International News

Tourists flock to Japan after COVID restrictions lifted

TOKYO — Eager to admire colorful foliage, eat sushi and go shopping, droves of tourists from abroad started arriving Oct. 11 in Japan for the first day of lifted border restrictions, which had been in place for more than two years to curb the coronavirus pandemic. Travelers are expected to deliver a sorely needed 5 […]

State funeral for ex-PM Abe draws protesters as well as mourners

TOKYO — Thousands gathered in the streets of Tokyo on Sept. 27 to voice opposition to a state funeral for slain former Prime Minister Shinzo Abe, while mourners formed long lines to lay flowers for the late Japanese leader and praised his diplomatic and economic accomplishments. Many people brought flowers to special stands set up […]

Japan consul to be expelled from Russia for alleged espionage

TOKYO  — A Japanese diplomat was detained by Russia’s Federal Security Service and accused of engaging in espionage after he obtained classified information in exchange for a payment, the spy agency said Sept. 26, an allegation flatly denied by Tokyo. Tatsunori Motoki, a consul at the Japanese Consulate General in Vladivostok, was declared persona non […]

Anti-U.S. base incumbent Tamaki secures 2nd term as Okinawa governor

NAHA, Japan  — Okinawa Gov. Denny Tamaki won a second four-year-term following Sept. 11’s gubernatorial election, obtaining a renewed mandate for his efforts to discontinue a plan to relocate a U.S. base within the island prefecture. Opposition-backed Tamaki defeated former Ginowan Mayor Atsushi Sakima, 58, who was supported by the ruling coalition of the Liberal […]

WHO director in Asia accused of racism, abuse put on leave

LONDON — The World Health Organization’s top director in the Western Pacific, Dr. Takeshi Kasai, has been indefinitely removed from his post, according to internal correspondence obtained by The Associated Press. Kasai’s removal comes months after an AP investigation revealed that dozens of staffers accused him of racist, abusive and unethical behavior that undermined the […]

Ordinary Japanese ‘salarymen’ reach TikTok stardom

TOKYO — They’re your run-of-the-mill “salarymen,” as company workers in Japan are called — hard-working, friendly and, well, rather regular. But the chief executive and general manager at a tiny Japanese security company are among the nation’s biggest TikTok stars, drawing 2.7 million followers and 54 million likes, and honored with awards as a trend-setter […]

Shinzo Abe, powerful former Japan prime minister, leaves divided legacy

TOKYO — Shinzo Abe was a political blueblood groomed for power. Japan’s longest serving prime minister, he was also perhaps the most polarizing, complex politician in recent Japanese history. Abe, who was assassinated July 8, angered both liberals at home and World War II victims in Asia with his hawkish push to revamp the military […]

Court says ban on same-sex marriage constitutional

TOKYO — A Japanese court ruled June 20 that the country’s ban on same-sex marriage does not violate the constitution, and rejected demands for compensation by three couples who said their right to free union and equality has been violated. The Osaka District Court ruling is the second decision on the issue, and disagrees with […]

Horie, 83, ready for more after crossing Pacific solo

TOKYO — Japanese adventurer Kenichi Horie at 83 just became the oldest person in the world to complete a solo, nonstop voyage across the Pacific Ocean — and he says he is still “in the middle of my youth” and not done yet. Horie returned home as he crossed the Kii Strait off Japan’s western […]

U.S. naval officer in Japan faces prison over deadly crash

WASHINGTON — For Ridge Alkonis, a U.S. Navy lieutenant living in Japan, a springtime trip with his wife and three children to Mount Fuji was intended as fun and leisurely family time before an expected deployment. What happened next, and why, is a matter of dispute. But it gave rise to a three-year prison sentence. […]

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