A scene from the play “Tsunami” (Provided by Michiko Kitayama)
Play based on Tohoku tsunami survivors’ accounts set to open in Miami
When Michiko Kitayama and Nilo Cruz went to the devastated Tohoku region to work on a script for a play in May 2012, they planned to focus on local conflicts in building sea walls.
People's Liberation Army troops take part in a parade in Tiananmen Square in Beijing on Sept. 3. (Takaharu Yagi)
INSIGHT: China’s V-Day ceremony aims to eradicate concerns over its military might
BEIJING--Marking the 70th anniversary of the victory in the war against Japan on Sept. 3, China made two conflicting appeals: showing the world its growing military might and trying to quell regional concerns about it.
Mitsuko Tomon (Photo by Go Katono)
Familiar problems persist on Okinawa 20 years after brutal rape of schoolgirl
When Mitsuko Tomon heard that an Okinawa schoolgirl had been raped by three U.S. military servicemen, her first thought was: “Not again.”
The heads of seven parties and voting groups meet in the Diet on Sept. 4 to discuss strategy on opposing security legislation now before the Upper House. (Shinichi Iizuka)
Opposition plans to submit no-confidence motion to block security bills
Leaders of seven opposition parties and voting groups agreed on Sept. 4 to coordinate efforts to do everything in their power to stop passage of security legislation now before the Upper House.
Jakucho Setouchi and Yoji Yamada during a symposium to mark the 70th anniversary of the end of World War II in Tokushima on Sept. 3 (Yoshinori Toyomane)
Cultural giants sing praises of new generation of student activists
TOKUSHIMA--Buddhist monk and writer Jakucho Setouchi and filmmaker Yoji Yamada, both influential heavyweights in popular culture, have hailed the new wave of student political activists.
The JR Tokyo Station's Marunouchi North entrance (Asahi Shimbun file photo)
Massive underground bus station to be built near Tokyo Station
A huge underground bus terminal with 13 bus stops will be constructed near JR Tokyo Station, part of which will open by the 2020 Tokyo Summer Olympics.
Bluefin tuna are lined up at a fish market in the Showa-machi district of Sakaiminato, Tottori Prefecture, in May. (Asahi Shimbun file photo)
Pacific bluefin tuna fishing faces ban if population plummets
SAPPORO--Japan has agreed with four nations and Taiwan to ban fishing of the threatened Pacific bluefin tuna if its population nose-dives.
Toshikazu Oshiyama, head of Otama, Fukushima Prefecture, far left, Elard Escala, Peruvian ambassador to Japan, center, and Cesar Yoshiro Nouchi announce sister-city ties between Otama and Machu Picchu in Peru on Sept. 3. Cesar Yoshiro holds a picture of his grandfather Yokichi Nouchi, who contributed to the development of the Peruvian village. (Natsuki Edogawa)
Machu Picchu, Fukushima village forming friendship agreement
OTAMA, Fukushima Prefecture--After rejecting offers from around the world, a famed Peruvian village home to Inca remains picked a small municipality in Fukushima Prefecture for its first sister-city relationship.
The keep of Hirosaki Castle in Aomori Prefecture is moved on a rail on Sept. 3 for restoration work on the castle’s stone base. (Shiro Nishihata)
Earning their keep, workers start 1st renovation of Aomori castle in 100 years
HIROSAKI, Aomori Prefecture--Workers have started the painstaking task of moving the 400-ton tower of Hirosaki Castle to clear the way for the first full restoration of its stone base in a century.
Officials, including Japan Othello Association head Goro Hasegawa, second from right, attend a news conference in Mito on Sept. 3. (Akihiro Inose)
World Othello Championship headed for a return to Ibaraki birthplace in 2016
MITO--In a strategic move sure to please fans, the hugely popular board game Othello will return to its birthplace next year when the World Othello Championship is held in Mito.
Kurashiki city assembly members attend a "jeans session" wearing locally produced denim on Sept. 3.  (Hiroshi Miura)
Kurashiki assembly members stage a 'denim revolution'
KURASHIKI, Okayama Prefecture--A municipal assembly in western Japan is operating a strict dress code--wear denim.
Milklike drinks made from rice sold by KST World Corp., Kikkoman Corp. and the National Federation of Agricultural Cooperative Associations (Shigeo Ohata)
Food firms milk a rice drink for all its worth
Japanese food companies are flooding the market with "rice milk" as the sweet, nutritious drink explodes in popularity.
Participants enjoy the water slide event in Tokyo’s Odaiba district in June. (Asahi Shimbun file photo)
Oita to offer chance to slip and slide in hot spring water on giant water slide
BEPPU, Oita Prefecture--Visitors wanting a dip in the area's famed hot spring waters and also to ride a water slide should bring their swimwear for a special event scheduled in mid-September.
A car leaves the headquarters of the Yamaguchi-gumi in Kobe on Sept. 1 after a regular meeting. (The Asahi Shimbun)
INSIGHT: Financial strains, anti-yakuza rules lead to Yamaguchi-gumi split
Laws, ordinances and a society fed up with criminal elements have pushed gangster organizations into a corner, where they are struggling for ways to make money. But mobsters’ own feelings of being squeezed by the top of the yakuza pyramid may have been the final straw that ignited the recent upheaval in the underworld.
Wakutaro Yagi and his grandfather Susumu read a newly published book based on the grandfather's wartime memories in Toyota, Aichi Prefecture. (Kyosuke Yamamoto)
Boy's book about grandfather's poignant war stories hits store shelves
NAGOYA--A newly published book of wartime memories of a soldier who was conscripted into the Imperial Japanese Army has been drawing a lot of attention here for its candid and unusual format.
South Korean President Park Geun-hye (Pool) and Prime Minister Shinzo Abe (Asahi Shimbun file photo)
EDITORIAL: Time to reset the diplomatic landscape in East Asia
The leaders of China and South Korea have agreed to hold a trilateral summit with Prime Minister Shinzo Abe this autumn.
Chinese military helicopters form the shape of the number 70 during a military parade, part of an event marking the 70th anniversary of end of World War II, in Beijing on Sept. 3. (The Asahi Shimbun)
VOX POPULI: The smog of an old war still darkens the skies between Japan and China
“Beijing’s autumn sky was beautiful,” noted a writer of this column in September 1972. Seen live on television, the crystal clear air seemed to give the city’s main thoroughfare a bluish tint, the columnist observed. He went on to say that living in smog-filled Japan, he felt envious of the people of Beijing.
(Illustration by Mitsuaki Kojima)
ASAHI HAIKUIST NETWORK/ David McMurray
Pinewood chips floating on the wind tea kettle
Indonesian President Joko Widodo is between Chinese President Xi Jinping and Prime Minister Shinzo Abe, right, at a summit meeting of the Asian-African Conference in Jakarta in April. (Asahi Shimbun file photo)
Indonesia's decision to scrap bullet train plans baffles Japan, China
JAKARTA--Indonesia's 11th-hour decision to scrap plans for the nation's first high-speed railway has sown confusion among top investors China and Japan, potentially undermining the strong foreign investment that has been a rare economic bright spot.
State-of-the-art weapons are displayed during a military parade, part of an event marking the 70th anniversary of end of World War II, at Tiananmen Square in Beijing on Sept. 3. (Takaharu Yagi)
Xi announces 13% cut in troop levels during war-anniversary ceremony
BEIJING--Chinese President Xi Jinping on Sept. 3 pledged to reduce China’s military by 300,000 troops and stressed his commitment to peace during a war-anniversary ceremony that showcased the nation’s state-of-the-art weaponry to the world.

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