Category Archives: News

Earthquake Updates

Published by:

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

Kumamoto Governor Elections

Published by:

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

Kumamoto Population Data from National Census

Published by:

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 Data
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 Data
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

Opening of Ashikita-Tsunagi Expressway

Published by:

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.

IC Card Use on Kumamoto Buses

Published by:

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.

The IC cards that can be used include:
SUGOCA (the JR Kyushu one), nimoca, はやかけん, Suica, PASMO, manaca, TOICA, Kitaca, ICOCA, PiTaPa.

You will be able to use it on the following bus lines (already currently served by the Kumamon IC Card): Kyushu Sanko Bus, Sanko Bus, Kumamoto Bus, Kumamoto Toshi Bus, and Kumamoto Electric Railway.

You can read the official press release (in Japanese) here:…/Sankob…/pdf/ICCARD20160323-2.pdf

National Center Test for University Admissions

Published by:

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:

PDF of the written portion (answers on the last page)
Listening Questions: 1, 2, 3A, 3B, 4A, 4B, answers

Click the continue reading link for explanation of the Japanese instructions! Continue reading