How Did Fujitsu Get it so Wrong in the British Post Office Scandal?

At the beginning of the year, the ITV drama Mr Bates vs the Post Office exposed what has been described as one of the biggest miscarriages of justice ever seen in the U.K. Between 1999 and 2015, more than 700 self-employed workers at the state-owned Post Office were wrongly convicted of theft, false accounting and fraud due to glitches in the Horizon software system that incorrectly showed money missing from accounts. The accounting system in question was developed by ICL Pathway, owned by the Japanese multinational Fujitsu.

Representatives from the information and communication technology company are set to face a grilling at a public inquiry next week. The corporation will also appear for questioning in front of a British parliamentary committee. “It’s vital that Fujitsu confess how they got it so wrong and how on earth they have had the temerity to carry on taking public contracts when they were so involved in a scandal that put innocent public servants behind bars. That’s the question we’ve now called the firm to parliament to answer,” said Labour MP Liam Byrne.

Nikkei Closes Above 35,000 for the First Time in Almost 34 Years

For the first time since February 1990, Tokyo’s Nikkei index closed above 35,000 on Thursday. It rose 1.77%, or 608.14 points, from Wednesday, ending on 35,049.86, its highest finish in almost 34 years. That’s the fourth straight trading day the index has climbed, gaining around 5% over that period. “The biggest factor behind the rally is most likely hopes that the Japanese economy will finally get back to normal after years of deflation,” Ryuta Otsuka, a senior strategist at Toyo Securities, told AFP.

Other factors that have bolstered Tokyo shares include gains in U.S. tech shares and the weakening yen, which boosts profits earned overseas when repatriated, while also strengthening the competitiveness of Japan-made products globally. “The weaker yen was a tailwind for Japanese stocks. This came after the yen’s gain against the dollar weighed on sentiment and limited the Nikkei’s gains at the end of last year,” said Shuutarou Yasuda, a market analyst at Tokai Tokyo Research Institute. The Nikkei’s all-time high was 38,915 in 1989.

japan plane collision

Death Toll From Ishikawa Earthquake Rises Above 200

Rescue operations continue in Ishikawa Prefecture following last week’s catastrophic 7.6 magnitude earthquake. At the time of writing, more than 50 people remain unaccounted for. On Thursday, the death toll sat at 213. According to the prefectural government, there have been eight disaster-related deaths, meaning the victims survived the quakes, but later passed away from causes connected to the disaster. There are currently around 400 shelters housing over 23,00 people. At least 2,500 citizens remain cut off because of damaged roads and railways.

There was some positive news last Saturday, though, when a woman in her 90s was rescued from a two-story house in Suzu city, Ishikawa Prefecture. She had been there for more than five days, well past the 72-hour “golden period,” after which, the chances of finding people alive drops dramatically. Stuck between furniture, she was heard moaning faintly. It then reportedly took several hours to pull her out. The doctor who treated her the next day, said she sustained leg injuries, but was well enough to chat.

hitoshi matsumoto scandal

Comedian Hitoshi Matsumoto Announces Hiatus Amid Sexual Assault Claims

Hitoshi Matsumoto, one half of the popular comedy duo Downtown, is set to go on hiatus, his management revealed on Monday. The news comes less than two weeks after the weekly tabloid Shukan Bunshun published a story quoting two women who alleged that Matsumoto, 60, forced them into sexual activities during private parties at an upscale hotel in Tokyo in 2015. One of the accusers alleged forced oral sex while the other claimed she was forcibly kissed. Matsumoto has vehemently denied the allegations.

“I’ll fight because it is totally groundless,” he wrote on X on Monday. On the same day came the news that he was taking a break from entertainment activities. “I would like to go on hiatus as I will not be able to dedicate myself to comedy as I currently do while simultaneously engaging with the trial,” Matsumoto said, according to Yoshimoto Kogyo. The talent agency apologized for causing trouble to broadcasters and fans, adding that broadcasting companies could choose whether to air already recorded programs featuring Matsumoto.

boy and the heron golden globe

Hayao Miyazaki | Denis Makarenko via Shutterstock

Studio Ghibli’s The Boy and the Heron Wins Golden Globe

Hayao Miyazaki’s film The Boy and the Heron became the first non-English animated feature to win a Golden Globe on Sunday, beating competition from Disney productions Elemental and Wish, as well as Spider-Man: Across the Spider-Verse, The Super Mario Bros. Movie and Makoto Shinkai’s coming-of-age fantasy adventure Suzume. Said to be Miyazaki’s final movie, the story centers around a boy named Mahito who encounters a talking heron that entices him into a mysterious tower. Last month it became first original anime film to top the North American box office.

Nobody from Ghibli was available to accept the prize in person, but producer and co-founder Toshio Suzuki did release a statement: “This is the first Golden Globe awarded to a Studio Ghibli film, and it is a very special feeling. Since the beginning of this year, Japan has been hit by a series of tragic earthquakes and accidents… In such a situation, I hope the bright news of winning an award can bring a smile to everyone’s face, even if only a little.”

streamer johnny somali fined by Japanese government

Streamer Johnny Somali Fined for Playing Loud Music

Nuisance streamer Johnny Somali, real name Ramsey Khalid Ismael, was fined ¥200,000 by a Japanese court on Wednesday for playing loud music at a gyudon (beef on rice) restaurant in Osaka last year. According to the indictment, he obstructed the eatery’s operations and interfered with staff’s work as he took a video on his smartphone while blasting out tunes at around 1:30am on September 12. Though he admitted to shooting the video, the Kick streamer claimed he didn’t play the music deliberately and that the audio came on automatically.

Ismael, who had been in custody prior to the trial, requested leniency. “It was an embarrassing act that inconvenienced employees and customers. I swear that I will never record or distribute any kind of video in the future,” he said. According to the prosecution, he was “acting arbitrarily because he wanted to please viewers.” Judge Yukie Yasufuku agreed, describing Ismael’s actions as “malicious,” adding that he could have lowered the volume immediately, yet chose not to.

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