Japanese and South Korean university students pose for a commemorative photo at the National Olympics Memorial Youth Center in Tokyo’s Shibuya Ward on Aug. 15. (Izumi Sakurai)
Conference for Japanese, S. Korean college students fosters friendships between countries
University students attending the 29th Japan-Korea Student Conference agreed that amid the current deteriorated relations between the two nations, it is all the more important for improved understanding and establishing friendly relationships.
Yoo Heung-soo, the next South Korean ambassador to Japan, holds a news conference with the Japanese media in Seoul on Aug. 20. (Akihiko Kaise)
Next S. Korean ambassador to Japan vows to improve bilateral ties
SEOUL--The incoming South Korean ambassador to Japan pledged to work hard to improve the strained relationship between the two nations.
Jang Song Thaek, center, in Beijing in August 2012 (Asahi Shimbun file photo)
HORRORS OF NORTH KOREA: Purge of N. Korea’s No. 2 man left differing fates for his aides
Editor’s note: This story originally appeared in The Asahi Shimbun Digital website and part of a series of articles titled "HORRORS OF NORTH KOREA."
North Korean leader Kim Jong Un, center, watches a basketball game with former U.S. professional basketball player Dennis Rodman, right, in Pyongyang in January. (Korea News Service)
North Korea on major sports drive, says Pyongyang official
SEOUL--North Korea hopes to harness the power of sport to raise its image on the world stage through international competitions such as the Olympic Games, and to bolster labor output and national defense by improving its citizens' well-being, the head of a North Korean sports delegation said on Aug. 20.
South Korean President Park Geun-hye talks to families of missing passengers from the Sewol ferry disaster on April 17 on Jindo Island. (Asahi Shimbun file photo)
Journalist questioned by Seoul prosecutors’ office over article that 'defames' president
SEOUL--The Sankei Shimbun’s Seoul bureau chief appeared on Aug. 18 at the Seoul Central District Prosecutors’ Office on suspicion of defaming the South Korean president.
Pope Francis baptizes Lee Ho-jin, the father of one of the children who died in South Korea's Sewol ferry disaster, in Seoul on Aug. 17. (AP Photo)
Pope tells Asia's communist nations not to fear Christians
HAEMI, South Korea--Pope Francis, in remarks clearly intended for communist-ruled countries such as China, North Korea and Vietnam, said on Aug. 17 that Asian governments should not fear Christians as they did not want to "come as conquerors" but be integral parts of local cultures.
South Korean President Park Geun-hye speaks during a ceremony to mark the South Korean Liberation Day from Japanese colonial rule in 1945 in Seoul on Aug. 15. (AP Photo)
S. Korea's Park criticizes Japan over ‘comfort women’ issue at Liberation Day speech
SEOUL--South Korean President Park Geun-hye called on Tokyo to take more convincing steps in regards to resolving the “comfort women” issue at a ceremony on Aug. 15 marking the anniversary of the country’s liberation from Japanese colonial rule.
Pope Francis is greeted by the faithful upon his arrival for the Mass of Assumption of Mary at a stadium in Daejeon, South Korea, on Aug. 15. (AP Photo)
Papal visit underscores religious divide in Koreas
Yes, North Korea has Catholics. It even has a Catholic church.
The North Korean cargo ship Chong Chon Gang, operated by Ocean Maritime Management, was seized in July 2013 when it was passing the Panama Canal carrying weapons from Cuba. (Asahi Shimbun file photo)
Japan imposes asset freeze on N. Korean shipping firm
Japan on Aug. 15 froze the assets of the operator of a North Korean ship seized for smuggling arms, the Foreign Ministry said, just as Tokyo is engaged in talks with Pyongyang to return Japanese citizens kidnapped by North Korean agents decades ago.
Pope Francis during a mass at a soccer stadium in Daejeon, South Korea, on Aug. 15 (The Asahi Shimbun)
N.Korea: rocket firing not timed to coincide with papal visit to South
SEOUL--North Korea said on Aug. 15 its firing of three short-range rockets shortly before Pope Francis arrived in the South Korean capital the previous day had nothing to do with the papal visit.
A scene from Kim Jin-moo's "The Apostles," a 2013 movie about the faithful in North Korea’s "underground churches" (Provided by Taepung Korea Co.)
North Korea's Christians kept in the dark about pope's visit to South Korea
SEOUL--Christians in North Korea who have to practice their faith in secrecy won't be hearing any messages of peace issued by Pope Francis during his five-day visit to South Korea.
A test launch of a North Korean tactical rocket. (From Rodong Sinmun Website)
UPDATE: North Korea fires 5 short-range rockets as pope visits South Korea
SEOUL, South Korea--Pope Francis became the first pontiff in 25 years to visit South Korea on Aug. 14, bringing a message of peace and reconciliation to the war-divided peninsula. Seoul's never-timid rival, North Korea, made its presence felt by firing three short-range projectiles less than an hour before he arrived and two more a short time later, officials said.
Pope Francis, center, is greeted by well-wishers upon his arrival at Seoul Air Base in Seongnam, South Korea, on Aug. 14. South Korean President Park Geun-hye stands second from right. (AP Photo/ Pool)
Pope sends good will message to China; arrives in South Korea
SEOUL--Pope Francis arrived in the South Korean capital Seoul on Aug. 14 after sending an unprecedented message of goodwill to China as he flew over the country that does not allow its Catholics to recognize his authority.
North Korean Foreign Minister Ri Su Yong arrives at a hotel in Naypyidaw, Myanmar, on Aug. 9. (Akihiko Kaise)
N. Korea's new foreign minister leaves his mark on international forum
SEOUL--North Korea's new foreign minister hit the diplomatic circuit in earnest at a key ASEAN conference in Myanmar, in an apparent effort to end Pyongyang's international isolation.
In this photo taken on July 28, Paul Yoon, a 56-year-old who runs a business supplying electronic products to U.S. army bases, speaks during an interview at a Seoul Catholic church in Seoul. (AP Photo)
Descendants of Korean Catholic martyrs to be honored by pope speak of pride and burden
SEOUL--They died well over a century ago, but the 124 Korean Catholic martyrs who will be honored by Pope Francis this week still have a hold over many of their descendants--even some who learned of their sacrifices only in recent years, or whose families are now Buddhist or Protestant.
A South Korean woman, left, meets her two North Korean sisters at the separated family reunion meeting at Diamond Mountain in North Korea on Feb. 20. (Provided by Dong-A Ilbo)
Seoul calls for high-level talks with North Korea on family reunions
SEOUL--South Korea on Aug. 11 proposed high-level talks with rival North Korea next week to discuss resuming reunions of Korean War-divided families, a proposal that could lead to the easing of tensions after months of North Korean missile tests and heated rhetoric from both countries.
South Korean President Park Geun-hye talks to families of missing passengers from the Sewol ferry disaster on April 17 in Jindo island. (Asahi Shimbun file photo)
Seoul mulls action against Sankei Shimbun for insulting president
SEOUL--The Sankei Shimbun reported Aug. 9 that the newspaper’s Seoul bureau chief has been ordered to appear at the Seoul Central District Prosecutors’ Office on suspicion of defaming President Park Geun-hye.
Paintings and other items are featured in the South Korean government's first exhibition on the “comfort women” issue in Seoul in November 2013. (Asahi Shimbun file photo)
Seoul to publish white paper on ‘comfort women’ to press Japan
SEOUL--The South Korean government said Aug. 3 it will compile a white paper on “comfort women” to put international pressure on Japan to resolve the long-standing wartime issue.
North Korean students practice Taekwondo at the Moranbong or Moran Hill in Pyongyang July 31, 2014. (AP Photo)
PHOTO: An afternoon on Moran Hill, where Pyongyang beats the heat
PYONGYANG--Along with its towering monuments to socialism, bronze statues of its leaders and sprawling plazas for mass political gatherings and military parades, North Korea's showcase capital is a city of parks.
A mock Scud-B missile of North Korea, left, and other South Korean missiles are displayed at the Korea War Memorial Museum in Seoul May 20, 2013. (AP Photo)
South Korea says North Korea fires 4 projectiles
SEOUL--North Korea fired four short-range projectiles toward the ocean off its east coast on July 30 in its latest in a series of missile and artillery tests, officials said.

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