Japan

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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 »

In Japan, Abe's Party Rolls to a Landslide

Liberal Democratic Party cements its power

(Newser) - Japanese Prime Minister Shinzo Abe's ruling party is headed for a landslide victory in lower house elections, according to projections released seconds after polls closed today. The projections show the ruling Liberal Democratic Party easily retaining its majority in the 475-seat lower house of parliament. Exit polls have been... More »

Restaurant: No Couples Allowed on Christmas Eve

PiaPia in Tokyo deems it too painful for single people

(Newser) - Couples seeking a romantic Christmas dinner in Tokyo better avoid PiaPia restaurant, if a sign in the window is for real. "We will be refusing entry to all couples on December 24, with no exceptions!" the handwritten message reads, the Telegraph reports. The note—which includes images of... More »

In Dying Town, More Scarecrows Than People

Some 10K towns in Japan face steep depopulation

(Newser) - The village of Nagoro, deep in the rugged mountains of southern Japan, once was home to hundreds of families. Now, only 35 people remain, outnumbered three-to-one by scarecrows that Tsukimi Ayano crafted to help fill the days and replace neighbors who died or moved away. At 65, Ayano is one... More »

Japan Launches Explorer to Blast Crater in Asteroid

Hayabusa 2 will shoot asteroid, collect rock samples for clues to Earth's origins

(Newser) - A Japanese space explorer took off today on a six-year journey to blow a crater in a remote asteroid and bring back rock samples in hopes of gathering clues to the origin of Earth. Hayabusa 2 is expected to reach the asteroid in mid-2018, spend about 18 months studying it,... More »

Japan Earthquake Collapses Homes; At Least 22 Hurt

Disaster strikes area of 1998 Olympics

(Newser) - A strong earthquake has struck a mountainous area of central Japan that hosted the 1998 winter Olympics, knocking down at least 10 homes in a ski resort town and injuring more than 20 people, officials say. The magnitude-6.8 earthquake hit near Nagano city shortly after 10 pm at a... More »

Japan PM Calls Snap Election Next Month

Shinzo Abe also puts off tax hike, says he'll step down if plan doesn't work

(Newser) - Japanese Prime Minister Shinzo Abe called a snap election for December and put off a sales tax hike planned for next year, vowing today to step down if his strategy to revive the ailing economy falls flat. Despite Abe's aggressive revival policies to end two decades of stagnation, the... More »

Japan Slides Into Shock Recession

World's 3rd-largest economy shrinking again

(Newser) - Japan's economy unexpectedly slid into recession as housing and business investment declined following a sales tax hike, further clouding the outlook for the global economy. The world's third-largest economy contracted at a 1.6% pace in the July-September quarter, the government said today, contrary to predictions it would... More »

Suck It, Scotland: World's Best Whiskey Is From Japan

First time Scotland hasn't appeared in top 5

(Newser) - Each time a new edition of the World Whisky Bible comes out, you can expect to see a Scottish distillery at the top—but the 2015 version is full of firsts. A Japanese whiskey has stolen the No. 1 rank for the first time, while no Scottish whisky even made... More »

Twin Storms Pound Asia

Japan facing 2nd typhoon in a week; at least 6 dead in Indian cyclone

(Newser) - Japan is facing down its second major typhoon in the space of a week, with at least 35 people reported injured as Typhoon Vongfong hit its southern island of Okinawa with heavy rain and winds gusting up to 110mph. The storm was headed next to Kyushu island, where officials have... More »

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