Japan begins seawall work for controversial new U.S. base in Okinawa


The Japanese government began constructing on Tuesday seawalls for a planned replacement facility for U.S. Marine Corps Air Station Futenma in Okinawa Prefecture, taking a major step toward the controversial relocation 21 years after an initial accord was forged between the two countries. Despite persistent local opposition to the relocation… Read


Memorial service held for victims of 2005 fatal train derailment in Hyogo


Relatives of 106 victims of a train derailment in 2005 and JR West officials attended a memorial service Tuesday at the site of the crash in Amagasaki, Hyogo Prefecture. JR West President Tatsuo Kijima observed a moment of silence at 9:18 a.m., the exact moment the crash occurred 12 years… Read


2 elderly women jump to their deaths on rail tracks


Two elderly women were hit and killed by a train at a station in Kanagawa Prefecture, south of Tokyo, with surveillance camera footage showing the two jumping on the tracks holding each other's hands, police said Monday. The police said the women -- one in her 70s and the other… Read


Truck driver dies after rear-ending another truck, then crashing into gas station pole


A 51-year-old truck driver died after his truck rear-ended another truck waiting at a traffic light, and then crashed into a gas station in Kasukabe, Saitama Prefecture, on Monday. According to police, the first truck was waiting at a traffic light at around 2:30 a.m., when it was rear-ended by… Read


Demand for nuclear shelters, purifiers surges as N Korea tension mounts


Sales of nuclear shelters and radiation-blocking air purifiers have surged in Japan in recent weeks as North Korea has pressed ahead with missile tests in defiance of U.N. sanctions. A small company that specializes in building nuclear shelters, generally under people's houses, has received eight orders in April alone compared… Read


SDF trying to stop members from going AWOL


A male member of the Japanese Self-Defense Forces in northern Japan was dismissed from service in March after not showing up for work 89 days without notice, the latest in a series of cases where SDF personnel have gone absent while on duty. Behind the behavior of such personnel is… Read


Princess Kako to study at University of Leeds from Sept


Princess Kako, a granddaughter of Emperor Akihito, will study at the University of Leeds in Britain from September this year to June next year as an exchange student, the Imperial Household Agency said Monday. The 22-year-old princess, the second daughter of Prince Akishino and Princess Kiko, has not yet decided… Read


Kadena residents angered by U.S. parachuting drill


The U.S. military conducted a parachuting drill at Kadena Air Base on Okinawa's main island Monday morning, irking the host town as Japan and the United States have agreed to hold such drills at a different airfield in the southern prefecture. The town of Kadena, which had called for the… Read


Saga governor OKs restart of Genkai nuclear plant


Saga Gov Yoshinori Yamaguchi on Monday consented to restart two nuclear reactors at the Genkai power plant in the southwestern Japan prefecture, a process expected to result in them coming back online as early as this summer. The governor's decision for the Nos. 3 and 4 reactors at the Kyushu… Read


Venture firm develops device to prevent kids' smartphone addiction


A Japanese venture firm has developed a smartphone case designed to help parents protect their children from becoming addicted to the mobile devices. The Kobe-based company Momo Ltd plans to begin selling in late August the smartphone case called "OTOMOS" that allows parents to set time restrictions and prevent children… Read