Lifestyle/Entertainment Editor, Asia, Tokyo
Elaine's Feed
Mar 10, 2015

Japan PM vows new five-year plan to rebuild from 2011 disaster

TOKYO (Reuters) – Japanese Prime Minister Shinzo Abe on Tuesday vowed to draw up a new-five year plan to speed rebuilding from a massive 2011 tsunami and the world’s worst nuclear disaster since Chernobyl that have left thousands still homeless.

Abe spoke ahead of the fourth anniversary of the devastating March 11 earthquake, which set off a massive tsunami that ravaged the Pacific coastline, killing nearly 20,000 and causing explosions and meltdowns at the Fukushima Daiichi nuclear plant.

Mar 9, 2015

Tokyo fire bombing survivor fears Japan starting down road to war again

TOKYO (Reuters) – Katsumoto Saotome was 12 the night he ran for his life through a sea of flames, jumping over smoldering railroad ties along a train track as U.S. B-29 bombers rained incendiary bombs down around him.

The U.S. bombing after midnight on March 10, 1945, annihilated a wide swathe of northeastern Tokyo, packed with small factories and houses made of wood and paper.

Mar 6, 2015

Trip Tips: Japan’s coastal Miyako city puts tsunami behind it

MIYAKO, Japan, March 6 (Reuters) – Miyako in northeastern
Japan was for decades a small coastal city, famed for the salmon
that splashed upriver in the autumn and the succulent oysters
gathered just offshore. Tourists came to fish, paddle kayaks in
the bay and enjoy the scenic views.

Then came March 11, 2011. A powerful 9.0 offshore earthquake
struck, sending massive waves hurtling up the coast and into its
fjord-like bays and inlets.

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.