New emperor’s ascension on Jan. 1 "difficult" due to events: agency

Japanese media outlets have reported the government has been considering the possibility of arranging for the crown prince, 56, to ascend the throne on Jan. 1, 2019, following the current 83-year-old emperor’s abdication the previous day, citing unnamed sources.

Vice Grand Steward Yasuhiko Nishimura told a press conference, however, that Jan. 1 “is an important day for the imperial family” and said, “It would be difficult to set events related to an abdication.”

It would be “difficult” for Crown Prince Naruhito to begin his reign as new emperor on Jan. 1, 2019, as has been recently reported by Japanese media, due to key events held every year on New Year’s Day, a senior Imperial Household Agency official said Tuesday. (Kyodo)

Japanese health officials say a fake product labeled as a drug for hepatitis C was sold in western Japan. (NHK)

An Australian woman and her three sons have been rescued after spending a freezing night on a mountain in Japan. (BBC)

A smoking ban inside restaurants is one of the main pillars aimed at preventing damage from passive smoking in a draft revision to the Health Promotion Law, according to sources. (

Commercial property prices in Tokyo, a bellwether for the market, look to have peaked as the capital faces a glut of new offices even as the number of workers is set to decline. (Japan Times)

Snow continues to fall in many parts of Japan, causing fatal accidents and disrupting traffic. (NHK)

Students and graduates of high schools across Japan have completed the unified college entrance examinations. (NHK)

A Japanese ship has been caught with a slaughtered whale in the Antarctic in defiance of an international court decision against Tokyo’s hunts, activist group Sea Shepherd said Sunday. (Japan Times)

In Osaki City, Miyagi Prefecture, a theme park called Kejonuma Leisure Land has been rusting away as a deserted ruin for the past 15 years. (Japan Today)

Japanese musician Yoshiki performed two back-to-back sold-out shows at New York’s famous classical venue, Carnegie Hall, on Jan 12 and 13. (Japan Today)

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