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German Chancellor Angela Merkel has met Honda Motor’s humanoid robot ASIMO while touring Tokyo’s National Museum of Emerging Science and Innovation in Japan.
ASIMO also met President Barack Obama when he visited Tokyo in April 2014.
Angela Merkel arrived in Japan on March 9 and is scheduled to meet Emperor Akihito and PM Shinzo Abe during her two-day stay. This is her first visit to Japan since 2008.
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Powerful Typhoon Phanfone is bringing many parts of Japan to a standstill with heavy wind and rain as it heads towards Tokyo.
Thousands of households have lost power and Japan’s two largest airlines have suspended many flights.
The adverse weather has also forced the suspension of a search operation for missing people after a volcanic eruption in central Japan last week.
Japan averages 11 typhoons a year, according to its weather agency.
Typhoon Phanfone was downgraded from an earlier status of a super typhoon, but the Japan Meteorological Agency warned that it was still a dangerous storm with winds gusting to 135mph.
The typhoon is moving at a speed of 12.5 mph from off Japan’s south-western coast and is expected to make landfall and approach the capital Tokyo on Monday, October 6.
Typhoon Phanfone is bringing many parts of Japan to a standstill with heavy wind and rain as it heads towards Tokyo
The storm is expected to deposit about 100mm of rain on Tokyo over 24 hours, according to the Transport Ministry website.
Many schools will close on October 6 and two car companies in Japan have halted production at some plants ahead of the storm.
More than 174 domestic flights were affected nationwide, NHK state broadcaster said on Sunday, October 5.
Twelve people are still missing following the eruption of Mount Ontake in central Japan.
The volcano, about 125 miles west of Tokyo, erupted last Saturday killing 51 people, mostly hikers. It is still emitting poisonous fumes.
Heavy rain delayed the Japanese Formula One Grand Prix on Sunday, and French driver Jules Bianchi was rushed to hospital after losing control and crashing in the wet conditions.
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More than 200 copies of Anne Frank’s Diary of a Young Girl and associated books have been vandalized in public libraries in Tokyo, Japanese officials say.
Pages have been ripped from at least 265 copies of the diary and other related books, they added.
It is not clear who is behind the vandalism. A US Jewish rights group has called for a police investigation.
Anne Frank’s diary was written during World War Two, while the teenager hid from the Nazis in occupied Amsterdam.
The book made her a symbol of the suffering of Jews during the war.
Japan has no history of Jewish settlement and no real history of anti-Semitism.
More than 200 copies of Anne Frank’s Diary of a Young Girl and associated books have been vandalized in public libraries in Tokyo
Toshihiro Obayashi, a library official in West Tokyo’s Suginsami area, said: “Each and every book which comes up under the index of Anne Frank has been damaged at our library.”
The Simon Wiesenthal Centre, a global Jewish human rights organization, said in a statement that it was shocked and concerned by the incidents, and called for the authorities to investigate.
“The geographic scope of these incidents strongly suggest an organised effort to denigrate the memory of the most famous of the 1.5 million Jewish children murdered by the Nazis in the World War Two Holocaust,” associate dean Abraham Cooper said.
“Anne Frank is studied and revered by millions of Japanese,” Abraham Cooper added.
“Only people imbued with bigotry and hatred would seek to destroy Anne’s historic words of courage, hope and love in the face of impending doom.”
The book was added to the UN Educational, Scientific and Cultural Organization’s (UNESCO) Memory of the World Register in 2009.
Anne Frank’s diary was translated into Japanese in December 1952 and topped the bestseller lists in 1953.
At least 11 people died, more than a thousand were injured and tens of thousands lost power when the worst snowstorm in decades hit Tokyo and areas around the Japanese capital.
Flights were still backed up at Tokyo’s Haneda international airport on Monday and the lobby was packed with anxious travelers, with some flights overbooked.
As much as 10.6 inches of snow fell on Tokyo by late Saturday, the most in 45 years, Japan’s Meteorological Agency said. Back streets in outlying neighborhoods remained choked with snow and frozen slush on Monday morning, forcing commuters in heavy boots to pick their way carefully to work.
Financial markets opened normally on Monday despite the heavy snowfall.
At least 11 people died, more than a thousand were injured and tens of thousands lost power when the worst snowstorm in decades hit Tokyo
Traffic accidents and falls claimed 11 lives across the nation, including one 78-year-old man in Ichikawa, just east of Tokyo. More than 1,000 were injured, among them a 69-year-old man in critical condition after slipping and striking his head at his front doorstep while shoveling snow.
Some 5,000 people were stuck at Narita international airport at the weekend when the snow cut transport links to downtown Tokyo.
More than 20,000 households were without electricity early on Sunday after the snow and high winds took down power lines.
Several universities delayed the start of their entrance exams. The snowy streets also may have discouraged voters from going to the polls on Sunday to choose a new Tokyo governor, with turnout rates hovering around 46%, the third lowest in history.
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Japanese authorities warned Tokyo residents to stay indoors as a severe snow storm hit the capital.
Correspondents say it is the first such warning for the city in 13 years.
Hundreds of flights have been cancelled, roads closed and some train services suspended.
Japanese authorities warned Tokyo residents to stay indoors as a severe snow storm hit the capital
Local media has reported that at least 43 people have been injured because of snow-related accidents, with as much as 1.6 in of snow recorded on Saturday morning in Tokyo.
Weather forecasters have warned that with a rapidly developing low pressure front heading towards eastern Japan, more snow can be expected.
Last year parts of northern Japan had as much as 18ft of snow – a record-breaking amount that caused buildings to collapse under its immense weight.
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Vice-President Joe Biden said at the beginning of a tour of East Asia that the US remains “deeply concerned” about China’s new air defense identification zone (ADIZ).
In written responses to Japan’s Asahi newspaper, Joe Biden said China and Japan had to establish measures to lower tensions.
Joe Biden arrived in Tokyo late on Monday and will then head to Beijing and Seoul during his six-day visit.
The air zone row is likely to dominate the week of talks.
Joe Biden’s most important task this week will be persuading Beijing and Tokyo to stop baiting each other, and to start talking about how to avoid an unintended clash.
Both the US and Japan have voiced strong criticism of China’s establishment of an ADIZ that includes islands claimed and controlled by Japan. It also includes a submerged rock claimed by South Korea.
China says aircraft operating within its ADIZ must follow certain rules such as filing flight plans, or face “defensive emergency measures”.
US, Japanese and South Korean military aircraft have all defied these rules and Japanese commercial carriers have agreed to a government request not to comply.
On Friday, China scrambled fighter jets to monitor US and Japanese planes flying in the area.
Joe Biden told the newspaper that the establishment of the ADIZ underscored “the need for agreement between China and Japan to establish crisis management and confidence building measures to lower tensions”.
Joe Biden arrived in Tokyo late on Monday and will then head to Beijing and Seoul during his six-day visit
As well as “the strength of our alliance commitments” with Japan, he planned to “emphasize the importance of avoiding actions that could undermine peace, security and prosperity in the region”, he said.
Joe Biden was met at the airport late on Monday by the new US envoy to Japan, Caroline Kennedy. Later on Tuesday, he meets Japanese PM Shinzo Abe.
Shinzo Abe said on Sunday that he expected to discuss the ADIZ issue with Joe Biden.
Tokyo has told its national carriers JAL and ANA not to file flight plans with the Chinese side when transiting the zone, but on Friday the US said it expected its carriers to “operate consistent with Notams (Notices to Airmen) issued by foreign countries”.
This did not indicate “US government acceptance of China’s requirements for operating in the newly-declared ADIZ”, the state department said.
Shinzo Abe said on Sunday he expected to have “in-depth” talks with Joe Biden about the ADIZ row.
Japan, he said, would “resolutely but calmly deal with Beijing’s attempt to change the status quo” in the region.
Tensions between Japan and China have been high for months because of a territorial row over islands in the East China Sea.
Japan controls the islands, which are called Senkaku in Japan and Diaoyu in China. They are also claimed by Taiwan and lie in a strategically important area south of Japan and north of Taiwan.
The US has described China’s move as destabilizing.
After Tokyo, VP Joe Biden heads to Beijing for talks with President Xi Jinping and then travels on to South Korea.
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Istanbul, Madrid and Tokyo will compete to host the 2020 Olympics and Paralympics after Qatar’s Doha and Azerbaijan’s Baku were cut from the list on Wednesday.
The shortlist was announced at the International Olympic Committee’s executive meeting in Quebec City.
Doha and Baku were rejected for a second time in a row after failing to make the final list for the 2016 Games.
The winning host city will be named on 7 September 2013 in Buenos Aires.
The 15-member executive board, headed by IOC president Jacques Rogge, chose the finalists after examining a technical evaluation report compiled by a panel of Olympic experts.
Istanbul, Madrid and Tokyo will compete to host the 2020 Olympics and Paralympics after Qatar's Doha and Azerbaijan's Baku were cut from the list
Japan’s Tokyo hosted the Olympics in 1964, while neither Istanbul in Turkey nor Spain’s Madrid has held the Games. Madrid is bidding for a third consecutive time, Tokyo a second time in a row and Istanbul a fifth time overall.
Doha, which was proposing to hold the 2020 Olympics in October rather than the usual July/August schedule to avoid the Gulf Arab state’s searing summer heat, is already hosting the 2022 World Cup football tournament.
“This is a great disappointment for the Doha team,” said Noora Al Mannai, chief executive of Doha 2020.
“With so many sports venues already in place and budgeted for, we felt that we offered the IOC great certainty and a low cost Games plan as well as an exciting legacy vision, especially around developing women’s sport in the Middle East.
“However for Doha, it will always be a question of when not if.”
Rome pulled out of the running in February because of the country’s efforts to head off a debt crisis.
London will host the 2012 Summer Games from 27 July – 12 August, while the Brazilian city of Rio de Janeiro will stage the 2016 Olympics.
[googlead tip=”patrat_mare”]Naoto Kan, Japan’s Prime Minister resigned on Friday, fulfilling a promise to critics who blasted what they called his befuddled response to the nation’s dual economic and nuclear calamities triggered by the March 11 earthquake and tsunami.
In a nationally televised speech, Japanese PM Naoto Kan announced on Friday that he resigned from his position as leader of the ruling Democratic Party of Japan (DPJ) after only 15 months.
After Naoto Kan long-anticipated resignation, DPJ has to select a new leader until Monday — with the winner almost certainly to become Japan’s prime minister.
Naoto Kan‘s departure, after assuming his post in June 2011 following another Japanese power shakeup, means that his successor will become the Japan’s 6th prime minister since 2006.
PM Naoto Kan had promised he would quit once lawmakers passed three key pieces of post-tsunami recovery legislation, the last two of which cleared parliament Friday.
Naoto Kan, 64, is the former finance minister who entered politics after laboring as a Tokyo civic activist.
PM Naoto Kan announced on Friday that he resigned from his position as leader of the ruling Democratic Party of Japan
He initially held the appeal of an outsider who rose up the political ladder on his own merit, rather than merely inheriting political favor as the son or grandson of an outgoing politician.
PM’s approval rating, already near a historic low, plummeted further after what critics call several blunders following the March 11 earthquake that crippled the Fukushima Daiichi nuclear power plant.
The natural disaster led to the release of deadly radiation into the atmosphere and prompted the evacuation of tens of thousands of nearby residents, many of whom have yet to return to their homes.
A recent poll by Japan’s Kyodo News Agency showed that Naoto Kan’s popularity rating among voters had dropped to just 15.8%.[googlead tip=”vertical_mare” aliniat=”dreapta”]
In the weeks following the meltdown at several reactors at the Fukushima Daiichi plant, critics lambasted Naoto Kan for failing to take charge of the disaster response and leaving too much power in the hands of the Tokyo Electric Power Co., the utility that runs the plant.
Only after the catastrophe Naoto Kan called for alternatives to Japan’s nuclear power policies. While the Kyodo poll showed that 75% of respondents favored a plan to phase out nuclear power, most were determined to be rid of Naoto Kan as well.
Akiko Domoto, a former governor of Chiba Prefecture who worked closely with Naoto Kan within the party said:
“He just didn’t have what it took to be Japan’s top leader.”
“In the party, he did a good job, but as prime minister, he couldn’t talk with the bureaucrats and had little control. Especially after the earthquake, he tried to do everything by himself. We needed a strong leader, and his leadership just wasn’t strong enough.”
[googlead tip=”lista_mare” aliniat=”stanga”]Possible successors for PM position include former Foreign Minister Seji Maehara, Finance Minister Yoshihiko Noda and Trade Minister Banri Kaieda.
The winner will face challenges that include rebuilding from the March catastrophe, forging a new nuclear policy and curbing a public debt that’s already twice the size of Japan’s $5 trillion economy. The new PM will also need to mend fences with the U.S. over the relocation of an American military base on Okinawa. Naoto Kan had recently cancelled talks with President Barack Obama over uncertainty about the Japanese leader’s political future.
While many outside experts say that Seji Maehara remains the one to beat, they admit that Japan’s politics are nearly impossible to predict.