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Japan’s fashionistas defend famed photographer busted for selling books containing penis pictures

Japanese fashionistas leaped to the defence of Tokyo-based Singaporean photographer Leslie Kee after he was arrested for selling books containing pictures of male genitals. Kee, who has snapped megastars including Lady Gaga and Super Bowl sensation Beyonce, was arrested Monday on suspicion of obscenity after selling the books at his…

Powerful 6.9 earthquake shakes northern Japan

A powerful 6.9-magnitude earthquake struck northern Japan on Saturday, causing strong tremors across Hokkaido island but generating no tsunami or immediate reports of damage, authorities said. The quake, which was preceded by an early warning broadcast on television and radio, hit near the town of Obihiro at a depth of…

California considers $80 million earthquake early warning system

California has long been braced for the Big One, but now a proposed new early warning system seeks to give the US state’s residents vital extra seconds before a major earthquake hits. The $80 million plan, presented by lawmaker Alex Padilla and experts from the California Institute of Technology (Caltech),…

Foreign visitors flock back to post-disaster Japan

The number of foreign visitors to Japan in 2012 surged 34.6 percent from the previous year as the tourism sector rebounded after the 2011 tsunami and nuclear disaster, the government said Friday. Overseas arrivals totaled more than 8.3 million, just short of the record 8.6 million seen in 2010, the…

Uncertain future for Japan’s cat cafes

For the young women whiling away their evenings with a cappuccino in hand and a cat on their lap, Tokyo’s “neko cafes” are the ideal place to unwind and soothe their stresses. “After a long day at work, I just want to stroke cats and relax,” said saleswoman Akiko Harada. “I…

Japan may be ‘momentarily’ without nuclear power

TOKYO — Japan may go “momentarily” without nuclear power next month when the only one reactor still in operation shuts down for maintenance work, the country’s industry minister warned Sunday. Yukio Edano made the comment as the government prepared to restart two offline nuclear reactors amid criticism from media and…

Japan bank to install palm-reading ATMs

A regional bank in central Japan will become the country’s first financial institution to adopt automated teller machines that will identify users by their palms. Ogaki Kyoritsu Bank said it would install about a dozen palm-scanning biometric ATMs in late September and planned more in the future. Under the system, developed by Fujitsu Ltd., users will be able to prove…

U.S. panel presses Japan on child abductions

WASHINGTON — A US congressional panel on Tuesday advanced a bill that would punish nations for not addressing child abductions, putting pressure on Japan which has never returned a child to foreign parents. The House foreign affairs subcommittee on human rights approved a bill that would pave the way to…

Candlelight events mark Japan disaster anniversary

FUKUSHIMA, Japan — Candlelight ceremonies were held across Japan Sunday night, wrapping up a day of commemoration as the nation marked the first anniversary of its devastating earthquake and tsunami. More than 300 people gathered for “Candle Night” in front of local government offices in Fukushima city hours after around…

Saboteurs blamed as Japan whale catch falls short

Japan’s Antarctic whaling fleet has killed less than a third of the animals it planned to because of sabotage by activists, Tokyo said Friday as it announced the end of the season’s hunt. Japan’s Fisheries Agency said the fleet was on its way home from the Antarctic “on schedule”, but…

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