Lifestyle/Entertainment Editor, Asia, Tokyo
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Apr 22, 2014

Japanese minister, MPs visit Yasukuni Shrine on eve of Obama visit

TOKYO (Reuters) – A Japanese cabinet minister and about 150 lawmakers visited Yasukuni Shrine, seen by critics as a symbol of Japan’s past militarism, on Tuesday, sparking anger among Asian neighbors and U.S. frustration a day before U.S. President Barack Obama visits Japan.

The visits followed an offering to the shrine by Prime Minister Shinzo Abe on Monday that further strained already fraught regional ties, with both China and South Korea questioning Japan’s commitment to dialogue.

Apr 22, 2014

Japan cabinet minister, lawmakers visit Yasukuni Shrine

TOKYO (Reuters) – A Japanese cabinet minister and some 150 lawmakers on Tuesday visited Yasukuni Shrine, which is seen by critics as a symbol of Japan’s past militarism, in a move that could further strain fraught regional ties.

Prime Minister Shinzo Abe sent an offering to the shrine on Monday, just days before a Tokyo visit by U.S. President Barack Obama, provoking an angry response from China and South Korea, which decried it as romanticizing Japan’s wartime past.

Apr 21, 2014

Japan PM makes offering to Yasukuni Shrine, angers China, S.Korea

TOKYO, April 21 (Reuters) – Japanese Prime Minister Shinzo
Abe has sent a ritual offering to the Yasukuni Shrine, seen by
critics as a symbol of Japan’s past militarism, angering both
South Korea and China on Monday and putting regional ties under
further strain.

Adding to unease in the region, a Chinese maritime court in
Shanghai seized a ship on Saturday owned by Japanese shipping
firm Mitsui O.S.K. Lines, a move that Japan warned could have an
adverse impact on its businesses in China.

Apr 21, 2014

Japan PM makes offering to Yasukuni Shrine; China seizes ship

TOKYO (Reuters) – Japanese Prime Minister Shinzo Abe has sent a ritual offering to the Yasukuni Shrine, seen by critics as a symbol of Japan’s past militarism, a move that may increase strains on Tokyo’s ties with Asian neighbors China and South Korea.

Adding to unease in the region, a Chinese maritime court in Shanghai seized a ship on Saturday owned by Japanese shipping firm Mitsui O.S.K. Lines, saying the company had failed to pay compensation stemming from a wartime contractual obligation.

Apr 18, 2014

Japan will conduct Pacific whale hunt in wake of court ruling

TOKYO (Reuters) – Japan said on Friday it would conduct its annual Northwest Pacific whaling campaign this year despite an international court ruling against the program last month, but in a sharply scaled down form.

The decision to proceed with the hunt was certain to provoke international anger.

Apr 18, 2014

Japan will conduct Pacific whale hunt despite court ruling

TOKYO (Reuters) – Japan said on Friday it would conduct its annual Northwest Pacific whaling campaign this year despite an international court ruling against the program last month, but in a sharply scaled down form.

The decision to proceed with the hunt was certain to provoke international anger.

Apr 17, 2014

Japan considers curtailing whale hunt further – media

TOKYO, April 17 (Reuters) – Japan is considering scrapping a
Northwest Pacific whale hunt just days before the fleet’s
planned departure, media said on Thursday, as the government
grapples with its response to an international court ruling
against its main whale hunt.

In a blow to Tokyo’s decades-old and disputed “scientific
whaling” programme, the International Court of Justice (ICJ)
last month ordered a halt to its annual hunts in the Southern
Ocean, prompting Japan to cancel its 2014-2015 Antarctic hunt,
the programme’s mainstay, as it pledged to abide by the ruling.

Apr 9, 2014

Japanese researcher stands by her disputed stem cell discovery

TOKYO (Reuters) – Fighting back tears, a Japanese researcher under fire for fabricating parts of scientific papers hailed as breakthroughs in stem cell research said on Wednesday she stood by her discovery and hoped it could still help the world.

The papers published by Haruko Obokata in the scientific journal Nature in January detailed simple ways to reprogram mature animal cells back to an embryonic-like state, allowing them to generate many types of tissues – offering hope for a way of replacing damaged cells or growing new organs in humans.

Apr 8, 2014

Japan, fresh from Australia pact, says U.S. trade talks ‘difficult’

TOKYO (Reuters) – Japan, fresh from clinching a trade deal with Australia, said on Tuesday it hoped for a similar result in negotiations with the United States and also for a broad regional trade pact, but said the talks would be difficult.

Japan and the United States are pushing for a two-way trade deal, a crucial part of a broad U.S.-led Trans-Pacific Partnership (TPP), before U.S. President Barack Obama arrives in Japan this month.

Apr 1, 2014

Japan may suggest smaller whale catch after ICJ blow

TOKYO (Reuters) – Japan could try to rescue its Antarctic whaling program by sharply reducing catch quotas after the highest U.N. court ordered a halt, rejecting Tokyo’s argument that the catch was for scientific purposes and not mainly for human consumption.

The judgment by the International Court of Justice (ICJ) was a blow to Japan’s decades-old “scientific whaling” program, although Tokyo, which said it would abide by the ruling, might be able to resume Antarctic whaling if it devises a new, more persuasive program that requires killing whales.