Lifestyle/Entertainment Editor, Asia, Tokyo
Elaine's Feed
Aug 31, 2013

Olympics-Once-reluctant Japanese get behind Tokyo’s bid

TOKYO, Aug 31 (Reuters) – Tokyo knows better than most how an Olympic Games can rebrand a city. It did it once already at the 1964 Games, shaking off a war-ravaged reputation and showing a modern face to the world.

Fifty years later, Japan’s capital now wants to show that it is back, showcasing a new energy and dynamism after two lost decades, by hosting the 2020 Games.

Aug 30, 2013

U.S. envoy set to leave Friday on mission to free American in North Korea

TOKYO (Reuters) – A U.S. envoy was set to leave Japan on Friday to secure the release of an imprisoned and ailing American missionary in North Korea, a move that could signal the start of a gradual thaw in relations between Washington and Pyongyang.

Robert King, special envoy for North Korean human rights issues, is scheduled to return from Pyongyang on Saturday after a one-day trip, an official at the U.S. Embassy in Tokyo said. The official was unable to specify exact times.

Aug 29, 2013

Japanese mother tells of heartbreak years after North Korea abducted 13-year-old daughter

TOKYO (Reuters) – For two decades after 13-year-old Megumi Yokota vanished on her way home from school one November evening, Japanese police called her parents whenever they found an unidentified body.

Unimaginably, the teenager had been abducted and taken to North Korea, her mother told a U.N. Commission of Inquiry panel in Tokyo on Thursday – but there was no clue what had happened to the cheerful girl who liked to sing until reports began to emerge in 1997 of the presence of Japanese in North Korea.

Aug 27, 2013

Japan’s newest rocket fails to lift off

TOKYO (Reuters) – Japan’s first new rocket in 12 years failed to lift off on Tuesday, dealing a potential blow to hopes that Japan may be able to take a larger share of the growing, multi-billion dollar satellite launch industry.

It was the second setback for the Epsilon rocket this month.

An earlier launch was postponed because of a computer glitch. No word was immediately available on the cause of the problem on Tuesday or when the launch might be tried again.

Aug 15, 2013

Book Talk: The year that comet Kohoutek tore through lives

TOKYO (Reuters) – Alan Broussard is 14 in 1973, the year the comet Kohoutek was set to race across the skies in the astronomical sensation of the century – although it ultimately failed to deliver the blazing light show many people expected.

In “The Night of the Comet”, a novel by George Bishop, the comet is personal for Alan, whose geeky science-teacher father becomes so obsessed that it takes over his life as he works to whip their rural Louisiana town into a comet-watching frenzy.

Aug 14, 2013

Japan PM Abe may make offering to shrine for war dead: reports

TOKYO (Reuters) – Japanese Prime Minister Shinzo Abe may make a ritual offering to a shrine seen as a symbol of Japan’s former militarism, media said on Wednesday — a move likely to anger China and risk tentative diplomatic overtures.

An offering on Thursday, the emotive anniversary of Japan’s defeat in World War Two, would highlight the fine line Abe seeks to tread between mending frayed China ties and appealing to his conservative support base. A similar move in April infuriated China and South Korea, both victims of wartime aggression.

Aug 13, 2013

World Chefs: Silk Road journey of noodles, dumplings and family

TOKYO, Aug 13 (Reuters) – Jen Lin-Liu, a U.S.-born resident
of China, was taking a pasta-making course in Rome when she
began wondering whether the tale of Marco Polo bringing noodles
to Italy from China was actually true.

Her curiosity led her along the Silk Road, the ancient trade
route linking Asia and Europe, eating the different kinds of
pasta she found and speaking candidly with women as they cooked
together in kitchens along the way.

Aug 13, 2013

Japan PM Abe considers cut to corporate tax – Nikkei

TOKYO, Aug 13 (Reuters) – Japanese Prime Minister Shinzo Abe
is considering a corporate tax cut as a way to offset the
potential economic drag of a planned two-stage hike in the sales
tax, the Nikkei economic daily reported on Tuesday, citing
government sources.

Abe has called for a study on lowering corporate tax, which
at 38.01 percent is one of the highest in the industrial world,
as a way of easing the burden on Japanese companies and
attracting foreign investment, the Nikkei reported.

Aug 6, 2013

Anime master Miyazaki’s new film sounds a warning for Japan

TOKYO (Reuters) – Hayao Miyazaki’s new film is already a box office hit but its themes about the dangers of nationalism and war have set up the Oscar-winning animator for unprecedented criticism.

“The Wind Rises”, which debuted at the top of the Japanese box office last month and has a competition slot at the upcoming Venice Film Festival, is based on the man who designed Japan’s feared Zero fighter plane used in World War Two.

Jul 21, 2013

“Cool Japan” gives anime heroes a new mission: boost the economy

TOKYO, July 21 (Reuters) – The critters, warriors and
doe-eyed women of Japanese animation and manga comics have long
found fans around the world. But now the Japanese government
wants to mobilise them for a far sterner task: boosting the

Enter the “Cool Japan” fund, a $500 million investment of
public money aimed at helping Japanese firms promote their
cultural wares abroad – an echo of South Korea’s investment in
soft power that has lifted its K-pop music industry and rapper
Psy to global fame.