Tanzanian Ambassador to Japan Salome Sijaona, back center right, visits the head office of Be Forward Co., a used Japanese vehicle exporter, in Chofu, western Tokyo, where 40 percent of the employees are non-Japanese. (Kaori Takahashi)
Want to buy a used Japanese car in Zambia? Go to the post office
Along with stamps and envelopes, Zambians can buy something at a post office in their country that won't fit in any mailbox: a used Japanese car.
A scene from Kon Ichikawa's newly discovered film, "Yowamushi Chinsengumi" (Cowardly samurai squad) (Erina Ito)
Long-lost 1935 Kon Ichikawa cartoon short discovered in U.S.
A rare 1935 cartoon short by renowned film director Kon Ichikawa (1915-2008), thought to have long been lost, has been discovered in the United States.
Osaka Mayor Toru Hashimoto, left, and Osaka Governor Ichiro Matsui attend a meeting on April 22 to discuss Osaka's plan to invite casinos to the Yumeshima island district. (Yuichi Inoue)
Osaka plans to roll the dice on gambling resort on Yumeshima island
OSAKA--The governor and mayor of Osaka are hoping to change the luck of a man-made island in Osaka Bay with casinos and gambling establishments that would open around 2020, when the Tokyo Olympics will be held.
The cover of  the sixth edition of "Taiin Hikkei," a handbook for Ground Self-Defense Force members dispatched to support reconstruction efforts in Iraq (Kuniichi Tanida)
GSDF accused of unnecessarily redacting troops' reconstruction handbook
The Japanese Ground Self-Defense Force redacted major portions of a general handbook distributed to the troops dispatched for Iraq reconstruction, illustrating the potential dangers of not codifying how "state secrets" should be classified.
The "Yukkuri" plate flips down near the front window when slow service is preferred. (Yasumasa Kikuchi)
'Slow' taxi service picking up speed with customers
Passengers in a taxi normally want their driver to get them to their destination as quickly as possible, without worrying about the ride.
Many protesters hold up signs at a gathering in Tokyo on April 8 to oppose the change in interpretation of the Constitution that is aimed at exercising the right to collective self-defense. (Sayuri Ide)
ASAHI POLL: 68 percent oppose change of constitutional interpretation in current Diet session
More than half of respondents are opposed to the government's plan to change the nation's long-standing interpretation of the Constitution to allow the exercise of the right to collective self-defense, while only about a quarter support it, according to a new Asahi Shimbun poll.
A whale is hauled ashore in Ishinomaki, Miyagi Prefecture, in 2012. (Asahi Shimbun file photo)
Asahi poll: 60% of Japanese want whaling to continue
Sixty percent of Japanese said research whaling should continue despite an international court order to halt the hunt and the fact that few Japanese regularly eat whale meat, an Asahi Shimbun survey showed.
Japan Broadcasting Corp. President Katsuto Momii appears on an NHK program on April 13 to apologize to viewers for controversial comments he made at his inaugural news conference in January. (The Asahi Shimbun)
33,802 demand ouster of NHK president, threaten to withhold viewer fees
Seven citizens groups on April 21 submitted a collective petition with 33,802 signatures to Japan Broadcasting Corp. (NHK), demanding the dismissals or resignations of NHK President Katsuto Momii and two governors.
Early matsutake mushrooms carry a price tag of 120,000 yen at Tsukiji wholesale market in Tokyo on April 21. (Mitsuko Nagasawa)
Matsutake mushrooms fetch 1 million yen per kilogram at Tsukiji market
A pair of highly sought-after small matsutake mushrooms weighing only 120 grams sold for 120,000 yen ($1,170) at the Tsukiji wholesale market in Tokyo on April 21.
In the newly discovered color film footage, the large building to the right of the rectangular facility at the center is believed to be the main building of Shuri Castle in Naha. (Provided by Toyo No Kuni Usa-shi Juku)
Color image of Naha's Shuri Castle, destroyed in U.S. air raid, found
A citizens’ research group has discovered colored images of Okinawa’s Shuri Castle as it looked before it was destroyed during World War II.
Takeo Asaumi has run the Namamugi Incident Museum at his home in Yokohama's Tsurumi Ward. His second-floor study is also filled with historical materials. (Yoshika Uematsu)
Yokohama museum dedicated to famed Edo Period slaying to close
When an elderly gentleman walked into his liquor store in 1976 and asked the location of a nearby historical marker, Takeo Asaumi had no interest in the Namamugi Incident, in which samurai killed a Briton, igniting a war.
Protesters show their opposition to the relocation of U.S. Marine Corps Air Station Futenma to the sea off Nago, Okinawa Prefecture, on April 19. (Koshin Shisui)
Sit-in against relocation of Air Station Futenma marks 10th anniversary
NAGO, Okinawa Prefecture--After 10 years of sit-ins, protesters opposing the relocation of U.S. Marine Corps Air Station Futenma to an offshore site here showed on April 19 that they have lost none of their passion and conviction.
Naomi Takasu, center, asks people at an Earth Day event at Yoyogi Park in Tokyo on April 19 to become involved with a signature-collecting campaign to have the Japanese people awarded the Nobel Peace Prize. (Sayuri Ide)
Group to award Nobel Peace Prize to war-renouncing Japanese continues to seek support
A group campaigning to award the Japanese people the Nobel Peace Prize for abiding by the war-renouncing Article 9 of the Japanese Constitution isn't backing off its grassroots effort, now that it has secured an official nomination.
A Free Gauge Train is shown to the media in a rail yard in Kumamoto on April 19. (Jun Kaneko)
New train that can traverse different tracks starts trials in Kumamoto
KUMAMOTO--In development for nearly 20 years, a new type of train that can automatically vary the length between wheels on both sides with variable gauge axles depending on the width of the tracks started test runs here on April 20.
Buyers check the quality of nori laver seaweed at the final  bidding of Saga nori this season in Saga on April 18. (Katsuyuki Iwaizako)
Seaweed harvest in Ariake Sea the worst in 14 years
SAGA--The seaweed harvest in Japan’s primary “nori” laver production center was especially poor this season for the first time since a massive crop failure in fiscal 2000.
Kartika Anggita Tanuwijaya, left, learns how to make white canes from Chiaki Shiba, director of nonprofit organization Rokusei, at the With Handa vocational center in Hamamatsu, Shizuoka Prefecture. At right is Jorobekova Shirin. (Makoto Takada)
Visually impaired learn independence in making white canes for the blind
HAMAMATSU, Shizuoka Prefecture--Founded in 1996 as Japan's first vocational center for the blind, the With Handa vocational center today has become a major producer of domestic white canes for the blind and visually impaired.
An explanation of prenatal testing is given to a pregnant woman. (Asahi Shimbun file photo)
Down syndrome births over past 15 years up twofold
The number of babies born with Down syndrome has doubled over the past 15 years, according to Japanese health officials.
Junichi Hamada, president of the University of Tokyo, right, and Oh Yeon-cheon, president of Seoul National University, hold memorandums to set up offices in each other's campus at a symposium on April 14 at the University of Tokyo in Bunkyo Ward. (Kazutaka Ito)
Top universities in Japan, S. Korea set up offices to promote cooperation
With the relationship between Japan and South Korea on the rocks, the University of Tokyo and Seoul National University are hoping to be a catalyst to improving ties, setting up offices at each other's campus to promote active exchanges.
A new emblem featuring a high school girl character wearing an "obako" costume in a collaboration with manga series "Yuritetsu" (Provided by Yuri Kogen Railway)
Train-loving 'Yuritetsu' cuties adorn Yuri Kogen Railway cars
A popular manga about a high school girls railway club has ended, but the train-loving "moe" (adorable) characters will live on as their images will adorn the sides of train cars on the Chokai Sanroku Line.
Sightseers view a maglev train as it speeds through a field of peach blossom trees in Fuefuki, Yamanashi Prefecture, on April 16. (Hiroki Endo)
PHOTO: Peach blossoms, maglev trains make picture-perfect day in Yamanashi
FUEFUKI, Yamanashi Prefecture--With the bright pink peach blossoms in full bloom and a high-tech prototype maglev train zipping by, shutterbugs and tourists in this central Yamanashi Prefecture town couldn't be happier.

More AJW