Japan's Olympic Chief Resigns

Japan's Olympic chief resigns

The chief of Japan's Olympic Committee says he is resigning. The announcement comes as French authorities investigate his role in helping Tokyo secure the 2020 Games.

On Tuesday, Tsunekazu Takeda announced he would step down when his term expires in June.

Toyota Will Be Making Japan's Moon Rover

Toyota Will Be Making Japan's Moon Rover

Toyota is one of the most widely known Japanese companies on the planet. As many of you are already aware, Toyota knows a thing or two about making vehicles. It has now teamed up with the Japanese Aerospace Exploration Agency to build a pressurized self-driving rover for the moon. The rover will vastly improve astronauts’ ability to explore the lunar surface.

According to current plans, this Japanese moon rover is destined to land on the lunar surface in 2029. This six-wheeled vehicle will be able to transport two humans for a distance of about 10,000 kilometers using Toyota’s fuel cell technology and solar power.

Japan's Ski Jumper Wins Overall World Cup Victory

Japan's ski jumper wins overall World Cup victory

A Japanese athlete has secured an overall victory in the 2018-19 men's Ski Jumping World Cup.

22-year-old Ryoyu Kobayashi had been leading the men's individual all-round competition by winning 11 events so far. He faced the large hill in the Norwegian capital, Oslo, on Sunday.

Japan's Ski Jumper Wins Overall World Cup Victory

Japan's ski jumper wins overall World Cup victory

A Japanese athlete has secured an overall victory in the 2018-19 men's Ski Jumping World Cup.

22-year-old Ryoyu Kobayashi had been leading the men's individual all-round competition by winning 11 events so far. He faced the large hill in the Norwegian capital, Oslo, on Sunday.

Japan's Ski Jumper Wins Overall World Cup Victory

Japan's ski jumper wins overall World Cup victory

A Japanese athlete has secured an overall victory in the 2018-19 men's Ski Jumping World Cup.

22-year-old Ryoyu Kobayashi had been leading the men's individual all-round competition by winning 11 events so far. He faced the large hill in the Norwegian capital, Oslo, on Sunday.

Ghosn's Case Shines Light On Japan's Harsh System Of 'hostage Justice'

Ghosn's case shines light on Japan's harsh system of 'hostage justice'

TOKYO — The high-profile case of ex-Nissan chairman Carlos Ghosn has shone a light in Japan on what critics call "hostage justice," in which suspects can be held for months after arrest, but any reforms will likely be incremental and slow. Ghosn, a former titan of the global auto industry, who has French, Brazilian and Lebonese citizenship, was released on bail of 1 billion yen ($9 million) on Wednesday after being held for more than 100 days following his Nov. 19 arrest by prosecutors on suspicion of under-reporting his compensation. In a scenario common in Japan's justice system, Ghosn was arrested two more times on fresh suspicions, including aggravated breach of trust, each time allowing prosecutors to keep him in custody and interrogate him without his lawyers being present. The term "hostage justice" refers to holding the suspect in custody while pressing for the "ransom" of a confession. Ghosn's case has sparked harsh international criticism of Japan's justice system, in which 99.9 percent of people charged with crimes are convicted. "The affair was reported abroad and many Japanese know that the Japanese criminal justice system is not necessarily at a global standard," wrote former Tokyo District Court judge Takao Nakayama in the Nikkei business daily. "In that sense, the Tokyo prosecutors opened a Pandora's box," he wrote. The article was part of a full-page spread headlined "What should be fixed in Japan's 'hostage justice'." Granting bail after indictment and ahead of trial is rare for suspects who, like Ghosn, maintain their innocence, with the stated reason being fears the defendant would flee, tamper with evidence or seek to sway witnesses. Ghosn had to post $8.9 million bail and agree not only to stay in Japan but to having surveillance cameras placed at his residence and to limits on his mobile phone and computer use. His first two requests for bail were rejected. "I do think that this has made the whole system, that most Japanese on the street don't really know exists, much more visible and much more vulnerable to criticism," said Tokyo-based lawyer Stephen Givens. Domestic civil rights groups and lawyers including the Japan Federation of Bar Associations have long criticized a system they say gives too much power to prosecutors and is too reliant on confessions, some later found to have been forced and false.

Not much presumption of innocence

Ordinary citizens — and media — often equate arrest with guilt. "Japan is a country that respects authority, and I think most people assume that when somebody is arrested, that there's a reason for that," Givens said. "Media ... are of that view — although I do think that some of the mainstream media are beginning to ask questions and present other views." Prosecutors have defended the system. "Each country has its own culture and systems," said Shin Kukimoto, a deputy public prosecutor, at a news conference in December. "I'm not sure it's right to criticize other systems simply because they are different." High-profile cases involving forced confessions periodically attract public attention, although no outcry has been sustained. In a possible sign the issue was creeping onto the public radar even before Ghosn's arrest, a private broadcaster launched in 2016 a television drama called "99.9 Criminal Lawyers" about defense lawyers fighting the odds against acquittal. The title refers to the conviction rate. Still, there is caution over prospects for change. "I'm skeptical, and it depends on what you mean by 'change'," said Colin Jones, a law professor at Kyoto's Doshisha University. "Courts are institutionally subject to foreign pressure. The trend has been a gradual increase in the rejection of detention warrants, and we might see a trend toward incremental change," he said.

Japan's Expectations For Us-n.korea Summit

Japan's expectations for US-N.Korea summit

The Japanese government is closely watching the second summit between US President Donald Trump and North Korean leader Kim Jong Un that is scheduled to begin in Hanoi on Wednesday.

Japan considers it important that the summit will lead to the North's scrapping of its weapons of mass destruction in a complete, verifiable and irreversible manner.
Japan also hopes the summit will pave the way for resolving the issue of the abductions of Japanese nationals by Pyongyang.

M5.8 Quake Hits Japan's Hokkaido

M5.8 quake hits Japan's Hokkaido

Authorities are racing to assess the damage after a magnitude 5.8 earthquake struck Japan's northern island of Hokkaido.

Officials are calling on people to remain on the alert for seismic activity. 3 people reported minor injuries.

Japan's Part In Sinai Cease-fire Appreciated

Japan's part in Sinai cease-fire appreciated

Japan's Foreign Minister Taro Kono has told his Egyptian counterpart that Japan is considering sending several senior Ground Self-Defense Force officials to the headquarters of the Multinational Force and Observers in the Sinai Peninsula.

The MFO is monitoring a ceasefire between Egypt and Israel.

Chinese Ships Enter Japan's Waters Off Senkakus

Chinese ships enter Japan's waters off Senkakus

Four Chinese patrol boats have temporarily entered Japan's territorial waters near the Senkaku Islands in the East China Sea.

The Japan Coast Guard says the ships entered the waters off Uotsuri Island shortly after 10 AM on Monday.

Japan's K Supercomputer To Be Retired

Japan's K supercomputer to be retired

Japanese researchers say the K supercomputer, one of the world's fastest, will be retired in August, to be replaced by a next-generation machine.

The K was created in 2012 as a national project. The computer has been used in a broad range of fields such as drug development, earthquake research and weather forecasting.

Japan's Diet: Ordinary Session Starts

Japan's Diet: Ordinary session starts

The Japanese Diet has opened its new session. Ruling and opposition parties are expected to hold heated debates on several issues including botched labor surveys that underpaid insurance benefits to millions of people.

The opening ceremony was held with Emperor Akihito in attendance.