Japan

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World's Oldest Person Became Widow 84 Years Ago

Almost 117-year-old Misao Okawa loves sushi and shut-eye

(Newser) - Surrounded by flowers and family and wearing a pink kimono, the oldest person in the world celebrated her birthday a day early today in Osaka, Japan. Born on March 5, 1898, Misao Okawa turns 117 tomorrow, and even she's not entirely sure why. "I wonder about that, too,... More »

Microsoft Co-Founder Finds Sunken WWII 'Marvel'

The Musashi was the Japanese navy's largest warship

(Newser) - The wreckage of Japan's biggest World War II warship has been discovered more than a half-mile underwater in the Sibuyan Sea, and credit for the find goes to a Microsoft co-founder, AFP reports. Paul Allen tweeted photos on Monday of the Musashi , sunk by US warplanes in 1944. Allen... More »

Japan Cops Jail American for Having Adderall

Carrie Russell was planning to teach English there

(Newser) - Carrie Russell apparently thought little of shipping her Adderall to Japan before moving there to teach English. But Japanese police saw it differently, arresting the 26-year-old American last month for allegedly smuggling illegal amphetamines into Japan, the Oregonian reports. "We're left in a state of disbelief," says... More »

Japanese Buying More Flip-Phones, Fewer Smart Ones

Owning a smartphone is pricey in the country

(Newser) - Remember the golden days of yore, when your phone was a lot smaller, used primarily for calling people, and opened with a satisfying flip? Well, it seems those days haven't died in Japan, where last year, the number of flip-phone shipments actually increased, a first in seven years, Reuters... More »

Designer of Bullet Train, Soy Sauce Bottle Dies

Kenji Ekuan was former monk whose inventions went on and on

(Newser) - Japanese industrial designer Kenji Ekuan, whose works ranged from a bullet train to the red-capped Kikkoman soy sauce dispenser as familiar as the classic Coca-Cola bottle, has died, his company said. He was 85. A former monk, Ekuan crafted a tabletop bottle for Kikkoman Corp. in 1961, winning international popularity... More »

Robots Will Staff New Hotel in Japan

'Actroids' will carry your bags, clean up after you

(Newser) - If you prefer your vacations with a minimum of human interaction, you might try a hotel that's opening in Japan this summer. The Henn-na Hotel's human staff will number just 10, but that doesn't mean you won't get speedy service: Robots will be ready to help... More »

Japan Will Soon Require Workers to Take Time Off

Workaholic culture is widespread in the country

(Newser) - Workaholic habits die hard in Japan—one 36-year-old who often works 14 hours a day took just eight of her 20 paid vacation days last year, six of them because she was sick—and she says, "Nobody else uses their vacation days." But the government wants to change... More »

Japan to ISIS: 'We Will Never, Never Forgive'

Reeling country vows to continue humanitarian aid

(Newser) - Japan is reeling in the wake of yesterday's video showing the apparent beheading of journalist Kenji Goto, as an ISIS militant threatened " let the nightmare for Japan begin ." "We are deeply saddened by this despicable and horrendous act of terrorism, and we denounce it in the... More »

Japanese Journalist Apparently Beheaded in New ISIS Video

Militant with British accent shown killing hostage Kenji Goto

(Newser) - An online video released today purported to show an Islamic State militant beheading Japanese journalist Kenji Goto , ending days of negotiations by diplomats to save the man. The video, released on militant websites and highlighted by militant sympathizers on social media sites, bore the symbol of the Islamic State group'... More »

Experts Stumped by 1M Young Japanese Unable to Go Out

Hikikomori phenomenon has been widespread since 1990s

(Newser) - Japan is grappling with a mysterious problem among young people. Some 500,000 to 2 million are affected by a condition that leaves them unable to leave the house—or even their rooms—for years at a time. It's called hikikomori, a word that has been commonplace in Japan... More »

New Video Says ISIS Hostages Have 24 Hours to Live

Voice claiming to be Kenji Goto calls for Iraqi prisoner's release

(Newser) - A new video message claiming to be from ISIS says that two hostages have 24 hours or less to live unless an Iraqi prisoner is released from Jordan, USA Today reports. The video, posted today, features a still image of hostage Kenji Goto , a Japanese journalist, as the voice of... More »

Stunned Japan Slams ISIS' 'Unforgivable Act of Violence'

As PM Abe comes under fire for apparent execution of Haruna Yukawa

(Newser) - Japanese PM Shinzo Abe today blasted ISIS' apparent execution of hostage Haruna Yukawa as an "outrageous and unforgivable act of violence" and wasted little time in demanding the release of Kenji Goto, reports the New York Times . While the US and Japan are both still in the process of... More »

ISIS Video Says One Japanese Hostage Is Dead

It demands prisoner exchange for second one

(Newser) - ISIS has released a new video claiming that one of its two Japanese hostages has been executed, reports the Wall Street Journal . In the video, hostage Kenji Goto is seen holding a photo of what appears to be the decapitated head and body of fellow hostage Haruna Yukawa. "You... More »

Hostage Deadline Passes, Militants Issue Warning

ISIS statement on Kenji Goto, Haruna Yukawa expected 'soon'

(Newser) - A new post on a forum popular with ISIS militants claims the two Japanese captives are running out of time. The "countdown has begun" for the group to kill Kenji Goto and Haruna Yukawa unless Japan pays $200 million in ransom, according to the post, published today. Japan says... More »

Clock Ticking, Japan Races to Save ISIS Hostages

Gov't says it's working to free Kenji Goto, Haruna Yukawa as ISIS deadline looms

(Newser) - On Tuesday, ISIS gave Japan 72 hours to pay $200 million in ransom to save the lives of freelance journalist Kenji Goto and self-employed contractor Haruna Yukawa—a demand that Yoshihide Suga, the country's chief Cabinet secretary, said yesterday the country wasn't going to meet . Now, with the... More »

Ancient Moat in Japan May Be Part of Royal Tomb

Archaeologists think it dates back to 7th century

(Newser) - Archaeologists in Japan have found the remains of an ancient moat that may have once guarded an emperor's tomb. They made the discovery in Asuka, and researchers think the moat was part of the burial site of a seventh-century emperor named Jomei who died in the year 641, reports... More »

Japan to ISIS: We Won't Pay Ransom for Hostages

Country wants extremists to know its money isn't 'aimed at killing Muslims'

(Newser) - Japan says it's exercising every diplomatic channel in the wake of ISIS' video threat to kill two Japanese hostages, emphasizing that the funds it's contributing to the international effort against the group are "not aimed at killing Muslims … and that [ISIS] shouldn't harm the two... More »

In an Order of McDonald's Fries, a Human Tooth

Japan unit apologizes for recent instances of contaminated food

(Newser) - Things you don't expect to hear from McDonald's: There is no indication that a human tooth found in an order of fries was fried. That from the fast-food giant's Japan unit, which has been digging into the discovery of the tooth, which turned up in an order... More »

9 Choke to Death on New Year Rice Cakes

Japan sees such deaths every January

(Newser) - It's both a New Year tradition and New Year killer: The Japanese eat an average of about 2 pounds of chewy rice cakes called mochi each year, most during the first week in January. And each year, a handful of people choke to death on them. This year's... More »

Cops: Japanese Student Kidnapped, Gang-Raped in India

Five men reportedly arrested

(Newser) - Another horrific gang-rape story is emerging out of India, this time involving a 22-year-old Japanese woman who police say was held for at least 12 days, reports the New York Times . Police have arrested five men, including two brothers, reports the BBC . Authorities say that the young academic was staying... More »

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