A Japanese department store is reconsidering a plan for employees to wear badges when they’re menstruating, which was originally aimed at fostering sympathy among co-workers but triggered a public outcry. The backlash comes as cases of workplace harassment have come under the spotlight in Japan, amid a shrinking workforce and changing values about gender roles and work-life balance.
A fire at Shuri Castle on Japan’s southern island of Okinawa, has nearly destroyed the UNESCO World Heritage site. Firefighters were still battling the blaze a few hours after the fire started early on Thursday and nearby residents were evacuated to safer areas, Okinawa police spokesman Ryo Kochi said. The Shuri castle is a key part of a complex dating back to the Ryukyu Kingdom.
Japan’s Emperor Naruhito has formally proclaimed his ascension to the throne in an elaborate ceremony. The emperor, 59, officially began his reign in May after the abdication of his father, the then-Emperor Akihito. The ceremony comes as Japan reels from the effects of Typhoon Hagibis, which left almost 80 people dead. A celebration parade was postponed out of respect for the victims and their families.
At least 25 people have died and 15 others are missing after one of the most powerful typhoons in decades struck wide areas of Japan’s main island on Saturday night. Hagibis, which means “speed” in the Philippine language Tagalog, forced the cancellation of hundreds of flights and affected shinkansen bullet train services, the Japanese state broadcaster NHK said, reporting that more than 100 people had been injured.
Japan on Friday moved to increase controls on the export of a broad assortment of products to South Korea, dramatically raising the stakes in a political standoff that has plunged relations between the countries to their lowest point in decades and that has caused worries in Washington. Japanese officials said they would remove South Korea from a “white list” of countries that receive preferential treatment on requirements for the import of sensitive Japanese-made goods.
Japan’s top government spokesman said on Wednesday the country’s relationship with South Korea was in a “very severe” state and that Tokyo would continue to urge Seoul to take appropriate action over a string of issues that have frayed bilateral ties. Japan and South Korea are at loggerheads over export curbs that Japan has placed on certain high-tech materials bound for South Korea.
Japanese police have named the man suspected of carrying out a deadly arson attack on an animation studio. The fire swept through Kyoto Animation (KyoAni) on Thursday, claiming at least 33 lives and injuring many in one of Japan’s worst mass killings in years. Shinji Aoba is in police custody in hospital and is being treated for burns before he can be questioned.
A Japanese spacecraft landed on a distant asteroid on Thursday and collected underground samples that scientists hope will provide clues to the origin of the solar system billions of years ago, Japan’s space agency said. The Hayabusa2 spacecraft had created a landing crater on the rocky asteroid in April by dropping a copper impactor. A similar mission is planned by the U.S. National Aeronautics and Space Administration on another asteroid, Bennu.
Japanese fishermen have set sail to hunt whales commercially for the first time in more than three decades, following Tokyo’s controversial decision to withdraw from the International Whaling Commission. Five vessels, their harpoons concealed beneath tarpaulin, left Kushiro in northern Japan on Monday morning. Together they will kill 227 whales through to late December, according to the fisheries agency, which had delayed announcing the quota until the conclusion of the G20 summit in Osaka on Saturday.
At least two victims are dead, including an 11-year-old girl, and about 17 others were injured in a mass stabbing attack near Tokyo, Tuesday morning. Japanese broadcaster NHK quoted officials who said a knife-wielding man attacked a group of elementary school children as they were boarding a school bus at about 7:45 a.m. local time in the city of Kawasaki. The suspect reportedly stabbed himself in the neck before he was detained. He has since died from his injuries, according to the broadcaster. The motive for the attack is unknown.