Japan

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Japan's Tsunami Made Cambodian Kids Sicker

2011 natural disaster exacerbated iodized salt dearth, worsening country's deficiency issue

(Newser) - Cambodia thought it had a handle on its scarcity of iodine, an element critical for humans (and one not made naturally by the body) to make thyroid hormone. The country had long struggled with the lack of iodine in its soil, which at one point in the late 1990s resulted... More »

Princess Mako of Japan to Wed ... and Become a Commoner

The 25-year-old will marry former classmate Kei Komuro

(Newser) - Princess Mako, the granddaughter of Japan's emperor, is getting married to an ocean lover who can ski, play the violin, and cook. The news comes via public broadcaster NHK TV and has been confirmed by the Imperial Household Agency, reports the Japan Times . Kei Komuro, the man who won... More »

Island That Bans Women on Verge of World Heritage Status

Okinoshima in southwestern Japan is considered too sacred for women to visit

(Newser) - For centuries, a remote island in southwestern Japan has been deemed too sacred for women to visit, and even the men who do must strip naked for a ritual cleansing, as well as never discuss the details of their trip. Okinoshima, an ancient religious site that is home to the... More »

Japan's North Korea Warning Would Be 10 Minutes, Max

Japanese government admits there wouldn't be much time to seek shelter

(Newser) - If the Japanese ever receive word that North Korea has launched a missile toward them, they better find shelter quickly—because the government estimates any warning will be 10 minutes at most, the Japan Times reports. The Japanese seem to be on edge in the wake of chatter that Pyongyang... More »

Sole Survivor Marks 75th Anniversary of 1st US Raid on Japan

Dick Cole, 101, is last of Doolittle's Tokyo Raiders

(Newser) - At age 101, retired Lt. Col. Dick Cole says his memories are vivid of the Doolittle Tokyo Raiders mission that helped change the course of World War II. Now the sole survivor of the original 80-member group, he plans to take part in events Monday and Tuesday at the National... More »

Japan PM Issues Sarin-Gas Warning About North Korea

As concern mounts that another missile test is imminent

(Newser) - Prime Minister Shinzo Abe warned Thursday that North Korea may be capable of firing a missile loaded with sarin nerve gas toward Japan, as international concern mounted that a missile or nuclear test by the authoritarian state could be imminent. "There is a possibility that North Korea is already... More »

Can You Name 'Light Blue' Using Just One Word?

The Japanese call light blue "mizu," or water

(Newser) - In Japan, there are a dozen basic colors that almost everyone in a recent survey was able to name using one word. And 11 of them—black, white, gray, blue, green, yellow, red, purple, brown, pink, and orange—all overlap with the basic colors Americans can describe in one word.... More »

Japan Kills 333 Whales During Annual Hunt

Activists have long called for an end to the practice

(Newser) - Japan's annual Antarctic whale hunt killed 333 whales this year, the AFP reports. The five-ship whaling fleet set out in November and returned to port Friday with the minke whale carcasses. The country's Fisheries Agency says the mission was necessary for "research for the purpose of studying... More »

Another Test Increases Worries Over North Korea

Pyongyang performs second ballistic missile engine test

(Newser) - "North Korea is continuing its activities to sophisticate its missile capability," a rep for South Korea's Joint Chiefs of Staff says, and the latest report from CNN seems to back that up. It cites two unnamed defense officials in reporting that North Korea performed another test of... More »

A Foot of Snow Fell, Then the Deadly Avalanche Hit

8 students feared dead in Japan

(Newser) - What started as a snow-filled trip for seven schools in Japan has ended in tragedy. The BBC reports that eight high school students are believed to have been killed in an avalanche that hit a ski resort 90 miles north of Tokyo on Monday. Some 70 students and teachers were... More »

Japan Marks 6 Years Since Devastating Tsunami

Region is still struggling to recover

(Newser) - Six years ago, more than 18,000 people died or went missing as a tsunami triggered by a massive quake engulfed coastal areas of northeastern Japan. Tens of thousands more people's lives were unraveled when they lost family members, friends, homes, and livelihoods. The displacement widened as entire communities... More »

N. Korea: We Were Training to Hit US Bases

Nikki Haley calls country a 'menace'

(Newser) - North Korea says its missile launches Monday were practice tests for strikes on US bases in Japan, which could potentially "wipe out" 54,000 US troops, per CNN and AFP . A Tuesday report from North Korea's state news agency KCNA said the four missiles—three of which fell... More »

No Survivors in Crash of Japan Rescue Helicopter

9 died in training flight accident

(Newser) - All nine people aboard a rescue helicopter that crashed in snow-covered mountains in central Japan have been pronounced dead. The Fire and Disaster Management Agency said in a statement that the nine men—seven firefighters, an engineer, and the pilot—were aboard a rescue helicopter that crashed during a training... More »

Half of This Country's Married Couples Aren't Having Sex

Japan needs to get its bedrooms steamy again

(Newser) - Valentine's Day for a staggering number of couples in Japan will be even less steamy than a dry-air sauna. Per a new survey by the Japan Family Planning Association, nearly half of all married couples here haven't had sex for over a month (and didn't expect to... More »

Robot Enters Fukushima Reactor, Doesn't Fare So Well

'Scorpion' robot's crawling function fails before it could locate melted fuel

(Newser) - Robot probes sent to one of Japan's wrecked Fukushima nuclear reactors have suggested worse-than-anticipated challenges for the plant's ongoing cleanup. The plant's operator, Tokyo Electric Power Co., said the remote-controlled "scorpion" robot was sent into Unit 2's containment vessel Thursday to investigate the area around... More »

The Dark Underworld of Competitive 'Shroom-Hunting

Often-obsessive hobby can result in fatalities from poisoning, falls—even murder

(Newser) - What drives someone to head deep into the woods and spend hours foraging for fungi? Writing for Eater , the appropriately-named Joshua Hunt examines the seemingly obsessive quest for some of the world's rarest mushrooms. There's C. geaster, or "kirinomitake," for instance, which just one living person... More »

'Unimaginable' Radiation Detected in Fukushima Reactor

Tokyo Electric Power estimates 530 sieverts an hour

(Newser) - Exposure to 4 sieverts of radiation would kill 50% of people, according to Japan's National Institute of Radiological Sciences, per Japan Times . That's less than 1% of the radiation now being detected inside a damaged reactor at the Fukushima nuclear power station, according to Tokyo Electric Power. The... More »

Japan's Antidote to Overwork: 'Inemuri' Naps

But there are rules to follow

(Newser) - People who can nod off in any situation may consider a move to Japan, where public napping, so long as one follows certain rules of etiquette, is basically seen as virtuous. So reports the New York Times , which calls such napping a "subtle sign of diligence." The word... More »

Mathematician Wants to Fight Tsunamis With Sound Waves

His novel approach focuses on reducing the wave's energy

(Newser) - Tsunamis are among the deadliest forces in nature. Look no further than the one in the Indian Ocean in 2004 that killed more than 230,000 people after being triggered by a powerful earthquake, notes a post at Phys.org . But what if tsunamis could be drained of their power... More »

Japan Asks Worn-Out Workers to Take Afternoon to Chill

'Premium Friday' begins in February

(Newser) - Workers in Japan put in notoriously long hours, and the country appears to be paying a price: stressed out workers and resulting health problems, including suicide. As the Japan Times notes, there's even a word for it: " karoshi ," or "death by overwork." Now Japan is... More »

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