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Heavy rain leaves one dead, two missing in Japan

Heavy rains lashed Japan over the weekend, leaving one person dead and two missing, the government said on Monday as it issued a severe storm warning. A 79-year-old woman was confirmed dead Sunday after being discovered inside a house that was destroyed by mudslides in Yamaguchi prefecture, on Japan’s southwest…

Japan wins rights to drill on Pacific floor for rare minerals used in consumer electronics

Japan on Saturday said it had won the rights to explore for cobalt-rich crusts in the Pacific, a move that could reduce its dependence on China for rare metals. A government press release said the International Seabed Authority (ISA) had approved Japan’s plan to probe a 3,000-square-kilometre area beneath international…

Rising hate speech in Japan has even some on far right saying ‘enough’

Shin-Okubo is where Tokyo residents go when they want a fix of Korean food and pop culture. The busy neighborhood is home to dozens of restaurants specializing in Korea’s spicy cuisine and stores crammed with souvenirs inspired by the stars of K-Pop…  …

Elderly shoplifters outnumber teenagers in Tokyo

The number of elderly people caught shoplifting in Japan’s capital city has outstripped that of teenagers for the first time since records began, a report said. A quarter of the people arrested on suspicion of the crime in Tokyo last year were at least 65 years old, figures showed, amid…

Study: Mega-quakes behind ‘sinking volcano’ phenomenon

Massive earthquakes can cause distant volcanoes to sink, according to research in Japan and Chile published on Sunday. The magnitude 9.0 tsunami-generating quake that occurred off northeastern Japan in 2011 caused subsidence of up to 15 centimetres (9.3 inches) in a string of volcanoes on the island of Honshu as…

Japan and China engaged in diplomatic buffet race

Belt-tightening in Japan’s diplomatic service is cutting the quality of canapes on offer abroad, the foreign ministry has said, leading to fears Tokyo is losing the battle of the buffets to Beijing. Diplomats in Tokyo say China appears to be ramping up its spending on its missions while Japanese diplomats…

Japanese researchers: New vaccine reduces malaria infection by 72 percent

A team of Japanese researchers say they have developed a vaccine that cuts the risk of malaria developing in humans by more than two-thirds. The disease, which is carried by parasite-bearing mosquitoes, kills around 650,000 people each year, mostly African children under five, according to the UN’s World Health Organisation…

Japan blocks U.S. wheat after Monsanto GMO strain found growing wild

Japan has suspended imports of some US wheat after genetically engineered crops were found on an Oregon farm, a government official said Friday. Tokyo’s move came as the European Union told its member states to test imports from the area, saying any genetically modified wheat would not be sold to…

Japan’s ‘stressed’ Princess Masako to travel abroad for the first time in seven years

Japan’s Crown Princess Masako, who has been undergoing treatment for a stress-induced illness for a decade, will travel abroad for the first time in about seven years, government officials said Friday. Accompanying her husband, Crown Prince Naruhito, the 49-year-old former diplomat will leave Tokyo Sunday on an official visit to…

Japan lifts social media ban against political candidates

Japan’s parliament on Friday lifted a ban on Internet electioneering, permitting candidates and their supporters to tweet, use Facebook and update their websites on the campaign trail. The upper house unanimously approved the bill to revise the public offices election law, ending a long-running debate on the strict ban, criticised…

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