanese honeymooners end up as Cape Verde's Olympic team ambassadors
Japan Today -- Aug 15
Japanese couple Rikiya and Ayumi Kataoka had their honeymoon wrecked by the coronavirus pandemic, but their resourcefulness in enforced exile in Cape Verde has won them appointments as ambassadors for its Olympic team.

The Kataokas had completed a third of their round-the-world trip when a suspension in long-haul flights stranded them for five months in the archipelago of 10 tiny islands off the coast of West Africa.

Unable to resume their journey to Europe and then home to Japan and unwilling to head to the African mainland, where virus cases are spiking, they had to trade their skills with domestic businesses to earn funds in the absence of work visas.

But Cape Verde's Olympics officials were so intrigued by the ties the couple had built with locals that they decided to include the Kataokas in their team heading to the rearranged games in Tokyo next July.

"They want me to be an ambassador of the Olympic team," Rikiya, 30, told Reuters via Zoom, speaking from the island of Sal. "When I go back to Tokyo, I will do a job for them."

Cape Verde, which has never won an Olympic medal despite participating in every summer Games since 1996, hope to take three or four athletes to Tokyo.

Not only will the Kataokas be useful for their local knowledge but the islands' officials hope the recognition helps repay the couple for their work in promoting the islands, where their plight turned them into minor celebrities.

News source: Japan Today
Sep 19
A member of the House of Representatives has tested positive for the novel coronavirus and was admitted to a hospital, the Lower House’s secretariat said Friday, the first confirmed infection of a Japanese lawmaker. (Japan Times)
Sep 19
An international research team including a Japanese scientist on Thursday won the Ig Nobel Acoustics prize after showing that an alligator’s pitch rises after it inhales helium-enriched air. (Japan Times)
Sep 19
The former chairman of Japan Life Co, a now-bankrupt company, was arrested Friday along with 13 others on suspicion of running a "rental owner" investment scam involving clothing, jewelry and other goods it claimed had health benefits, police said. (Japan Today)
Sep 19
The Tokyo Metropolitan Government has confirmed 220 new coronavirus cases on Friday. (NHK)
Sep 19
The Japanese government has decided to set up a system to exempt athletes competing at next year's Tokyo Olympic and Paralympic Games from entry restrictions currently placed on 159 countries and regions due to the novel coronavirus that forced the games' postponement, sources familiar with the matter said Friday. (Kyodo)
Sep 19
Japan's new prime minister will pursue economic structural reforms through a mixed bag of policies that target specific industries, rather than a grand strategy to reshape society and boost long-term growth. (Japan Today)
Sep 18
Tourism businesses in Japan are starting to sell travel packages to and from Tokyo under the government's "Go To Travel" campaign to stimulate domestic tourism. (NHK)
Sep 18
Tokyo Disneyland's new area with attractions featuring characters and sets from 'Beauty and the Beast' will welcome the public starting Sept. 28, operator Oriental Land Co. said Thursday. (Japan Times)
Sep 18
Japan's government is easing entry restrictions for travelers from Singapore on Friday to allow short-term visits by businesspeople between the two countries. (NHK)
Sep 17
Japan's new prime minister says he will prioritize measures against the coronavirus and its economic fallout. Suga Yoshihide is taking over from Abe Shinzo, a close ally who was Japan's longest-serving prime minister. (NHK)
Sep 17
More than half of Suga Yoshihide's cabinet ministers were part of an Abe government -- a reflection of the new leader's intentions to continue his predecessor's policies. (NHK)
Sep 16
A government survey shows that the number of centenarians in Japan has exceeded 80,000 for the first time ever. (NHK)
Sep 16
Japan's Hayabusa2 space explorer will aim to probe the asteroid "1998KY26" located between the orbits of Earth and Mars in 2031 after completing its current mission of collecting samples from another asteroid, the country's science minister said Tuesday. (Kyodo)
Sep 16
Fraudulent e-money withdrawals in Japan have expanded to five other service operators in addition to NTT Docomo Inc, internal affairs minister Sanae Takaichi said Tuesday. (Japan Today)
Sep 14
Japan's main ruling party has elected Chief Cabinet Secretary Suga Yoshihide its new leader. (NHK)
Sep 13
Japanese tennis star Osaka Naomi has won the women's singles title at the US Open. (NHK)
Sep 13
Japanese director Kurosawa Kiyoshi has won the Silver Lion for best director at the 77th Venice Film Festival. (NHK)
Sep 12
Japan and Britain have reached a broad agreement on a new economic partnership. (NHK)
Sep 12
The Tokyo Metropolitan Government says it confirmed 226 new cases of the coronavirus in the capital on Saturday. (NHK)
Sep 12
Gunma Prefectural Police launched a murder case after the female manager of a love hotel in Maebashi City was fatally stabbed on Thursday, reports Jiji Press (Sept. 10). (tokyoreporter.com)