Japan

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Last week’s move by the Honolulu City Council to ban many forms of single-use plastic is the latest development in a wider movement. In Japan, a smaller step is in effect this week.

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Convenience stores around the world are often known for being open all the time. But that’s changing in at least one Asian country, and not for the reasons you might think.

Nick Yee
Nick Yee

Back after a two week trip to Japan... So this session of Bridging the Gap will be a reflection of songs about the land of the rising sun, both beautiful and sometimes chaotic.

Wason Wanichakorn/AP

TOKYO — Pope Francis will fulfill his dream to be a missionary in Japan when he arrives for a three-day visit with two main aims: to appeal for nuclear disarmament and minister to a tiny Catholic flock with a rich but bloody history.

Senior Airman Dana Hill / U.S. Air Force

Talks about payment for U.S. forces in South Korea broke down this week. Government teams from the two countries remain far apart on a deal that expires in about six weeks — and the negotiations are drawing attention elsewhere in the region.

Eugene Hoshiko/AP

TOKYO  — Japan's Emperor Naruhito and Empress Masako waved and smiled from an open car in a parade Sunday marking Naruhito's enthronement as more than 100,000 delighted well-wishers cheered, waved small flags and took photos from packed sidewalks.

Ben Mierement / National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration

Plastic waste has become an environmental issue around the world, and it’s increasingly a political issue as well. That’s true in Japan, which has become the latest country to move to restrict the use of single-use plastic bags.

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Hawaii tourism figures will soon be out for the month of September. So far this year, visitors have been increasing from the United States and dropping from the Asia Pacific. Part of that trend relates to slowing economies overseas. But within Asia, other tourism figures are being hit by political developments.

AP Photo/Eugene Hoshiko

This is a week of symbolism in Japan — perhaps with some diplomacy in the mix. The country’s new emperor will be at the center of a ceremonial event on Tuesday, and there may be an opening for some diplomatic progress in an entirely different area.

Toru Hanai/AP

TOKYO — A heavy downpour and strong winds pounded Tokyo and surrounding areas on Saturday as a powerful typhoon forecast to be Japan's worst in six decades made landfall and passed over the capital, where streets, nearby beaches and train stations were long deserted.

Senior Airman Andrew Lee / U.S. Air Force photo

Today marks the end of an era in Japan. The very last phone paging service in the country stopped operating just after midnight.

Evan Vucci/AP

President Trump says the United States and Japan have reached what he calls the “first stage of a phenomenal new trade agreement.” But the full details are a little less clear.

Ahn Young-joon/AP

Japan and South Korea will begin discussions about a long-running trade dispute. The talks are part of a process set up by the World Trade Organization — but in South Korea, consumers are taking direct action. 

AP Photo/Ahn Young-joon

A continuing dispute between South Korea and Japan has moved from politics and history to business.

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A national study earlier this year found that Hawaii is one of the most dangerous states in the country for older pedestrians. Cars are the main concern, but bicyclists on sidewalks are another challenge. In one Asian city, lawmakers are considering forcing bicycle riders to buy liability insurance.

State Department photo/ Public Domain

The United States is expressing concern about the downward spiral in relations between two of its closest allies in the Asia Pacific. It’s been another week of disputes involving Japan and South Korea — and the concerns are stretching all the way to Hawaii.

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This has been a very busy week for diplomacy in Northeast Asia. Some of the talks involve the United States, but the highest level meetings involve three of the largest countries in the region.

Senior Airman Colville McFee / U.S. Air Force

In the Asia Pacific, China and Russia have held an unusual joint aerial mission. Yesterday, the two countries carried out what they described as their first shared long-range air patrol in Asia — drawing a sharp reaction from two U.S. allies.

AP Photo / Ahn Young-joon

An escalating dispute between Japan and South Korea is moving into a new phase this week. South Korean officials are coming to Washington to ask for help from the United States.

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It’s been nearly three months since the Hōkūleʻa returned from its latest ocean voyage. But elsewhere in the Pacific, another group has just completed a much shorter voyage – navigating by nature and paddling as a team.

Australian Customs and Border Protection Service / CC-BY-SA-3.0 / Wikimedia Commons

Amid ceremony and fanfare, commercial whaling ships left Japanese ports yesterday for the first time in 33 years.

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Relations between Japan and South Korea have hit another snag. Japan is restricting exports to South Korea of some materials used in the production of smartphones. And the move is part of a much wider dispute.

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The Group of 20 meetings start tomorrow in Japan. While much of the focus remains on President Trump’s meeting with Chinese President Xi Jinping, there are a number of regional discussions that have already begun.

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According to a national report out last week, Hawaii is the third most dangerous state in the country for pedestrians over the age of 50. The report from the advocacy group “Smart Growth America” found older pedestrians are three times more likely to be killed than people under 50. For another island community in the Pacific, there’s a renewed focus on safety and older drivers.

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While short-term vacation rentals remain the focus of political debate in Hawaii, other locations are taking different approaches to the issue. That includes Japan.

Ben Mierement / National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration

One more country is taking steps to cut back on single-use plastic bags. Japan is proposing some changes ahead of hosting an international gathering later this month.

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President Trump’s threat of tariffs on goods coming from Mexico has disrupted financial markets. And while the move would impact the earnings of a number of U.S. companies, it’s also a concern in Asia.

Evan Vucci/AP

  TOKYO — It was a day of sumo-sized diplomacy. Plenty of world leaders have tried to butter up President Donald Trump with flattery and favors. Japan's Shinzo Abe on Sunday raised the bar for all of them.

D. Myles Cullen / Official White House Photos

President Trump is heading to Japan this week. He’s also going back next month for a meeting of regional leaders, but the trip starting later this week may have less policy substance than photo opportunities.

Pierre de Coubertin (1863-1937)

The Tokyo Summer Olympics are still more than a year away, but the process of selling tickets has started — at least for residents of Japan. That got underway last week with some challenges, but organizers have already scored a victory in another area: recycling.

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