KBG84 performs during a recent concert in Tokyo on June 13. (Daisuke Yajima)
Granny 'idol group' from Okinawa snatches spotlight from teen idols
TAKETOMI, Okinawa Prefecture--"Idol group" or "granny group"? KBG84 is both.
A passenger covering his mouth evacuates to the No. 3 car of the Nozomi bullet train after the No. 2 car became filled with smoke on June 30. (Provided by a passenger)
Shinkansen passengers recount terrifying ordeal with man who set himself ablaze
Shortly after a Shinkansen left Tokyo bound for Osaka at 11 a.m. on June 30, a passenger in the train’s No. 1 car became suspicious about a man who was behaving erratically.
A colorful ceiling painting has been discovered in the east pagoda of the Yakushiji temple during renovations. (Provided by Satoshi Aoki of Nara University of Education)
Remarkably preserved 8th-century flower painting uncovered at Nara temple
NARA--Part of a brightly colored painting of a flower dating back 1,300 years has been discovered on a ceiling at Yakushiji temple during renovations, apparently preserved by chance due to its location.
The stone anchor discovered in Camp Schwab in Nago, Okinawa Prefecture, in February (Takufumi Yoshida)
U.S. base relocation faces setback after relic found on Okinawa site ruled cultural asset
NAGO, Okinawa Prefecture--A stone relic discovered on the planned relocation site of a U.S. air base has been certified as a medieval anchor and a cultural asset, which could force a delay in construction of the military installation.
Seita Fujiwara, the head of Fujiwara Yohojo, rids a beehive of drone pupa infested with the parasitic Varroa destructor mite in Morioka. (Ryoma Komiyama)
Iwate beekeeper creates possible solution for colony collapse disorder
MORIOKA--A small company here developed a method that gives honeybee drones a purpose other than just mating--and could resolve the disappearing-bee mystery that threatens crop production around the globe.
Julie Hamp (Asahi Shimbun file photo)
Toyota's top female executive steps down after arrest
Julie Hamp, the most senior female executive at Toyota who was arrested in Japan last month on suspicion of drug law violations, has resigned from the company, the automaker said on July 1.
The cover of "Ehon de Manabu Islam no Kurashi" (Learning Islamic life through a picture book) (Yukari Takahashi)
Japanese teacher takes it upon herself to depict what Muslim life is really like
With her background as a resident of multicultural London as well as Dubai, Japanese language teacher Naomi Matsubara reckoned she knew a thing or two about Islamic culture.
Firefighters enter the railway track of the Tokaido Shinkansen Line in Odawara, Kanagawa Prefecture, on June 30. (Eiji Hori)
UPDATE: Man sets self on fire on Shinkansen train; 2 dead, 9 injured
A man set himself on fire aboard a Shinkansen bullet train in Kanagawa Prefecture on June 30, killing himself and another passenger, police said.
A photo taken June 30 shows the Owakudani area on Mount Hakoneyama. (From the website of the Japan Meteorological Agency)
Volcano warning raised for Mt. Hakoneyama after small eruption reported
The Japan Meteorological Agency raised its volcanic eruption warning to Level 3 for Mount Hakoneyama on June 30 after evidence showed a small eruption had hit the mountain southwest of Tokyo.
Sailor-style high school uniforms seized in a search of a “JK business" outlet in Nagoya are shown at the Tenpaku Police Station on June 27. (Kenro Kuroda)
Aichi to ban all 'JK' businesses offering girls for dating, photo sessions
NAGOYA--Aichi Prefecture will completely ban “JK business” operations that make girls wear high school uniforms or other costumes and entertain male customers through seemingly innocuous ways, such as strolls, photo sessions or games.
Tokyo Electric Power Co.'s crippled Fukushima No. 1 nuclear power plant in Fukushima Prefecture on May 15 (Asahi Shimbun file photo)
TEPCO told to pay 27 million yen to family of Fukushima evacuee who killed himself
FUKUSHIMA--Tokyo Electric Power Co. has been ordered to pay 27 million yen ($219,500) in compensation to the bereaved family of a male evacuee who committed suicide after being displaced due to the 2011 Fukushima nuclear disaster.
Fossilized fragments of a new type of dinosaur egg have been found in Tanba, Hyogo Prefecture. The egg is characterized by a unique branch-like pattern on the surface. The scale is graduated in millimeters. (Takeshi Ito)
New type of tiny dinosaur egg unearthed in Hyogo
SANDA, Hyogo Prefecture--Fossilized fragments of very small dinosaur eggs dating back about 110 million years have been discovered.
Vehicles partially buried in dirt in the Mukaehama district of Kuchinoerabujima island in Kagoshima Prefecture on June 29, a month after the eruption of Mount Shindake on the island (Koichi Ueda)
Evacuees from volcanic island face uncertain future
YAKUSHIMA, Kagoshima Prefecture--Residents who fled from the eruption of a volcano on their island a month ago are growing increasingly concerned as they have no idea when they will be allowed to return home.
A kitten pops its head out from a bridge column drainpipe on June 29, in Tokyo’s Setagaya Ward. (Gakushi Fujiwara)
Rescuers retrieve kitten trapped under bridge in Tokyo
A high-flying, two-day rescue attempt involving firefighters and transport ministry officials finally paid off June 29 when a frightened kitten was brought down from the lower structure of a highway bridge in Tokyo.
An egret impaled by an arrow-like object flies over Oita's Hoso district on the morning of June 29. (Haruka Suzuki)
Wounded egret impaled with arrow-like object seen flying in Oita
OITA--Following local sightings, employees of the Oita prefectural government spotted a wild egret that had been apparently impaled by an arrow through its abdomen in the outskirts of the prefectural capital here on June 29.
Racehorses sprint down the stretch in a "Twinkle Race" evening race at Tokyo City Keiba in Shinagawa Ward. (Kenji Matsuzawa)
Tokyo horse track likes the odds of luring foreign tourists with night races
Wagering on its proximity to Tokyo's gateway airport, the operators of the publicly run horse track in Shinagawa Ward are touting its nighttime racing to woo more foreign tourists through the gates.
A 16-year-old couple, Kyoka and Noa, kiss in an uploaded scene on the Mix Channel online video-sharing service (Provided by Noa)
Online videos of kissing teenagers kick up a storm in Japan
An increasing number of teens are defying conventional Japanese morals by posting self-shot videos of themselves kissing on an online video-sharing site.
Sets of helmets, goggles and masks are ready at the Sato mountain lodge on the fifth station on the Fujiyoshida-guchi climbing trail of Mount Fuji in Yamanashi Prefecture on June 26. (Hiroshi Kawai)
Mount Fuji climbers urged to protect themselves against volcanic eruption
Local authorities are urging climbers to bring helmets to protect themselves against a possible eruption of Mount Fuji after the season to ascend the nation’s highest peak opens on July 1.
Prince Fumihito, third row left, Princess Kiko, right, and their son Prince Hisahito, middle, attend a movie preview in Tokyo on June 20. (Pool)
Prince Fumihito, Princess Kiko grade themselves ‘pass’ on silver wedding anniversary
Prince Fumihito and Princess Kiko gave themselves a humble rating of “pass,” with hopes of upgrading to “excellent,” as they reflected on their 25 years of marriage and parenthood.
Flowers are offered on a table for Tama in front of Kishi Station in Kinokawa, Wakayama Prefecture, on June 28. (Ryo Sanada)
3,000 mourners pay final respects to cat stationmaster Tama
KINOKAWA, Wakayama Prefecture--Thousands of people from around the world bid an emotional farewell to Tama, the beloved stationmaster cat, at the female calico’s funeral here on June 28.

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