Japan

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Japan Has 8M 'Ghost Homes'

Large parts of the country are emptying out as population shrinks

(Newser) - Millions of dilapidated, empty homes isn't the first image to come to mind when most people think of Japan, but that's now the reality for large swaths of the country and the problem is only going to get worse. The country's population is shrinking and is forecast... More »

Explosion Shakes US Base in Japan

It lit up the sky in Tokyo suburb

(Newser) - Multiple explosions and a large fire at a US Army depot lit up the night sky in a Tokyo suburb early today. The blast happened after midnight at the Sagami General Depot in Sagamihara, a city about 25 miles southwest of Tokyo, a Pentagon press officer says. The building that... More »

Japan to Centenarians: No More Pricey Gifts for You

Expensive congratulatory cups for centenarians may be downgraded or dumped

(Newser) - This year's Respect for the Aged Day in Japan is fast approaching, but this time the country's government won't be commemorating the September holiday with its usual wares. Every year since 1963, Japan's newly inducted centenarians have received a sakazuki , a special commemorative silver sake cup... More »

Japan Is Done Apologizing for World War II

Prime minister makes a notable break with tradition

(Newser) - Japanese Prime Minister Shinzo Abe today made a speech to mark the 70th anniversary of the end of World War II, and he's making headlines for what he didn't say: We're sorry. Abe expressed "deepest remorse" for Japan's actions and "sincerest condolences" to its... More »

Cops: Man's Penis Severed, Flushed by Jealous Husband

Tokyo grad student accused of cutting off man's genitals with garden shears

(Newser) - If you just Googled "jealous husband," "Japan," "penis," and "toilet" to see if there could possibly be any stories that merge all of those keywords into one mind-blowing story, today's your lucky day. One person who's not having a lucky day:... More »

Man, 80, Sets Self on Fire Over WWII Brothels

He had joined protesters demanding apology from Japan for 'comfort women'

(Newser) - For more than 20 years, South Korean activists have organized weekly protests in front of Seoul's Japanese Embassy to demand an apology for its women and girls who were used as sex slaves by the Japanese military during World War II, reports the AP . But while those demonstrations have... More »

Nuclear Power Is Back in Japan

Restarting of first reactor in 2 years brings protests

(Newser) - A power plant operator in southern Japan restarted a nuclear reactor today, the first to begin operating under new safety requirements following the Fukushima disaster . Kyushu Electric Power Co. says it has restarted the No. 1 reactor at its Sendai nuclear plant as planned. The restart marks Japan's return... More »

Disney Tweets 'Congrats' on Anniversary of Nagasaki

That probably wasn't what Japan needed to hear

(Newser) - Walt Disney Japan apologized today after a tweet sent from its corporate Twitter account wished readers "congratulations on a not special day" on the 70th anniversary of the US atomic bombing of Nagasaki . The company offered "deep apologies for causing discomfort," saying it would take care to... More »

Japan Releases Digital Version of Hirohito's Surrender Speech

He laments 'cruel' atomic bombs

(Newser) - The short speech that has reverberated throughout Japan's modern history since it was delivered by Emperor Hirohito at the end of World War II has come back to life in digital form. Hirohito's "jewel voice"—muffled and nearly inaudible due to poor sound quality—was broadcast... More »

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 »

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