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Two men died and five other people, including two children, from two families were injured after they were electrocuted by an electrified fence set up by a local resident to keep out deer and other wild animals from hydrangeas in Nishi-Izu, Shizuoka Prefecture, on Sunday.

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The moment a chemical plant in China exploded in a mountain of flames 【Video】

Fire crews are currently battling a blaze at a petrochemical plant in Rizhao City in China’s Shandong Province following a massive explosion which occurred at just after 7:30am local time today.

Onlookers caught the moment the plant exploded on camera, only to then run for their lives as subsequent explosions caused the ground beneath their feet to shake.

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“Needlessly cool” Evangelion-esque typhoon forecast from Taiwan amuses Net

If you’ve seen a weather report in the last couple of days, you probably know that the Pacific is currently chock-a-block with typhoons. Across Asia, people are watching the forecasts to see whether a monster storm is going to come swirling their way, and the news stations are doing their best to give them up-to-date and easy-to-understand information.

In Taiwan, the Next TV presentation led one viewer to wonder if the graphics team weren’t perhaps Evangelion fans.

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Studio Ghibli’s Hayao Miyazaki hard at work on first ever CG short 【Newsflash】

Hayao Miyazaki, the world-famous (supposedly retired) director and face of Studio Ghibli, is currently working on his first ever fully computer-generated movie, it has been revealed.

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Forget tech or medicine, invention most Japanese are proud of is instant ramen

Japan’s best minds have contributed quite a few important inventions to the world over the years. Did you know that the portable ECG machine was invented in Japan, for example? So were electric rice cookers, DSLR cameras, CD players, Blu-ray discs, and gaming systems. Really, the list of Japanese tech that has become integral to our daily lives goes on and on.

However, if you ask Japanese people which invention their country should be proud of, it turns out a far humbler product jumps to mind for most: instant noodles.

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Chinese news broadcast shows Japan’s “military might” by airing video of Gundam 【Video】

It’s no secret that Japan and China don’t like each other very much. So when the official government news channel in China aired a segment discussing Japan’s Self-Defense Forces, it comes as no surprise that there would be some exaggerations.

However, one exaggeration was too huge to just let slip by. While the news broadcast was showing videos of Japan’s aircraft and ships, one image of a giant Gundam mech somehow snuck into the mix. Those Chinese reporters are probably going to want to double-check their source on that one.

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Doraemon replaces live cat for Thai rain ritual

In the village of Wang Luang in northern Thailand’s Phrae Province, there is a traditional ritual held to end a drought that involves putting a live cat in a cage, parading it around town and splashing it with water. The cat’s cries were said to call down rain.

As the area is currently in the grips of a severe drought, the villagers held the ritual again this week, but with one key change: robot cat Doraemon stepped in as the caged feline.

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93-year-old Chiba man on trial for killing wife at her request

A somber case is currently making its way through the Japanese legal system as a 93-year-old man goes on trial for killing his wife, apparently at her request. This heartbreaking case has made headlines in Japan and evoked a gut-wrenching testimony from their eldest daughter.

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Nintendo announces “Star Fox Zero”【E3 2015】

Japanese video game giant Nintendo has announced that Star Fox Zero, a brand new game for Wii U, will be released at the end of this year.

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Rare Tokyo public works failure leaves crowded Tokyo street flooded with dirty water

Tokyo’s public infrastructure is widely considered to be one of the best in the world, with impeccably paved roads and sidewalks, perfectly operating energy grids, and clean drinking water, delivered with just the right amount of water pressure unless you really blast it up to high, in which case you’re basically guaranteed to flood your entire apartment with a biblical cascade of H20.

And, other than those types of user accidents, catastrophic power outages, water and gas leaks and other public works disasters are practically unheard of. But it looks like even Tokyo’s public works aren’t entirely foolproof, as a number of drivers, bystanders and local businesses learned when a water pipe burst near a street in the Takadanobaba District, flooding the street and plunging the area into (mild) chaos.

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NHK host, bullied for being “too busty”, quits, sticks it to the man with new photo book

Apparently, the Okinawan branch of oft-despised broadcaster NHK (Nihon Hoso Kyokai or Japan Broadcasting Corporation) had been receiving complaints, starting around 2008, from concerned parents about a morning host who was boasting some exceptionally large assets and making men and teenage boys feel all funny and conflicted while tucking in to their morning cereal.

Former announcer Tomoka Takenaka says viewers would regularly call in to complain about her (Japan size) G-cup breasts, with such gems as, “I can’t concentrate on the news [with those things in my face]!” and “It’s not good for kids to see [huge breasts] first thing in the morning”.

After additional on-set bullying from co-workers, Takenaka decided she’d had enough and called it quits to ironically pursue a career where her endowment would be more appreciated: modeling.

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Man, inspired by IS video, threatens to behead ex-girlfriend

Police have arrested a 33-year-old Yokohama man on suspicion of threatening to kill his former girlfriend in a series of messages on the LINE app.

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There’s something fishy about that catch! People in Chinese city urged not to eat floating carp

In a city in China’s southwestern Shichuan Province during the early hours of April 2, a man walking alongside the river suddenly noticed what appeared to be huge quantities of pale fish floating in the water.

He quickly rushed home and returned with fishing equipment, and was soon joined by crowds of amateur fishers – and local officials, who subsequently hauled 300 kilograms of fish from the river to be destroyed.

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Youth in toothpick prank videos sent to juvenile correctional facility

A 19-year-old youth who uploaded a series of prank videos on YouTube in January, including one in which he inserted a toothpick into a snack food in a supermarket, was sent to a moderate security juvenile correctional facility.

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Misao Okawa, the world’s oldest person, has died

Ms Misao Okawa, the woman recognised as the oldest living person on earth, has died in her nursing home, it was announced earlier today.

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Tokyo’s busiest train lines to get luxury “one-man” express pods by next April

Japan is well-known for its packed commuter trains. For decades, smartly dressed men and women have shuffled wordlessly into train cars each morning, all painfully aware that they will soon be getting up-close and personal with total strangers and have nowhere to run, hide, or even breathe freely until their stop. Glove-wearing station staff pack passengers in as tightly as they’ll go without them popping out the other side, each firm shove accompanied by a polite word or phrase thanking passengers for moving all the way inside the car or warning them to keep their various appendages clear of the (just barely) closing doors.

But earlier today, Japan was given a glimpse of a much more civilised, luxuriant commuting experience that may soon put an end to these sardine-can shenanigans. Better yet, this logistical revolution is coming soon: not twelve months from now, commuters will be able to zip into Tokyo in style, lying back in comfortable faux-leather chairs inside sleek, aerodynamic private pods that resemble something out of Minority Report.

This, ladies and gentlemen, is the next generation of luxury travel, and its name is Kosoku.

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Japanese men share the top 10 ways their weekends disappear

Monday: You drag your aching, sluggish body into work and begin the long countdown to the weekend. Tuesday: Is it really only Tuesday? This week is going to take forever. Wednesday: Halfway there! Thursday: Start making plans, we’re close. Friday: It’s finally here! The clock strikes six, and you grab your things and leg it out of there. What will you do first? The possibilities are endless!

Then Saturday rolls around and… suddenly it’s Monday again. Where did the weekend go?

It seems like more than a few adults are wondering the same thing, as revealed in a recent poll which asked 200 Japanese working males in their 20s and 30s the following question: “What are the top 10 things that leave you feeling you’ve wasted your days off?” Number five might just be too perfect for words.

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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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