This week on Japan News Roundup, taxis in Japan get lower minimum fares, Waseda University student sets world swimming record, the 2020 Tokyo Olympic games gets a cool new ambassador, and more.
Good news for residents and people planning their next trip to Tokyo, starting this past Monday, all 23 Tokyo wards have implemented a lower minimum fare for all taxis. The price has dropped from 730 Yen for the first two kilometers to 410 Yen for the first 1.052 Kilometers. This makes taking cabs, thus avoiding the sometimes overly-packed trains, much more accessible for those looking for quick trips around the city. To offset this however, longer trips, those being roughly 6.5 kilometers or more, will most likely see a price hike.
Brave Tourists From All Over Bear the Cold for Hokkaido Ice Festival
In a festival held daily from January 30th through to February 28th, many foreign and Japanese visitors dress their warmest to see Hokkaido’s sea ice festival. The festival was started to bring attention to the breathtaking drift ice on the Sea of Okhotsk. While there, many were seen enjoying local cuisine and talking around bonfires to stay warm. It seems to be a seasonal event for one to behold… if you can take the cold that is.
Sophomore at Japanese University Sets World Record in Men’s Swimming
During a meet in Tokyo on Jan. 29th, Ippei Watanabe, a 19 year-old second-year student at Japan’s Waseda University set a world record in men’s 200-meter breaststroke by finishing with a time of 2 minutes and 6.67 seconds. Ippei had previously competed in the Rio Summer Olympics but could not make it past 6th place despite setting a record in the semi-finals for the same category.
Parliament to Create Special Legislation to Allow Emperor to Abdicate
Due to his old age and declining health, Japanese Emperor Akihito has expressed his wish to retire as he feels he can not properly keep up with his duties as the symbol of the nation. Being the Emperor requires a lot of travel and appearances both on a national and international level. A government panel has recommended granting his wish and urges Parliament to enact a one-time legislation for Emperor Akihito to abdicate from his position and it seems Parliament is in favor of doing this as well. Talks are still being held about whether to make a permanent change in the law or keep this a one-time occurrence.
Masaya Nakamura, Creator of What is Now Namco, has Passed Away at 91
The world says goodbye to a legend and pioneer of the video game industry as the man who first started the company Namco, Masaya Nakamura has passed away at age 91 on January 22nd. His company was responsible for early arcade classics such as Galaxian, Dig-Dug and most famously, Pac-Man. He was playing a more ceremonial role in the company now known as Namco-Bandai.
2020 Tokyo Olympic Games Gets a Much Revered Ambassador
In an attempt to bring in more of Japanese pop-culture to light and bring in younger audiences in the process, the Olympic committee has decided on Son Goku, a Japanese anime character from the Dragonball series to be the Ambassador and primary advertising mascot of the 2020 Summer Olympic Games. He will be featured alongside other prominent characters in the world of Japanese anime including Sailor Moon, Luffy of One Piece fame, and even the world-renowned video game character, Mario.
That’s it for this week’s Japan News Roundup!