I was lucky to be able to catch up with a news coverage on NHK News 9 at channel 35.
Mr Miyamoto (I think this is the correct name) has been using puzzles (especially Sudoku) in his classroom for many years to enhance students' problem solving and thinking skills. NHK interviewed a couple of his students and they agreed the puzzle-solving activities helped them in both Mathematics as well as languages.
Mr Miyamoto invited parents to his class and explained his teaching style (Malaysian teachers and counsellors should practise this to improve schools-parents partnership). He also advised parents to listen to their children but not to intervene in their children's learning. If you look at the Malaysian context, many parents DO intervene in their children's learning and it affected the children-teachers relationship (and teachers-parents relationship too) in school.