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Electoral reform bill passed amid cries of LDP shenanigans：The Asahi Shimbun
Various opinion polls showed that more voters opposed the legislation than supported it. And when the vote was taken at the Lower House’s plenary session, Hajime Funada abstained in a show of opposition, the only LDP lawmaker to defy the party line.
Icy vending machine rolls out free drinks for SNS exposure：The Asahi Shimbun
Thirsty customers had to be quick, as the vending machine was available only for about two-and-a-half hours from noon on the first day, when the temperature soared to around 35 degrees, until the ice melted.
Keita Asari, founder of Shiki Theater, dies in Tokyo at age 85：The Asahi Shimbun
Keita Asari, founder of the famed Shiki Theater that features adaptations of long-running Broadway and West End musicals, has died at age 85, his company announced.
Noda denies she put pressure on FSA in probe on cryptocurrency：The Asahi Shimbun
The company, whose business also includes planning, began dealing in its own cryptocurrency last October.
Water scooter hero rescues 120 residents from Mabicho flood
KURASHIKI, Okayama Prefecture--A young man with a water scooter returned to his hometown and rescued more than 100 residents stranded in rising floodwaters in the Mabicho district here. And it all started with a frantic phone call from a childhood friend. "My mum is stranded at her home in Mabicho.
The Hard Road of the Japanese Documentary Maker
NEW YORK--In “The Emperor’s Naked Army Marches On,” a 1987 documentary that takes many abrupt twists and turns, one of the most surprising comes about a half-hour in. The Japanese director Kazuo Hara has followed his subject--a self-righteous, self-promotional and occasionally dangerous political ac
Legoland Japan cuts entry prices, introduces high, low season rates：The Asahi Shimbun
From July 19, a child’s day ticket will cost a tax-inclusive 4,500 yen ($40) at the door, down from 5,300 yen, while the entry fee for adults will remain unchanged at 6,900 yen.
South Korean Court Orders Big Payouts to Families of Ferry Victims
SEOUL, South Korea--A court on Thursday ordered the South Korean government and a shipping company to pay compensation to families who lost relatives in the 2014 sinking of an overloaded, poorly inspected ferry that killed 304 people, most of them high school students.
Sanyo Line reopening set for November, other routes in doubt：The Asahi Shimbun
The Sanyo Line in the flood-devastated Chugoku region will be back up and running in November, West Japan Railway Co. (JR West) announced July 18, but the outlook is uncertain for three other damaged routes.
In search of sunrise? Mount Fuji beckons - Travel Wire Asia
Between July and September, the 3,776-meter-high peak is expected to attract an estimated 300,000 adventurers looking to scale the island nation’s highest mountain.
Fukushima’s nuclear signature found in California wine
Throughout the 1950s, the US, the Soviet Union, and others tested thermonuclear weapons in the Earth’s atmosphere. Those tests released vast quantities of radioactive material into the air and triggered fears that the nuclear reactions could ignite deuterium in the oceans, thereby destroying the pla
Trial run for self-driving taxi starts in August in central Tokyo：The Asahi Shimbun
Autonomous driving start-up ZMP Inc. and taxi operator Hinomaru Kotsu Co. said the self-driving minivan is scheduled to make four round trips a day along the 5.3-kilometer route between Otemachi Financial City Grand Cube, a skyscraper in the business center of Chiyoda Ward, and the Roppongi Hills co
Malaysia arrests 7 people over suspected IS militant links：The Asahi Shimbun
KUALA LUMPUR--Malaysia has detained seven people for suspected militant-linked activities, including a man who allegedly made death threats against the country's king and prime minister, police said on Thursday.
EDITORIAL: Anti-smoking law just a small 1st step, given the global trend：The Asahi Shimbun
The central issue in the revision concerns smoking rules in restaurants and bars. The change bans indoor smoking in principle, but allows tobacco use, for the time being, in small-sized existing establishments operated by individuals or small businesses. With more than half of restaurants and bars a
OLYMPICS/ IOC adds 7 medal events to 2022 Beijing Winter Games program：The Asahi Shimbun
LAUSANNE, Switzerland--Planning for its next three Olympic Games on Wednesday, the IOC added seven medal events to the 2022 Beijing Winter Games, published a 2020 Tokyo Olympics schedule with no agreement on when to race swimming finals, and set a timetable to add new sports to the 2024 Paris Olympi
Vermont signs sister state pact with Tottori Prefecture：The Asahi Shimbun
Scott highlighted the similarities between Vermont and Tottori at the ceremony. Both are mountainous with populations around 600,000. Tottori is the smallest Japanese prefecture by population, while Vermont has the second smallest population after Wyoming.
Japan looking to combat sweltering heat ahead of 2020 Olympics
Summer in Japan has always been hot and humid, but a heat wave this year has brought unprecedented scorching temperatures in some areas, killing at least 14 in Tokyo since the start of July and sending thousands nationwide to hospital.
Mercury hits 40 degrees for first time in 5 years as Japan bakes：The Asahi Shimbun
The cities of Tajimi and Mino, both in Gifu Prefecture, recorded 40-plus degree temperatures with respective readings of 40.7 and 40.6 degrees.
Take a look at the world's oldest hotel - Travel Wire Asia
Located at the foot of the Akaishi Mountains (also known as the South Japanese Alps) in Yamanashi Prefecture, Japan, the hot spring hotel was founded in 705 AD.
Kobe Steel says it has been indicted by Tokyo prosecutors over data-tampering scandal
Open this photo in galleryKobe Steel's Kakogawa Works is pictured in Hyogo Prefecture, Japan.KIM KYUNG-HOON/ReutersKobe Steel Ltd., Japan’s third-biggest steelmaker, said on Thursday it has been indicted by prosecutors over a data tampering scandal that shook the company and faith in Japanese manufa