Aug 25, 2010

When scores of centenarians fall off radar

Japan prides itself on the world’s longest life expectancy but is struggling with a disturbing footnote to that statistic — revelations that hundreds of people listed as its oldest citizens are either long dead or haven’t been heard from for decades. The mystery of ...

Jul 17, 2010

Sumo's seamy underbelly

NAGOYA — Sumo is more than a sport to Japan. It’s like a religion, a bastion of traditional culture and a matter of national pride. Wrestlers aren’t just athletes — they are icons, role models and, often, larger-than-life heroes. Unless, of course, they are ...

Apr 9, 2010

Japan gets U.S. pitch to buy spy drones

The U.S.-made RQ-4 Global Hawk spy plane looks like an upside-down double-decker bus with wings, flies slowly, offers zero leg room — and is one of the most coveted pieces of military technology in the world. Impressed by its successes in combat for the ...

Feb 25, 2010

Japan starting to balk at footing bill for U.S. forces

GINOWAN, Okinawa Pref. — In Japan, where land is a precious commodity, many U.S. bases boast golf courses, football fields and giant shopping malls whose food courts offer everything from Taco Bell to Subway to Starbucks. They are the most visible point of grievance ...

Jan 7, 2010

Okinawans frustrated by Futenma standoff

GINOWAN, Okinawa Pref. — When the U.S. took over the airfield here in the closing days of World War II, it was surrounded by sugar cane fields and the smoldering battlegrounds of Okinawa. It is now the focus of a deepening dispute that is ...

JCP basks in discontent as faith in capitalism crumbles

Apr 22, 2009

JCP basks in discontent as faith in capitalism crumbles

Under a big red flag, the Japanese Communist Party’s headquarters stand as the center of a vibrant grassroots movement. The party’s ranks are swelling, it has 24,000 branch offices and more than 1 million people read its newspaper. Only one party — the one ...

Nation grapples with pot-smoking sumo wrestlers

Feb 12, 2009

Nation grapples with pot-smoking sumo wrestlers

Sumo wrestlers with pot bellies, yes. Sumo wrestlers with pot? Now that’s harder to grapple with. In the past six months, four wrestlers have been kicked out of the ancient sport for allegedly smoking marijuana, creating the biggest drugs-in-sports scandal that Japan has ever ...

Nov 8, 2008

Ashes of USS Indianapolis survivor buried at sea

YOKOSUKA, Kanagawa Pref. — When the submarine USS Ohio surfaced at sea and Machinist Mate 1st Class Jason Witty emerged from the hatch to look around, he saw calm, blue water under a peaceful sky — perfect for the solemn task he was about ...

Critics dispute Michelin regard for Tokyo

Aug 29, 2008

Critics dispute Michelin regard for Tokyo

Paris might still be good if you’ve got a big wad of cash and want the best of the best. But Tokyo is really where it’s at foodwise, at least according to the French people who keep track of these things. When the venerable ...

Tokyo's Lolita scene all about escapism

Aug 7, 2008

Tokyo's Lolita scene all about escapism

The look is weird, and very Tokyo. Growing up — forget it. Looking sexy, too. And appearing as though you might have a pulse? Better to glow blue like porcelain. Or to break out the black lipstick. Check out any place where young women ...