Japan

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Late last week, one of the most powerful politicians in Japan said what a lot of people have been thinking—the Tokyo Summer Olympics could be canceled. The official later tried to soften his comments—but questions are lingering.

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More people continue to get COVID-19 vaccinations both around the islands and across the country, and that’s making some people are thinking about travel. Over the coming year, more of that travel is likely to be international. So how strong is your passport?

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Japanese travelers have not yet returned to Hawaii in great numbers, largely because they face a mandatory quarantine on their return home. But one prominent Japanese visitor is heading to the East Coast later this week.

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Wikimedia Commons

While Hawai‘i leads the country in its goals for clean energy, most of the state’s electricity still comes from fossil fuels. That includes a coal-fired power plant on O‘ahu—a technology that’s a long-time target of environmental activists. It’s also an area where Japan may be shifting its policy.

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You may have seen the headline this week that Washington and Seoul have reached an agreement on a cost-sharing agreement for U.S. troops based in South Korea. But there’s a deeper story behind the numbers.

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Updated 2/18/21, 8:50 a.m.

Japan’s 2020 Olympics Committee has a new leader — a woman. Seiko Hashimoto is a seven-time Olympic Athlete who replaces a politician who resigned after making derogatory remarks about women. But that doesn’t end the controversy.

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Japan's Prime Minister says safeguarding the country's hospital system is one of his top priorities. He made the comments to parliament Monday in an opening address that comes as the country is struggling with a growing spread of the coronavirus.

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The city of Tokyo is under a state of emergency today. New cases of the coronavirus have been spiking this week, and have set new daily records.

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At the start of a new year, thoughts can turn to the promise of new beginnings. Sometimes that takes the form of resolutions, or aspirations that haven't yet been met. In Japan, that includes hopes to increase the national birthrate with a new strategy.

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Spending around the world continues to increase on fighting the spread of the coronavirus. That includes budgeting for events that are still in the planning stages, such as the Summer Olympics in Tokyo. The games are scheduled to start seven months from today, but it's still far from certain that they will take place.

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Travel restrictions are in the news locally this week as Kauai has dropped out of Hawaii’s pre-travel testing program and state officials are considering other adjustments to the process. In Japan, there is controversy about a different kind of travel program.

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Cases of COVID-19 are continuing to rise around the world. And one of many locations hit by record numbers this week is Japan.

AP Photo/Jae C. Hong

As the case numbers of COVID-19 climb in the United States and many places around the world, government officials in Japan are still planning to host the Olympics next summer. That's also the plan of the head of the International Olympic Committee — who's in Tokyo this week.

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Researchers around the world are working on various strategies to keep the spread of COVID-19 to a minimum, while allowing certain aspects of routine life to return. For some, that includes sporting events — a focus in Japan.

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While vacation travel remains slow to non-existent in many parts of the world, diplomatic visits are continuing. And that’s true this week in Asia — where Japan’s new prime minister is on his first overseas trip since taking office just about a month ago.

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The prime minister of Japan says his country is determined to host the Olympic Games next summer. The latest planning includes dozens of changes, but many residents remain skeptical.

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For the first time in nearly eight years, Japan has a new Prime Minister. While Shinzo Abe has left the government, his influence remains — including in the cabinet of his successor.

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Professional sports are back in a big way in the United States, despite the COVID-19 pandemic. The National Football League opened its season yesterday, while playoffs are underway for basketball and hockey. Major League Baseball is approaching the end of its regular season, but in parts of Asia, that season will stretch a bit longer.

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SEOUL, South Korea — A powerful typhoon damaged buildings, flooded roads and knocked out power to thousands of homes in South Korea on Monday after battering islands in southern Japan, killing one person and injuring dozens of others, before weakening as it passed North Korea.

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TOKYO — Japan's Prime Minister Shinzo Abe has expressed his intention to step down due to his declining health, according to reports Friday by NHK and other Japanese media.

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TOKYO — Japan on Saturday marked the 75th anniversary of its surrender in World War II, with Emperor Naruhito expressing “deep remorse” over his country’s wartime actions at a somber annual ceremony curtailed by the coronavirus pandemic.

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The visitor industry is adjusting its expectations for the summer now that Governor David Ige has delayed the next stage of re-opening to travelers who test negative for the coronavirus. While that delay will last until at least September, a new phase of travel is now under consideration in Japan.

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TOKYO — Deep floodwaters and the risk of more mudslides that left at least 34 people confirmed or presumed dead hampered search and rescue operations Sunday in southern Japan, including at elderly home facilities where more than a dozen died and scores were still stranded.

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Governor David Ige says he’s close to announcing details of a plan to re-open trans-Pacific travel to Hawaii. Other locations in the region are taking a cautious approach, but moving to a new phase this week.

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The most heavily populated urban area in the world is lifting restrictions related to the coronavirus pandemic. Today is the first day that Tokyo will move to a new phase of reopening.

AP Photo/Eugene Hoshiko

Japan has moved into a new phase of re-opening this week – including its largest city.

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TOKYO — Japan plunged into recession in the first quarter as the coronavirus pandemic battered manufacturing, exports and spending, and economists expect worse damage lies ahead.

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Across the country and around the world, leaders of states and countries are making decisions about whether and how far to re-open. This week, the leader of one of the largest economies in the Asia Pacific announced his latest approach to fighting the pandemic.

AP Photo/Eugene Hoshiko

This could be a crucial week when it comes to fighting the spread of the coronavirus in Japan. The country will soon launch into “Golden Week” — a series of holidays which is usually one of the biggest travel periods in the country. But of course, this year is different.

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Japanese Prime Minister Shinzo Abe has declared a state of emergency in several regions of the country, including Tokyo. While the declaration gives local governors the power to close schools and some other public institutions, individual behavior is another matter.

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