NEWS ABOUT: Japan

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'Space Cherry' Tree Stumps Botanists

After stint in space, it blossomed at less than half the age of a typical tree

(Newser) - Usually, it takes about 10 years for a cherry tree to bloom after it's sprouted. Not so with Japan's "space cherry": The tree bloomed after just four, and experts can't explain why, the South China Morning Post reports. It earned its galactic nickname after quite the... More »

US Sends Warships to Japan as Tensions Rise

Chuck Hagel gives warning to China on 10-day Asia trip

(Newser) - Visiting Japan today, Defense Secretary Chuck Hagel said the US is sending two more ballistic missile destroyers to Japan to counter a possible North Korean attack, the AP reports. But he saved his sharpest remarks for China, linking Russia's takeover of Crimea with China's aggressive behavior in a... More »

Japan Vows to Intercept North Korea Missiles

But relations between the two nations might be better than you think

(Newser) - In case North Korea gets ideas to fire any more missiles , Japan is promising to shoot down any that have a chance of coming down in Japanese territory, reports Reuters . To do so, the defense ministry has deployed a destroyer in the Sea of Japan. The order runs through April... More »

Japan PM Chucks Ban on Exporting Weapons

Country looks to maintain regional power balance

(Newser) - In 1967, Japan banned weapons exports—first to selected countries, then worldwide. Now, PM Shinzo Abe is ditching those rules, the New York Times reports. A key reason: As China exhibits growing military strength, Abe wants "to maintain the balance of power in the region," an expert says.... More »

Fukushima Hot Zone Ready for Residents

District's 357 residents were booted 3 years ago

(Newser) - Some 357 Japanese citizens are getting the green light to return home after three years in exile—if they dare. The former residents of the Miyakoji area of Tamura were forced to leave their homes in the wake of the Fukushima nuclear disaster three years ago; those homes were roughly... More »

UN Court Puts Kibosh on Japan's Whale Hunt

Finds JARPA II is 'not scientific'

(Newser) - Australia 1, Japan 0: The UN's International Court of Justice today ruled that Japan's whaling program, which it has long claimed is for scientific purposes, is just a cloak for commercial whaling, the BBC reports, in a case that Australia brought about back in 2010. The 16-judge panel... More »

World's Longest Serving Death Row Inmate Goes Free

Japan sets boxer free after 48 years on death row

(Newser) - A Japanese court has ordered the release of the world's longest-serving death row inmate, saying investigators had likely fabricated evidence. The court ordered a retrial and suspended the death sentence for 78-year-old Iwao Hakamada, a former professional boxer convicted in the 1966 murder of a family. More than 45... More »

Japan to US: Have Our Nuclear Cache

Japan to hand over plutonium, uranium to be converted into ' less sensitive forms'

(Newser) - A big win for President Obama: Japan today announced it will hand over some 700 pounds of weapons-grade plutonium as well as an estimated 450 pounds of highly enriched uranium to the US, reports the New York Times , which calls it the "biggest single success in President Obama's... More »

Suspect in Anne Frank Vandalism Nabbed in Japan

Man in Tokyo accused of damaging books in stores, libraries

(Newser) - It looks like Tokyo police have caught the person responsible for damaging hundreds of books related to the Holocaust and Anne Frank, including her diary , but not much is known about the suspect's background or motive. Authorities have identified him only as an unemployed 36-year-old man, reports the BBC... More »

Japan Marks 3 Years Since Triple Disaster

270K tsunami survivors still can't go home

(Newser) - Japan is marking the third anniversary of a devastating earthquake and tsunami that left nearly 19,000 people dead or missing, turned coastal communities into wasteland, and triggered a nuclear crisis. In Tokyo, Prime Minister Shinzo Abe and Emperor Akihito spoke at a memorial service, marking the moment the magnitude... More »

Japan's Crime Gangs Went Where, Exactly?

Police say yakuza membership is declining due to stricter laws

(Newser) - Japan's underworld crime syndicates, or yakuza, have apparently dwindled over the years, raising the question of where they've gone and why they dropped out of sight, the Daily Beast reports. Police say stricter laws have pressured yakuza members out of the business, by empowering financial institutions to punish... More »

Japan's 'Beethoven': I'm Still Kinda Deaf

Samuragochi says he'll never appear on TV again

(Newser) - Mamoru Samuragochi, the acclaimed deaf Japanese composer who was outed by his ghostwriter as neither deaf nor a composer , held a contrite press conference today that he promised would be his last. "I will speak the truth. I will make this my last appearance on TV," the 50-year-old... More »

Report: Feds Subpoena Mt. Gox

Japan also promises to investigate

(Newser) - Federal prosecutors in New York have sent a subpoena to Mt. Gox, the once-mighty bitcoin exchange that vanished yesterday , the Wall Street Journal reports. Prosecutors demanded that the site preserve certain documents, a source said. Mt. Gox is based out of Tokyo, but if its employees sent emails or financial... More »

The Wind Rises Is a Beautiful, Difficult Finale for Miyazaki

Film is typically lyrical, atypically realistic, and a little controversial

(Newser) - What might be Hayao Miyazaki's last film makes its US debut this weekend, and naturally critics are in love with it. The beloved filmmaker announced his retirement after The Wind Rises debuted at the Venice Film Festival last year. Since then the movie—a biopic of Jiro Horikoshi, who... More »

Japan Mystery: Anne Frank's Diary Torn Apart

'We don't know why this happened or who did it,' says library council head

(Newser) - More than 100 copies of Anne Frank's The Diary of a Young Girl, plus many other related works that make mention of her or the Holocaust, have been ripped apart recently in Tokyo—the capital of a country where sales of the diary are second only to those in... More »

Fukushima Springs Big New Toxic Leak

100 tons of radioactive water flow from tank

(Newser) - Almost three years after Japan's triple disaster, there has been yet another leak at the Fukushima nuclear plant, seriously shaking public confidence in the ongoing cleanup and containment effort. In the latest leak—the biggest since last August —around 100 metric tons of highly contaminated water overflowed from... More »

After Amazing Rescue, Diver Found Dead

Earlier stories point to 2 divers found alive

(Newser) - Five Japanese scuba divers who'd been missing for days turned up yesterday ; reports later in the day fueled hope for the two still missing, with local police saying fishermen had found the two on a cliff some 16 feet over the water but couldn't reach them in the... More »

5 Scuba Divers Alive After 3 Days at Sea

2 Japanese divers still missing

(Newser) - Rescuers in Indonesia continue to search for two Japanese scuba divers missing since Friday, buoyed by the remarkable rescue of the other five members of the diving group today. Fishing boats spotted the five women clinging to a coral reef off the coast of Bali, reports AFP . They had drifted... More »

Bizarre Tsunami Ghost Stories Haunt Japan

But is the country's cult of ancestors behind it all?

(Newser) - An unusual outbreak has struck Japan in the wake of the 2011 tsunami that killed nearly 20,000 people—of ghosts, possessions, and exorcisms. Reverend Kaneda, the top priest at a Zen temple, says he personally exorcised several people who had been invaded by the spirits of tsunami victims, writes... More »

Burger King Experiments With Apples in Burgers

Tomato-less burgers seem to be going over well in Japan

(Newser) - USA Today picks up on an odd food story out of Japan, where the burgers at Burger King tend to taste like apple pie. The reason? The new BK Ringo and the NY Whopper ditch tomatoes for slices of grilled apple. It also helps that the mayo is infused... More »

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