A 30-minute visit to a controversial shrine by Prime Minister Shinzo Abe ignited a predictable firestorm of criticism and condemnation Thursday from Japan's neighbors.
The Yasukuni Shrine is regarded by China, North Korea and South Korea as a symbol of Japan's imperial military past. All three countries suffered under Japan's military aggression in World War II. Millions of Chinese civilians and soldiers, and hundreds of thousands of Koreans, died.
So, each time a top Japanese official has visited, the countries have protested - saying the visits honor war criminals and deny Japan's atrocities in Asia.
Not so, said Abe on Thursday. He wanted to pray for the souls of the war dead, not honor war criminals, he said.
"I have renewed my determination before the souls of the war dead to firmly uphold the pledge never to wage a war again," he said.
A fire broke out Friday at a hospital in Fukuoka, Japan, killing 10 people and injuring five, a fire department spokesman said.
The fire at the orthopedics hospital started early in the morning and burned for roughly 2 1/2 hours.
Four of the injured suffered serious injuries, the spokesman said.
The cause of the blaze was not immediately clear.FULL STORY
Radiation readings near tanks holding toxic water at Japan's crippled nuclear power plant have jumped to a new high, the plant operator said Wednesday.
Tokyo Electric Power Company, which has been struggling to deal with a series of leaks at the Fukushima Daiichi nuclear plant, said it detected a radiation level of 2,200 millisieverts near the tanks on Tuesday. That's up from a previous high of 1,800 millisieverts on Saturday.FULL STORY
The Japanese government on Tuesday said it would spend the equivalent of $470 million to try to tackle the toxic water crisis at the country's crippled nuclear power plant.
The government of Prime Minster Shinzo Abe is stepping in, as the plant's operator, Tokyo Electric Power Company, struggles to deal with an array of problems.FULL STORY
here's been a sharp spike in radiation levels measured in the pipes and containers holding water at the crippled Fukushima Daiichi nuclear plant in Japan.
But the company in charge of cleaning it up says that only a single drop of the highly contaminated water escaped the holding tanks.
Tokyo Electric Power Company said it is confident it can provide safety for workers dealing with the problem.FULL STORY
Japan's nuclear watchdog on Wednesday said a toxic water leak at the tsunami-damaged Fukushima Daiichi power plant has been classified as a level 3 "serious incident" on an international scale.
The Nuclear Regulation Authority (NRA) said it had made the decision after consulting with the Vienna-based International Atomic Energy Agency, said Juntaro Yamada, a spokesman for the regulator.FULL STORY
Attempts by the operator of Japan's stricken nuclear power plant to deal with alarming leaks of toxic water are like a game of "whack-a-mole," the country's industry minister said Monday.
The time has come for the government to step in, Toshimitsu Motegi believes.
A litany of problems has beset the Fukushima Daiichi power plant since it was crippled by the devastating earthquake and tsunami that struck northeast Japan in 2011. The most troubling at the moment is how to contain the swelling volume of radioactive water flowing from the damaged reactor buildings.
For countries in Northeast Asia, this summer is becoming too hot to bear.
A Japanese city has experienced the highest temperature ever recorded in the country.Â The South Korean government is clamping down on the use of air-conditioning in an attempt to stave off power shortages.
And Shanghai has been sweltering under a record-setting run of baking hot days.
Japan has authorized passenger airlines to resume Boeing 787 flights in the country starting Friday, the ministry of land, infrastructure, transport and tourism said.
The move follows the U.S. Federal Aviation Administration's posting of the Airworthiness Directive for Boeing's 787-8 online Thursday. The directive goes into effect upon publication Friday in the Federal Register.FULL STORY
Japan said Tuesday that eight Chinese government ships had entered waters around a group of islands in the East China Sea that lie at the heart of a territorial dispute between the two countries.
The Japanese Coast Guard said the number of Chinese ships around the uninhabited islands – known as Senkaku in Japanese and Diaoyu in Chinese – was the largest since tensions surrounding the dispute increasedÂ last year.FULL STORY
A "rat-like animal" just might be the reason for power outages at a critical Japanese nuclear facility this week.
The operator of the Fukushima Daiichi plant suspects such a critter of causing a short circuit in a switchboard that led to a power outage, Japan's Kyodo news agency reported Wednesday.FULL STORY
A Japanese court on Tuesday found a 19-year-old American man guilty of murdering an Irish student in a Tokyo hotel room last year.
The Tokyo District Court recommended that Richard Hinds, a musician, be sentenced to no fewer than five years and no more than 10 years in prison.
Nicola Furlong, the 21-year-old Irish woman, died in the presence of Hinds in May 2012, police said.FULL STORY
A Japanese court Friday sentenced two American servicemen to prison for a rape committed last year while they were on duty at a U.S. military base in Okinawa.
The Naha District Court handed down a sentence of 10 years to Navy Seaman Christopher Daniel Browning and nine years to Petty Officer Skyler A Dozierwalker for raping a Japanese woman after attacking her in a parking lot.FULL STORY
The lifetime risk of contracting certain types of cancer rose only slightly for a small group of people, due to exposure to radiation from the Fukushima nuclear disaster, the World Health Organization said Thursday.
Otherwise, any increase in human disease in the wake of the partial meltdown triggered by the March 2011 tsunami is "likely to remain below detectable levels," according to the report.
People exposed in childhood in towns close to the Daiichi power plant are slightly more likely to contract leukemia, breast or thyroid cancer in the course of their lives than the general population, the WHO said.FULL STORY
Japan will never stop its annual hunt for whales, a government minister has reportedly said, amid recent clashes on the high seas between environmental activists and Japanese whaling ships.
"I don't think there will be any kind of an end for whaling by Japan," Yoshimasa Hayashi, the Japanese minister for agriculture, forestry and fisheries, said in an interview with the French news service Agence France-Presse on Tuesday.FULL STORY
The anti-whaling group Sea Shepherd said ships from the Japanese whaling fleet attacked its vessels, ramming them and hurling concussion grenades.
"There's been the most outrageous attack on the Sea Shepherd Australia ships today," said Bob Brown, a member of the board of directors of Sea Shepherd Australia, describing it as the "worst incident" the group had experienced since one of its vessels sank two years ago.
In an interview with the Australian Broadcasting Corporation (ABC), Brown said that a large Japanese factory ship, the Nisshin Maru, had repeatedly rammed Sea Shepherd ships in the Southern Ocean near Antarctica where it was trying to refuel and that a Japanese government escort vessel had directed water cannon and lobbed concussion grenades at the activists.FULL STORY
Two Russian fighter jets entered Japanese territorial airspace on Thursday afternoon, prompting the Japanese to scramble their own aircraft, the Japanese Ministry of Defense said.
The fighter jets crossed into Japanese territory near the disputed Rishiri Islands, near the northern main island of Hokkaido, for a little over one minute.
The Foreign Ministry says Japan has lodged a protest with Russia, according to the Kyodo news agency.FULL STORY
A powerful earthquake hit northern Japan on Saturday, the U.S. Geological Survey reported.
Initial indications show a magnitude 6.9 quake struck off the island of Hokkaido at a depth of 64 miles (103 kilometers) near the town of
According to the Pacific Tsunami Warning Center and the Japan Meteorological Agency, the quake did not appear to generate a destructive tsunami.
Japan scrambled fighter jets after a Chinese plane was seen Thursday near small islands in the East China Sea that are claimed by both countries.
This is the first time the dispute over the islands, which Japan calls Senkaku and China refers to as Diaoyu, has involved aircraft.
Chinese government ships have repeatedly entered the waters around the remote, rocky islands since the Japanese government announced in September it was buying several of the islands from private owners.FULL STORY