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Drive My Car wins Oscar for best international feature
Director Ryusuke Hamaguchi’s Drive My Car won best international feature at the 94th U.S. Academy Awards in Los Angeles on March 27, becoming the second Japanese film to bag the prestigious Oscar for the category.
The category, previously known as best foreign language film, was won in 2009 by Yojiro Takita’s Okuribito (Departures).
Drive My Car is based on a short story of the same title by author Haruki Murakami and features a widower, portrayed by Hidetoshi Nishijima, who faces his grief over the sudden death of his beloved wife. He finds solace in the company of a female chauffeur (Toko Miura).
In a brief speech, Hamaguchi, 43, thanked the Academy in English — and was almost played off stage before saying “just a moment” and continuing to thank both the actors in attendance and those who could not travel to Los Angeles.
Since winning an award for best screenplay in the Cannes Film Festival in July last year, the three-hour-long brooding drama has received about 90 awards both in Japan and abroad.
The film made history as the first Japanese film to be nominated for a best picture Oscar. It was also nominated in three other categories — best director, best adapted screenplay and best international feature.
Japan lowers age of adulthood for 1st time in over 140 years
Japan lowered the age of adulthood from 20 to 18 on April 1 by revising the Civil Code and changing the legal definition of an adult for the first time in over 140 years, opening up new freedoms and responsibilities for 18- and 19-year-olds.
While the move aims to encourage active social participation by youth, there are also concerns they will become easy targets for scams.
As adults, 18- and 19-year-olds may legally enter into consumer contracts without parental consent.
Changes to Japan’s Juvenile Law to implement stricter punishments for 18- and 19-year-old criminal offenders also came into effect April 1.
The revision expands the range of crimes where 18- and 19-year-olds are referred to prosecutors from family courts and tried as adults.
The revision also relaxes rules for media reporting, allowing for the full names and faces of 18- and 19-year-old offenders to be revealed.
With the lowering of the adulthood age, many related laws including those on passports, national licenses and jury duty have also been revised, but people under 20 will still be prohibited from drinking alcohol, smoking and gambling.
The Civil Code revision also lifts the legal age of marriage for women to 18.