Slices of Japanese business, politics and life
Inclement weather has plagued the snowboard venue at the Olympics, but the storm clouds over Japan’s Kazuhiro Kokubo nearly prevented him from competing in Vancouver.
Ending eighth in the snowboard half-pipe finals with an apparent bloodied chin and lip, Kokubo is also unlikely to have felt the last of a public bruising in Japan that began when some people thought he was scruffily dressed for his departure from Narita Airport and continued when he later seemed unrepentant.
Kokubo, whose unusual surname translates as “mother country”, was banned from the opening ceremonies in Canada and nearly disqualified by the team for his fashion mis-statement.
But in a scene reminiscent of a student-principal meeting, he and team captain Seiko Hashimoto agreed after an apology to let the nail stick out — at least through the half-pipe event — rather than facing the hammer.
Japan’s prime minister may also be the country’s richest politician, but parliament is no longer the preserve of the wealthy, according to an analysis published by broadcaster NHK.
Lawmakers from the country’s lower house of parliament declared an average of 31.5 million yen (around $350,000) in assets, down more than 18 million yen on a previous declaration four years earlier.
Struggling musicians have long made dubious claims about being “big in Japan” in a bid to compensate for weak record sales at home.
But Susan Boyle, the 48-year-old who swept to fame in Britain and the U.S. after an appearance on reality TV, looks to be genuinely on the cusp of becoming a household name in the suburbs of Nagoya, Osaka and Tokyo.