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Bare cheek as Japan men strip off for naked festival

Okayama - With only a skimpy loincloth to protect their modesty, thousands of men brave freezing temperatures to fight for lucky charms thrown by a priest at Japan's annual Naked Man Festival.

Kim Jong-Nam sought N. Korea reform: Japanese author

Toukyo - The assassinated half-brother of North Korea's leader Kim Jong-Un was a courageous man who sought to reform his country, a Japanese journalist who wrote a book about him said Friday.

'Scorpion' robot mission inside Fukushima reactor aborted

Toukyo - A "scorpion" robot sent into a Japanese nuclear reactor to learn about the damage suffered in a tsunami-induced meltdown had its mission aborted after the probe ran into trouble, Tokyo Electric Power company said Thursday.

Some Uighurs fighting and dying in Syria: exiled leader

Toukyo - An exiled advocate for China's ethnic Uighur minority said Monday that some of the group were fighting and dying in Syria -- including for Islamic State (IS) -- though she claimed they had been duped into doing so.

Japan Olympics golf club 'baffled' over sexism row

Toukyo - The chairman of the Japanese golf club set to host the sport at the 2020 Tokyo Olympics said they are bewildered by requests to lift its ban on women becoming full members.

Catholic Church beatifies Japanese samurai

Toukyo - A Japanese Christian samurai who died in exile about 400 years ago after refusing to renounce his faith was beatified by the Catholic Church in an elaborate mass on Tuesday.

Japan resumes work on controversial US base on Okinawa

Toukyo - The Japanese government on Monday resumed work on building a controversial US airbase on Okinawa island, sparking angry protests and scuffles with police.

Japan's troubled 'space junk' mission fails

Toukyo - An experimental Japanese mission to clear 'space junk' or rubbish from the Earth's orbit has ended in failure, officials said Monday, in an embarassment for Tokyo.

China warns US after Mattis says Senkakus covered by treaty

Toukyo - China warned the US Saturday it was risking instability in Asia after President Donald Trump's new defence secretary vowed to back Japan in any military clash with Beijing over a disputed island chain.

Iran 'biggest state sponsor of terrorism': Mattis

Toukyo - US Defense Secretary James Mattis said Saturday that Iran was the world's biggest state sponsor of terrorism, as President Donald Trump slapped fresh sanctions on the country's weapons procurement network.

US-Japan alliance 'cornerstone' of stability: Mattis

Toukyo - US Defense Secretary James Mattis told his Japanese counterpart on Saturday that their alliance remained a "cornerstone" of regional stability as he wrapped up a visit aimed at reassuring key Asian allies about Washington's commitment to their security...

Radiation in Fukushima reactor No. 2 reaches 'unimaginable' level

Radiation levels in reactor No. 2 at the Fukushima nuclear power plant have inexplicable soared to the highest readings recorded since the plant was crippled by a triple meltdown almost six years ago.

Japan opposition calls on Abe to oppose Trump's refugee ban

Toukyo - The head of Japan's main opposition party has called on Prime Minister Shinzo Abe to speak up against President Donald Trump's refugee ban ahead of their summit next week.

New US defence chief '100%' backs Japan alliance

Toukyo - US Defense Secretary James Mattis said Friday that the United States stands "100 percent" with Japan on a visit to reassure Asian allies rattled by President Donald Trump's isolationist rhetoric.

N. Korea nuclear attack would trigger 'overwhelming response': Mattis

Toukyo - Any nuclear attack by North Korea would trigger an "effective and overwhelming" response, US Defence Secretary James Mattis said Friday as he sought to reassure Asian allies rattled by President Donald Trump's isolationist rhetoric.

'Rent-a-monk' business thrives as Japanese lose temple ties

Funabashi - In a quiet room thick with the smell of incense, Buddhist monk Kaichi Watanabe chants sutras to commemorate the one-year anniversary of a woman's death.

Op-Ed: China vs. U.S. in the South China Sea — a very deadly situation

Sydney - The possible conflict between China and the U.S. over the South China Sea islands has some truly bizarre issues built in. The U.S. has stated it intends to “block access” to the islands. This could very well mean war with China.

Cats are as smart as dogs: Study

Dog owners and cat owners, along with those who own both, occasionally discuss and dispute whether dogs are smarter than cats, or vice versa. A new study suggests it's a dead heat: they are both as smart as each other.

Yappy New Year for Japan's worshipping pets

Toukyo - Some might describe the idea as barking mad but a shrine in Tokyo is offering blessings to pets to protect the fluffy creatures from a 'ruff' year ahead.

Op-Ed: Trump major gaffe with China gets ominous response

Sydney - If there is one thing China will never negotiate, it’s the One China policy, which says that Taiwan and China will reunify. Donald Trump’s suggestion that the policy is negotiable has caused an extraordinarily angry reaction in Beijing.
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