news

Is Samsung sounding the retreat on the Japanese smartphone market?

South Korean Electronics giant Samsung may soon pulling out of the smartphone market–in Japan, at least. Recent information from industry sources paints a dreary picture for the company’s prospects in the country, with Business Korea saying: “By continuing to do business in Japan, Samsung should expect more of a loss than a gain.”

So what’s to blame for its floundering smartphone sales?

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“Passport confiscation robs us of rights”: Japanese journalist prevented from travelling to Syria

Japan’s Foreign Ministry has come under fire for confiscating the passport of a journalist who was intending to travel to Syria. War correspondent Yuichi Sugimoto, 58, was planning to visit Syria to cover events in refugee camps later this month, but was ordered to surrender his travel documents to authorities.

Under Japanese law, the ministry can confiscate a person’s passport to protect their life, but this is the first time the law has actually been used. Critics say the action contravenes the constitutional guarantee of freedom of movement and foreign travel.

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“Northern Territories Day” commercial accused of promoting excessive nationalism

Since 1981, Japan has observed February 7 as “Northern Territories Day,” which commemorates the signing of an 1855 treaty granting the nation possession of a chain of islands off the coast of Hokkaido.

In a recent commercial titled “Drawing the Northern Territories,” a male voice begins: “Even though it’s Japanese territory, Japanese people can’t live here.” Pastel drawings of picturesque mountains and fishermen at work segue into a shot of a woman looking out across a stretch of sea to a rocky outcrop. “Look, it’s so close,” continues the narrator, as “16 km” appears across the bottom of the shot. The ad ends with the message: “The Northern Territories: inherently Japanese.”

Harmless patriotism, or government propaganda? Public reactions seem to be leaning toward the latter.

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As foreign tourists come streaming in, Hokkaido’s New Chitose Airport nears breaking point

World-class skiing; Japan’s largest national park; even ice hotels. For those who are looking to experience Japan outside of Tokyo or Kyoto, Hokkaido remains a prime destination. Indeed, as the last major island to be settled by the Japanese, Hokkaido arguably stands out from the rest of the nation in everything from topography to daily life.

It seems the secret is out of the bag. Taking advantage of a weak yen, travelers from Southeast Asia are flying en masse to the island of Hokkaido. However, this influx has proved to be a double-edged sword. While the tourist boom is certainly bringing money into local economies, it is also straining transportation resources–perhaps nowhere more than at New Chitose Airport.

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When you hear the name Xinhua News Agency, which operates under the auspices the Chinese Communist Party, you might envision a drab Kafkaesque organization of steel faced bureaucrats controlling the nation’s source of information.

However, as Time’s David Stout uncovered on Xinhua’s official Twitter account they might be just a bunch of bros after all. After clicking on the 3,301 accounts the news organization was following he found a few colorful examples, most notably “Absolute JP P0rn.”

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Woman killed after husband backs car into her while parking

A 65-year-old woman died of injuries she received after her 66-year-old husband backed his car into her while parking in Hanno, Saitama Prefecture.

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Think Japanese news is boring? Try it with some cats!

Sometimes the news can get a little heavy-handed. Topics like terrorism or tax hikes can raise blood pressure, cause grumbling about the horrible state of the world, and eventually get to the point where it’s just so boring that you shut it off.

But one news show has figured out a way to keep viewers interested, even during the difficult parts: just have a cute cat walk around the news desk and be generally adorable while everyone is talking about serious subjects.

We’re not kitten you, it’s fur-real.

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Chinese netizens left reeling after father of slain Japanese hostage apologizes to the public

You’re no doubt aware of the (at time of writing) ongoing hostage crisis that has swept Japan, Jordan and those country’s allies up in a tense political chess match as representatives attempt to negotiate with the fundamentalist Islamic militant group ISIS for the release of a captured Jordanian fighter pilot and a Japanese war journalist Kenji Goto. The crisis has certainly been nerve-wracking and immeasurably scary for those with ties to the hostages.

But, for Chinese netizens, something far scarier happened a few days ago.

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Love dolls, strippers, jacuzzis and drugs: The Philippines’ largest prison gets raided by police

Armed police stormed New Bilibid Prison, the Philippines’ largest penitentiary, earlier this week after it was reported that inmates were living lives of debauchery despite being incarcerated for their respective crimes. Many of prisoners were found to be in possession of numerous luxury items and living in private “villas”, with police even uncovering a room built especially for strippers to perform.

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First nuclear power plant set to restart in Japan after 2011 meltdown

Against much public backlash, two reactors at a nuclear power plant in Sendai are scheduled to be restarted. These will be the first to restart operations after all the country’s nuclear plants were shut down indefinitely following the meltdown at the Fukushima Daiichi plant in 2011. 

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Man revives woman with AED, branded a “pervert” for removing her clothes to apply electrode pads

A man in Japan says he was questioned by police and branded a “pervert” after providing emergency medical assistance to a stranger. The man was attending to a woman who had been involved in a traffic accident when he believes someone who saw him cutting through the woman’s clothes to apply a defibrillator to her bare chest called the police and reported him for behaving inappropriately.

An Automated External Defibrillator (AED) analyses the rhythm of the heart and, if necessary, delivers an electrical shock to help it return to normal. AEDs are provided in public places and are designed to be operated by members of the public, even those with no medical background. The man is now calling for better understanding of the correct use of AEDs.

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Hacka Doll: “Otaku” news beamed right to your phone like anime magic! 【Review】

Say you’re a Japanese otaku who loves the new Destiny game, light novels, and giant robot anime. But how would you keep up with the latest news for each one of them? Obviously, you’d have a few of your favorite sites bookmarked and you’d visit them a few times a day–if you were living in the Stone Age! Even if you’ve evolved enough to create your own RSS feed, you’d still only be in the 20th century–and far behind the times. For shame!

Now, if you were are a real 21st century geek, you’d get all your nerdy news through one “AI-enabled” app complete with adorable moe mascots and personalized news recommendations. Obviously.

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Amid ongoing protests in Hong Kong, Chinese officials look for terrorists… in bird rectums

It doesn’t get much weirder than this, folks. Yesterday, the People’s Daily, the largest newspaper group in China, reported on their English Twitter feed that “10,000 pigeons go through anal security check for suspicious objects Tue, ready to be released on National Day on Wed.”

That’s right, kids: avian cavity searches.

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Family: Utah man was cosplaying Samurai Champloo when shot, killed by police

The lawyer for the family of Darrien Hunt, the 22-year-old man allegedly shot and killed by police officers in Saratoga Springs, Utah last week, said that the family believes Hunt was cosplaying an anime character when he was shot. In particular, the family’s attorney Randall Edwards said that they believe Hunt was dressed as the character Mugen from the anime Samurai Champloo, with a Japanese-style katana sword on his back.

On September 10, two officers confronted Hunt while he was carrying the sword near a credit union in Saratoga Springs. After one shot was fired near the credit union, Hunt was shot and killed about 200 yards away near a Panda Express restaurant.

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19-year-old youth stabs parents; mother dies

Police in Kumagaya, Saitama Prefecture, on Tuesday arrested a 19-year-old youth after he stabbed his parents at their home. The suspect’s mother later died of her wounds.

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Blind high school girl injured after being kicked from behind in Saitama Prefecture station

Net users in Japan are in shock today after reading the news of how a blind high school girl in Saitama Prefecture was injured after being viciously kicked by an unknown assailant while making her way to school. This news comes just weeks after it was learned that a guide dog was stabbed three times by a passenger on a crowded train in the same prefecture.

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Stripped of title, Miss Asia Pacific winner goes on the lam with expensive prize tiara 【Update】

May Miat Noe, a native of Myanmar and (brief) champion of the 2014 Miss Asia Pacific beauty pageant has apparently gone on the lam after contest authorities attempted to revoke both her winner status and her extremely pricey prize tiara, which the 18-year-old squirreled away with her before falling off the radar.

The Korean contest organizers claim that Noe’s status was revoked after it was discovered she’d apparently lied on her profile about… something (the agency appears reluctant to specify), and that she’d “been rude” to staff and extended a 10 day visit for her mother – which the agency paid for – to Seoul, where the contest was held, into a three-month sojourn.

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Over 3 decades, North Korea paid for full-page propaganda ads in western newspapers

From 1969 to 1997, the North Korean leadership purchased expensive full-page ad space in the most prominent western newspapers, Benjamin R. Young reports for NK News. The ads, which cost anywhere from $3,000 to $10,000, were placed in high-profile publications like The New York Times, The Washington Post, and The Guardian.

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Nintendo unveils new 3DS models with more controls, NFC support

Nintendo announced on Friday during its Nintendo Direct video presentation that new Nintendo3DS models will be available in Japan on October 11. The new 3DS will retail for 16,000 yen (about US$154) and the new 3DS XL will go for 18,800 yen (about US$180). A Western release date was not announced.

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Train groper escapes along tracks at Ebisu station in Tokyo

A man suspected of groping a woman on the JR Yamanote line escaped by jumping onto the tracks at JR Ebisu station in Tokyo on Thursday night. His actions delayed trains along the Yamanote line for about 30 minutes, TBS reported Friday.

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