With flowers and a gun salute, Japan bids farewell to slain Abe at state funeral

With flowers and a gun salute, Japan bids farewell to slain Abe at state funeral

With flowers, prayers and a 19-gun salute, Japan honoured slain former Prime Minister Shinzo Abe on Tuesday at the first state funeral for a former premier in 55 years - a ceremony that has become as divisive as he was in life. The ceremony started at 2:00 p.m. (0500 GMT), with Abe's ashes carried into the Nippon Budokan Hall in central Tokyo by his widow, Akie, to music from a military band and the booms of the honour-guard salute. Inside the Budokan, better known as a concert venue, a large portrait of Abe draped with black ribbon hung over a…
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Tokyo tightens security for slain Shinzo Abe’s funeral

Tokyo tightens security for slain Shinzo Abe’s funeral

TOKYO (Reuters) - Japan's state funeral for former Prime Minister Shinzo Abe on Tuesday is under the spotlight as authorities seek to avoid the kind of security blunders exposed in his assassination in July. Abe was shot from close range by a man with a homemade gun while on the campaign trail in the western city of Nara, an act that shocked a nation where violent crime is rare and dignitaries tend to travel with only modest protection. Japanese authorities – including Prime Minister Fumio Kishida - have acknowledged security flaws contributed to Abe's death. With scores of foreign VIPs…
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Japan bans chemical weapons-related goods to Russia, concerned by nuke threats

Japan bans chemical weapons-related goods to Russia, concerned by nuke threats

TOKYO, Sept 26 (Reuters) - Japan has decided to ban exports of chemical weapons-related goods to Russia in an additional sanction against Moscow over its invasion of Ukraine, and is "deeply concerned" about the possible use of nuclear weapons, Chief Cabinet Secretary Hirokazu Matsuno said on Monday. Japan also added 21 Russian organisations such as science labs as the target of existing export bans, according to a government statement released after Monday's cabinet meeting, which formally approved the new sanction measures announced by the foreign minister at a Group of Seven meeting last week. "Japan is deeply concerned about the…
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Typhoon lashes central Japan, killing two

Typhoon lashes central Japan, killing two

TOKYO, Sept 24 (Reuters) - A typhoon lashed central Japan on Saturday with torrential rain and fierce winds, killing two and leaving tens of thousands of households without power, the Kyodo news agency reported. Shizuoka city, southwest of the capital, Tokyo, was hit especially hard, seeing a record 417 mm (16.42 inches) of precipitation since the rain started on Thursday, the Japan Meteorological Agency (JMA) said. Winds at the centre of Typhoon Talas were blowing at about 65 kph (40 mph), with peak gusts of about 90 kph (56 mph), it said. A man in his 40s was killed in…
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Japan weighing plan for ban on hotel guests without masks

Japan weighing plan for ban on hotel guests without masks

TOKYO, (Reuters) - Japan's government is considering allowing hotels to refuse entry to guests who do not wear masks and follow other measures to control infection during an outbreak, Fuji News Network reported. The government will submit a bill at an extraordinary session of parliament next month that would revise the law governing hotels and inns, allowing them more power to enforce infection measures, the network said. The move would come at a time when Japan is expected to further ease its COVID-19 border controls, waiving visa requirements for certain tourists and removing a limit on daily arrivals. The ruling…
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UPDATED: Typhoon batters Japan with record rain, killing two

UPDATED: Typhoon batters Japan with record rain, killing two

TOKYO, Sept 19 (Reuters) - Typhoon Nanmadol brought ferocious winds and record rainfall to western Japan on Monday as one of the biggest storms to hit the country in years killed at least two people, disrupted transport and forced manufacturers to suspend operations. Prime Minister Fumio Kishida delayed his departure to New York, where he is due to deliver a speech at the U.N. General Assembly. "I postponed my scheduled departure from today to take stock of the damage caused by the typhoon and to take all possible measures for recovery," Kishida told reporters on Monday evening. "Circumstances permitting, I…
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Japan issues special typhoon warning as ‘unprecedented’ storm approaches

Japan issues special typhoon warning as ‘unprecedented’ storm approaches

TOKYO, Sept 17 (Reuters) - The Japan Meteorological Agency issued a special typhoon warning on Saturday for Kagoshima prefecture on Kyushu, the southernmost of Japan's main islands, as the region braces for a powerful and potentially destructive super typhoon. The warning came after the weather agency earlier in the day urged residents to evacuate parts of the Kyushu, ahead of the typhoon Nanmadol, expected to bring up to half a metre (20 inches) of rain when it makes landfall on Sunday. Nanmadol, classified as a super typhoon by the U.S. Navy's Joint Typhoon Warning Center, has the potential to be the most…
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Japan set to resume visa-free tourist travel in October

Japan set to resume visa-free tourist travel in October

Sept 15 (Reuters) - Japan is expected to lift a ban on individual tourist visa requirements and remove a limit on daily arrivals in October as it aims to benefit from a rebound in global tourism, Nikkei reported on Thursday. Following the change, Japan will not require visas for short-term travelers from the United States and certain other countries, and will scrap the daily entry cap of 50,000 people, the media outlet said. (Reporting by Sameer Manekar in Bengaluru; Editing by Shinjini Ganguli)
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Japan probes possible involvement of pro-Russian group in cyberattack

Japan probes possible involvement of pro-Russian group in cyberattack

TOKYO, Sept 7 (Reuters) - Japan is investigating the possible involvement of a pro-Russian group following the failure of multiple government websites, Chief Cabinet Secretary Hirokazu Matsuno said on Wednesday. More than 20 websites across four government ministries could not be accessed on Tuesday evening but were restored on the same day, Matsuno said. The government has not identified any information leaks and was looking into whether the failure was caused by a denial-of-service (DDoS) attack, he added. In a DDoS attack hackers attempt to flood a network with unusually high volumes of data traffic in order to paralyse it.…
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Japan plans to develop longer-range missiles to counter China, Russia

Japan plans to develop longer-range missiles to counter China, Russia

TOKYO (Reuters) - Japan will develop and mass produce a cruise missile and a high-velocity ballistic missile, it said this week, as it seeks the ability to strike more distant targets as part of a military expansion aimed at meeting threats from China and Russia. The procurement plan unveiled in the Ministry of Defence's annual budget request represents a clear departure from a decades-long range limit imposed on Japan's constitutionally constrained Self Defence Forces, that meant they could only field missiles with ranges of a few hundred kilometres. "China continues to threaten to use force to unilaterally change the status…
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Japan police chief to resign over Abe shooting, citing ‘fresh start’

Japan police chief to resign over Abe shooting, citing ‘fresh start’

TOKYO, Aug 25 (Reuters) - Japan's National Police Agency chief said on Thursday he will resign to take responsibility for the murder of former Prime Minister Shinzo Abe, citing the need for a "fresh start" for the organisation and its security duties. Itaru Nakamura is the most senior official to step down in connection with Abe's assassination at a campaign rally in the western city of Nara on July 8, where experts have said security was seriously flawed. "In the process of verifying our new security plan, we have come to realise that our security duties would need a fresh…
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Japan signals return to nuclear power to stabilise energy supply

Japan signals return to nuclear power to stabilise energy supply

TOKYO, Aug 24 (Reuters) - Japan will restart more idled nuclear plants and look at developing next-generation reactors, Prime Minister Fumio Kishida said on Wednesday, setting the stage for a major policy shift on nuclear energy a decade after the Fukushima disaster. The comments from Kishida - who also said the government would look at extending the lifespan of existing reactors - highlight how the Ukraine crisis and soaring energy costs have forced both a change in public opinion and a policy rethink toward nuclear power. Japan has kept most of its nuclear plants idled in the decade since a…
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Japan PM Kishida’s support tumbles, hit by questions over church and COVID

Japan PM Kishida’s support tumbles, hit by questions over church and COVID

TOKYO, Aug 22 (Reuters) - Support for Japanese Prime Minister Fumio Kishida's government has tumbled, battered by questions about the ruling party's ties to the Unification Church and its response to the coronavirus pandemic, according to a public opinion poll. Links to the church, founded in South Korea in the 1950s and famous for its mass weddings, have become a headache for Kishida since July 8, when former premier Shinzo Abe was shot and his suspected killer said his mother was bankrupted by the church and blamed Abe for promoting it. According to a survey done at the weekend by…
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Japan PM Kishida infected with COVID, recuperating

Japan PM Kishida infected with COVID, recuperating

TOKYO, Aug 21 (Reuters) - Japanese Prime Minister Fumio Kishida has been infected with COVID-19 and is recuperating at his official residence, his office said on Sunday. Kishida, just returned from week-long vacation, was due to restart work on Monday. He developed a cough and fever on Saturday, and took a PCR test on Sunday morning, which confirmed the positive result in the afternoon, a Cabinet spokesperson said. Japan has endured a record resurgence in coronavirus infections, hitting businesses in the world's third-biggest economy, although deaths remain relatively low and the disruptions have been milder than in some other advanced…
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Japan considers deploying long-range missiles to counter China

Japan considers deploying long-range missiles to counter China

TOKYO, Aug 21 (Reuters) - Japan is considering the deployment of 1,000 long-range cruise missiles to boost its counterattack capability against China, the Yomiuri newspaper reported on Sunday. The missiles would be existing arms modified to extend their range from 100 km (62 miles) to 1,000 km, the daily said, citing government sources. The arms, launched by ships or aircraft, would be stationed mainly around the southern Nansei islands and capable of reaching the coastal areas of North Korea and China, the Yomiuri said. Representatives from Japan's foreign ministry did not immediately respond to a request for comment on the…
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Japanese space mission shows Earth’s water may be from asteroids

Japanese space mission shows Earth’s water may be from asteroids

Water may have been brought to Earth by asteroids from the outer edges of the solar system, scientists said after analysing rare samples collected on a six-year Japanese space mission. In a quest to shed light on the origins of life and the formation of the universe, researchers are scrutinising material brought back to earth in 2020 from the asteroid Ryugu. The 5.4 grams (0.2 ounces) of rocks and dust were gathered by a Japanese space probe, called Hayabusa-2, that landed on the celestial body and fired an "impactor" into its surface. Studies on the material are beginning to be…
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Japan PM promises to never again wage war

Japan PM promises to never again wage war

TOKYO, Aug 15 (Reuters) - Japanese Prime Minister Fumio Kishida pledged to never again wage war on the anniversary of Japan's World War Two surrender, while members of his cabinet marked the date with visits to a controversial shrine, moves set to anger China and South Korea. With the Yasukuni Shrine seen as a symbol of Japan's past militarism, Tokyo's ties with China are already particularly strained this year after Beijing conducted unprecedented military exercises around Taiwan following the visit there by U.S. House of Representatives Speaker Nancy Pelosi earlier this month. During the drills, several missiles fell in waters…
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Japan’s PM shakes up cabinet in ‘damage control’ amid Unification Church furore

Japan’s PM shakes up cabinet in ‘damage control’ amid Unification Church furore

TOKYO, Aug 10 (Reuters) - Japan's Prime Minister Fumio Kishida reshuffled his cabinet on Wednesday, removing some ministers with links to the Unification Church in a bid to stem plunging support amid growing public outrage over the ruling party's ties to the controversial group. Kishida, in office since last October, announced his new government team in a shake-up that came earlier than analysts had expected. While key personnel like foreign minister Yoshimasa Hayashi and finance chief Shunichi Suzuki held on to their posts, some high-profile ministers were removed, including Nobuo Kishi, the younger brother of slain former premier Shinzo Abe, replaced as…
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Three missing, thousands ordered to evacuate as rain pounds northern Japan

Three missing, thousands ordered to evacuate as rain pounds northern Japan

TOKYO, Aug 4 (Reuters) - At least three people were missing and thousands in northern Japan were ordered to evacuate on Thursday after torrential rains pounded the area, flooding roads and causing rivers to burst their banks in some regions. More than 500 mm (19 inches) of rain had fallen in one part of Niigata prefecture in the 24 hours to 1:00 p.m. (0400 GMT), NHK public television said, prompting authorities to issue the highest possible level of disaster warnings in some areas. Bridges were cut and roads were flooded, television footage showed. Service along one portion of a Shinkansen superfast train…
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Keep calm and cut the air con – Japan’s energy saving is model for Europe

Keep calm and cut the air con – Japan’s energy saving is model for Europe

TOKYO, (Reuters) - As Europe braces for energy shortages from Russian gas cuts, Japan's own energy crisis a decade ago offers survival lessons to households and businesses - such as dimming the lights and taking the stairs. EU energy ministers on Tuesday approved a proposal for member countries to cut gas use voluntarily by 15% from August to March amid uncertain supplies from Russia due to the war in Ukraine. Energy saving, or "setsuden", became a national project for Japan in the aftermath of the March 2011 earthquake and tsunami that triggered a meltdown at the Fukushima Daiichi nuclear plant. In the weeks and…
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Volcano erupts on western Japanese island of Kyushu, no reports of damage

Volcano erupts on western Japanese island of Kyushu, no reports of damage

TOKYO (Reuters) -A volcano on Japan's major western island of Kyushu erupted on Sunday evening, sending black smoke billowing high into the air, but there were no immediate reports of any damage or injuries, and authorities said they did not expect a major eruption. The volcano, which is called Sakurajima and is located on the southern tip of Kyushu near the city of Kagoshima, erupted at about 8:05 p.m. (1105 GMT), the Japanese Meteorological Agency (JMA) said. Volcanic stones rained down at a distance of 2.5 km (1.5 miles) from the volcano, a JMA official said. The eruption alert level…
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Shinzo Abe’s suspected assassin to undergo psychiatric evaluation – media

Shinzo Abe’s suspected assassin to undergo psychiatric evaluation – media

TOKYO (Reuters) - The suspected assassin of Japanese former Prime Minister Shinzo Abe will undergo psychiatric evaluation until later this year, Japanese media reported on Saturday. Tetsuya Yamagami, an unemployed 41-year-old, has been identified by police as the suspect who approached Abe at a campaign speech on a street corner on July 8 and opened fire with a handmade gun. A court in Nara in western Japan, where the suspect lived and the shooting occurred, granted prosecutors' request that Yamagami be held for psychiatric examination, the Nikkei and other media reported. Nara prosecutors could not be reached for comment outside…
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Tokyo’s daily COVID cases cross 30,000 for first time in pandemic

Tokyo’s daily COVID cases cross 30,000 for first time in pandemic

TOKYO, July 21 (Reuters) - New coronavirus cases in Japan's capital hit a record on Thursday, surging past 30,000 for the first time since the pandemic began, spurring officials to call for more vigilance. Tokyo's 31,878 new infections far outstripped a previous high in February, and many other regions also reported highs. Thursday's national tally of 186,229 new infections was a record. Despite few serious cases and deaths, officials warned hospitals were starting to feel the pressure from rising numbers. "We need to keep a close eye on the infection situation, including the issue of access to medical services, with the highest…
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Japan to forgo setting ceiling on next year’s defense spending

Japan to forgo setting ceiling on next year’s defense spending

TOKYO, July 16 (Reuters) - Japan will forgo setting a ceiling on defense spending in next fiscal year's annual budget, the Nikkei newspaper reported on Saturday, highlighting Tokyo's interest in boosting defense at a time of tension with its powerful neighbour China. The government usually sets a ceiling on spending requests submitted by ministries in crafting its annual state budget to avoid expenditures from increasing too much and straining Japan's already worsening finances. Tokyo, however, will make defense expenditure an exception in next fiscal year's budget as it plans to increase spending on purchases of longer-range missiles and cyber security…
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UPDATED: Japan’s ruling coalition makes strong election showing after Abe murder

UPDATED: Japan’s ruling coalition makes strong election showing after Abe murder

TOKYO/NARA, Japan, July 10 (Reuters) - Japan's conservative coalition government was projected to increase its majority in the upper house of parliament in an election on Sunday, two days after the assassination of dominant politician and power broker Shinzo Abe. Abe, Japan's longest-serving modern leader, was gunned down on Friday during a campaign speech in the western city of Nara in a killing that stunned a country where political violence and gun crime are rare. Prime Minister Fumio Kishida's Liberal Democratic Party (LDP), of which Abe remained an influential lawmaker, and its junior partner Komeito were on track to win 69 to…
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The numbers to watch in Japan’s upper house elections

The numbers to watch in Japan’s upper house elections

Prime Minister Fumio Kishida's Liberal Democratic Party (LDP) is aiming for a convincing win in upper house of parliament elections on Sunday to enhance its ability to push through policies to tackle rising prices and bolster defence. Below are key facts about the upper house election and important numbers to watch. WHAT DOES THE UPPER HOUSE DO? The less powerful of parliament's two chambers, the upper house approves legislation but it can be overridden by the lower chamber in vital matters such as selecting a prime minister. Upper house elections are typically seen as an interim report card on a…
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Factbox: Main parties contesting Japan’s upper house election

Factbox: Main parties contesting Japan’s upper house election

TOKYO (Reuters) - Japan holds an upper house election on Sunday that is key to Prime Minister Fumio Kishida's attempt to gain firmer control of the ruling Liberal Democratic Party (LDP) to enable it and its Komeito junior partner to push through legislation. Here are key facts about Japan's main political parties: LIBERAL DEMOCRATIC PARTY Established: 1955 Website: jimin.jp/english/ Number of upper house seats up for re-election this time: 55 Number of upper house seats up for re-election in 2025: 56 The conservative party has been in power almost continuously since its foundation, either on its own or in a…
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Inflation to nuclear power: What’s at stake in Japan’s election

Inflation to nuclear power: What’s at stake in Japan’s election

TOKYO (Reuters) - Japan will vote in upper house elections on Sunday that have implications for Prime Minister Fumio Kishida's grip on the ruling Liberal Democratic Party (LDP) and his ability to push through legislation. Following are some details about why the poll matters and some main policy issues: WHY IS THE ELECTION IMPORTANT? While the upper house is the less powerful of the parliament's two chambers, the vote is a gauge of support for the ruling bloc. If the LDP wins by a solid margin, as the polls suggest, Kishida would be able to consolidate control of the party with three…
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Abe’s body returns to his home as Japan grieves for slain ex-PM

Abe’s body returns to his home as Japan grieves for slain ex-PM

NARA/TOKYO, July 9 (Reuters) - A motorcade carrying the body of former Prime Minister Shinzo Abe arrived at his home in the Japanese capital on Saturday, a day after he was assassinated by a lone gunman in a rare act of political violence that has shocked the country. Akie Abe, wife of Japan's former Prime Minister Shinzo Abe is seen in a vehicle carrying his body arriving at Abe's residence in Tokyo, Japan, 09 July 2022. Former Prime Minister Shinzo Abe died of his injuries on 08 July 2022, hours after being shot during an Upper House election campaign act to support…
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Japanese mourn ex-PM Shinzo Abe a day after his assassination

Japanese mourn ex-PM Shinzo Abe a day after his assassination

NARA, Japan, July 9 (Reuters) - A steady stream of mourners on Saturday visited the scene of former Japanese Prime Minister Shinzo Abe's assassination in the western city of Nara, an unusual act of political violence that has shocked the nation. Japan's longest serving modern leader was gunned down while making a campaign speech on Friday morning by a 41-year-old man, in a deed decried by the political establishment as an attack on democracy itself.  EPA-EFE/The Asahi Shimbun "I'm just shocked that this kind of thing happened in Nara," Natsumi Niwa, a 50-year-old housewife, said after offering flowers with her 10-year-old son…
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UPDATED: Japan ex-PM Abe dies after being shot while making a speech

UPDATED: Japan ex-PM Abe dies after being shot while making a speech

NARA, Japan, July 8 (Reuters) - Former Prime Minister Shinzo Abe, the longest-serving leader of modern Japan, was gunned down on Friday while campaigning for a parliamentary election, shocking a country where guns are tightly controlled and political violence almost unthinkable. Abe, 67, was pronounced dead around five and a half hours after the shooting in the city of Nara. Police arrested a 41-year-old man and said the weapon was a homemade gun. "I am simply speechless over the news of Abe's death," Prime Minister Fumio Kishida, Abe's protege, told reporters. Earlier, as Abe still lay in hospital where doctors tried to…
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FACTBOX-Major episodes of violence against politicians in Japan

FACTBOX-Major episodes of violence against politicians in Japan

July 8 (Reuters) - Former Japanese leader Shinzo Abe, one of Japan's most influential politicians in modern times, died on Friday after being shot at a campaign event. The man who is suspected to have shot Japan's former Prime Minister Shinzo Abe has been identified by Japanese media as 41-year-old Tetsuya Yamagami, a resident of Nara city. He is reported to be a former member of Japan's Maritime Self-Defence Force, the country's navy, but the defence ministry has not officially confirmed this. Security police tackle a suspect who is believed to have shot former Prime Minister Shinzo Abe outside Yamato-Saidaiji Station in…
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UPDATED: Fatal magnitude 6.1 quake on Iran Gulf coast, 5.9 earthquake strikes Japan’s Hokkaido region

UPDATED: Fatal magnitude 6.1 quake on Iran Gulf coast, 5.9 earthquake strikes Japan’s Hokkaido region

At least five people were killed and 49 injured by a magnitude 6.1 earthquake in southern Iran early on Saturday, state media reported, with the area also hit soon after by two strong quakes of up to 6.3 magnitude. Some 24 tremors, two with a magnitude of 6.3 and 6.1, followed the 2 a.m. local time quake that flattened the village of Sayeh Khosh near Iran's Gulf coast in Hormozgan province. The most recent tremor occurred around 8 a.m., officials told state TV. "All of the victims died in the first earthquake and no-one was harmed in the next two…
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Japanese asked to save power as country’s east sizzles

Japanese asked to save power as country’s east sizzles

TOKYO, July 1 (Reuters) - The highest temperatures for the season since record-keeping began have scorched much of eastern Japan for a week, prompting the government to ask citizens to cut power use as much as possible, while running air conditioners to stay safe. The region around Tokyo hit its seventh straight day of temperatures above 35 Celsius (95 Fahrenheit) on Friday and faced a hot weekend. Slightly cooler temperatures and possibly rain could bring relief on Monday. For the first time this week, authorities did not on Friday warn of a possible power shortage, although energy supplies will remain tight and…
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Photo Story: Toshio Suzuki and Studio Ghibli Exhibition in Tokyo

Photo Story: Toshio Suzuki and Studio Ghibli Exhibition in Tokyo

A staff member attends the press preview of the 'Toshio Suzuki and Studio Ghibli Exhibition' at Warehouse Terrada in Tokyo, Japan, 30 June 2022. The exhibition opens to the public on 01 July and runs until 07 September. Via EPA-EFE/FRANCK ROBICHON Toshio Suzuki, Japanese anime film producer and former president of Studio Ghibli, attends the opening ceremony of the 'Toshio Suzuki and Studio Ghibli Exhibition' at Warehouse Terrada in Tokyo, Japan,. EPA-EFE/FRANCK ROBICHON
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Japan’s June heatwave sizzles into hottest day, crunch time for power supply

Japan’s June heatwave sizzles into hottest day, crunch time for power supply

TOKYO, June 29 (Reuters) - Japan braced on Wednesday for its hottest day yet of a record-breaking June heatwave as fears grew about a shortage of electricity to keep air conditioners whirring and Prime Minister Fumio Kishida called for a ramp-up of nuclear power use. As some manufacturers announced plans to scale back production to save electricity, temperatures of around 40 C were predicted in areas surrounding Tokyo on the fifth day of a heatwave that has seen the Japanese capital sizzle under its worst June heat since records began in 1875. The Japan Meteorological Agency forecast Tokyo temperatures won't drop back…
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Appeal to save energy as scorching summer heat batters Tokyo

Appeal to save energy as scorching summer heat batters Tokyo

YOKOHAMA, June 26 (Reuters) - The Japanese government warned on Sunday that electric power supplies would be strained in the Tokyo area on Monday, calling on people to save energy as scorching summer heat batters the capital. In Tokyo and eight nearby prefectures in eastern Japan, excess generating capacity will drop as low as 3.7% for half an hour on Monday afternoon until 5 p.m. (0800 GMT), according to estimates released by the Ministry of Economy, Trade and Industry (METI). A buffer of 3% is considered the minimum required for a stable power supply. The ministry urged users to curb power consumption…
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Japan court rules ban on same-sex marriage constitutional

Japan court rules ban on same-sex marriage constitutional

A Japanese court has ruled that a ban on same-sex marriage is not unconstitutional. The Osaka court said that marriage was defined as being only between opposite genders and not enough debate on same-sex marriage had taken place in Japanese society. Japan is the only nation among the Group of Seven that does not allow people of the same gender to marry. Machi Sakata, who married her U.S.-citizen partner in the United States, was one of the plaintiffs. PLAINTIFF, MACHI SAKATA, SAYING: “I think it is a terrible ruling. They ruled that it is constitutional that people are being discriminated against for their…
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Earthquake jolts Ishikawa in central Japan – NHK

Earthquake jolts Ishikawa in central Japan – NHK

TOKYO (Reuters) - An earthquake with a preliminary magnitude of 5.2 hit central Japan on Sunday, the national broadcaster NHK said. The epicentre of the earthquake was Ishikawa Prefecture, NHK said. No tsunami warning had been issued. There were no immediate reports of damage, but authorities are urging vigilance against potential landslide or falling objects, the NHK said. (Reporting by Makiko Yamazaki; Editing by William Mallard)
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Japan runs biggest trade deficit in more than 8 years in May

Japan runs biggest trade deficit in more than 8 years in May

TOKYO, June 16 (Reuters) - Japan ran its biggest single-month trade deficit in more than eight years in May as high commodity prices and declines in the yen swelled imports, clouding the country's economic outlook. The growing trade deficit underscores the headwinds the world's third-largest economy faces from a slide in the yen and surging costs of fuel and raw materials, on which domestic manufacturers rely for production. Imports soared 48.9% in the year to May, Ministry of Finance data showed on Thursday, above a median market forecast for a 43.6% gain in a Reuters poll. That outpaced a 15.8% year-on-year rise…
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Study in Japan shows cats can remember names of their friends and owners

Study in Japan shows cats can remember names of their friends and owners

A new study carried out in Japan, showed that cats living in houses are actually able to recognise their first names and those of other felines, the study shows. They are even able to recognise the first names of people living in the same household. In order to reach these conclusions, the researchers showed a cat several images: that of a random cat, and that of a cat that was living with or familiar to them. These images were displayed on a screen while the correct or incorrect first name of the chat shown was spoken aloud. As a result,…
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Japan to ‘drastically strengthen’ military capability

Japan to ‘drastically strengthen’ military capability

TOKYO, May 27 (Reuters) - Japan aims to "drastically strengthen" its military capabilities, according to an economic policy draft seen by Reuters, as officials worry that Russia's invasion of Ukraine could prompt instability in East Asia. Prime Minister Fumio Kishida, meeting U.S. President Joe Biden on Monday, pledged to "substantially increase" Japan's defence budget. The draft, a long-term economic outline that is updated annually, does not gives details about spending, but says for the first time: "There have been attempts to unilaterally change the status quo by force in East Asia, making regional security increasingly severe." It also does not…
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With eye on China, and U.S. ties, Japan’s universities to screen foreigners

With eye on China, and U.S. ties, Japan’s universities to screen foreigners

TOKYO, May 23 (Reuters) - Japan is asking universities for greater scrutiny of foreign students and scholars to prevent technology leaks to places like China, partly for its own national security but also to safeguard exchanges with U.S. and European universities. While many Western countries have measures to prevent espionage on their campuses with strict screening and penalties for breaches, experts say Japan has been a weak link given its often-unchecked embrace of foreign students. A string of U.S. arrests of Chinese academics in recent years over suspicion of spying was a wake-up call for Japan, officials say. "Around the world, export…
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UPDATED: Biden says he would be willing to use force to defend Taiwan

UPDATED: Biden says he would be willing to use force to defend Taiwan

TOKYO, May 23 (Reuters) - U.S. President Joe Biden said on Monday he would be willing to use force to defend Taiwan, in a series of critical comments about China he made in Tokyo that an aide said represented no change in U.S. policy on the self-ruled island. Biden's comment, made during his first visit to Japan since taking office, and as Japanese Prime Minister Fumio Kishida looked on, appeared to be a departure from existing U.S. policy of so-called strategic ambiguity on Taiwan. China considers the democratic island its territory, part of "one China", and says it is the most sensitive…
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In Japan, Biden to launch economic plan for region sceptical on benefits

In Japan, Biden to launch economic plan for region sceptical on benefits

TOKYO, May 22 (Reuters) - President Joe Biden headed to Japan on Sunday to launch a plan for greater U.S. economic engagement with the Indo-Pacific, facing criticism even before the programme is announced that it will offer scant benefit to countries in the region. On the second leg of his first Asia trip as president, Biden is to meet with leaders of Japan, India and Australia, the "Quad," another cornerstone of his strategy to push back against China's expanding influence. In Tokyo on Monday, Biden will call on Emperor Naruhito before talks with Prime Minister Fumio Kishida. He and Kishida are expected…
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Fukushima nuclear power plant water release plan given initial nod

Fukushima nuclear power plant water release plan given initial nod

TOKYO, May 18 (Reuters) - Japan's Nuclear Regulation Authority (NRA) granted an initial approval on Wednesday for a Tokyo Electric Power's (Tepco) plan for releasing water from the destroyed Fukushima nuclear power plant into sea, citing there are no safety issues. The NRA plans to make a decision on final approval after a one-month public comment period, an official at NRA said, who deals with the issue. In 2021, the Japanese government approved the release of over 1 million tonnes of irradiated water from the site after treatment into the ocean, starting around spring 2023. The announcement provoked concerns from…
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EU’s Michel, on Hiroshima visit, says global security is under threat

EU’s Michel, on Hiroshima visit, says global security is under threat

TOKYO, May 13 (Reuters) - European Council President Charles Michel who is visiting Japan's Hiroshima, the first city to suffer an atomic bombing, on Friday said global security was under threat from Russia's invasion of Ukraine and North Korea's recent missile test. Michel said the nuclear memorial city of Hiroshima is "a stark reminder of the urgency" to strengthen international rules for nuclear disarmament and arms control. "As we speak, global security is under threat. Russia, a nuclear armed state ... is attacking the sovereign nation of Ukraine, while making shameful and unacceptable references to the use of nuclear weapons," Michel said…
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EU seeks bigger role in Asia’s ‘theatre of tensions’, agrees with Japan on Russia cooperation

EU seeks bigger role in Asia’s ‘theatre of tensions’, agrees with Japan on Russia cooperation

TOKYO, May 12 (Reuters) - European Union leaders said on Thursday that the EU wants to become a bigger actor in Asia, which they termed a "theatre of tensions", as they warned of an increasingly assertive China. After talks in Tokyo, European Commission President Ursula von der Leyen, European Council President Charles Michel and Japanese Prime Minister Fumio Kishida told a joint news conference they would keep up talks on ways to maximise their partnership to tackle Russia over its invasion of Ukraine, in areas such as energy. But Michel and von der Leyen also said they were aware that regional tensions…
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Ukraine plight could be replicated in East Asia, Japan’s Kishida warns

Ukraine plight could be replicated in East Asia, Japan’s Kishida warns

LONDON, May 6 (Reuters) - Japanese Prime Minister Fumio Kishida warned that the invasion of Ukraine could be replicated in East Asia if leading powers do not respond as one, saying peace and stability in the Taiwan Strait must be maintained. Kishida, speaking in London via a translator after a meeting with British Prime Minister Boris Johnson, said now was the time for the Group of Seven leading nations to solidify its unity. "Collaboration among countries sharing universal values becomes ever more vital," he said. "We must collaborate with our allies and like minded countries, and never tolerate a unilateral attempt to change the…
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Italy’s Draghi thanks Japan for redirecting LNG cargoes to Europe,  Russia bars entry to Japanese PM

Italy’s Draghi thanks Japan for redirecting LNG cargoes to Europe, Russia bars entry to Japanese PM

ROME, May 4 (Reuters) - Italian Prime Minister Mario Draghi thanked Japan on Wednesday for redirecting liquefied natural gas (LNG) cargoes destined for third countries to Europe. Europe, which sources about 40% of its gas imports from Russia, has been scrambling to diversify its energy supply mix as the conflict in Ukraine escalates. https://twitter.com/Palazzo_Chigi/status/1521811868066660352 Speaking after a bilateral meeting with Japanese Prime Minister Fumio Kishida, Draghi said the two countries condemned Russia's invasion of Ukraine and were committed to reaching a truce and favouring peace negotiations with Russia. Russia's foreign ministry on Wednesday announced sanctions against 63 Japanese officials, journalists and professors…
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Japan coast guard searching for missing sightseeing boat with 26 on board

Japan coast guard searching for missing sightseeing boat with 26 on board

TOKYO, April 23 (Reuters) - Japan's coast guard was searching off the northern island of Hokkaido after a sightseeing boat with 26 people on board went missing on Saturday, public broadcaster NHK reported. Authorities lost contact with the ship after receiving word from the crew that water had started to flood into the stern of the vessel early on Saturday afternoon, NHK said. There were a total of 24 passengers, including two children, as well as two crew members on board, NHK said.
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Japan to ban coal imports from Russia, announces additional sanctions

Japan to ban coal imports from Russia, announces additional sanctions

TOKYO, April 8 (Reuters) - Japan, the world's third-largest coal importer, said on Friday it will ban coal imports from Russia and impose a wide range of additional sanctions, including freezing the assets of two major banks and broadening sanctions against individuals. Prime Minister Fumio Kishida made the announcement, which follows similar steps taken by the United States and European Union nations, at a news conference shortly after Japan announced it was expelling eight Russian diplomats and trade officials. This marks a reversal for Japan, which earlier had said it would reduce imports gradually while looking for alternative suppliers in the wake of…
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Magnitude 4.7 shakes buildings in Tokyo briefly, no tsunami warning

Magnitude 4.7 shakes buildings in Tokyo briefly, no tsunami warning

TOKYO, March 31 (Reuters) - A magnitude 4.7 earthquake briefly shook buildings in Tokyo, although there appeared to be no immediate damage and no tsunami warning. The earthquake hit northwest Chiba prefecture, just outside of Tokyo, and had a magnitude of 4.7 according to the Japan Meteorological Agency. The was no tsunami warning, according to public broadcaster NHK and there were no immediate reports of damage.
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Russia conducts military drills on isles disputed with Japan

Russia conducts military drills on isles disputed with Japan

March 26 (Reuters) - Russia was conducting drills on islands claimed by Tokyo, Japanese media said on Saturday, days after Moscow halted peace talks with Japan because of its sanctions over Russia's invasion of Ukraine. Russia's Eastern Military District said it was conducting military drills on the Kuril islands with more than 3,000 troops and hundreds of pieces of army equipment, Russia's Interfax news agency said Friday. It did not say where on the island chain, connecting Russia's Kamchatka peninsula and Japan's northernmost main island of Hokkaido, the drills were taking place. Japanese media said they were on territory the Soviet Union…
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Japan imposes more sanctions on Russian officials, arms exporter

Japan imposes more sanctions on Russian officials, arms exporter

TOKYO, March 18 (Reuters) - Japan said on Friday it will impose sanctions on 15 Russian individuals and nine organisations, including defence officials and the state-owned arms exporter Rosoboronexport. The sanctions, which include the freezing of assets, are the latest in a series of measures by Japan following Russia's invasion of Ukraine. Japan has now put sanctions on 76 individuals, seven banks and 12 other organisations in Russia, according to the finance ministry. The government said on Friday Russian Foreign Ministry spokeswoman Maria Zakharova and several military equipment makers including United Aircraft Corp, which manufactures fighter jets, would be sanctioned. A view…
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UPDATED: Thousands of northeast Japan homes still without power after earthquake kills four

UPDATED: Thousands of northeast Japan homes still without power after earthquake kills four

TOKYO, March 17 (Reuters) - Tens of thousands of Japanese households remained without power on Thursday morning, more than 10 hours after a powerful earthquake that left at least four dead and more than 100 injured, and severed transport links to the country's northeast. Companies including a giant chipmaker and Toyota Motor Corp 7203.T raced to assess the impact of the magnitude 7.4 quake, which struck shortly before midnight on Wednesday. Supply chain disruptions could put more pressure on already strained global output of smartphones, electronics and automobiles. The temblor revived memories of the March 11, 2011 disaster in the same area, and left…
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Japan urges crypto firms to comply with sanctions against Russia and Belarus

Japan urges crypto firms to comply with sanctions against Russia and Belarus

TOKYO, March 14 (Reuters) - Japanese authorities ordered crypto exchanges on Monday not to process transactions involving crypto assets subject to asset-freeze sanctions against Russia and Belarus over the war in Ukraine. The step was taken after a Group of Seven (G7) statement on Friday that said Western nations "will impose costs on illicit Russian actors using digital assets to enhance and transfer their wealth."  There are growing concerns among G7 advanced economies that cryptocurrencies are being used by Russian entities as a loophole for financial sanctions imposed upon the country for invading Ukraine. The U.S. Treasury Department issued new guidance on…
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Photo Story: Japan marks 11th anniversary of earthquake and tsunami

Photo Story: Japan marks 11th anniversary of earthquake and tsunami

A woman offers a prayer on the 11th anniversary of Japan's 2011 earthquake and tsunami, in Tokyo, Japan, 11 March 2022. On 11 March 2011 a magnitude 9.0 earthquake triggered a tsunami, devastating northern Japan and Tokyo Electric Power Company's Fukushima Daiichi Nuclear Power Plant. According to the National Police Agency, 15,900 people died and 2,523 are still missing. Via EPA-EFE/KIMIMASA MAYAMA
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