Fumio Kishida, a former foreign minister with a reputation as a consensus builder, is set to become Japan’s prime minister after winning the ruling Liberal Democratic party’s presidential election in a runoff against the vaccination minister, Taro Kono. Kishida, 64, will have little time to adjust to his new role, which became vacant after the outgoing prime minister, Yoshihide Suga, said he would not run in the party leadership race.
A section of Japan is no longer administering the Moderna COVID-19 vaccine after black particles were found in a vial. BBC reports that a pharmacist in the Kanagawa Prefecture noticed the foreign substance while checking the vaccine before use. Takeda Pharmaceutical, a Moderna vaccine distributor in Japan, announced on Aug. 26 they were suspending three lots of the vaccine following the reports.
Japan suspended use of about 1.63 million doses of Moderna vaccine Thursday after contamination was found in unused vials, raising concern of a supply shortage as the country tries to accelerate vaccinations amid a COVID-19 surge. The health ministry said contamination was reported from multiple vaccination sites. Some doses might have been administered, but no adverse health effects have been reported so far, officials said.
A rollercoaster in Japan – which claimed to be the world’s fastest accelerating – has been shut down following reports four riders broke bones over eight months. Multiple passengers on the Do-Dodonpa rollercoaster at the Fuji-Q Highland amusement park fractured their necks, chests and backs, the Yamanashi Prefecture announced. Located near the base of Mount Fuji, the attraction was taken out of use on 12 August 2021.
Maki Kaji, the creator of the popular numbers puzzle Sudoku whose life’s work was spreading the joy of puzzles, has died. He was 69 and had bile duct cancer. Known as the “Godfather of Sudoku,” Kaji created the puzzle to be easy for children and others who didn’t want to think too hard. Its name is made up of the Japanese characters for “number” and “single”.
A Panamanian-registered ship ran aground in a northern Japan harbor, then split in two and was leaking oil, but there were no injuries among the 21 crew and the oil leak was being controlled with no signs it had reached shore, the Japan Coast Guard said. The 39,910-tonne vessel, the “Crimson Polaris,” was carrying wood chips when it ran aground on Wednesday morning in Hachinohe harbor.
A Tokyo court on Monday doled out the first sentences in Japan related to Carlos Ghosn’s arrest and escape, imprisoning U.S. Army Special Forces veteran Michael Taylor for two years and his son Peter for one year and eight months for helping the former Nissan Motor Co Ltd (7201.T) chairman flee to Lebanon in 2019. Prosecutors said the Taylors received $1.3 million for expenses and as payment, with another $500,000 for legal fees.
Japanese Prime Minister Yoshihide Suga has declared a third state of emergency for Tokyo and three other urban prefectures in an effort to curb the spread of COVID-19 ahead of the already-delayed Summer Olympics. During a national address Friday night, Suga announced that a state of emergency for Tokyo, Osaka, Kyoto and Hyogo prefectures will begin Sunday and last through May 11.
Japan will release more than one million tonnes of radioactive water from the destroyed Fukushima nuclear plant into the Pacific Ocean. The decision, long-speculated but delayed for years due to safety concerns and protests, came at a meeting of Cabinet ministers who endorsed the ocean release as the best option. The move is being fiercely opposed by Japan’s neighbors – with China’s foreign ministry calling the plan “extremely irresponsible”.
A Japanese court ruled on Wednesday that not allowing same-sex couples to get married is “unconstitutional,” setting a precedent in the only G7 nation not to fully recognize same-sex partnership. The ruling by a district court, the first in Japan on the legality of same-sex marriages, is a major symbolic victory in a country where the constitution still defines marriage as being based on “the mutual consent of both sexes”.