Japan

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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 »

Zoo Spends Years Trying to Mate Male Hyenas

It's hard to tell males, females apart, Japan zoo says

(Newser) - Hyena sexing by sight alone is "very difficult," says a Japanese zoo that spent years trying to mate a pair of males. The Maruyama Zoo in Sapporo says Kami and Kamutori were obtained in a 2010 exchange with a South Korean zoo that said they were a male... More »

3 US Airmen Swept Out to Sea in Japan

1 dead; search under way off coast of Okinawa

(Newser) - The US military is searching for two of three airmen who were swept out to sea today off the coast of Okinawa as Typhoon Phanfone bore down on Japan. One of the three was found dead. They had been on Okinawa island's northern coast when they were overcome by... More »

More Bodies Pulled From 'Severe' Scene at Volcano

One victim, found squatting, was buried in ash from Japan's Mount Ontake

(Newser) - One body recovered near the summit of the Mount Ontake volcano was in a squatting position and had to be dug out of a thick layer of ash; another was caught between boulders bigger than large refrigerators. Police who recovered a dozen bodies today portrayed a "severe," painful... More »

Toxic Gas Forces Rescuers From Japan Volcano

Death toll hits 36, with 63 injured

(Newser) - The presumed death toll in the eruption of a Japanese volcano has hit 36 after five more bodies were discovered today, the AP reports. They were found near a shrine at the summit, officials say. Twelve bodies have been airlifted down the mountain, but 24 are believed to remain, and... More »

More Than 30 Feared Dead Atop Japanese Volcano

Hikers found at peak of Mount Ontake

(Newser) - Rescuers at the scene of a Japanese volcano that unexpectedly erupted yesterday have now found at least 30 people described as suffering cardiac and pulmonary failure, reports CNN ; that's what the AP calls "the customary way for Japanese authorities to describe a body" until it can be declared... More »

Japan Volcano Erupts; Hiker Dead, 40 Hurt

Mount Ontake eruption trapped about 250 on slopes

(Newser) - A volcano in Japan rumbled to life today unexpectedly, killing a female hiker, the Japan Times reports. At least 40 people were hurt in the eruption of Mount Ontake in central Japan, the AP reports, and the Times notes that 16 were knocked unconscious, per an official. Seven were said... More »

Burger King's 'Black Burger' Even Has Black Cheese

Burger King Japan's culinary creation also has black buns, squid ink

(Newser) - Who knows how many cheeseburger-noshing rules will be broken by this new sandwich from Burger King, but hey—anything's better than meat-scented perfume , right? BK Japan's "Kuro Burger" (or "Black Burger") is apparently hitting restaurants there on Sept. 19, according to promotional images shown on... More »

Dozens Killed as Hiroshima Gets Month of Rain in 24 Hours

Landslides kill at least 36

(Newser) - Landslides on the outskirts of Hiroshima killed at least 36 people early today and authorities in the Japanese city warn that the death toll is likely to rise and at least seven people are still missing. Authorities say the landslides were triggered when as much rain as usually falls in... More »

Pope Meets Korean WWII Sex Slaves

Francis calls for peace on last day of Asian visit

(Newser) - Pope Francis wrapped up his first trip to Asia today by challenging Koreans—from the North and the South—to reject the "mindset of suspicion and confrontation" that clouds their relations and find new ways to forge peace on the war-divided peninsula. In a poignant moment at the start... More »

Scientist Commits Suicide After Research Scandal

Yoshiki Sasai advised senior researcher whose stem cell breakthrough was retracted

(Newser) - Respected stem cell expert Yoshiki Sasai, who was connected to a scandal accusing a researcher he advised of falsifying a stem cell breakthrough , was found dead today of an apparent suicide. Sasai, who told the Wall Street Journal in April he was "overwhelmed with shame" over the scandal, was... More »

Teen in Decapitation Case Wanted to Dissect Someone: Cops

Victim Aiwa Matsuo was buried today in Sasebo

(Newser) - The 16-year-old Japanese school girl accused of beheading her friend allegedly told police she invited Aiwa Matsuo, 15, to her apartment intending to kill her—because, according to police, she wanted to dissect someone and had been practicing on cats, the Japan Time s reports. After allegedly killing Matsuo in... More »

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