News Headlines - 22 February 2021

Ministry to reprimand 11 officials for dinner scandal involving Suga’s son : The Asahi Shimbun

A lobbying scandal in which Prime Minister Yoshihide Suga's eldest son allegedly tried to influence the telecommunications ministry by wining and dining officials has expanded to include another ranking bureaucrat.
Makiko Yamada, the first woman to serve as Cabinet public relations secretary, was treated to an expensive dinner by Suga’s son and other Tohokushinsha Film Corp. officials when she was with the ministry in 2019.
The Ministry of Internal Affairs and Communications announced the finding on Feb. 22 as part of its investigation. It has decided to reprimand 11 officials over the scandal.

Pressure drops inside vessel at Fukushima plant | NHK WORLD

Tokyo Electric Power Company has found that the pressure inside one of the reactor containment vessels at the Fukushima Daiichi nuclear plant has dropped.
The utility said the earthquake that hit the area on February 13 may have been to blame. TEPCO said no radioactive material has leaked... TEPCO said it confirmed at around 6 p.m. on Sunday that pressure inside the vessel of the No.1 reactor dropped to 0.9 kilopascals from the usual 1.2 kilopascals. Nitrogen is being added to the vessel to raise the pressure and reduce the risk of a hydrogen explosion.

Sumo: Tokitsukaze asked to quit after breaking COVID rules

The Japan Sumo Association imposed the second most severe punishment on stablemaster Tokitsukaze on Monday, recommending he retire for violating coronavirus protocols when he made nonurgent, nonessential outings during a basho.
The 47-year-old broke the rules during the New Year Grand Tournament in January when visiting a mahjong parlor in contravention of explicit guidelines aimed at reducing the chance of infection. It was his second offense after he was caught playing golf in Miyagi Prefecture in September, a violation that cost him a demotion by two ranks.

Supreme Court allows release of Trump tax returns to NY Prosecutor - CNNPolitics

The Supreme Court cleared the way for a New York prosecutor to obtain former President Donald Trump's tax returns, dealing a massive loss to Trump who has fiercely fought to shield his financial papers from prosecutors.
The documents will be subject to grand jury secrecy rules that restrict their public release.

Mariners' Kevin Mather resigns after controversial comments

Kevin Mather, whose startling comments about service-time suppression, foreign-born players' English skills and the inner workings of the Seattle Mariners roiled the baseball industry, resigned as the team's president and CEO on Monday, according to club chairman John Stanton.
Mather, 58, made the comments during a Feb. 5 virtual meeting with the Bellevue (Washington) Breakfast Rotary Club, and they were unearthed from YouTube by a Mariners fan Sunday.