Japan stocks decline as recession dents demand for materials

STOCKS Japan stocks slumped as prospects for a prolonged recession dimmed the earnings outlook for manufacturers and commodities producers. [BLOOMBERG]

Aso’s latest stimulus worth ¥23 trillion

POLITICS Prime Minister Taro Aso unveiled a ¥23 trillion stimulus package Friday that will allow up to ¥12 trillion in public funds to be injected into financial institutions, far more than the ¥2 trillion initially planned. [THE JAPAN TIMES]

Job-reneging firms’ names to be released

BUSINESS Aiming to embarrass companies into better behavior, the labor ministry plans to publish the names of those that withdrew job offers made to graduating students in an attempt to discourage unilateral cancellations, sources said. [ASAHI]

Bill to redress uninsured children to be enacted

POLITICS A bill to redress the issue of children without health insurance is likely to be enacted at the current Diet session as the Liberal Democratic Party and the main opposition Democratic Party of Japan agreed Wednesday to hold talks over the bill jointly proposed by three opposition parties, parliamentary sources said. [KYODO]

Nippon Oil, Nippon Mining to integrate business

BUSINESS Nippon Oil Corp., the largest oil distributor in Japan, and major distributor Nippon Mining Holdings Inc., will integrate their business by establishing a holding company, possibly in the fall of 2009, sources familiar with the plan said Thursday. [KYODO]

Mental test to be conducted on alleged attacker of ex-official, kin

KANTO Police decided Wednesday to conduct a mental examination on a man who is believed to have been involved in the murder of a former vice health minister and his wife, and the assault of the wife of another former vice health minister, investigative sources said. [KYODO]

Gov’t to effectively halt spending cut policy to bolster economy

POLITICS The government is set to effectively halt its spending cut policy in compiling the budget for fiscal 2009 starting in April, in a bid to prioritize stimulus measures over efforts to improve the nation’s fiscal health, government and ruling party sources said Wednesday. [KYODO]

List of 719 cases of harassment at Waseda University leaked from computer

KANTO A list of 719 cases of harassment that allegedly occurred at Waseda University in Tokyo has leaked on the Internet, university officials said. [MAINICHI]

Government panel deems 37% of spending by NPO’s wasteful

POLITICS A government panel tasked with studying ways to eliminate wasteful use of taxpayers’ money has proposed a 37 percent cut, worth about 350 billion yen, in funding for government-authorized nonprofit organizations in fiscal 2009 compared with the corresponding figure in fiscal 2006. [YOMIURI]

US policy adviser predicts dollar slipping below 90 yen

BUSINESS Lawrence Lindsey, a former economic policy adviser to U.S. President George W. Bush, told Japanese lawmakers in Tokyo on Wednesday the U.S. dollar could slip below 90 yen, the lawmakers said. [KYODO]

Japanese climbers stranded on N.Z. peak may not be rescued until weekend

INTERNATIONAL Two Japanese climbers stranded by atrocious weather on New Zealand’s highest peak for five days may not be rescued before the weekend, searchers said Wednesday. [MAINICHI]

U.S. serviceman’s World War II photo album returns home

INTERNATIONAL The war has finally ended for 90-year-old Tokio Watanabe. The former Japanese soldier, who fought in the Philippines in World War II and was later captured by Soviet troops, recently had his wish partially fulfilled to return a belonging that had long weighed on his mind: a photo album of a U.S. serviceman. [ASAHI]

Gov’t to grant 1 mil. yen to firms hiring part-timers as full-timers

BUSINESS The government is drafting a new employment stimulus package under which it will grant a subsidy of up to 1 million yen per person to companies hiring non-student part-timers as full-time employees, informed sources said Tuesday. [KYODO]

BOJ takes steps to thaw credit crunch

POLLS In an extraordinary monetary policy meeting Tuesday, the Bank of Japan said it would help companies get operating funds toward the yearend by accepting lower-rated corporate debt from banks as collateral for loans. [THE JAPAN TIMES]

Temps in manufacturing feel full brunt of slump

NATIONAL The deepening recession is worrying workers nationwide, particularly temporary employees in the manufacturing industry. [THE JAPAN TIMES]

LDP to consider revising health care system for elderly

POLITICS The ruling Liberal Democratic Party started discussions Tuesday on whether the portion paid out of public funds to cover medical care costs for so-called latter-stage elderly people aged 75 and older could be raised to 55 percent from the current 50 percent as a way of mitigating their burden, party sources said. [KYODO]

Proposal calls for 30 percent cut in big-eyed tuna catch

NATIONAL Big-eyed tuna catches need to be cut by 30 percent, says the Commission for the Conservation and Management of Highly Migratory Fish Stocks in the Western and Central Pacific Ocean. [MAINICHI]

Obama’s choice of diplomatic team likely to force Japan to review policy toward U.S.

POLITICS The announcement of U.S. President-elect Barack Obama’s diplomatic team is likely to force Japan to review its policy toward the United States, say government officials. [MAINICHI]

Companies plan for citizen judge start

BUSINESS With the new citizen judge system just months away, companies are trying to figure out ways to cope with possible interruptions to their business caused by staff forced to take leave. [ASAHI]

30,000 nonregular workers to lose jobs by March

BUSINESS About 30,000 nonregular workers have lost or are set to lose their jobs in the six months through March, the Health, Labor and Welfare Ministry said Friday. [YOMIURI]

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