The Asahi Shimbun
Diet passes seat-redistribution plan for Upper House elections
The Lower House on July 28 approved a seat-redistribution plan to improve voter equality in Upper House elections, but the maximum vote-value disparity between the most populous and least populous prefectures is still 2.97.
Education minister Hakubun Shimomura (Photo by Shinichi Iizuka)
Calls grow for education minister to step down over Olympic snafu
Demands for the education minister’s resignation intensified after he was seen as “sacrificing” a subordinate to evade responsibility for the fiasco over the scrapped stadium plan for the 2020 Tokyo Olympics.
Members of Nagano Prefecture's rescue team advance toward the summit of Mount Ontakesan on July 29 in the search for the six hikers that went missing on the mountain when it erupted last year. (Eiji Hori)
Searchers scouring Mt. Ontakesan for 6 hikers who went missing after eruption
OTAKI, Nagano Prefecture--Search operations for six missing hikers from last year’s deadly eruption of Mount Ontakesan resumed July 29 after nine and a half months following the melting of snow on the summit.
Reactors at the San Onofre Nuclear Generating Station in Southern California are in the process of decommissioning after failure of a steam generator that was manufactured by Mitsubishi Heavy Industries. (Asahi Shimbun file photo)
U.S. nuke plant operator files $7.57 billion case against MHI
A U.S. nuclear plant operator has demanded that Mitsubishi Heavy Industries Ltd. pay $7.57 billion (930 billion yen) in compensation for the failure of a steam generator that resulted in the decommissioning of reactors, The Asahi Shimbun learned.
The Piper aircraft that crashed in western Tokyo on July 26 is seen in October 2004 at Sapporo Okadama Airport nose-down on the ground after its front landing gear snapped. (Asahi Shimbun file photo)
Light plane that crashed in western Tokyo suffered engine damage in 2004
A single-engine plane that crashed in suburban Tokyo on July 26, killing three people, sustained major damage in a landing accident 11 years ago but was repaired and deemed airworthy, the transport ministry said.
Five members of Seifuku Kojo Iinkai (Uniform improvement committee) attended a news conference at the Foreign Correspondents’ Club of Japan in Tokyo on July 28. (Miako Ichikawa)
Protesting girl singers shout their political opinions
The answers the all-girl idol group gave to the foreign press brought comparisons to a young Bob Dylan and his refrain of blowin' in the wind. But the worldwide fame that Dylan enjoyed is still eluding the five youngsters.
South Korean Prime Minister Hwang Kyo-ahn speaks during a government meeting about the deadly MERS virus in Seoul on July 28. (AP Photo)
INSIGHT: Seoul announces 'de facto end' to MERS to contain fallout on economy
SEOUL--Citing no new cases in 23 days, South Korea moved quickly July 28 to contain the fallout on its economy from the MERS outbreak that has claimed 36 lives by declaring an effective end to the crisis.
Okinoshima island off the coast of Munakata, Fukuoka Prefecture (Koichi Ueda)
Sacred island off Kyushu eyed for World Cultural Heritage status
The Council for Cultural Affairs announced July 28 it will recommend the "sacred" island of Okinoshima and related ancient sites in Munakata city, Fukuoka Prefecture, for UNESCO World Cultural Heritage listing in 2017.
The Great Buddha statue at Kotokuin temple in Kamakura, Kanagawa Prefecture, on July 28 (Tamotsu Sugao)
Great Buddha of Kamakura set for first overhaul in 50 years
KAMAKURA, Kanagawa Prefecture--The giant statue of the sitting Buddha towering over Kotokuin temple here is to undergo a complete "health checkup" next year, the first in more than half a century.
Foreign tourists receive advice on duty-free procedures at a Bic Camera store in February in Osaka. (Asahi Shimbun file photo)
Japan plans to double spending by foreign tourists, add 400,000 jobs by 2020
Japan has set a target of doubling annual spending by foreign tourists in the country to 4 trillion yen ($32.5 billion) and adding 400,000 tourism-related jobs by 2020.
Yoshiro Mori, president of the Tokyo Organizing Committee of the Olympic and Paralympic Games, left, along with organizing committee CEO Toshiro Muto, talks to media after a presentation to the International Olympic Committee in Kuala Lumpur on July 29. (AP Photo)
Tokyo Olympic chief apologizes to IOC over stadium fiasco
KUALA LUMPUR--Japanese organizers apologized to the IOC on July 29 over the scrapping of the original plans for the Olympic stadium and delivered assurances that the new venue will be ready in time for the 2020 Games.
An illustration of Monkey D. Luffy, the protagonist of the “One Piece” manga series, clad in a Kabuki costume ((c) Eiichiro Oda/ Shueisha)
Kabuki adaptation of 'One Piece' manga will feature flashy action, play to families
A top Kabuki star who will soon set sail in an adaption of the globally popular "One Piece" pirate manga series on the traditional stage likens the challenge to a "voyage of no turning back."
The late Issei Nishimori, professor emeritus at Nagasaki University, survived the atomic bombing on Aug. 9, 1945, when he was a student at Nagasaki Medical College (current School of Medicine of Nagasaki University). At the time, he was wearing this white lab coat. As glass fragments sent flying by the blast pierced the clothing, it became stained with blood. The white coat is currently stored at the School of Medicine of Nagasaki University. (Ken Mizokoshi and Yusaku Kanagawa)
Photo exhibit of personal effects destroyed by Nagasaki A-bomb headed to N.Y. audience
NAGASAKI--A photo exhibition of personal items that attest to the powerful destruction unleashed on Nagasaki in the 1945 atomic bombing will be brought to a U.S. audience in New York from July 31.
“It is a pity that the true form of Ryukyu cuisine is being forgotten now,” says Ayaka Yamamoto. “I wish to pass on the old wisdom to future generations.”  (Photo by Masahiro Gohda)
JAPANESE HOME COOKING: Okinawa's 'duruwakashi': taro and pork
Thanks to its subtropical climate, Okinawa has developed a unique culinary culture since the days of the Ryukyu Kingdom, incorporating the ways of China as well as "Yamato," or how islanders refer to the Japanese mainland.
A young chimpanzee drinks palm "wine" from a tank using a leaf. (Provided by Kyoto University’s Primate Research Institute)
Researchers spot chimpanzees boozing in the wild
It's not just humans who love to sit back and sip on an alcoholic beverage ... wild chimps do too.
Opposing the proposed revisions to the Public Offices Election Law, some Liberal Democratic Party lawmakers leave the Upper House plenary session on July 24 before the bill was voted upon. (Asahi Shimbun file photo)
EDITORIAL: Common sense lacking in Upper House electoral reform
The revised Public Offices Election Law was enacted on July 28, clearing the way for the implementation of a “plus 10, minus 10” formula to reform the Upper House electoral system. Under this formula for seat redistribution, the Shimane and Tottori constituencies are being merged, as are the Tokushima and Kochi constituencies.
Seiko Noda, a Liberal Democratic Party lawmaker, at her Lower House office in October 2010 after she became pregnant through in-vitro fertilization using donated eggs in the United States. (Asahi Shimbun file photo)
VOX POPULI: Kids should know what goes into the test tube that created them
"The right to become a parent" is an expression I heard for the first time 10 years ago when I interviewed Seiko Noda, a Liberal Democratic Party legislator who was receiving infertility treatment at the time.
Zaha Hadid (Asahi Shimbun file photo)
Tokyo Olympic stadium designer strikes back at critics
The architects behind a scrapped plan for the 2020 Tokyo Olympic stadium blamed the bidding process and rocketing building costs for the spiraling price tag, striking back at claims that it was because of the design.
In this July 2 photo, customer Armando Barillas checks the interior of a vehicle for sale at the New Century Volkswagen dealership in Glendale, Calif. (AP Photo)
Volkswagen sold more vehicles than Toyota in first half
Volkswagen overtook Toyota in global vehicle sales for January-June, the first time the German automaker has come out top in the intensely competitive tallies.
SDF should not patrol the South China Sea
Japan and the United States are trying to redefine their alliance. Put simply, under the deal, Japan would shoulder some of the roles the U.S. military has carried out around the world in exchange for America’s continued commitment to defend Japan. At the Abe administration’s behest, the Diet is now deliberating legislation for this purpose.

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