Toru's Feed
Jul 21, 2011
via Photographers' Blog

Crash test for dummies

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At Toyota Motor’s safety technology media tour on Thursday, the most photogenic objects were not the cars; they were the crash-test dummies. Throughout the day at the Higashifuji Technical Center at the foot of Mount Fuji, Toyota showed us its latest safety features and research facilities, including a head-on collision between a Vitz hatchback and Toyota’s flagship Crown sedan, and a driving simulator that would make NASA proud.

Among the high-tech safety gadgets were the 21 crash-test dummies, lined up neatly in a row, with names like Bio RID II, SID-IIS and THOR. The dummies come in all sizes and shapes to simulate the impact on drivers and passengers from 6-month-old babies to pregnant women. (She comes with a mock uterus with built-in sensors.)

Apr 26, 2011
via Photographers' Blog

A daughter’s last goodbye

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Six-year-old Wakana Kumagai began to run from the car when she arrived at a temporary mass grave site in Higashi-Matsushima, Miyagi prefecture.

She had come to meet her father.

On that day Wakana attended an entrance ceremony for her elementary school. Afterward she went with her mother and older brother to the grave site. She showed off her dress and bright red school satchel as she described the entrance ceremony to her father. But her father, Kazuyuki, slept in the soil.

Apr 19, 2011
via Photographers' Blog

Cherry blossoms spring smiles in devastation

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Even this year, cherry blossom season bloomed in Japan.

The lives of us Japanese have changed completely in the aftermath of the March 11 earthquake and tsunami and the constant fear of radiation following the accident at the Fukushima nuclear power plant. So much so that we forgot the coming of spring.

I returned to cover the stricken area again at the beginning of April. The huge piles of debris that were visible immediately after the quake and tsunami were slowly being managed. Roads had appeared again and gradually I saw that there was a town.

Jun 30, 2010
via Photographers' Blog

Samurais in South Africa

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I arrived in South Africa with the Japan team filled with excitement and an acute feeling of anxiety. Never mind that I would be on the scene to cover the world’s biggest sporting event, and never mind that I would be competing against the top sports photographers from around the globe to get the best pictures. For a Reuters photographer like myself dedicated to a single team, when your team drops out of the competition, you’re finished. Like the defeated team, you go back to the hotel, pack your bags and spend the long flight home wondering what went wrong. Based on Japan’s lackluster showing in the East Asia Soccer Championship my expectation for Japan was three defeats in a row and no victories. Mine would be a short stay in South Africa.

But during Japan’s first match against Cameroon the Samurai Blue seemed to transform themselves in front of my eyes with Keisuke Honda’s goal being the catalyst. Japan was defeated by the Netherlands in their second match but the Samurais demonstrated the unity of the team in their performance and they were victorious against Denmark in their third match. In doing so they completely wiped out the image that I held of the Japan team before going into the competition. I was covering the world’s biggest sporting event, and I was going up against the top sports photographers, but in this World Cup Japan’s victory meant that the formidable teams of France and Italy and the even more formidable photographers accompanying them were going home. Not me.

May 4, 2010

Japan PM seeks compromise on U.S. base deal

Okinawa, JAPAN (Reuters) – Japanese Prime Minister Yukio Hatoyama on Tuesday urged residents of Okinawa island to accept a compromise involving partial relocation of a U.S. Marine base before a self-imposed end-of-May deadline.

The feud over relocating the Futenma Marine base has shaken ties with Washington and contributed to Hatoyama’s tumbling support rates ahead of an upper house election his Democratic Party must win to avoid policy deadlock.

May 4, 2010

Japan PM in Okinawa to seek last-minute U.S. base deal

Okinawa, JAPAN (Reuters) – Japanese Prime Minister Yukio Hatoyama flew to the southern island of Okinawa for talks with local leaders Tuesday in a last ditch effort to resolve a row over a U.S. Marine base before an end-of-May deadline.

The feud over relocating the Futenma Marine base has shaken ties with Washington and contributed to Hatoyama’s tumbling support rates ahead of an upper house election his Democratic Party must win to avoid policy deadlock.