Lifestyle/Entertainment Editor, Asia, Tokyo
Elaine's Feed
Mar 3, 2015

Small step by Tokyo district could be giant leap for LGBT equality

TOKYO, March 3 (Reuters) – Same-sex couples in Japan are
awaiting the results of a debate in a Tokyo local assembly that
may give them what their Western counterparts have long had: a
chance to step out of the shadows.

The proposal by Tokyo’s Shibuya ward to recognise same-sex
partnerships from April may seem insignificant compared with the
United States, where gay marriage is legal in all but 13 states.
But it is the first such move in Japan, where the lesbian, gay,
bisexual and transgender (LGBT) community is all but invisible.

Feb 27, 2015

Tokyo 2020 planners issue playbook, but venues still undecided

TOKYO (Reuters) – Planners for the Tokyo 2020 Summer Olympics issued their playbook for organizing the sports extravaganza on Friday, but there was no final decision on venues amid growing pressure to keep swelling costs down.

Rising labor and construction costs have forced Tokyo to rethink its plans for 10 venues it intended to build for the Games, contravening its promise that the vast majority of events would take place within 8 km (5 miles) of the Olympic village – one of the key points in its successful hosting bid.

Feb 27, 2015

Olympics-Tokyo 2020 planners issue playbook, but venues still undecided

TOKYO, Feb 27 (Reuters) – Planners for the Tokyo 2020 Summer Olympics issued their playbook for organising the sports extravaganza on Friday, but there was no final decision on venues amid growing pressure to keep swelling costs down.

Rising labour and construction costs have forced Tokyo to rethink its plans for 10 venues it intended to build for the Games, contravening its promise that the vast majority of events would take place within 8 km (5 miles) of the Olympic village – one of the key points in its successful hosting bid.

Feb 13, 2015

Japan PM ex-adviser praises apartheid in embarrassment for Abe

TOKYO, Feb 13 (Reuters) – A former adviser to Prime Minister
Shinzo Abe has praised apartheid as a model for how Japan could
expand immigration, prompting the government’s top spokesman on
Friday to emphasise that Japan’s immigration policy was based on
equality.

Author Ayako Sono, considered part of Abe’s informal brain
trust, set off a wave of online fury this week when she wrote in
the conservative Sankei newspaper that South Africa’s former
policies of racial separation had been good for whites, Asians
and Africans.

Feb 5, 2015

Sprinting for security: spycam-wearing police to run in Tokyo marathon

TOKYO (Reuters) – Mingling with more than 30,000 runners at this month’s Tokyo Marathon will be a small, elite crew of police runners equipped with cameras capturing real-time footage of the course.

Japan is stepping up security measures after Islamic State militants in the Middle East said they had beheaded two Japanese hostages, sparking fears of Islamist-linked attacks at home.

Feb 5, 2015

New sports for Tokyo Games to be decided in 2016, says IOC

TOKYO (Reuters) – The decision on which and how many new sports will be added to the slate for the Tokyo 2020 Summer Olympics will be determined next year, just before the start of the Rio Games, IOC Vice President John Coates said on Thursday.

Programme changes approved by the IOC late last year allow it to bring in more sports and cut some events as it works to keep the Olympics relevant to spectators and sponsors, with baseball and softball — out of the Games since Beijing in 2008 — believed to be prime contenders.

Feb 1, 2015

Battle for Okinawa: Islanders face off with Tokyo over bases

NAGO, Japan, Feb 2 (Reuters) – Japan’s Okinawa, a chain of
tropical islands more than three hours southwest of Tokyo by
plane, looks and feels almost like a different country. A
growing number of islanders say it should be just that.

Perennial anger over Okinawa’s hosting of tens of thousands
of U.S. troops has flared to a new level after the election of
an anti-base governor and lawmakers late last year – victories
that have been all but ignored by those in power in Tokyo.

Jan 30, 2015

Japan, Jordan working closely on fate of captive Japanese journalist

AMMAN/TOKYO (Reuters) – Japan was working closely with Jordan on Friday to find out what was happening to a Japanese journalist held by Islamic State militants after a deadline passed for the release of an Iraqi would-be suicide bomber on death-row in Jordan.

Japanese Prime Minister Shinzo Abe said every effort was being made to secure the release of journalist Kenji Goto.

Jan 28, 2015

New video of Islamic State captive Goto “despicable”, says Japan PM

TOKYO, Jan 28 (Reuters) – Japanese Prime Minister Shinzo Abe
on Wednesday termed as “despicable” a new video appearing to
show Japanese journalist Kenji Goto, who is being held by
Islamic State militants, saying he could be killed in 24 hours.

“The video is despicable and I feel strong anger,” Abe told
reporters. Earlier, at the start of a meeting of cabinet
ministers, he reiterated that Japan was calling on Jordan to
cooperate in working for Goto’s quick release.

Jan 23, 2015

Islamic State deadline on Japanese captives passes with no word on fate

TOKYO (Reuters) – Japan said on Friday it was still trying to secure the release of two Japanese hostages held by Islamic State militants after a deadline to pay ransom for their release passed.

Chief Cabinet Secretary Yoshihide Suga told a news conference the situation remained “severe” while the mother of one of the hostages, a journalist, appealed for his safe release.