Lifestyle/Entertainment Editor, Asia, Tokyo
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May 29, 2015

Volcano erupts on Japanese island, evacuation ordered and flights diverted

TOKYO, May 29 (Reuters) – A volcano on the remote southern
Japanese island of Kuchinoerabujima erupted suddenly on Friday,
blasting plumes of black smoke high into the sky, prompting
authorities to order the island’s evacuation and forcing
airlines to divert flights.

A pyroclastic flow of super-heated gas and rock flowed down
the side of Mount Shindake and reached the ocean after the
mountain’s “explosive” eruption, but officials said there was no
danger to human life.

May 20, 2015

Japan zoos, under pressure, give up buying dolphins from grisly hunt

TOKYO (Reuters) – Japan’s association of zoos and aquariums said on Wednesday it will stop buying dolphins taken in a controversial hunt made famous in an Oscar-winning documentary, possibly raising pressure to halt the annual event Japan says is a tradition.

The hunt, featured in the 2009 film “The Cove,” involves driving hundreds of dolphins into a cove in the western port town of Taiji. Some are taken alive for sale to marine parks, some are released and the others are killed for meat, turning the water red with blood.

May 20, 2015

Governor of Japan’s Okinawa to U.S. to press for removal of base

TOKYO (Reuters) – The governor of the Japanese island of Okinawa said on Wednesday he will travel to the United States next week to press his demand that a U.S. military base be removed from his island to lighten the burden of a people weary of hosting U.S. troops.

Residents of the southern island have long resented the fact that they not only suffered a devastating land battle during World War Two but also host tens of thousands of U.S. troops and U.S. military facilities on 18 percent of their island’s area.

May 20, 2015

Governor of Japan’s Okinawa to press U.S. for removal of base

TOKYO (Reuters) – The governor of the Japanese island of Okinawa said on Wednesday he will travel to the United States next week to press his demand that a U.S. military base be removed from his island to lighten the burden of a people weary of hosting U.S. troops.

Residents of the southern island have long resented the fact that they not only suffered a devastating land battle during World War Two but also host tens of thousands of U.S. troops and U.S. military facilities on 18 percent of their island’s area.

May 18, 2015

Japan’s Asada resumes training after year off

TOKYO (Reuters) – Japanese figure skater Mao Asada says she cannot live without skating and has resumed training after a one-year break with the aim of returning to competition.

The 24-year-old silver medalist from the 2010 Winter Games in Vancouver said last May she was taking a year off after the Sochi Games to consider her future, adding that she was exhausted and retirement was a 50-50 possibility.

May 18, 2015

Figure skating-Japan’s Asada resumes training after year off

TOKYO, May 18 (Reuters) – Japanese figure skater Mao Asada says she cannot live without skating and has resumed training after a one-year break with the aim of returning to competition.

The 24-year-old silver medallist from the 2010 Winter Games in Vancouver said last May she was taking a year off after the Sochi Games to consider her future, adding that she was exhausted and retirement was a 50-50 possibility.

May 14, 2015

Asada set to announce future after one-year break

TOKYO (Reuters) – Japan’s Mao Asada, a triple world champion and Olympic silver medalist, is expected to announce next week whether she intends to hang up her skates or resume her competitive career after a one-year hiatus.

The 24-year-old silver medalist from the 2010 Winter Games in Vancouver said last May that she was taking a year off after last year’s Sochi Games to consider her future, adding that she was exhausted and retirement was a 50-50 possibility.

May 14, 2015

Figure skating-Asada set to announce future after one-year break

TOKYO, May 14 (Reuters) – Japan’s Mao Asada, a triple world champion and Olympic silver medalist, is expected to announce next week whether she intends to hang up her skates or resume her competitive career after a one-year hiatus.

The 24-year-old silver medalist from the 2010 Winter Games in Vancouver said last May that she was taking a year off after last year’s Sochi Games to consider her future, adding that she was exhausted and retirement was a 50-50 possibility.

Apr 24, 2015

Korean wartime sex slave calls on Japan PM to apologize on U.S. trip

TOKYO (Reuters) – An 88-year-old South Korean woman forced to become a sex slave in Japanese military brothels during World War Two on Friday called on Japanese Prime Minister Shinzo Abe to apologize and restore her “honor” when he visits Washington next week.

The issue of “comfort women”, as those forced to work in the brothels are known, has long been a flash point in Japan’s ties with Asia and is gaining renewed attention ahead of the 70th anniversary of the end of World War Two later this year.

Apr 22, 2015

Japan says PM Abe will meet China’s Xi in Indonesia

TOKYO (Reuters) – Final arrangements are being made for Japanese Prime Minister Shinzo Abe to meet Chinese President Xi Jinping on the sidelines of an Asia-Africa summit in Indonesia on Wednesday, Japan’s top government spokesman said.

Sino-Japanese ties have chilled in recent years due to feuds over the two neighbours’ wartime past as well as territorial rows and regional rivalry. A meeting on Wednesday between the two leaders could promote a cautious rapprochement that began when Abe and Xi met at a summit in Beijing late last year.