On Thursday, April 14 at 9:26 PM, a 6.4 earthquake hit Kumamoto, with its epicenter in Mashiki Town. Aftershocks from the initial earthquake lasted throughout the night and into the next day. There have been reports of damage across the prefecture, mainly centered in Mashiki and Kumamoto City. There was no tsunami risk reported with the earthquake and its subsequent aftershocks. Continue reading
The elections for the next governor of Kumamoto were held on Sunday, March 27.
The candidates were:
- Daisuke Terauchi, a lawyer
- Ikuo Kabashima, current governor of Kumamoto running for his third term
- Seiji Koyama, former three-term mayor of Kumamoto City (2002-2014)
The results are as follows:
- Ikuo Kabashima – 504,931 (68%)
- Seiji Koyama – 201,951 (27%)
- Daisuke Terauchi – 33,955 (5%)
51.01% of eligible voters participated, an increase of 12.57% from the last election in 2008. Continue reading
Here is some information about the population of Kumamoto Prefecture and its cities, towns, and villages. All this data was compiled from the National Census that took place last October. Your city, town, or village may also have population data on their websites.
You can find more information, such as specific data for each city, town, or village in the official report from the prefecture on the Kumamoto Prefecture website (Japanese only).
National Population: 127,110,000 people (decrease of 947,000 people – 0.7% down)
Number of Households: 53,403,000 households (increase of 1,453,000 households – 2.8% up)
Kumamoto Population: 1,786,969 people (down from 1,817,426 people in 2010, decrease of 30,457 people – 1.7% down)
Number of Men: 841,042 people
Number of Women: 945,927 people
Number of Households: 704,497 households (up from 688,234 households in 2010, increase of 16,263 households – 2.4% up) Continue reading
On February 27th, the Tsunagi IC opened on the Minami-Kyushu Expressway. With this, the portion of the expressway from Ashikita to Tsunagi is open for travel. It is estimated that traveling between Yatsushiro and Tsunagi on the expressway will be about 44 minutes, a 26 minute reduction of travel time before the expressway was opened.
The new span of expressway stretches for 7.7 kilometers, with three tunnels and a bridge along the way. Traveling on the expressway in either direction between Hinagu and Tsunagi is free. The expressway is planned to extend all the way to Minamata, with the Minamata IC opening in 2018.
Starting March 23, you will now be able to use a wide variety of IC Cards on buses in Kumamoto. It is intended to help out of prefecture travelers get around easier, but should be useful for those who still have leftover money on IC cards from trips.
You can read the official press release (in Japanese) here: http://www.kyusanko.co.jp/…/Sankob…/pdf/ICCARD20160323-2.pdf
As of February 1st, the cost to ride the Kumamoto City Street Tram has increased from 150 yen to 170 yen. Child fare has increased from 80 yen to 90 yen. Commuter passes have also increased in price accordingly.
The one day tram pass is still 400 yen, but will increase to 500 yen on April 1st.
You can find more details on the Kumamoto City Transportation Bureau website (Japanese only).
Just a random bit of news that may be of interest to some. Over the weekend (Jan 16-17), the National Center Test for University Admissions was held. It is a standardized test that is used by public and some private universities in Japan to determine entry into university. If you are a high school ALT, no doubt you have seen your third years prepping hard for this test. It encompasses a wide variety of subjects and English is no exception. Interest in the test is so high that newspapers commonly publish the test and its answers the day after it is held so students can check their results and figure out their score by hand.
The English section from the test is now available online. Here are some of the relevant links:
Click the continue reading link for explanation of the Japanese instructions! Continue reading