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Powerful Quake Shakes Western Japan

No deaths reported after 6.6-magnitude Honshu quake

(Newser) - A powerful earthquake in western Japan knocked off loose roof tiles, toppled store shelves, and caused power outages Friday afternoon, but it apparently caused no deaths or widespread damage. At least seven people were injured, one seriously, the AP reports. The Japan Meteorological Agency says the 6.6-magnitude quake occurred... More »

Japanese People Aren't Having Babies, So Toyota Built This Creepy Thing

Kirobo Mini robot is designed to emulate the behaviors of a human child

(Newser) - Toyota has introduced an odd new product, and no, it's not a car. The Japan-based automotive manufacturer just unveiled the Kirobo Mini, a small, humanoid robot designed to "invoke an emotional connection," according to chief design engineer Fuminori Kataoka. Toyota's robot is one of a "... More »

Kim Jong Un Reportedly Hit By More Defections

Gov't says asylum seekers haven't contacted Japan

(Newser) - One or two officials may have followed the lead of a diplomat in London and defected from North Korea. A Health Ministry official stationed at North Korea's embassy in Beijing—tasked with sourcing medical supplies for a clinic visited by Kim Jong Un and his family—has reportedly sought... More »

'Self-Eating' Cells Nab Medicine Nobel for Japanese Scientist

Yoshinori Ohsumi honored for groundbreaking work in autophagy

(Newser) - Samples of baker's yeast helped propel a biologist from Japan into the winner's slot for this year's Nobel Prize in Physiology or Medicine, the BBC reports. Yoshinori Ohsumi was announced as the recipient of this year's prize for his work involving autophagy , a process in the... More »

For This Soldier, WWII Didn't End Until 1974

Hiroo Onoda stuck by his orders to never surrender

(Newser) - Deep in the Philippine jungle, a lone soldier continued to fight World War II for three decades, becoming a "figure of legend" while surviving on "bananas, coconut milk, and stolen cattle." Mashable has the incredible true story of Japan's Hiroo Onoda. After the end of WWII... More »

Nearly Half Japan's Millennials Are Virgins

A large number of 18- to 34-year-olds aren't just not having sex, they've never had it

(Newser) - While America might more typically worry about what its youth are doing, Japan spends a lot of time worrying about what they're not doing , and what they're not doing is having sex—at all, apparently. A new government survey suggests that the country's millennials are not only... More »

Miss World Japan Called 'Dirty' for Being Biracial

Priyanka Yoshikawa wants to 'change perceptions'

(Newser) - Growing up in Japan, "everyone thought I was a germ. Like, if they touched me they would be touching something bad," says Priyanka Yoshikawa. It's an experience she wants no one else to endure. The half-Indian, half-Japanese English teacher crowned Miss World Japan on Monday has promised... More »

9 Dead in Nursing Home as Typhoon Slams Japan

2 others dead elsewhere as Typhoon Lionrock hits

(Newser) - At least 11 people were found dead in Japan on Wednesday, most of them elderly residents at a nursing home, as heavy overnight rain from Typhoon Lionrock left towns flooded across the country's north. Police discovered nine bodies at the facility in the town of Iwaizumi, an official tells... More »

Japan Wants Olympic Medals Made From Old Electronics

It says there's enough metal in old phones and tablets to make the medals

(Newser) - The precious metals used to make the next batch of Olympic medals might not come out of the ground but out of our pockets. The BBC reports Japan's Olympic organizing committee is considering making the medals for the 2020 Tokyo Olympics out of recycled electronic waste. Using the tiny... More »

Japan's Emperor Hints of Abdication, but It's Complicated

Akihito gives his 2nd-ever television address

(Newser) - Japanese Emperor Akihito first spoke to his people via video message after the country had been ravaged by an earthquake and tsunami in March 2011, reports Reuters . The second time was Monday, and his words have been just as headline grabbing. In what the Guardian calls "a masterclass in... More »

4 Years Later, Math Pros Begin to Grasp Guy's Theory

But it could be years before ABC conjecture is officially solved

(Newser) - Four years after a Japanese mathematician announced he'd cracked an epic math problem , his fellow number crunchers are a step closer to deciding whether he got it right. Yes, his work is that complicated. In 2012, Shinichi Mochizuki of Kyoto University, who's known to work in isolation, published... More »

Pyongyang Fires Missile Into Japanese Waters

Seoul experts say they could be aiming for US bases

(Newser) - A medium-range ballistic missile fired Wednesday by North Korea flew about 620 miles and landed near Japan's territorial waters, officials in Tokyo and Seoul say. This was one of the longest flights by a North Korean missile, and the US Strategic Command says North Korea fired two presumed Rodong... More »

Japanese Literally Work Themselves to Death

'Karoshi' demises are often from suicide, heart attack, or stroke

(Newser) - Work-life balance is the American worker's goal, but for Japanese employees, work and life may be one and the same. The Washington Post takes a look at Japan's toil-til-you-drop culture, where 12-hour days are typical and there's even a word ("karoshi") that means "death... More »

Japan: Killer of 19 Wanted to 'Obliterate' the Disabled

Knifeman wrote to Japanese lawmakers months ago

(Newser) - Japan has been stunned and sickened by what the Guardian reports is the country's biggest mass killing since World War II: The murder of 19 people at a center for the disabled just outside Tokyo. Satoshi Uematsu, a 26-year-old former administrator at the Tsukui Yamayuri-En facility in Sagamihara, surrendered... More »

19 Dead in Japan Knife Attack

At least 20 more injured at facility for disabled

(Newser) - In the worst mass killing of its kind in generations in Japan, at least 19 people were killed and about 20 wounded in a knife attack at a facility for the disabled in a city just outside Tokyo. Police said they responded to a call at about 2:30am Tuesday... More »

One Company Still Makes VCRs. It's About to Stop

Goodbye, old friend

(Newser) - It's the end of an era—which you probably thought ended years ago. The last maker of the VCR (that's videocassette recorder for the lucky souls who never had to deal with rewinding a movie because the person who watched it before you didn't) will kill production... More »

Bunch of Grapes Sells for $11K

Japanese supermarket will give away Ruby Romans

(Newser) - The Ruby Roman grape is like the bluefin tuna of vineyards: The first auction of the year in Japan tends to result in ridiculous prices as buyers compete for prestige. This year, a new record was set when a bunch of around 30 grapes sold for close to $11,000,... More »

Man Jailed for Severing Wife's Lover's Penis

Victim continues to 'suffer in agony' after horrific act with garden shears

(Newser) - Almost a year after his penis was severed with garden shears, a Japanese lawyer continues to "suffer in agony"—but this should ease his pain a little. Defendant Ikki Kotsugai, 25—who strolled into a Tokyo law office, beat his wife's lover until he was nearly unconscious,... More »

Bangladesh Still Holding 5 'Freed Hostages'

Bodies of 7 Japanese victims returned home

(Newser) - In Dhaka, authorities are still holding five of the 13 hostages rescued when commandos stormed an upscale restaurant in the city's diplomatic zone Saturday morning, killing six of the attackers and capturing one. Investigators are searching for clues about the gruesome attack that left 28 dead, and the country'... More »

Marines Conclude Man Was Misidentified in Iwo Jima Pic

It was really Marine Howard Schultz, not Navy officer John Bradley: investigation

(Newser) - A long-standing debate behind World War II's iconic Iwo Jima photo appears to have been settled. A Marine Corps investigation used facial recognition technology and other photos taken that day to conclude, with "near certainty," that one of the six men IDed in the famous image taken... More »

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