A Japanese military fighter jet that disappeared during a flight exercise has crashed and the pilot remains missing, the nation’s Defence Minister has confirmed. Defence Minister Takeshi Iwaya said the cause of the plane’s disappearance was not immediately known, and 12 other F-35s at the Misawa base would be grounded. The crash is only the second time an F-35 has gone down since the plane began flying almost two decades ago. Japan has just started deploying the expensive US-made F-35s since last year as part of its plan to counter potential threats from North Korea and China.
The reign of Japan’s next emperor will be known as the Reiwa era, after the new imperial name was unveiled before an expectant nation on Monday morning. The new era will begin on 1 May, a day after the emperor, Akihito – whose era is known as Heisei (achieving peace) – makes way for his eldest son, Crown Prince Naruhito, in Japan’s first imperial abdication for more than 200 years. The prime minister, Shinzo Abe, said the term “symbolises our nation’s profound public culture and long tradition”.
Japan has announced its withdrawal from the International Whaling Commission (IWC) next year and will resume commercial hunting in its territorial waters and exclusive economic zone from July. It will also cease whaling activities in the Antarctic Ocean, according to an official statement released Wednesday, and hunt species with so-called “healthy” population numbers. The move to resume commercial whaling drew criticism from conservation groups and governments.
Japan’s Emperor Akihito spent his last birthday before his abdication pushing for the proper education of younger generations about the trials of war. Emperor Akihito’s son Crown Prince Naruhito will take the Chrysanthemum throne on May 1, 2019. Akihito will become the first Japanese emperor to abdicate in 200 years since Emperor Kōkaku in 1817.
More than 40 people were injured in an explosion and fire at a restaurant in the northern Japanese city of Sapporo. While some reports suggest a gas blast the cause of the explosion has not been officially determined. The explosion and fire affected both dining and residential establishments. Emergency services continue to investigate the cause.
Japan’s education ministry reported that child suicides are at their highest point in over 30 years. Children reported concerns including worries about the future, bullying, and family problems. The latest survey showed that 250 children and teenagers took their lives between 2016 and 2017. Most suicides were committed by high school students.
A powerful typhoon killed two and left thousands stranded as it swept through Tokyo on Monday causing train delays and closings. Typhoon Trami made landfall a month after Hokkaido was hit by a deadly earthquake. Denny Tamaki who criticized US military presence in Okinawa, Japan won the election to become governor of the region.
At least seven people were killed when a 6.7 magnitude earthquake struck the Japanese island of Hokkaido early on Thursday. The earthquake caused landslides which left a large number of homes buried at the foot of a ridge. More than 150 people were injured in the earthquake and Dozens of people remain missing.
More than a million homes lost power and at least 10 people were killed in a western Japan typhoon on Tuesday. Typhoon Jebi is the strongest typhoon to hit Japan’s mainland in 25 years, hitting major cities like Kyoto and Osaka. One of the country’s largest airports was forced to close and suspend hundreds of flights due to the typhoon.
An earthquake hit the Japanese city of Osaka on Monday morning, killing at least 4 people and injuring over 200. The 5.3 magnitude earthquake caused damage to roads and pipes. The injured people were located in various prefectures in the south of Honshu island. Airports were closed, train lines were interrupted, and factories halted production.