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After 2-Year Hiatus, Japan Resumes 'Abhorrent' Practice

3 death-row inmates executed amid continued controversy over how death penalty is carried out

(Newser) - For two years, Japan hasn't carried out any executions. That changed Tuesday with the hanging of three death-row inmates, reviving outcry from human rights activists on the controversial way in which the country carries out capital punishment. At a presser, Justice Minister Yoshihisa Furukawa cited the "extremely brutal"...

Japanese Star Sayaka Kanda Found Dead at 35

Actress, singer who voiced Anna in Japanese version of 'Frozen' apparently committed suicide

(Newser) - Sayaka Kanda, a Japanese actress and singer, was found dead at a hotel in Sapporo on Saturday after she failed to show up for an afternoon performance of My Fair Lady in which she was set to play Eliza Dolittle. The 35-year-old, who voiced Anna in the dubbed Japanese version...

Arson Suspected After Fire Kills at Least 19 in Japan

Most of the victims were at Osaka clinic

(Newser) - More than 20 people were feared dead after a fire broke out Friday in a building in Osaka in western Japan, officials say. Police were investigating arson as a possible cause, the AP reports. The fire started on the fourth floor of an eight-story building in the major business, shopping,...

Japan Does a 180 on Controversial Omicron Policy

And more on what omicron means around the globe

(Newser) - Update: Just one day after announcing a recommendation that quickly became quite controversial, Japan is changing its tune. The country's transport ministry on Thursday said it was retracting its request that airlines stop taking reservations for people coming in to Japan until the new year, the AP reports. Our ...

Crown Prince Unusually Candid About Coverage of Daughter

Crown prince had choice words about 'fabrications,' response to stories

(Newser) - Prince Akishino of Japan has some choice words about the media coverage of his daughter Mako and her wedding. The former Japanese princess, now a commoner and a New Yorker , was subject to intense and unflattering media scrutiny, and her dad is not pleased—not with tabloids, not with online...

Man Rescued After 22 Hours on Capsized Boat

Unnamed 69-year-old man rescued off Japan on Sunday

(Newser) - Over and over, the ocean waves battered him. And the 69-year-old man endured for 22 hours, sitting on the engine of his capsized boat in rough seas off Japan, gripping the propeller to help stabilize him. His only protection from the elements was a grey plastic sheet, which he wrapped...

New Book Examines Hitler's Fatal Miscalculation

Declaring war on US wasn't just madness, authors say

(Newser) - The fates of nations could have gone in various directions in early December 1941. Japan might have attacked British installations in Asia instead of Pearl Harbor. Italy and the Vichy government of France could have followed through on negotiations to form a close alliance. And Adolf Hitler might have avoided...

Sure Sign of Friction: 2 No-Shows at Press Conference

US official has to go solo after Japanese and South Korean counterparts bail

(Newser) - US State Department official Wendy Sherman conducted a press conference Wednesday about tensions in Asia, but it was most notable for who wasn't there. Her counterparts from Japan and South Korea failed to show up as scheduled because they're feuding over regional islands, reports Reuters . The three diplomats...

Ex-Princess Who Married Commoner Now a New Yorker

Japan's former princess, Mako, arrived Sunday

(Newser) - "Princess Mako," who is in actuality no longer a princess , arrived in the US Sunday. The daughter of Japan's Crown Prince Akishino gave up her royal title to marry a commoner , and he has a job at a law firm in New York City, the BBC reports....

Cats May Have a More &#39;Profound Mind&#39; Than We Thought
Cats May Have a
More 'Profound Mind'
Than We Thought
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Cats May Have a More 'Profound Mind' Than We Thought

Research shows cats track their owners' movements around the house

(Newser) - If you've ever sensed that your aloof cat, who appears to ignore you, nevertheless seems to know just where you are at all times, you may be onto something. A new study out of Japan shows that cats may actually track their owners as they move around the house,...

Train Driver Sues for $20K After Wages Cut by 49 Cents

Japanese firm docked his pay after he caused train to arrive at depot 1 minute late

(Newser) - After a train driver in Japan caused a one-minute delay in June 2020, he had 55 cents deducted from his wages, which was reduced to 49 cents after he took the matter to a government office that deals with labor disputes. He has now upped the stakes by filing a...

Japan Inmates Sue to End 'Extremely Inhumane' Practice

They want to be told in advance of their execution dates

(Newser) - Every morning, in many cases for decades, condemned inmates in Japan wake up not knowing whether or not they will be hanged that day. Death row inmates are usually only notified of their execution a few hours in advance, but two of them are now challenging the practice in court,...

Princess Mako Marries Commoner, Is No Longer a Princess

She now has a surname for the first time, that of her husband

(Newser) - Japanese Princess Mako married a commoner and lost her royal status Tuesday in a union that has split public opinion after a three-year delay caused by a financial dispute involving her new mother-in-law. The marriage document for Mako and Kei Komuro was submitted by a palace official Tuesday morning and...

This Nation's COVID 'Success Story' Is a Mystery

Japan's case numbers have abruptly plummeted, and no one really knows why

(Newser) - Almost overnight, Japan has become a stunning, and somewhat mysterious, coronavirus success story. Daily new COVID-19 cases have plummeted from a mid-August peak of nearly 6,000 in Tokyo, with caseloads in the densely populated capital now routinely below 100, an 11-month low, per the AP . The bars are packed,...

'It's Like Somebody Hit Me In the Face With a Shovel'

Canadian Rocker stunned to get back guitar stolen in 1976

(Newser) - An amateur internet sleuth needed a project for the pandemic lockdowns, so he took a break from researching the DB Cooper mystery to help an aging Canadian rocker reunite with his favorite guitar. William Long is a fan of Guess Who and Bachman-Turner Overdrive guitarist Randy Bachman. He heard the...

They Were Promised 'Paradise.' The Destination: North Korea

Lawsuit in Japan seeks retribution for decades-long repatriation program

(Newser) - Some 93,000 people moved from Japan to North Korea in the latter half of the 20th century, many believing they would encounter a "paradise." North Korea—desperate for labor amid efforts to rebuild following two tragic wars—suggested these migrants, many of whom were ethnic Koreans who'...

'I, Fumio Kishida, Have a Special Skill of Listening to People'

He is now Japan's new prime minister

(Newser) - Update: Fumio Kishida has officially replaced Yoshihide Suga as prime minister of Japan. The country's parliament formally elected him to the position Monday, after Suga's resignation earlier in the day, the AP reports. Our original story from Sept. 29 follows: Former Japanese Foreign Minister Fumio Kishida won the...

Princess Mako Will Still Marry a Commoner, but With a Hitch

Japanese princess will forgo $1.35M payment to give up royal status

(Newser) - It's been a bumpy road for Japan's Princess Mako and her fiance, college sweetheart Kei Komuro, as they've prepared for their wedding over the past three-plus years, with controversy swirling over the finances of Komuro's family. At least the couple, both 29, could console themselves with...

Japan's Prime Minister Is Stepping Down

Yoshihide Suga is out of the running for governing party's leadership

(Newser) - Japan’s Prime Minister Yoshihide Suga says he won’t run for the leadership of the governing party at the end of this month, paving the way for a new Japanese leader. Suga told reporters Friday that he will not run in the Sept. 29 leadership race for his governing...

2 Men Die After Moderna Shot, Japan Is Investigating

Shots came from different lot than one that had contaminants in it

(Newser) - Two Japanese men died days after getting the Moderna vaccine against COVID. Their doses came from a lot that was pulled from use. Three lots were pulled because contaminants were found in one of them, but the men who died got their doses from a different lot in which no...

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