A document that is part of a lawsuit filed by a female health ministry official claiming gender discrimination is shown at an Oct. 21 news conference in Tokyo. (Sawa Okabayashi)
Longtime female bureaucrat sues government over gender discrimination
A female health ministry bureaucrat filed a gender discrimination lawsuit against the central government on Oct. 21, saying that she has been consistently passed over for promotion after nearly two decades of service.
Akari Nagayama, left, and Hiroshi Omiya
Act of kindness ends in tragedy after Mt. Ontakesan eruption
YOKOHAMA--As volcanic rocks fell from the sky and a wave of choking smoke rolled in, Hiroshi Omiya offered his jacket to help protect a frightened young girl from the eruption of Mount Ontakesan.
The Shosoin Repository in Nara that finished undergoing more than three years of restoration work is opened to the media on Oct. 21. (Toshiyuki Hayashi)
National treasure Shosoin Repository undergoes first renovation in a century
NARA--An ancient repository built here more than 1,200 years ago is ready to be opened to the public again, after undergoing over three years of extensive renovations.
Ryokufuso in Ninohe, Iwate Prefecture, before it was gutted by fire (Provided by Sho Itsukaichi)
Fire-damaged Iwate inn 'haunted' by good-luck deity solicits funds to reopen
NINOHE, Iwate Prefecture--An inn that was gutted by fire five years ago, but was once popular because of the widespread belief it was inhabited by a guardian spirit that brought good fortune, is trying to regain its former glory.
A trumpeter with the U.S. Air Force Band of the Pacific-Asia performs in front of a statue for fallen U.S. Air Force members in the Ryujinmura district of Tanabe, Wakayama Prefecture, on Oct. 20. (Asami Matsumoto)
U.S. Air Force band performs in gratitude for 70 years of honoring fallen comrades
TANABE, Wakayama Prefecture--Nearly 70 years after a B-29 bomber crashed here toward the end of World War II, a U.S. Air Force band returned to pay its respects to fallen comrades and the locals who have mourned them since.
A book with a handwritten note by German philosopher Georg Wilhelm Friedrich Hegel (1770-1831) has been discovered in a secondhand bookstore in central Tokyo. (Yoshihisa Uehara)
Handwritten note by philosopher Hegel found in 1801 maiden work in Tokyo bookshop
A first edition work with a handwritten note by influential German philosopher Georg Wilhelm Friedrich Hegel (1770-1831) has been discovered by a Japanese professor at an antique bookstore in Tokyo.
Mirusa eats while sitting on a tree stump normally reserved for a high-ranking male monkey at the Takasakiyama Natural Zoological Garden in Oita. (Chihaya Inagaki)
Female monkey using her 'charms' to become top banana at Oita zoo
OITA--A female monkey at Takasakiyama Natural Zoological Garden appears to be using her feminine wiles to bust through the glass ceiling to reach a position occupied only by male alpha primates until now.
A temporary housing complex in Iwaki, Fukushima Prefecture, for evacuees from the Fukushima No. 1 nuclear power plant crisis (Asahi Shimbun file photo)
ASAHI POLL: 27% of Fukushima voters want immediate end to nuclear power
Twenty-seven percent of voters in Fukushima Prefecture, home to the crippled Fukushima No. 1 nuclear plant, want Japan to immediately abolish nuclear energy, around double the national average, an Asahi Shimbun survey found.
Residents in Gotemba, Shizuoka Prefecture, participate in a disaster drill on Oct. 19 held by the central government and three prefectures in the event of a volcanic eruption of Mount Fuji. (Yasuhiro Sugimoto)
First joint drill held for Mt. Fuji volcanic eruption
GOTEMBA, Shizuoka Prefecture--The central government and three prefectures near Mount Fuji conducted their first joint disaster drill Oct. 19 for a volcanic eruption of Japan’s highest mountain.
Kanagawa prefectural police display the plastic handguns manufactured by Yoshitomo Imura using a 3-D printer. (Asahi Shimbun file photo)
Man who made handguns with 3-D printer gets 2 years behind bars
YOKOHAMA--Citing a blatant challenge to Japan's gun control laws, a district court here on Oct. 20 sentenced a man to two years in prison for manufacturing two deadly plastic handguns using a 3-D printer.
Empress Michiko with Emperor Akihito at the reception in the Annual Conference of the International Bar Association held in Tokyo on Oct. 19. (Masaru Komiyaji)
Empress Michiko at 80 looks back on 55 years in the imperial family
Ahead of her 80th birthday on Oct. 20, Empress Michiko offered a rare glimpse into her thoughts and her 55 years of life in the imperial family, responding to questions from the Imperial Household Agency press club in writing.
A bull named Amanokazehamakaido, left, who was gifted to evacuees from the Fukushima earthquake and nuclear disaster, butts heads with a rival during the traditional bullfight held in Nagaoka, Niigata Prefecture, on Oct. 19. (Satoru Semba)
Niigata marks 10th anniversary of deadly earthquake at traditional bullfight
NAGAOKA, Niigata Prefecture--Spirited bulls locked horns here at the bullfighting tournament on Oct. 19, which was specially dedicated this year to mark the 10th anniversary of the Niigata Chuetsu Earthquake.
Twenty-five people dressed as “bodhisattvas”  symbolically lead the dying to the Buddhist paradise during the Nijugo Bosatsu Onerikuyo ceremony at Kyoto’s Sokujoin temple on Oct. 19. (Noboru Tomura)
PHOTO: Golden 'bodhisattvas' ceremoniously lead departed souls to Buddhist paradise
KYOTO--Dozens of actors dressed as “bodhisattvas” (Buddhist deities) participated in a traditional Buddhist ceremony on Oct. 19 at the Sokujoin temple, symbolically leading the dying to paradise.
Misuzu Takanami, left, and a partner shoot a video at the Miyoshi town hall in Saitama Prefecture. (Shintaro Kato)
Saitama town’s newsletter gives ‘moving sign language lessons’
MIYOSHI, Saitama Prefecture--The town government here is producing what it says is the first municipal newsletter featuring “moving sign language lessons.”
Yamato Aoki, right, listens to a student’s speech in Hong Kong. At left is Japanese author Hirotada Ototake, who traveled there with Aoki. (Provided by 8bit News Shoko Hachiya)
Student looks to Hong Kong protests to end political apathy in Japan
Amid his overwhelming admiration for the organization, energy and strategies of the pro-democracy demonstrations in Hong Kong, a Japanese university student felt a bit of shame about his home country.
Yuga Nakamura, a third-year junior high school student, performs a slacklining trick at Jyokoji temple in Obuse, Nagano Prefecture. (Ryujiro Komatsu)
Nagano town residents head over heels for sport of slacklining
OBUSE, Nagano Prefecture--A new sport that involves balancing and jumping on a tightrope-like belt is taking over this small northern Nagano town known for its quaint townscape and historical attractions.
Shuji Nakamura speaks in an interview with The Asahi Shimbun in Tokyo on Oct. 17. (Wataru Sekita)
Nobel Prize-winner Nakamura says patents should belong to inventors, not employers
Nobel Prize-winning scientist Shuji Nakamura expressed his strong opposition to the Japanese government’s plan of awarding the patents of corporate employees' inventions to their respective employers.
A mobile screen shows Facebook’s Safety Check notification. Users can check the safety of those on their friends list through the new service, which started on Oct. 16. (Provided by Facebook Inc.)
Facebook's new Safety Check service born from Japan's 2011 quake, tsunami
When the Great East Japan Earthquake and tsunami struck in March 2011, Facebook Inc. founder Mark Zuckerberg noticed that many users confirmed the safety of their friends and families via the social network.
A photo of children taken by Emperor Akihito in Toledo, Spain, in June 1953
Emperor's photos offer glimpse of his first overseas tour in 1953
A special exhibition that kicked off Oct. 18 chronicles Emperor Akihito's first overseas trip six decades ago and features photographs taken by the emperor himself.
Drivers dressed as Mario Kart characters cruise along in Sapporo's Susukino district. (Kazuhiro Sekine)
Game on, as Mario Kart characters zoom along streets of Sapporo
SAPPORO--Video game history roars to life as a cluster of real-life Mario Kart drivers race along an open road in the Susukino entertainment district to the delight of passers-by.

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