Japan Yakuza Head Released

Japan Yakuza head releasedThe head of Japan's largest crime syndicate, the Yamaguchi- gumi, was released from a Tokyo prison Saturday after doing time since December 2005.

The release of Kenichi Shinoda, 69, who also passes as Shinobu Tsukasa, is prompting police to brace for aggressive activities by the syndicate, which they say has 34,900 members nationwide or 44 percent of the entire "yakuza" gang members.

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Ge Ceo To Meet Industry Minister

Banri KaiedaThe head of General Electric Co., the U.S. manufacturer of reactors at the crisis-hit Fukushima Daiichi nuclear plant, will hold talks on Monday with Japanese industry minister Banri Kaieda to offer support to Tokyo in tackling the ongoing emergency, Japanese officials said Friday.

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Safety Team Neglects Risk

Fukushima power plantBefore Thursday's incident, at least 14 workers had been exposed to more than 100 millisieverts of radiation since the Fukushima No. 1 nuclear plant was crippled by the March 11 earthquake and tsunami, it has been learned, raising questions about safeguards in place to protect people working to avert nuclear disaster at the power station.

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Sumitomo Metal Resumes Oper.

Sumitomo MetalsSumitomo Metal Industries Ltd. said Saturday it has resumed full-fledged operations of its blast furnaces at its Kashima steel plant in Ibaraki Prefecture after suffering from the March 11 deadly earthquake.

Sumitomo Metal's furnace operations there returned to normal when the steelmaker restarted one of the two furnaces suspended after the magnitude 9.0 quake struck northeastern and eastern Japan on March 11.

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4th Day Of Power Rationing

Kanto quakeTokyo Electric Power Co. implemented rolling blackouts Thursday for the fourth consecutive day in part of the Kanto region surrounding Tokyo to cover substantial power shortages following the mega earthquake in Japan.

Around 10 million households will be affected by the day's measures. Tohoku Electric Power Co., meanwhile, announced it has decided to forgo power rationing Thursday.

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Freight Train Derails On Narita

Freight train derails on JR Narita LineA freight train partially derailed Thursday afternoon near Namegawa Station on the JR Narita Line in Narita, Chiba Prefecture, but no one was injured, police said.

The accident occurred around 12:25 p.m. as the freight train was running en route to Kashima Soccer Stadium Station in Kashima, Ibaraki Prefecture, from Tokyo Kamotsu Terminal Station in Tokyo’s Shinagawa Ward, the police said.

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Emperor Meets Serbian President

Emperor Akihito met Serbian President Boris TadicEmperor Akihito met with Serbian President Boris Tadic Wednesday at the Imperial Palace in Tokyo, the Imperial Household Agency said.

According to the agency, the Serbian president, who is on an official visit to Japan this week, told the emperor that his and Empress Michiko's visit to the former Yugoslavia in 1976 was very important for Serbia, and the emperor expressed his happiness.

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2 More Japanese Confirmed Dead

NZ QuakeThe Japanese Foreign Ministry said Wednesday it has confirmed the deaths of two more Japanese caused by the powerful earthquake in Christchurch, New Zealand, after the first case confirmed Sunday among 28 missing Japanese.

The death toll from the Feb. 22 quake stands at 166 as of Tuesday, and is expected to finally reach about 200.

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Bullet Train Factory Prod Up

Bullet train factory production upIt is now just three days until the new Kyushu Shinkansen bullet train line goes into full service, linking up with the Sanyo Shinkansen line on March 12, and Kawasaki Heavy Industries is working hard to churn out the trains that will ride those very rails.

The firm is building the N700 series bullet trains -- dubbed the "Mizuho" and the "Sakura" on the new line connecting Kagoshima to Osaka -- at its plant in Kobe.

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Cn Men Arrested Illegal Web Proxy

CN men arrested illegal web proxyTwo Chinese men have been arrested on suspicion of illegally setting up a Web proxy server in Japan for users in their homeland.

The Metropolitan Police Department's high-tech crime unit announced on March 7 that it had arrested two Chinese men, including Bai Guangwen, a 29-year-old college student in Utsunomiya, on suspicion of violating the Telecommunications Business Act.

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Heavy Snowfall Warning For Tokyo

Tokyo snowfall warningThe Japan Meteorological Agency warned of heavy snowfall Monday in Tokyo and its vicinity and possible traffic disruptions in the area.

The agency forecast 20 centimeters of snow until Tuesday morning in mountainous areas of the Kanto region, which covers Tokyo and six other nearby prefectures as well as in the adjacent Koshin region, which comprises Yamanashi and Nagano prefectures.

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Kajima Losses In Alegerian Proj.

Kajima CorpKajima Corp. has told three other Japanese construction companies that the four may incur losses totaling more than 80 billion yen in connection with their joint project to build a 1,200-kilometer expressway in Algeria, sources familiar with the matter said Friday.

The huge loss appears likely due to swelling construction costs resulting from a delay in the work, the sources said.

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Seiyu Resume New Store Openings

Seiyu SupermarketSupermarket chain Seiyu GK plans to resume store openings this year for the first time in three years, Seiyu Chief Executive Officer Toru Noda said. ‘‘We would like to open several new stores this year,’’ he said.

Noda indicated that the new stores could include those to be acquired from other chains. ‘‘We are planning to buy stores from struggling retailers,’’ he said. ‘‘We have met some company managers.’‘

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Starbucks Japan Founder Returns

Yuji TsunodaStarbucks Coffee Japan Ltd. founder Yuji Tsunoda on Friday resumed the post of chief executive officer, replacing Matsuo Iwata, 52, who stood down due to "personal reasons," the company said.

The reappointment of Tsunoda, 70, is an interim measure until the company picks a new CEO in June, it added.

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