The call for members to look in their crystal balls and make some calls about news they expect to see happening in the next 12 months resulted in some woolly answers. Maybe it was the proximity to the elections, but our newsworthy prime minister and his controversial policies easily won a majority of the mentions.

Here they are. According to our contributors, this is what you have to look forward to when you read the news in the next 365 days.

Property Prices Collapse in China. Investors Fleeced.

– Gregory Clark

Shinzo Abe will issue a revised Murayama Statement on the 70th anniversary of WWII, saying that Japan’s policy of liberating Asia from white colonialism had caused “tremendous damage and suffering” to the people of many countries, but particularly to Japan. “In the hope that no such mistake be made in the future, I regard it my duty to fudge these irrefutable facts of history, and express my feelings of profound mourning for all victims, both at home and abroad. But particularly at home.”

– David McNeill, the Irish Times

Vladimir Putin sworn in, in Washington, as President of the United States of China.

– Benjamin Fulford

Headline shared by NHK, the Yomiuri Shimbun and the Sankei Shimbun, Aug. 15: “World marks 70th anniversary of the end of the newly redesignated Great East Asian Unfortunate Misunderstanding”

– Richard Lloyd Parry,
the Times

The special secrets act that went into effect last Dec. 10, under cover of the snap elections (which cost ¥7 billion), will slowly muzzle Japan’s already lap-dog press, Abe will continue to whip the Asahi and all opposition media, and by the time no one is available to report that freedom of the press is dead – the FCCJ will hold their first & last Investigative Journalism awards. The committee will send next year's predictions from jail, in a letter that is heavily redacted.

– Jake Adelstein, the Daily Beast, etc.

A giant, eel-like animal was spotted by fishermen off the coast of Kashiwazaki, Niigata. They said it reached a length of 30 meters and had glaring red eyes. Scientists are analyzing the fishermen’s photos. Some are raising the possibility that radiation from the nearby nuclear power plants have caused a normal eel to grow 50 times its normal size . . . and . . .
Haruki Murakami wins the Nobel Prize!

– Yosuke Watanabe, Kyodo News, Beijing

Corporate chiefs in the public stocks as government names and shames the most tightfisted.

– Tamzin Booth,
the Economist

Police baffled as Japanese pop star claims he didn’t buy drugs from a foreigner in Roppongi.

– Fred Varcoe

Confirming rumours that the Kantei is home to a fellow traveler, Akie Abe replaces Kazuo Shii as leader of the Japanese Communist Party. Her husband, Shinzo, remarked: “When I said I wanted more women to take up senior positions in public life . . .” and . . . A veteran English member of the Foreign Correspondents’ Club provokes his compatriots, and delights his German colleagues, with publication of his latest tome: Don’t Mention the Roar: Falsehoods of the 1966 World Cup Final.

– Justin McCurry, the Guardian

Concerned about the lack of intelligent news from Japan, international media moguls will pump millions of dollars into beefing up their Tokyo bureaus and the salaries of Japan-based freelancers will skyrocket. FCCJ hacks will use their Visa black cards when ordering at Andy’s place.

And on a serious note. . . Japanese engineers will announce they’ve made a dramatic breakthrough in solar panel technology that drastically increases the efficiency of solar panels, creating a second solar energy boom worldwide.

– Eric Johnston,
the Japan Times

Auto parts supplier Takata Corp. goes bust under the skyrocketing cost of replacing its defective airbags worldwide. But global auto manufacturers, led by Honda, Toyota and Nissan, ride to the rescue, forming a coalition to bail out a supplier that is truly too big to fail. This comes even as the number of global recalls eclipses 20 million vehicles and engineers and regulators fail to pinpoint the root cause of the exploding airbags.

– Hans Greimel,
Automotive News

Beijing produces centuries- old evidence showing a volcanic island Japan says is emerging off its east coast is actually a chunk of Shanghai that was towed to the Pacific and sunk by Tokyo. This is being gradually pumped up from the ocean floor to give the impression of emerging “volcanically.” The action is hurting the feelings of the Chinese people and revealing Japan’s incorrect attitude to geology. . . . (Meanwhile, the FCCJ disappears in a puff of logical smoke as several members accidentally sue themselves.)

– Huw Griffith, AFP


Abe Calls Snap Election, Asks Voters to Decide Whether He or Akie Should Take Out Trash

Japan’s Globetrotting PM Visits Antarctica, Proclaims Penguinomics

NYT Editorial Brands Abe “Dangerous Human Centrist” For Not Doing More to Help Penguins

Abe Declares Kono Statement to be State Secret, Will Prosecute Any Mention of It

Asahi Shimbun Admits It Cannot Verify Tojo’s Claims, Retracts 1945 Stories that Japan Won War

Sankei Shimbun Says No Documentary Evidence That Japan Lost War, Proclaims Victory

Yomiuri Shimbun Apologizes for Using Term ‘Defeated’ To Refer to Japan’s Status at End of WWII

Tamogami Says Leftist Girls Better Looking After All, Joins Communist Party

– Martin Fackler

One or more members of the FCCJ will be arrested for violating the new state secrecy law; the Number 1 Shimbun will be forced to go underground; FCCJ members will be required to sing “Kimigayo” at the start of cocktail hour.

– Bob Whiting

As debate rages around the vagaries of falling oil prices, the yen and polar bear populations, sea levels are confidently predicted to continue their up, up, up trend this year.

– Mary Corbett

Abe claims Abenomics is on track; recession is “temporary blip.” Japanese leader dismisses world’s foremost economic theorists’ fears as “groundless.”

– Julian Ryall,
the Daily Telegraph

Japan to solve population problem with intelligent robots. “Immigrants, women, old people too much trouble,” government spokesman says. “Robots do as they are told.”

– Andrew Horvat

Prime Minister Abe Steps Down as Market Loses Patience with Abenomics

– Teddy Jimbo,
Video News Network

Sony exits TVs amid huge losses, smartphones could be next . . . and . . . Major contractors embroiled in Olympics graft probe.

– Tim Hornyak,
IDG News Service