Kenji Goto, right, visits the home of Muhsen Salman in Baghdad in October 2005. (Provided by Muhsen Salman)
Goto’s friends in Middle East, elsewhere stunned, outraged by his death
Many people who knew and worked alongside freelance journalist Kenji Goto on his humanitarian coverage of the Middle East were stunned by the report that he had been executed by Islamic State in a video released early on Feb. 1.
“Master Soseki” by Ippei Okamoto depicts writer Natsume Soseki with a black cat and "hibachi" brazier. (Hiromi Kitagaki)
Soseki portrait by manga pioneer Ippei a hidden treasure at venerated Kyoto inn
KYOTO--The mystery remains on how the long-established Hiiragiya inn in Kyoto obtained a portrait of literary master Natsume Soseki created by manga artist Ippei Okamoto (1886-1948).
A screen shot from the Scrivener writing-assistance software (Yusuke Takatsu)
Professional authors conquer writer's block with story-writing software
In Ko Nakamura and Eiichi Nakata's recent work "Boku wa Shosetsu ga Kakenai" (I can't write a novel), the protagonist could have used the novel-writing assistance software application the co-authors used to pen their own book.
This image made from a video released by Islamic State militants on Jan. 31 purports to show a militant standing next to Kenji Goto before his beheading by the militant group. (Taken from the Internet)
UPDATE: Japan condemns Goto video, vows to heighten anti-terrorism efforts
Japan will enhance measures to prevent “despicable terrorist acts” at home and abroad, Chief Cabinet Secretary Yoshihide Suga said Feb. 1, after a video online showed the apparent murder of freelance journalist Kenji Goto.
Junko Ishido, mother of Kenji Goto, reads a statement in Tokyo on the morning of Feb. 1. (Masaru Komiyaji)
Sobbing mother says: 'Kenji has left for good'
Through “tears of sadness,” Kenji Goto’s mother urged people to respect his wishes for peace hours after a video posted online Feb. 1 apparently showed her son being killed by an Islamic State militant.
Journalist Kenji Goto left a video message before he entered Syria in October last year. (Daisuke Kanda)
Goto acquaintance: 'How can I explain this tragedy to the children?'
Friends and colleagues condemned the apparent slaying of freelance journalist Kenji Goto as an abject crime against a man who desperately attempted to protect children and help stop the bloodshed in war zones.
Naoki Hyakuta (Asahi Shimbun file photo)
Controversy-generating NHK governor expresses intention to resign
A Japan Broadcasting Corp. (NHK) governor who has sparked controversy with his conservative comments about Japan’s military past plans to step down when his term expires at the end of February.
Yoshiaki Ishigaki, right, and other members of the Executive Committee for “The Nobel Peace Prize for Article 9 of the Japanese Constitution,” applaud when the Nobel Peace Prize winners were announced in October last year. (Asahi Shimbun file photo)
Article 9 supporters again recommended for Nobel Peace Prize
Despite its setback last year, a citizens group said it filed a recommendation to the Nobel Committee to award the Peace Prize to Japanese citizens protecting war-renouncing Article 9 of the Constitution.
The Kondo main hall, left, and the five-story pagoda at Horyuji temple in Ikaruga, Nara Prefecture (Asahi Shimbun file photo)
Horyuji temple in Nara hikes admission fees following decrease in visitors
IKARUGA, Nara Prefecture--Horyuji temple raised admission fees in January to cover maintenance costs amid a steady decline in visitor numbers since the ancient site was added to the World Heritage list in 1993.
This image made from a video released by Islamic State militants on Jan. 31 purports to show a militant standing next to Kenji Goto before his beheading by the militant group.  (Taken from the Internet)
Prime Minister Abe condemns Islamic State, vows justice for Goto
Prime Minister Shinzo Abe on Feb. 1 condemned the apparent killing of journalist Kenji Goto by Islamic State, vowing to work with other nations to bring those responsible to justice.
Jordan's King Abdullah, right, and Japan's Prime Minister Shinzo Abe, chair a meeting attended by representative of the Japanese and Jordanian business communities to discuss issues related to energy and economy, at the Royal Palace in Amman on Jan. 18. (AP Photo)
Jordan condemns killing of Japanese hostage Goto
AMMAN--Jordan strongly condemned on Feb. 1 the killing of a second Japanese hostage by Islamic State and said the militant group had rejected all efforts made by the kingdom to release him.
Iwao Hakamada and his sister, Hideko, walk on the shore of Lake Hamanako in Hamamatsu during location shooting last November. (Atsushi Takahashi)
Documentary focuses on Hakamada's fight for normalcy after death-row stint
The daily struggles of a man who spent nearly 50 years on death row is the subject of a new documentary by award-winning filmmaker Kim Sungwoong, who hopes the work will provoke thinking on social justice issues.
Kim Sung (Asahi Shimbun file photo)
N. Korea says U.S. rejects invitation to Pyongyang
SEOUL--North Korea said on Feb. 1 the United States had rejected an invitation to send one of its top diplomats to Pyongyang, accusing Washington of trying to shift the blame for the deadlock in denuclearization talks on the North.
Hiroki Iwasa holds a strawberry in Yamamoto, Miyagi Prefecture. (Sakura Funazaki)
From tsunami-swept land, IT expert helps grow 'edible gem' strawberries
YAMAMOTO, Miyagi Prefecture--A venture capital company executive returned from Tokyo to southern Miyagi Prefecture to see what he could do for his hometown that was devastated by the 2011 earthquake and tsunami. The result was an extraordinary sweet and aromatic strawberry that can carry a price tag of 1,000 yen ($8.50) a pop.
Masaki Sashima, center, and other Ainu activists call for the return of Ainu remains to their local communities at a news conference in Tokyo on Jan. 30. (Miki Aoki)
Activists cry foul over plan to unite Ainu remains at central site
Ainu activists are up in arms over a plan by the central government to erect a memorial for Ainu remains unearthed decades ago for research and stored at sites nationwide.
Participants at a candlelight vigil in Tokyo on Jan. 30 hold signs calling for the release of freelance journalist Kenji Goto. (Masaru Komiyaji)
Rally held in Tokyo to pray for safe release of hostages
About 150 people gathered for a second candlelight vigil in front of the prime minister's office Jan. 30 to call for the release of the Japanese and Jordanian hostages being held by the Islamic State.
Yasuhide Nakayama, a parliamentary senior vice foreign minister, talks to reporters in Amman, Jordan, on Jan. 30. (Takashi Watanabe)
Hostage talks 'stalemated,' says top negotiator
AMMAN, Jordan--Negotiations to secure the release of hostage Kenji Goto are "in a stalemate," according to a senior Japanese government official trying to end the crisis.
U.S. rice is sold alongside Japanese brands at a shop in Kawagoe, Saitama Prefecture. (Asahi Shimbun file photo)
Japan on cusp of major compromise on rice with U.S. in TPP talks
Japan appears set to offer key concessions to the United States over its demands on rice import quotas in Trans-Pacific Partnership free trade talks, a move that is bound to anger farmers at home.
Thomas Piketty, a professor of economics at the Paris School of Economics, during a lecture in Tokyo on Jan. 29 (Eiji Hori)
Economist Piketty: Consumption tax hike not right path for Japan
Globally acclaimed French economist Thomas Piketty offers this advice to Japan: Continuing to raise the consumption tax rate to ease the strain on social services is the wrong policy.
An area known as "hamasango no oka" (hill of the finger corals) off Henoko in Nago, Okinawa Prefecture, in August last year (Asahi Shimbun file photo)
Coral off Henoko feared damaged in Futenma-related work
Dozens of heavy anchors used to secure buoys and floats may be causing havoc to coral off Henoko, Okinawa Prefecture, after they became unattached and missing in a typhoon.

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