Viewers watch an H-2A rocket blast off in Minamitane, Kagoshima Prefecture, on May 24. (Asahi Shimbun file photo)
Onslaught of tourists expected for launch of Hayabusa 2 space probe
Accommodations, transportation and other tourism-related services have rapidly sold out in and around Tanegashima island ahead of the Nov. 30 launch of the Hayabusa 2 asteroid probe there.
Tomoki Aoyama, an engineer at Horiba Ltd., next to a compact PM 2.5 measurement device he developed  (Tetsushi Yamamura)
Compact device measures level and source of PM 2.5
KYOTO--Precision tool maker Horiba Ltd. has developed a compact analyzer for PM 2.5 fine particulate matter that can identify individual constituents of the pollutant.
Chinese President Xi Jinping shakes hands with Prime Minister Shinzo Abe in Beijing on Nov. 11. (Pool)
Even on agreement document, Japan, China quarreled over English phrasing
BEIJING--Japan and China immediately engaged in a war of words--English words, that is--over a document released Nov. 7 to smooth the way for a summit between the leaders of the two nations.
Kenji Eda, co-leader of the Japan Innovation Party, left, and Banri Kaieda, head of the Democratic Party of Japan (Photos by Satoru Semba and Shogo Koshida)
Opposition parties seek unity, find disarray, ahead of election campaign
Opposition parties are trying--but struggling--to form a united front for the Lower House election campaign to focus voter attention away from Prime Minister Shinzo Abe’s self-proclaimed “public mandate” on Abenomics.
Former industry minister Yuko Obuchi at a news conference in Maebashi on Nov. 21 (Nobuhiro Shirai)
Scandal-tainted former ministers seek mandates in election
Two female politicians who resigned from the Cabinet over money-related scandals asked for forgiveness from supporters as they announced their candidacies for the Dec. 14 Lower House election.
The Asahi Shimbun
After failures, TEPCO to use special cement to prevent contaminated water leaks
The operator of the crippled Fukushima nuclear plant plans to fill in trenches on the coastline in yet another attempt to prevent highly contaminated water from pouring into the sea.
Hiroshi Amano, fourth from left, and Japanese Nobel laureates attend a party Nov. 21 at the Swedish ambassador's residence in Tokyo's Minato Ward. (Makiko Ikenaga)
Nobel-winning inventors of blue LEDs celebrate with past laureates in Tokyo
Two Japanese researchers set to receive the Nobel Prize in Physics next month for developing blue light-emitting diodes for practical application attended a celebratory party in Tokyo with fellow laureates.
A battery emplacement at the Tokyo Bay fortress network's Chiyogasaki artillery battery, which was recommended for designation as a historical site (Provided by the Cultural Affairs Agency)
Western-style Tokyo Bay fortress among candidates for heritage status
A Meiji Era (1868-1912) fortress in Tokyo that uses Western technology to defend the capital against foreign invaders has been recommended for designation as a historical site.
Visitors to the Tokushima city woodworking hall view some of the movie posters featuring the late Ken Takakura. (Yu Fujinami)
Poster exhibition honoring Ken Takakura opens in Tokushima
TOKUSHIMA--An exhibition of Ken Takakura movie posters spanning a 30-year period opened here to honor the Japanese film giant who died on Nov. 10 at the age of 83.
An Airbus A330 aircraft to be used by Skymark Airlines in its possible code-sharing arrangement with JAL (Asahi Shimbun file photo)
Skymark in talks with JAL for code-sharing arrangement
Struggling Skymark Airlines Inc. is in talks with Japan Airlines Co. for a code-sharing arrangement involving five routes out of Tokyo’s Haneda Airport, a potential deal that has infuriated rivals.
A jetliner operated by All Nippon Airways Co. (Asahi Shimbun file photo)
ANA to slash fares for Tokyo-Hokuriku flights to compete with new Shinkansen
All Nippon Airways Co. said Nov. 21 that it will reduce fares for flights between Tokyo’s Haneda Airport and two regional airports in the Hokuriku region from March to better compete with the Hokuriku Shinkansen Line.
An iron production factory in Hebei province, China (Asahi Shimbun file photo)
China joins other nations to boost growth
BEIJING--China's central bank unexpectedly slashed interest rates on Nov. 21 to re-energize the world's No. 2 economy, joining a growing list of major economies that are trying to encourage growth in the face of a global slowdown.
Yokozuna Kakuryu throws ozeki Kotoshogiku to the dirt on Day 14 of the Kyushu Grand Sumo Tournament at the Fukuoka Kokusai Center on Nov. 22. (Ryo Ikeda)
SUMO/ Kakuryu keeps alive championship hopes on Day 14
Yokozuna Kakuryu won his 12th match at the Kyushu Grand Sumo Tournament on Nov. 22 to set up a final-day showdown with Hakuho, who is looking to take home a record-tying 32nd career title.
Prime Minister Shinzo Abe speaks at a news conference on Nov. 21 after he dissolved the Lower House. (Shogo Koshida)
EDITORIAL: Voters can judge Abe’s stance toward Constitution, nuclear power
Prime Minister Shizo Abe on Nov. 21 dissolved the Lower House for a snap election on Dec. 14, with the official campaign period starting on Dec. 2.
Voters listen to a prospective candidate in next month's Lower House election in Osaka on Nov. 21. (Tetsuro Takehana)
VOX POPULI: Snap election a costly exercise in futility if real judgment of people not sought
Dry leaves swirling in the wintry winds form a familiar urban backdrop when year-end Jumbo Takarakuji lottery tickets go on sale nationwide. This year, the tickets went on sale Nov. 21.
An Asahi Shimbun reporter drives Toyota Motor Corp.’s fuel-cell vehicle on a test-ride course in Tokyo’s Koto Ward on Nov. 19. (Shigetaka Kodama)
Toyota's fuel-cell Mirai offers quiet ride with race-car acceleration
Directed by a Toyota Motor Corp. employee, I sat in the driver's seat for a test ride of a Mirai, the world's first fuel-cell vehicle to be sold on a commercial basis, on a course in Tokyo's Koto Ward.
The Asahi Shimbun
Online high school to offer education, hope for reclusive shut-ins
CHIBA--A school here plans to open an online high school next spring that will enable reclusive “hikikomori” to get an education and experience student life in cyberspace.
The 51st “Hokkaido’s products and sightseeing” exhibition was inundated with shoppers when it opened at Yamakataya department store in Kagoshima on Nov. 6. (Yoshihiro Yasutomi)
JOY OF HOKKAIDO FOOD: Hokkaido food fairs big moneymakers, particularly in Kagoshima
Editor’s note: Hokkaido is attracting attention for its world-class food items. This series introduces readers to delicious foods from the northern Japanese island and the people there who are producing these wonderful products. The series appears every other Saturday.
There are various sauces for okonomiyaki pancakes and stir-fried noodles in Hiroshima Prefecture. The one in the middle is Otafuku sauce. Those on the left and the right are sauces made by Mitsuwa. (Choi Chae-soo)
OMIYAGE FROM JAPAN: Local sauces complement Michelin-rated 'okonomiyaki' pancakes
Editor’s note: This series showcases “omiyage” (souvenirs) from around Japan. We introduce “must-buy” items available at prefecture-operated shops in Tokyo that promote local tourism products. The series appears on Saturdays.
Lower House members throw their arms in the air at a plenary session on Nov. 21, in a longtime practice when the chamber is dissolved. (Shogo Koshida)
Lower House dissolved for Dec. 14 snap election; campaigning opens Dec. 2
The Lower House was dissolved on Nov. 21 for a snap election, with the postponement of the consumption tax hike and Prime Minister Shinzo Abe’s "Abenomics" economic policy at the center of debate.

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