Lifestyle/Entertainment Editor, Asia, Tokyo
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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.

Apr 22, 2015

Japan says PM Abe hopes to 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.

Apr 21, 2015

Japanese PM Abe makes ritual offering at Yasukuni shrine

TOKYO (Reuters) – Japanese Prime Minister Shinzo Abe sent a ritual offering on Tuesday to a controversial Tokyo shrine for war dead, a senior spokesman said, a day before he hopes to meet Chinese President Xi Jinping on the sidelines of a leaders’ summit in Jakarta.

Abe sent an evergreen shrub in honor of Japan’s war dead, a gesture likely to anger China, though the timing of the offering – a day before it is traditionally made – was seen as an attempt to avoid a diplomatic embarrassment at Wednesday’s summit.

Apr 13, 2015

Japan hopes to resume whale hunt this year, despite opposition by expert panel

TOKYO/LONDON (Reuters) – Japan on Monday said it hoped to resume its Antarctic whale hunt around the end of this year, after providing further information to win over an international panel that says its whaling plan does not prove the need for killing the animals.

Last year, the International Court of Justice ruled that Japan’s decades-old whale hunt in the Southern Ocean should stop, prompting Tokyo to cancel the bulk of its whaling for the 2014/2015 season and submit a scaled-down plan for future hunts.

Apr 2, 2015

Multiracial Miss Japan hopes to change homeland’s thinking on identity

TOKYO, April 2 (Reuters) – Ariana Miyamoto hadn’t planned to
enter a Japanese beauty contest because she figured her
multiracial origins meant she couldn’t win. Then a close
multiracial friend committed suicide.

So Miyamoto, the daughter of a Japanese woman and an
African-American man, whose bronze skin and height of 1.73 m
(5.7 ft) are unusual in Japan, where she was born and brought
up, took part in the pageant and won, becoming “Miss Japan”.

Mar 31, 2015

In Japan first, Tokyo district recognises same-sex partnerships

TOKYO, March 31 (Reuters) – A district assembly in Tokyo
became the first in Japan on Tuesday to recognise same-sex
partnerships, a major step forward for gay couples in a country
where being openly gay remains taboo.

The vote by Tokyo’s Shibuya ward may seem insignificant
compared to the United States, where gay marriage is legal in
all but 13 states, but just proposing the statute set off an
unprecedented discussion over equality, and is likely to pave
the way for similar measures elsewhere in Japan.

Mar 13, 2015

New coach Halilhodzic vows to rebuild Japan, asks for time

TOKYO (Reuters) – Vahid Halilhodzic believes he and Japan are a good fit mentally and the Samurai Blue have the potential to climb back up the ranks but he needs some time to show results, the new Japan head coach said on Friday.

Halilhodzic, who formerly coached Algeria and Ivory Coast, succeeds Javier Aguirre, who was sacked last month amid fears that Japan’s hopes of qualifying for the 2018 World Cup could be hindered by the Mexican’s alleged involvement in a match-fixing investigation in Spain.

Mar 13, 2015

Soccer-New coach Halilhodzic vows to rebuild Japan, asks for time

TOKYO, March 13 (Reuters) – Vahid Halilhodzic believes he and Japan are a good fit mentally and the Samurai Blue have the potential to climb back up the ranks but he needs some time to show results, the new Japan head coach said on Friday.

Halilhodzic, who formerly coached Algeria and Ivory Coast, succeeds Javier Aguirre, who was sacked last month amid fears that Japan’s hopes of qualifying for the 2018 World Cup could be hindered by the Mexican’s alleged involvement in a match-fixing investigation in Spain.

Mar 11, 2015

Aftershocks still rattle east Japan four years after megaquake

TOKYO, March 11 (Reuters) – Four years after a magnitude 9 earthquake shook northern and eastern Japan, the region is rocked by tremors at more than double the average rate of the decade before the disaster, a report this week from the Japan Meteorological Agency shows.

In the latest 12 months there were 737 quakes registering at least “1″ on the Japanese intensity scale of 1-7 in the quake zone, which runs more than 500 km (300 miles) from Tokyo’s eastern suburbs up the northeast coast nearly to the northern tip of the main island of Honshu.