December 28, Thursday, 2023

1. Matsumoto Castle in central Japan had a year-end cleanup to prepare for the coming New Year festivities. The castle, a designated national treasure in Matsumoto City, Nagano Prefecture, is cleaned every year at around this time.
2. Japan’s transport ministry has approved a plan by the Central Japan Railway Company to delay the start of its magnetically levitated train service from the initial scheduled of “2027 o later.” The company decided on December 14 to make the change for the section between Tokyo’s Shinagawa and Nagoya and filed for the change with the transportation ministry. 3. Researchers in Japan say a new coronavirus variant thought to be better at evading the human body’ immune system is becoming increasingly prevalent nationwide. The National Institute of Infectious Diseases says the JN.1 variant accounts for an estimated 31 percent of all detected cases this week, up sharply from 11.6 percent in the week through December 3.