Gov’t eyes regular ferry service between Haneda airport, Akihabara



The government is aiming to launch a ferry service in 2017 between Tokyo’s Haneda airport and the Akihabara electronics district for tourists from abroad and other areas of Japan, a government official says.

The Land, Infrastructure, Transport and Tourism Ministry is planning to start a regular service on a 20-kilometer route linking a pier near Haneda’s international terminal with a dock in the Kanda River close to central Akihabara via Tokyo Bay and the Sumida River.

During the trip passengers would be able to see the Rainbow Bridge, Tokyo Skytree, the world’s tallest broadcasting tower, and high-rise buildings in downtown Tokyo.

A guided cruise, on a vessel expected to accommodate about 40 passengers, would take about 150 minutes and cost around 3,000 yen.

When the ministry offered the ferry service on a trial basis for seven days in September, it attracted about 1,500 people, of whom 85% said they would like to board the ferry again.

The ministry is scheduled to provide a service again between April and June this year and is now soliciting operators.

The official said the regular ferry service to and from Haneda airport is expected to “benefit passengers arriving from abroad and other parts of Japan because it will increase their transportation choices.”


Kuk comes to the party in Legco election race


Kenneth Lau

Tuesday, January 05, 2016

Rural powerhouse Heung Yee Kuk plans to form a political party and participate in the Legislative Council election in September, according to an internal report to be submitted to Chief Executive Leung Chun- ying.

The report, entitled “Exploring the New Territories” and written by kuk chairman Kenneth Lau Ip-keung, had been leaked to the media earlier. Lau and two ex-officio executive members Leung Fuk-yuen and Bowie Hau Chi-keung declined to make any comment.

But a source said the new party could be formed before September. The kuk will not contest all five geographical constituencies, focussing only on the New Territories East and West and East, according to its preliminary plan.



“We have no foundations in Hong Kong Island and Kowloon,” the source said, adding the kuk has not ruled out contesting the New Territories East by-election on February 28, with Hau being a possible candidate.

The by-election was triggered by the resignation of former Civic Party legislator Ronny Tong Ka-wah.

The 13-day nomination period starts today.

The report comprises 27 chapters that cover 25 key items relating to concerns of indigenous New Territories residents, such as prospects for the controversial small house policy and further participation in politics.

It also covers livelihood issues, such as the North East Development Plan, fishermen’s claims, as well as cultural and conservation policies.

Lau purportedly started drafting the report in June after he took over as kuk chairman from his father, Lau Wong-fat, known as “King of the New Territories.

The source said the leak of the report has taken kuk leaders by surprise and it might delay further discussions on it. The report was originally on the agenda for deliberations at the kuk’s general assembly on January 19.

Meanwhile, members of the pro-Beijing camp were elected chairman and vice chairman in the Tai Po, Islands and Yau Tsim Mong district council meetings.

Canada condemns executions in Saudi Arabia; open doors to thousands of Saudi students

Canada’s Minister of Foreign Affairs Stéphane Dion strongly denounced the latest mass execution of alleged terrorists by Saudi Arabia.

“Canada opposes the death penalty and decries the execution of 47 individuals in Saudi Arabia on January 2, 2016,” Dion stated on Sunday, January 3. “The Government of Canada raises concerns about human rights and due process with senior Saudi Arabian officials on a regular basis and will continue to do so. In the wake of these executions, we reiterate our call to the Government of Saudi Arabia to protect human rights, respect peaceful expressions of dissent and ensure fairness in judicial proceedings.”

Dion added: “Canada is particularly concerned that the execution of Sheikh Nimr al-Nimr could further inflame sectarian tensions in the region. We urge Saudi Arabian authorities and local and regional leaders, including those in Iran, to work with all communities to defuse these tensions and promote reconciliation.”

Two weeks earlier (December 17), Dion met in Ottawa with Saudi Arabia’s Minister of Foreign Affairs Adel Al Jubeir, and expressed “Canada’s concerns regarding the state of human rights in Saudi Arabia,” but clarified that it won’t affect the Canadian interest in strengthening the relations with the Saudi monarchy, which implement the Islamic Law (Shariah) including beheading of criminals, stoning adulterers, amputating thieves and strictly barring the practice of any other religion but Islam.

“I was pleased to host the Minister of Foreign Affairs of Saudi Arabia, Adel Al Jubeir,” said Dion. “Our meeting strengthened the ties between Canada and Saudi Arabia… Engaging with our international partners serves Canadian interests, and I look forward to continuing to build on this important relationship, including our robust two-way trade, as well as our strong people-to-people ties, with 16,000 Saudi students pursuing their education in Canada.”