February 2013
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Outlook upgraded for a second month

Feb 28, 2013

Outlook upgraded for a second month

The government on Wednesday upgraded its basic assessment of the economy for the second straight month, saying industrial output has picked up in February amid expectations that a global economic upturn could perk up exports. “The Japanese economy is bottoming out, while weakness can ...

U.S. considering direct aid to Syrian rebels

Feb 28, 2013

U.S. considering direct aid to Syrian rebels

The White House is moving toward a major policy shift on Syria that could provide the rebels with equipment such as body armor, armored vehicles and possible military training and could send humanitarian assistance directly to Syria’s opposition political coalition, according to U.S. and ...

Lithium-ion makers need recharge

Feb 28, 2013

Lithium-ion makers need recharge

by Hiroko Nakata

Japanese makers’ share of the market for lithium-ion batteries in consumer electronics continued to fall in 2012, widening the gap with their South Korean rivals, who topped the ranking for the first time the previous year. Three Japanese makers — Panasonic Corp., Sony Corp. ...

'What We See' is not always what you get

Feb 28, 2013

'What We See' is not always what you get

by Matthew Larking

Rendered as “What We See” in English, the title of this show should perhaps more accurately follow the Japanese one, which would be: “Dream, Reality, Illusion?” “Video” art is now mostly moribund because technology has changed, leaving that form of expression as largely digitized ...

Feb 28, 2013

Hiroshima falls in ACL opener

Sanfrecce Hiroshima were brought back to earth with a thud on Wednesday as the J. League champions crashed to a 2-0 defeat at home to Uzbekistan’s Bunyodkor in their Group G opener in the Asian Champions League. Back in the ACL for the first ...

LDP panel gives guarded nod to joining TPP talks

Feb 28, 2013

LDP panel gives guarded nod to joining TPP talks

A Liberal Democratic Party panel signaled Wednesday it would tolerate Japan’s participation in Trans-Pacific Partnership free-trade talks on condition that core national interests are protected. The panel, titled the Research Commission on Regional Diplomatic and Economic Partnership, adopted a resolution requesting that the Abe ...

Sinead O'Connor gets fired up for 'Crazy Baldhead Tour'

Feb 28, 2013

Sinead O'Connor gets fired up for 'Crazy Baldhead Tour'

by Robert Heller

Sinead O’Connor has chosen to call her latest concerts the Crazy Baldhead Tour. The funny name demonstrates the shaven-headed Irish star’s unadorned honesty. She’s often caricatured for her outspoken views and erratic behavior. Notoriously, she ripped up a photograph of Pope John Paul II ...

Marubeni to conduct geothermal power research in national park

Feb 28, 2013

Marubeni to conduct geothermal power research in national park

Marubeni Corp. is planning the first on-site survey for a geothermal power project in a national park following deregulation last March by the Environment Ministry. The one-year research initiative, starting possibly in May, will use dedicated surveyors to confirm geothermal sources in Daisetsuzan National ...

U.S. frees detained migrants as budget cuts loom

Feb 28, 2013

U.S. frees detained migrants as budget cuts loom

U.S. authorities revealed Tuesday that they have released hundreds of detained immigrants in recent days to trim expenses ahead of massive automatic budget cuts due to take effect this week. With days to go before the so-called sequester — $85 billion in across-the-board cuts ...

Iran seeking second path to nuclear bomb: report

Feb 28, 2013

Iran seeking second path to nuclear bomb: report

Satellite images show that Iran’s Arak heavy water plant is operational, raising fears that it is trying to produce plutonium for a nuclear bomb, Britain’s Daily Telegraph claimed Tuesday. The newspaper published images on its website that appear to show steam rising from forced ...

Feb 28, 2013

AKB48, film director honor postquake efforts

by Shinichi Koike

Virtuoso movie director Nobuhiko Obayashi has created a film that pays homage to Tohoku’s postdisaster recovery in an unusual collaboration with all-girl pop idol group AKB48. The short feature, lasting around an hour, serves as a promotional video for AKB48′s new single “So long!” ...

Feb 28, 2013

Expats in U.K. sell brooches to aid Tohoku recovery

Sakura Front, a charity group set up by Japanese living in London, is increasing its activity ahead of the second anniversary of the Great East Japan Earthquake that hit the Tohoku region on March 11, 2011. The group is calling for supporters to wear ...

Feb 28, 2013

Horse-meat scandal dents Europe's culinary esteem

According to folklore, Europeans have always treated their food with reverence, eating grandma’s slow-cooked stews concocted with farm-fresh ingredients while Americans wolfed down the genetically modified, chemically preserved junk symbolized by burgers and fries. Over the past two weeks, however, Europeans have watched an ...

Feb 28, 2013

Europe offers Beijing an open door

Maybe it’s bargain shopping. Maybe it’s the fallout from the strict U.S. security climate. Maybe it’s a sign of China becoming more comfortable with its international role. But as Chinese companies and entrepreneurs move to invest more overseas, they have been drawn increasingly to ...

Feb 28, 2013

Urawa thrashed in ACL opener

J. League clubs got off to a less than stellar start in the 2013 Asian Champions League on Tuesday as 2007 champions Urawa Reds lost 3-0 away to Guangzhou Evergrande while Vegalta Sendai failed to mark their continental debut with a victory, having to ...