Prime Minister Shinzo Abe responds to a question during a Lower House session on March 3. (Shinichi Iizuka)
Abe, DPJ's Okada now tied to dubious political contributions issue
In the latest allegations of questionable political donations now aimed at top party leaders, Prime Minister Shinzo Abe and the main opposition party president are linked to contributions from companies after ministries awarded them subsidies, it was learned March 3.
A mutual-help group in Yokohama offers counseling for young sexual minorities. (Asahi Shimbun file photo)
Ministry to require schools to support LGBT students
The education ministry will instruct teachers and schools to take special measures to prevent bullying and discrimination against lesbian, gay, bisexual and transgender (LGBT) students.
A Chinese tourist arranges souvenirs in her suitcase before departing at Fukuoka Airport in Fukuoka on Feb. 24. (Azumi Fukuoka)
Chinese New Year rings up record duty-free sales at department stores
Major department stores in Japan reported record duty-free sales in February as throngs of Chinese tourists took advantage of an increased number of tax-free items and the weaker yen during the Chinese New Year holiday.
An illustration of the planned condominiums to be built on the grounds of Shimogamojinja shrine in Kyoto's Sakyo Ward (Provided by Shimogamojinja shrine)
World Heritage site shrine to build condominiums for revenue
KYOTO--Shimogamojinja, a venerable shrine listed as a UNESCO World Heritage site, plans to allow construction of eight condominium buildings on shrine grounds to generate much-needed revenues for important ceremonies.
Residents in Kamaishi, Iwate Prefecture, celebrate the announcement of the city's selection as a venue for the 2019 Rugby World Cup on March 2. (Takaharu Yagi)
Tsunami-hit Kamaishi to host games in Rugby World Cup
The tsunami-ravaged city of Kamaishi, Iwate Prefecture, was named as one of 12 sites that will host matches for the 2019 Rugby World Cup in Japan.
Indonesian tourists in ninja costumes pose in front of a castle in Iga, Mie Prefecture, on May 28, 2014. (Asahi Shimbun file photo)
Ninja council planned for promotional blitz targeting foreign tourists
IGA, Mie Prefecture--A national council will be established to expose the secret ways of ninja to the world.
Kiss members pose with an ukiyo-e woodblock print portraying them as Kabuki actors at news conference in Tokyo on Feb. 21. (Asahi Shimbun file photo)
Kiss ukiyo-e prints go on sale to rock art industry
Kiss, the veteran U.S. rock band famed for its makeup, elaborate costumes and wild stage performances, has adopted a new look to help revitalize a traditional Japanese art industry.
U.S. President Barack Obama, left, toasts with Chinese President Xi Jinping at a lunch banquet in the Great Hall of the People in Beijing on Nov. 12, 2014. (AP Photo)
Obama sharply criticizes China's plans for new technology rules
WASHINGTON--President Barack Obama on March 2 sharply criticized China's plans for new rules on U.S. tech companies, urging Beijing to change the policy if it wants to do business with the United States and saying he had raised it with President Xi Jinping.
Children have a meal of a bowl of steamed rice, miso soup, salad of burdock root and green pepper steak at Seishonen no Ibasho Kiitos (The venue for youngsters Kiitos) in Chofu, western Tokyo, on Jan. 14 (Shiro Nishihata)
Soup kitchens for needy children open to help break increasing cycle of poverty
Even two years later, a junior high school student from a poor family still savors the memory of the spaghetti meat sauce he enjoyed at a soup kitchen.
The Sixth Old House of Natsume Soseki in Kumamato, located in the Kitasendanbatamachi district in Chuo Ward, is little changed from more than a century ago. (Masamitsu Oku)
Fans of Soseki pushing to preserve novelist's last residence in Kumamoto
KUMAMOTO--Fans of renowned Meiji Era (1868-1912) novelist Natsume Soseki are campaigning to preserve the last place he called home here before he moved to London to study.
Japanese and South Korean citizens offer flowers at a ceremony held in Fukuoka on Feb. 8 to commemorate the 70th anniversary of the death of Yun Dong-ju. (Asahi Shimbun file photo)
EDITORIAL: War-era Korean poet embodied symbiosis needed to mend Japan-South Korea ties
People in various parts of Japan gathered in meetings last month to commemorate the 70th anniversary of the death of Yun Dong-ju (1917-45), who is revered and beloved in South Korea as a national poet.
Students attend a vigil for Ryota Uemura, a first-year student at a junior high school in Kawasaki, on March 2. (The Asahi Shimbun)
VOX POPULI: Boy's life lost after society failed to understand his world
Ryota Uemura, a first-year student at a junior high school in Kawasaki, was known as a cheerful boy who laughed a lot and was liked by everyone. “That’s probably why nobody realized (he was in serious trouble),” said one of his classmates. “I feel so terribly sorry for him.”
A Kawagoe Discount Pass for adults (Provided by Tobu Railway Co.)
Discount train ticket for foreign travelers welcomes visitors to Kawagoe
Tobu Railway Co. has begun selling a Kawagoe Discount Pass, a special train ticket limited to foreign travelers who plan to visit Kawagoe, Saitama Prefecture, known for its historic buildings.
Armored vehicles run through Tiananmen Square during a military parade to commemorate the 60th anniversary of the foundation of Communist China in October 2009. (Asahi Shimbun file photo)
China to hold parade, invite leaders to mark World War II anniversary
BEIJING--China will hold a military parade this year to mark the 70th anniversary of the end of World War II, and invite the leaders of major countries involved in the war to attend, the foreign ministry said, events probably aimed at Japan.
The Campus Frankfurt 1 data center operated by e-shelter (Provided by NTT Communications Corp.)
NTT Communications to buy controlling stake in top German data center operator
NTT Communications Corp. said March 3 that it will acquire 86.7 percent of the shares in e-shelter, the top operator of data center services in Germany.
The schematic of a smartphone prototype equipped with an infrared camera and infrared LED (Provided by Fujitsu Ltd.)
Fujitsu develops iris authentication prototype smartphone
Fujitsu Ltd. has developed technology that enables smartphone users to unlock their mobile devices by simply looking at them, the company said March 2.
A bronze mirror recently discovered in China is similar in design to the Sankakubuchi Shinjukyo. (Provided by Wang Chenyi)
Bronze mirror linked to Himiko found in China for 1st time
A bronze mirror found in China resembles those associated with Japan’s third-century shaman queen Himiko, providing perhaps the first solid evidence that she was given the mirrors by a Chinese emperor.
The Asahi Shimbun
Ancient Miyakozuka pyramid tomb likely built for powerful local clan member
ASUKA, Nara Prefecture--Recent excavation work at the Miyakozuka Tomb, an ancient stepped-pyramid burial mound, suggests the construction is of a much higher quality than previously thought, reinforcing the belief it was built for a member of the local ruling clan, researchers said.
South Korean President Park Geun-hye delivers a speech to commemorate the “March 1 Movement” in Seoul on March 1. (AP Photo)
S. Korea's Park criticizes, applauds Japan in independence-movement speech
SEOUL--President Park Geun-hye once again urged Tokyo to resolve the “comfort women” issue, but she also commended Japan for being a solid partner of South Korea for the past 50 years.
Underclass students at the city-run Joshi Shogyo (all-girls commercial) high school in Ishinomaki, Miyagi Prefecture, hand bouquets of flowers to graduating seniors on March 1. (Yosuke Fukudome)
Persevering Miyagi, Iwate students graduate from temporary school buildings
In the three years that students attended a temporary school in Ishinomaki, Miyagi Prefecture, following the 2011 Great East Japan Earthquake and tsunami, the landscape outside changed, as the rubble and debris gradually disappeared.

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