Japan

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Fukushima Operators Begin Super-Delicate Stage

Removing reactor covers is next step in decades-long decommissioning process

(Newser) - It's going to take decades to completely decommission the Fukushima nuclear power plant , but a critical step in that process began in earnest today, reports NBC News. One of the six 136-foot covers draped over one of the plant's nuclear reactors to keep radioactive materials from seeping out... More »

36 Marines Lost in Bloody WWII Battle Finally Home

Remains of men who fell in 1943's Battle of Tarawa arrived in Hawaii

(Newser) - The US military and a private organization have brought home the remains of 36 Marines killed in one of World War II's bloodiest battles. More than 990 US Marines and 30 sailors died during the three-day Battle of Tarawa in 1943. Japanese machine gun fire killed scores of Marines... More »

Mitsubishi to US POW: Sorry for Enslaving You

Firm makes historic apology to 94-year-old

(Newser) - With the 70th anniversary of the end of World War II looming, Mitsubishi has finally apologized for using captured American troops as slave labor. At a ceremony at the Museum of Tolerance at the Simon Wiesenthal Center in Los Angeles yesterday, 94-year-old former POW James Murphy shook hands with Mitsubishi... More »

Japan Close to Nixing 70-Year Ban on Fighting Overseas

Protesters demonstrate against parliamentary reversal of 'defense only' stance

(Newser) - Japan's parliament today attracted protesters and opposition lawmaker walkouts after its lower house voted to allow the country's military to fight overseas, a power eschewed since WWII, the New York Times reports. A package of 11 security-themed bills supported by PM Shinzo Abe and the US—and given... More »

What Pacifist? Japan Getting Into the Weapons Biz

Most Japanese still wary of weapons industry

(Newser) - Weapons exports are big business, and with the end of a ban on them in place since the end of World War II, Japanese manufacturers are getting in the international war business. Mitsubishi, Kawasaki, Toshiba, and other brands better known for consumer electronics are poised to sell submarines, planes, and... More »

Twitter's Ugly World Cup Response: 'Pearl Harbor'

American soccer fans joke World Cup win is payback for 1941 attack

(Newser) - Shortly after the USA's win over Japan in the Women's World Cup last night, Twitter fans exchanged jubilation and sportsmanship for something much darker: mentions of Pearl Harbor. Several soccer fans suggested the 5-2 victory was a form of payback for the 1941 attack during World War II,... More »

Shipwreck Recalls Really Bad Luck for 2 Invasions

Japanese find harks back to 13th-century Mongol attacks

(Newser) - A shipwreck off the coast of Japan serves as evidence that no navy can defeat Mother Nature. Archaeologists spotted the wreck off the island of Takashima in southern Japan and say it belongs to one of two attempted Mongol invasions from the 13th century, Archaeology reports. Running 65 feet long... More »

Bullet Train Passenger Torches Himself

At least 1 other Tokyo-Osaka passenger killed

(Newser) - A passenger on one of Japan's high-speed bullet trains set himself on fire today, filling a carriage with smoke, Japanese officials say. National broadcaster NHK reports that the man and a female passenger are dead. Japan's transport ministry and a fire official say the victims were in a... More »

Japan Lifts Dancing Ban

It's been illegal in clubs after midnight for decades

(Newser) - Starting next year, clubgoers in Japan will be able to keep dancing after the clock strikes midnight without fear of arrest. That's because a strange old law is finally coming off the books—one that forbids dancing in clubs and most public venues after midnight, reports CNN . It dates... More »

Japan's Secret WWII Tunnels Finally Open

Site served as Imperial Navy headquarters in war's final days

(Newser) - On a hillside overlooking a field where students play volleyball, an inconspicuous entrance leads down a slope—and seemingly back in time—to Japan's secret Imperial Navy headquarters in the final months of World War II. Here, Japan's navy leaders made plans for the fiercest battles from late... More »

What's So Special About This Japanese Chalk?

The company has folded, but the chalk is still available online

(Newser) - When the 80-year-old Japanese company that produces Hagoromo Fulltouch chalk went out of business this past spring , mathematicians took to social media to pay their respects and their wallets to buy as much of the chalk as they could—15 years' worth in the case of one professor. Sarah Zhang... More »

Congrats, Japan, You're No Longer World's Worst at Procreating

Germany is the world's new panda of birth rates

(Newser) - Japan, having long fretted over its sexless image , has managed to escape its worst-in-the-world-at-procreation status: The new lowest birth rate in town belongs to Germany, which saw about 8.3 births per 1,000 people in the five years ending in 2013, edging under Japan's 8.4, reports Bloomberg... More »

Body Left in Train Station Storage Locker

Tokyo station workers make grim find

(Newser) - A worker at Japan's Tokyo Station got an unpleasant shock after opening an abandoned suitcase that no one had claimed for a month—the decomposing body of an elderly woman inside. Police in Tokyo say the corpse was found in a suitcase in a temporary storage area at the... More »

Island Volcano Spews Ash 6 Miles High

Japan's Mount Shindake latest eruption in Pacific's 'Ring of Fire'

(Newser) - A volcano erupted in spectacular fashion on a small island in southern Japan today, spewing out rocks and sending black clouds of ash nearly 6 miles into the sky. Authorities told people on the island to evacuate, and 136 people were removed via the air and sea. One person was... More »

'Something Just Fell Out of Me': Surprise Baby Born on Plane

Canadian woman who didn't know she was pregnant gives birth over Russia

(Newser) - One in 2,500 moms gives birth after a "cryptic" pregnancy or "denial in pregnancy," and a Canadian woman can now count herself among their number after a Calgary-to-Tokyo flight ended in the birth of her surprise baby girl, reports the CBC . Ada Guan, 23, was... More »

Japan City Wants Recognition for Kamikaze Past

But it's unclear whether UN group will grant formal approval

(Newser) - A Japanese city's plan to seek UNESCO recognition for its collection of documents related to its role as a launching base for "kamikaze" suicide attacks during World War II is raising questions over how such memories should be preserved. Kampei Shimoide, mayor of Minamikyushu, and others associated with... More »

Japan's Baby Monkey Will Stay 'Charlotte'

The royals took no offense: Oita officials

(Newser) - A monkey born in a Japanese zoo will keep its name Charlotte after all. Oita city officials settled a national debate over whether calling the monkey Charlotte offends its British royal namesake . The officials announced today they will stick to their first choice because there was no protest from Britain'... More »

Japanese Zoo Sorry It Named Baby Monkey 'Charlotte'

Naming macaque after England's new princess has proved a royal pain

(Newser) - A month ago, no one would have said boo about the name chosen by a Japanese zoo for its new baby monkey. But a month ago, Princess Charlotte Elizabeth Diana hadn't yet entered the world, and now Takasakiyama Natural Zoological Garden is fielding a "barrage of complaints" about... More »

Japan's Magnetic Train Sets Speed Record—Again

Japan hopes to sell the technology to the US

(Newser) - A week after crushing a speed record set 12 years ago, a magnetic levitation train in Japan has again set a new one. During a test run outside Tokyo today, Central Japan Railway pushed a seven-car maglev train to 374mph, topping its own world record of 366mph set on Thursday.... More »

Japan Now Biggest US Creditor

It overtakes China for first time since 2008

(Newser) - Japan has overtaken China as the top foreign holder of US Treasury securities, a position the country last held in August 2008. In its monthly report on bond holdings, the Treasury Department says total foreign holdings of Treasury debt dipped 0.9% in February to $6.16 trillion, down from... More »

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