The president of a company running cruise vessels in Hokkaido acknowledged that an accident last month could have been averted if safety protocols, such as keeping in regular contact with the captain, had been followed. Twenty-six people were on board, and all are confirmed dead or still missing.
Experience with remote work, the erosion of Japan’s lifetime employment system, and desires for meaningful lives are contributing to a rise in workers quitting, changing jobs, or considering doing so. There are also signs of an exodus from major cities, with Tokyo’s population dropping for the first time since 1996.
Students’ extracurricular sports activities sometimes require large amounts of time and energy from parents and guardians, too. Duties include communicating with other adults via social media, distributing beverages, and taking photographs. Some sports teams unconnected with schools are targeting the exhausted-parent market by doing these tasks for a fee.
The coronavirus pandemic has worsened already high rates of loneliness in Japan, especially among those in their 20s and 30s. Previously, people were already becoming increasingly isolated, with more living alone and fewer interactions outside the home, and since COVID struck, social occasions like parties and travel have declined.
At the 2022 Academy Awards, it was not a film, actor or director that drew the most attention and media coverage, but an incident in which Best Actor nominee Will Smith walked onstage and slapped comedian Chris Rock for making a joke about Smith’s wife.
More than 75 years after World War II ended without an official peace treaty between Japan and the USSR, Russia has pulled out of talks over the disputed Kuril Islands off Hokkaido (which Japan calls the Northern Territories) because of Japan’s sanctions in response to the Ukraine invasion.
After almost 150 years, the age when Japanese citizens are deemed adults will drop from 20 to 18, as it is in most developed nations. Young people will have more rights as well as responsibilities, but will still have to wait until they turn 20 to drink, smoke, and gamble.
After the International Olympic Committee called on international sports federations to keep Russia out of events in response to the invasion of Ukraine, Russian teams and athletes in most major sports were banned from competitions under their country’s name or flag. Belarus was also singled out due to its participation in the Ukraine conflict. The Russian Deputy Prime Minister asserted that sports and politics should be separate, but much of the world appears united behind this new addition to the growing list of sanctions.
Russian President Vladimir Putin gave a speech after Russian troops advanced toward the capital of neighboring Ukraine, citing several reasons that made little sense. He made puzzling references to prevention of genocide and removal of Nazis from the country, and spoke of Russia and Ukraine as being “one nation.” Another major goal seems to be preventing Ukraine from joining NATO, which Putin views as an existential threat.
Japan lags behind other countries in easing curbs on arrivals from overseas, and many politicians and business leaders say this amounts to a “seclusion policy” that is damaging the nation’s economy and international image. With Omicron variant infections appearing to have peaked, the government now plans to scale back restrictions, boosting the quota on daily arrivals from 3,500 to 5,000 and shortening quarantines from a week to three days.
A 19-year-old woman and a system engineer who aided her were arrested after she allegedly cheated on a university entrance exam using a smartphone and the Skype app. The engineer forwarded stills from her video footage of test questions to a university student, who gave answers without being aware of the cheating. The accused woman said she hoped to enter a prestigious university but wasn’t confident in her ability to pass the test.
Several Japanese companies are sponsoring the Beijing Winter Games, including three – Toyota Motors, Bridgestone, and Panasonic – that are top-level sponsors known as Worldwide Olympic Partners. However, while the companies are supplying goods to venues and athletes, they are refraining from running Olympic-themed ads due to condemnation of China’s human rights practices, particularly in the U.S. and Europe.