Prime Minister Shinzo Abe at the prime minister's office on Nov. 5 (Asahi Shimbun file photo)
Abe restates pledge to lead drive for constitutional revision
Prime Minister Shinzo Abe reiterated his commitment to amending the nation's pacifist Constitution on Nov. 28, calling on his Liberal Democratic Party to return to its original charter of reforming postwar political and social frameworks.
Gamba Osaka's Patric (Asahi Shimbun file photo)
Alleged Urawa Reds fan posts racist tweet threatening Gamba forward
A fan claiming to be a Urawa Reds supporter posted a racist message on Twitter targeting a Brazilian striker of rival Gamba Osaka on Nov. 28, following the Reds' loss to Gamba in a J-League playoff game.
A female same-sex couple at a wedding ceremony in Tokyo (Asahi Shimbun file photo)
Poll: Over half of Japanese back same-sex marriages
Fifty-one percent of Japanese adults say they support same-sex marriages, although the support rates drops as the age of the respondent rises, a recent nationwide survey found.
Buddhist monks chant prayers while constantly swaying their bodies side to side and back and forth during the "Bandobushi" sermon at Higashi-Honganji temple in Kyoto's Shimogyo Ward on Nov. 28. (Noboru Tomura)
PHOTO: Body-swinging monks chant prayers at Kyoto’s Higashi-Honganji temple
KYOTO--Seventy seated Buddhist monks intoned "nenbutsu" prayers and "wasan" hymns while swaying their bodies in unison during the annual memorial service at the famed Higashi-Honganji temple in Shimogyo Ward here on Nov. 28.
X Japan’s leader Yoshiki (Asahi Shimbun file photo)
X Japan kicks off world tour in town devastated by tsunami
ISHINOMAKI, Miyagi Prefecture--When popular heavy rock band X Japan’s leader stopped by a live house here two years ago, an employee who showed the musician around could not believe what he was hearing.
Members of the Korean People's Army take part in a massive ceremony in Pyongyang on Feb. 13, 2015, to mark the 73th anniversary of the birth of the late Kim Jong Il. This photo was distributed by the Korean Central News Agency. (Korea News Service)
HORRORS OF NORTH KOREA: Japan viewed as ‘archenemy of the century’
Editor’s note: This is the 14th installment of an occasional series of interviews with North Korean defectors. It is designed to complement an earlier series on AJW that ran under the general title of “Horrors of North Korea.”
A South Korean man watches a TV news program showing an image published in North Korea's Rodong Sinmun newspaper of North Korea's ballistic missile believed to have been launched from underwater, at Seoul Railway station in Seoul on May 9. (AP Photo)
North Korea tested submarine-launched missile, but launch failed
SEOUL--North Korea appeared to conduct a submarine-launched ballistic missile test on Nov. 28 but it ended in failure with no indication that the missile successfully ejected from the vessel and took off, South Korea's Yonhap news agency reported.
The Asahi Shimbun
China air force patrols in Beijing's ADIZ in the East China Sea
BEIJING--China's air force had flown bombers and other jets through a strait between Japanese islands on their way to drills in the Western Pacific, and had carried out a patrol in China's Air Defense Identification Zone (ADIZ) in the East China Sea.
A forest in the village of Umaji in Kochi Prefecture (Asahi Shimbun file photo)
Japan to levy new tax to promote forest preservation
The government plans to introduce a new tax to promote the protection of the nation's woodlands as part of measures to curb the effects of global warming.
Nisshin Maru, the mother ship of the Japanese scientific whaling fleet, returns to Shimonoseki Port in Yamaguchi Prefecture after completing its mission in the Antarctic. (Asahi Shimbun file photo)
Japan to resume 'scientific' whaling on a smaller scale
Japan will resume "scientific whaling" in the Antarctic Ocean from the current fiscal year, although on a much smaller scale than in the past, the Fisheries Agency announced.
Prime Minister Shinzo Abe and Okinawa Governor Takeshi Onaga meet in Tokyo on Sept. 7. (Asahi Shimbun file photo)
Tokyo trying to appease residents near new U.S. base site with annual subsidies
The government is to offer direct cash subsidies to the three districts of Nago, Okinawa Prefecture, this fiscal year in an effort to soften the opposition of residents to a new U.S. military facility.
The sea area around the Henoko district in Nago, Okinawa Prefecture (Asahi Shimbun file photo)
Artifacts found in area of new U.S. base recognized as cultural properties
NAHA--Seventeen pieces of earthenware fragments and stone tools found at the proposed site of a U.S. military base are now recognized as cultural properties by the Okinawa prefectural government.
Prime Minister Shinzo Abe, right, greets Sadayuki Sakakibara, chairman of Keidanren (Japan Business Federation), at a Keidanren gathering in Tokyo in June. (Asahi Shimbun file photo)
LDP huge beneficiary of corporate donations
The ruling Liberal Democratic Party is rolling in cash, courtesy of being almost the sole beneficiary of political donations from companies and industrial or other organizations.
Prince Hitachi and his wife, Princess Hanako, play with their dog Nancy. (Provided by the Imperial Household Agency)
Prince Hitachi, emperor's younger brother, turns 80
Prince Hitachi, the younger brother of Emperor Akihito, marked his 80th birthday on Nov. 28.
Japan's Yuzuru Hanyu reacts after his performance during the free skating of the NHK Trophy figure skating in Nagano on Nov. 28. (AP Photo)
FIGURE SKATING/ Olympic champion Hanyu sets record score to win NHK Trophy
NAGANO--Olympic figure skating champion Yuzuru Hanyu set a record score for the second straight night to win the NHK Trophy on Nov. 28 and qualify for the Grand Prix Final.
Prime Minister Shinzo Abe and his Indian counterpart Narendra Modi pose after a joint news conference in Tokyo in September 2014. (Pool)
Abe to hold 4th summit with Indian leader Modi
Prime Minister Shinzo Abe will visit India on Dec. 11 to hold his fourth summit meeting with Indian leader Narendra Modi on defense and nuclear cooperation, government sources said.
Sharp Corp.'s Kameyama plant in Kameyama, Mie Prefecture, in September 2014 (Asahi Shimbun file photo)
Sharp to provide LCD technologies to Indian firm
OSAKA--Struggling Sharp Corp. will form a business tie-up in India to provide technologies to mass-produce liquid crystal display panels, company sources said.
Convicted killer can stay for fear he would be executed if sent home
OSAKA--An Iranian man who was convicted of murder and served out his prison term here will not be deported because of fears he would be executed if he returned home.
An artist’s rendition of the sightseeing train “Nagara” (Provided by Nagaragawa Railway Co.)
Gifu spruces up new sightseeing train to get tourism back on track
SEKI, Gifu Prefecture--Intent on firing up the local tourism industry, Nagaragawa Railway Co. will start a new sightseeing train service from spring featuring cars in an eye-catching color and traditional interiors.
The white kitten made of grated daikon receives the top prize in the second “daikon oroshi art” competition. (Provided by Zen-Noh Gifu)
Roots revival as grated radish art contest returns
GIFU--Radishes have plummeted in popularity in recent years, so farmers here aimed for the root of the problem by holding a “daikon oroshi” (grated radish) artwork competition.

More AJW