Japanese preschool education and childcare became free of charge on Tuesday, a move that will be funded by a consumption tax hike.
The tax was raised from 8 to 10 percent on October 1, with its revenue allotted to social security upgrades. During this fiscal year, about 3.5 billion dollars will be directed toward making preschool education and daycare services free.
A Japanese government survey shows the number of people aged 65 or older, and their proportion to the overall population, have both marked record highs.
The internal affairs ministry estimates that, as of Sunday, the elderly population stood at 35.88 million. That's up 320,000 from last year. Monday is the Respect for the Aged Day national holiday.
Japan's new Environment Minister Shinjiro Koizumi has pledged to make the most of his high profile to tackle climate change.
Koizumi, the son of popular former Prime Minister Junichiro Koizumi, arrived at the Environment Ministry Wednesday evening following the first Cabinet meeting after a reshuffle by Prime Minister Shinzo Abe earlier in the day.
More than 5,000 people gathered at the Chichibunomiya Rugby Stadium in Tokyo on Saturday to see off 29 members of Japan's rugby team. It will take part in the World Cup that starts in the country on September 20th.
Captain Michael Leitch said he wants to fight with a special feeling as the event will be held on home turf, and he wants the fans to support them with 100-percent of their energy.
Japan's Defense Ministry has released its largest-ever budget request for next fiscal year, partly to finance the launch of a space monitoring unit.
The ministry decided at a meeting attended by Defense Minister Takeshi Iwaya on Friday to request about 5.3 trillion yen, or about 50 billion dollars, for fiscal 2020, which starts next April. The figure is up 1.2 percent from this year's budget.
The Convention on International Trade in Endangered Species, known as CITES, banned international trade in ivory in 1990. But Japan and European Union states are among countries that allow domestic sales. Under those rules, foreign visitors are banned from buying ivory items, such as for souvenirs.
Japan's domestic businesses using ivory rely on stockpiles of more than 2,000 tons of tusks. Most was imported before the ban. The rest was bought in 1999 and 2009 under special approval of CITES.
Japan's imports of beef and pork from members of the Trans-Pacific Partnership pact and the European Union increased in the first half of this year. Imports of pork from the United States dropped, while those of beef increased slightly.
The TPP free trade pact took effect in December, and the Economic Partnership Agreement with the EU took effect in February. Tariffs on US imports remained unchanged as Washington withdrew from the TPP.
A ceremony to remember the victims of Japan's worst air disaster took place on Monday, the 34th anniversary of the tragedy.
A Japan Airlines Boeing 747 jumbo jet bound for Osaka from Tokyo crashed into a mountain in Gunma Prefecture, northwest of Tokyo, on August 12, 1985. The accident left 520 people dead.