Lifestyle/Entertainment Editor, Asia, Tokyo
Elaine's Feed
Mar 24, 2014

Japan should press ‘changing’ North Korea to find closure over abductees

TOKYO (Reuters) – The ageing parents of a 13-year-old Japanese girl abducted nearly 40 years ago by North Korea urged their government on Monday to heed signs of change in Pyongyang in order to find out what happened to their daughter.

Japan and North Korea are set to resume high-level talks next week over Pyongyang’s nuclear and missile programs, as well as the fate of Japanese abducted decades ago to help train spies, after a hiatus of more than a year.

Mar 20, 2014

A Minute With: John Caird melds Ugandan dance, Japanese drums, U.S. chorus

TOKYO (Reuters) – Samurai, Ugandan dance, a U.S. chorus and the thunder of traditional Japanese taiko drums mix and meld in a cross-cultural charity collaboration to raise money for orphans around the world.

“At Home in the World”, performed by Ugandan youth whose parents died from HIV/AIDS and Japanese young people who lost loved ones in the 2011 tsunami, as well as a chorus from Vassar College in the United States, is directed by award-winning Briton John Caird and was playing in Tokyo on Thursday.

Mar 20, 2014

Book Talk: Debut novelist scores with Japan-set crime thriller

TOKYO (Reuters) – Barry Lancet had long wanted to write a novel. But with a full-time job, a commute and young children, time was nearly impossible to find – until he learned, among other things, to write on a clipboard standing up on his daily train ride.

Though not without mishaps, such as nearly falling into people’s laps as the train jolted or dropping a pen that marked another rider’s shirt, his perseverance paid off with the crime thriller “Japantown” that starts in San Francisco and then moves to Japan.

Mar 9, 2014

The children of Japan’s Fukushima battle an invisible enemy

KORIYAMA, Japan, March 10 (Reuters) – Some of the smallest
children in Koriyama, a short drive from the crippled Fukushima
nuclear plant, barely know what it’s like to play outside –
fear of radiation has kept them in doors for much of their short
lives.

Though the strict safety limits for outdoor activity set
after multiple meltdowns at the Fukushima Dai-ichi nuclear plant
in 2011 have now been eased, parental worries and ingrained
habit mean many children still stay inside.

Mar 7, 2014

‘Beethoven of Japan’ apologizes for ‘causing trouble with my lies’

TOKYO (Reuters) – A composer once known as the “Beethoven of Japan” said on Friday that tests had shown he was not legally deaf and apologized to people throughout the country for lying by using a ghost writer for his popular symphonies and other music.

Mamoru Sakuragochi, a classical musician who became known as an inspirational genius for composing music despite losing his hearing, bowed deeply before a packed news conference, his first public appearance since the scandal broke last month.

Mar 5, 2014

Japanese film “Homeland” tiptoes into Fukushima nuclear debate

TOKYO (Reuters) – A Japanese farming family is forced from their home by the Fukushima nuclear disaster, living in cramped temporary housing under stress as they wait for permission to return to land worked by their ancestors for generations.

That is the all-too-real backdrop of “Homeland”, the first Japanese mass-market film set in Fukushima since the world’s worst nuclear crisis in 25 years made the area’s name infamous.

Mar 3, 2014

Japanese lawmakers call for revision of wartime brothel apology

TOKYO (Reuters) – Nationalist Japanese politicians urged the government on Monday to revise a 1993 apology over Asian women forced to serve in wartime brothels, saying accounts that tens of thousands of women were forcibly recruited were a “total lie”.

Any revision to the landmark apology by then-Chief Cabinet Secretary Yohei Kono would enrage Japan’s neighbors, China and South Korea, from where most of the “comfort women” were drawn. Both accuse Japan of failing to atone fully for aggression before and during World War Two.

Feb 27, 2014

Japan Red Cross says plans talks for return of remains from North Korea

TOKYO (Reuters) – Officials from the Japanese and North Korean affiliates of the Red Cross will hold talks next week on the return of the remains of Japanese nationals from North Korea, a Japanese Red Cross official said on Thursday.

The move raises the possibility of the first talks between the two nations since late in 2012 and comes soon after a U.N. human rights report highlighted the issue of Japanese nationals abducted by Pyongyang decades ago.

Feb 25, 2014

Japan’s Asada wavering on retirement from competition

TOKYO (Reuters) – Japanese figure skater Mao Asada, who rebounded from a disastrous short program at the Sochi Olympics to gain the best score of her career in the free skate, is now wavering on whether to retire from competition.

Asada, who had been expected to be a top prospect for gold at Sochi, tumbled to 16th in the short program after falling and an overall lackluster performance.

Feb 25, 2014

Olympics-Japan’s Asada wavering on retirement from competition

TOKYO, Feb 25 (Reuters) – Japanese figure skater Mao Asada, who rebounded from a disastrous short programme at the Sochi Olympics to gain the best score of her career in the free skate, is now wavering on whether to retire from competition.

Asada, who had been expected to be a top prospect for gold at Sochi, tumbled to 16th in the short programme after falling and an overall lacklustre performance.