Prime Minister Shinzo Abe speaks at the United Nations University in Tokyo on March 16. (Asahi Shimbun file photo)
Abe to address joint session of U.S. Congress
WASHINGTON--Prime Minister Shinzo Abe will address a joint meeting of the U.S. Senate and House of Representatives on April 29, becoming the first Japanese leader to do so.
South Korean President Park Geun-hye, with Chinese President Xi Jinping, ahead of an APEC meeting in November (Pool)
S. Korea, another U.S. ally, seeks to join China-backed bank
SEOUL--South Korea said on March 26 it has decided to seek to be a founding member of the Asian Infrastructure Investment Bank (AIIB), another key U.S. ally joining the China-led institution despite Washington's misgivings.
A military parade in October 2009 marking the 60th anniversary of the founding of the People's Republic of China (Asahi Shimbun file photo)
China to invite foreign militaries to join parade marking victory over Japan
BEIJING—In an unusual step, China's insular military will invite foreign armed forces to take part in a lavish military parade in Beijing this fall marking the 70th anniversary of victory over Japan in World War II, an official said March 26.
In this Aug. 26, 2013 file photo, Chinese President Xi Jinping inspects a guard of honor outside the Great Hall of the People in Beijing. (AP Photo)
Xi relying on old boy network to strengthen Chinese military
BEIJING--Chinese President Xi Jinping has promoted long-time associates to key defense posts as part of a move to push through structural reform and build a military with capabilities on par with the United States.
"The Case of Hana & Alice" storyboard book, left, and movie pamphlet. (Don Brown)
ONE TAKE ON JAPANESE CINEMA: Schoolgirls bond over murder in animated comeback
Editor’s note: This is a column on Japanese movies written by New Zealander Don Brown, a longtime resident of Japan who specializes in creating English subtitles for Japanese films, as well as other cinema-related translation. It will run on the second and fourth Fridays of the month in AJW.
The city-supported solar power plant in Miyama, Fukuoka Prefecture, has a capacity of 5 megawatts. (Masanobu Higashiyama)
City challenges Kyushu Electric, sets up company to sell power to households
MIYAMA, Fukuoka Prefecture--Miyama has become the first local government in Japan to establish a company that will sell electricity to households--and at rates cheaper than regional monopoly Kyushu Electric Power Co.
Lawyers hold up a sign after the Fukuoka High Court on March 25 ruled that the 2014 Lower House election was "unconstitutional." (Koichi Ueda)
Court rules 2014 Lower House election 'unconstitutional'
A high court for the first time ruled the 2014 Lower House election “unconstitutional” because of the unequal value of votes, but it stopped short of invalidating the results.
Shibuya Ward Mayor Toshitake Kuwahara explains a ward proposal to issue certificates recognizing same-sex relationships in February. (Akemi Harada)
LDP panel urges caution over move to certify same-sex marriage
Japan's conservative ruling party expressed wariness of moves by a local government in Tokyo to issue certificates recognizing same-sex marriages.
Workers place bags of contaminated soil trucked to an interim storage facility in Futaba, Fukushima Prefecture, on March 25. (Keisuke Sato)
Radioactive soil finally moved to Futaba site
FUTABA, Fukushima Prefecture--The Environment Ministry has begun transporting radioactive soil to the planned site of an interim storage facility here after years of tough negotiations with town officials.
Members of environmental groups call for cancellation of work related to the relocation of U.S. Marine Corps Air Station Futenma in Ginowan, Okinawa Prefecture, to protect the environment in local waters during a news conference in Tokyo on March 25. (Orie Yoshihama)
Activists rally to call for halt to seabed surveys for new Okinawa base
A joint statement released by 31 environmental groups based in Japan and overseas called for an immediate halt to reclamation work for a new U.S. air base in Okinawa, citing damage to marine life in the area.
Sharp Corp.’s Healsio Ocha-Presso green tea maker (Yoshiko Sato)
A sharp approach to making green tea in North America
Sharp Corp. is targeting health-conscious North Americans with the release of an updated home appliance this summer that makes nutritious green tea.
The packaging of Biglobe Inc.'s Ninja SIM card (Provided by Biglobe Inc.)
Ninja among Japanese themes for SIM cards targeting tourists
A high-tech company has turned to the ninja to woo foreign tourists. And in keeping with the tradition of the stealthy assassins, its product will be hidden from view.
The lungs of mice infected with influenza viruses that have been injected with fluorescent protein genes (Provided by Yoshihiro Kawaoka)
Scientists develop technique to track flu virus without killing test animal
Japanese researchers have found a way to observe the spread of the influenza virus inside living tissue without the need to dissect, a development that may herald more effective treatments for conditions like pneumonia.
An illustration of the Expocity complex (Provided by Mitsui Fudosan Co.)
Osaka Expo site to reel in tourists with array of attractions
OSAKA--A huge complex featuring an aquarium, shopping center, Ferris wheel and an English learning center is being built on the site where the Osaka Expo was held in 1970.
Atsuko Uehara, a victim of the March 10, 1945, U.S. air raid on Tokyo, speaks of her experiences at a gathering in Jerusalem on March 23. (Takashi Watanabe)
In message to Israelis, Japanese wartime victims detail horrors of bombings
JERUSALEM--Japanese survivors of U.S. bombing attacks in World War II urged the people of Israel to understand the tremendous damage inflicted on civilian populations during wartime.
An oil derrick in Midland, Texas. The number of oil rigs in the Permian Basin has dropped by 40 percent since December. (Daisuke Igarashi)
A time of trials for U.S. shale
MIDLAND, Texas--The desolate, light-brown land stretches as far as the eye can see.
Sri Lankan President Maithripala Sirisena, left, shakes hands with Chinese President Xi Jinping during a signing ceremony at the Great Hall of the People in Beijing on March 26. (AP Photo)
Sri Lanka's Sirisena meets China's Xi amid new look at ties
BEIJING—Sri Lanka's new president held talks on March 26 with Chinese leader Xi Jinping amid a push to recalibrate his predecessor's strongly pro-China policies and a review of major Chinese projects in the island nation.
Mitsuhisa Kato, executive vice president at Toyota Motor Corp., at a recent news conference (Asahi Shimbun file photo)
Toyota outlines initiatives to grow after recall scandal
TOYOTA--Toyota Motor Corp. is ready to ramp up its growth again, emerging from an intentional soul-searching lull brought on by its massive global recall scandal that began in 2009.
Genichiro Takahashi (Photo by Motooki Hayasaka)
POINT OF VIEW/ Genichiro Takahashi: Prayer for tolerance--the monster is in our midst
The recent hostage crisis in Syria got me thinking about a number of things. For one, only a few people talked about Haruna Yukawa, one of the two hostages presumably slain by Islamic State militants. Granted, many of his actions were hard to comprehend. Does that mean he was an anomaly and unlike any of us?
AKB48 members perform at a concert in Kamaishi, Iwate Prefecture, on March 11, the fourth anniversary of the Great East Japan Earthquake and tsunami. (Naoko Kawamura)
AKB48 members continue to bring smiles to disaster-hit areas despite initial criticism
Four years after the Great East Japan Earthquake and tsunami, the number of entertainers visiting the devastated areas is declining.

More AJW