Universities Use Mascot Goods

Universities mascot goodsUniversities are turning out more and more original products to help boost their brand recognition, the latest trend being so-called character goods featuring school mascots and famous faculty.

Their efforts appear to be paying off, with the goods popular among current students and those wanting to enroll in the future .

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Ichihashi Releases Book

Tatsuya IchihashiAccused killer Tatsuya Ichihashi's book released Wednesday offers anecdotal accounts of his 31-month life on the run, from fears of being caught and listening to radio updates on the manhunt, to moments of awe over nature, to how he abstained from sex because of what he had done, and how it may feel to be hanged.

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10th Memorial Train Tragedy

10th memorial train tragedyA decade after a South Korean student in his 20s was killed by a train while trying to rescue a stranger who fell off the platform at a station in Tokyo, the parents of the brave youngster attended a Jan. 26 memorial ceremony.

On Jan. 26, 2001, Lee Su-hyon, 26, a student at a Japanese language school in Tokyo, and Shiro Sekine, 47, a Japanese photographer, jumped off the platform at JR Shin-Okubo Station in an attempt to rescue a drunken man who fell onto the tracks.

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Chinese Fakse Ident. Man Arrested

Niigata AirportA Chinese man has been arrested for illegally staying in Japan after entering the country by using a false identity with altered fingerprints, police said.

Zheng Chunsheng, 46, stands accused of using a passport bearing the same name in different Chinese characters to enter Japan at Niigata Airport from Harbin, China, around Dec. 8, 2008, and illegally staying in the country.

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More Women Have Life Insurance

Nippon Life InsuranceFor the first time since surveys began 24 years ago, more women than men took out life insurance policies in fiscal 2010.

The Japan Institute of Life Insurance (JILI) said 81.4 percent of women had life insurance, including personal pension plans, compared with only 79.9 percent of men.

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Short Supply, Wheat Price Hike

Japan WheatJapan, Asia's second-biggest wheat importer, may increase prices for flour millers by the most since 2008 as weather problems from Australia to North America curb supply, said Nobuyuki Chino, president of Unipac Grain Ltd.

Average costs for milling wheat from the U.S., Canada and Australia gained more than 20 percent in the four months that ended on Dec. 31, government data show.

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Kirishima Volcano Erupted

Kirishima Volcano eruptedThe Kirishima Volcano, located in Japan, erupted violently this morning hurling rock bombs and plumes of ash up into the atmosphere. Frequent small-to-moderate explosive eruptions have been recorded since the 8th century.

A giant ash cloud poured from the volcano, prompting the Tokyo VAAC to issue an ash warning for places above 25,000 feet (7.6 kilometers).

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Gov Airplanes Future Questions

Japan Airfoce OneThe future of government airplanes -- used for ferrying top government officials overseas or evacuating Japanese living abroad in emergencies -- has become uncertain as Japan Airlines (JAL) is set to drop maintenance support for the current model and critics call the planes a waste of money.

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3 Former Sumo Wrestlers Arrested

3 Former sumo wrestlers arrestedThe Metropolitan Police Department (MPD)'s organized crime division arrested three former sumo wrestlers and a woman on Jan. 26 on suspicion of involvement in a baseball-betting scandal that shook the sumo world to its foundations last year.

Police arrested Shunsaku Yamamoto, 35, Tetsuya Yabushita, 29, Sadahide Furuichi, 34, and his 63-year-old mother Yoneko. All the men were former wrestlers at the Onomatsu stable in Narashino, Chiba Prefecture.

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Inmates Say Goodbye To Dogs

Inmates say goodbye to dogsInmates at a prison in Shimane Prefecture, western Japan, handed over Labrador retrievers they helped raise as guide dog candidates to the Japan Guide Dog Association earlier this week.

Some sobbed as they said goodbye to five dogs during a handover ceremony held Monday at Hamada City's Shimane Asahi Rehabilitation Program Center, a prison for male convicts operated jointly by the central government and the private sector.

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Maehara 2 - Day Visit To Okinawa

Seiji MaeharaForeign Minister Seiji Maehara will make a two-day visit to Okinawa from Saturday to give a speech on the central government's plan to spur the local economy and hold informal talks with Gov. Hirokazu Nakaima, government sources said Tuesday.

Maehara will visit the island prefecture for the second time since assuming the foreign minister's post last September to seek local understanding on the planned transfer of a U.S. Marine base within Okinawa.

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Gov To Settle Isahaya Bay Suit

Issahaya BayThe government has notified the Nagasaki District Court of its readiness to enter settlement talks with local fishermen in a lawsuit, under which they are demanding the state open a dike at Isahaya Bay, lawyers for the fishermen said Monday.

The move came after the state decided not to appeal the Fukuoka High Court’s recent ruling ordering the state to open the dike in a separate lawsuit.

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Unep Negotiators Mercury Treaty

UNEPRepresentatives of some 130 countries began discussions Monday on formulating the first U.N. comprehensive treaty for cutting mercury releases to protect human health and the environment, at a gathering in Chiba, east of Tokyo.

About 600 participants including government officials and members of nongovernmental organizations will discuss a draft treaty presented last fall by the U.N. Environment Program.

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Japan's Tv Shipments Record High

NHK HQShipments of flat-panel televisions in Japan totaled a record 25.19 million units in 2010, up 84.9 percent from the previous year, buoyed mainly by the government's "eco-point" incentives, an industry body said Monday.

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