Ranging from scandal to tragedy to celebration, here are some of the most read Japan news stories from 2014.

Sasebo teen held for allegedly strangling, decapitating friend

A teenager was arrested Sunday on suspicion of killing a high school friend who was visiting her apartment in Sasebo, Nagasaki Prefecture, police said.

Vagina artist Megumi Igarashi indicted on charges of obscenity

Prosecutors on Wednesday charged a feminist artist who makes objects shaped like her vagina with distributing “obscene” data, according to her lawyer, in a case that has sparked accusations that authorities are out of touch.

Welfare ruling stuns foreigners

Friday’s landmark decision by the Supreme Court that permanent foreign residents of Japan are not entitled to welfare benefits will discourage more municipalities than ever from doling out such aid amid ballooning public assistance expenditures, experts said Saturday.

China releases trove of Japanese sex slave records

China has released previously confidential Japanese wartime documents, including some about “comfort women” forced to serve in military brothels during World War II, state media reported.

Volcano eruption on Nagano-Gifu border wounds 46; Abe mobilizes SDF

Mount Ontake, a volcano straddling Nagano and Gifu prefectures, erupted on Saturday, spewing ash and small rocks into the air, leaving at least 16 people unconscious and 30 others seriously injured, and stranding more than 40 on the mountain, officials and media said.

STAP paper co-author Sasai commits suicide

Yoshiki Sasai, a co-author of controversial research papers on so-called STAP cells, committed suicide at an institute of the government-affiliated Riken in Kobe, police said Tuesday.

North Korea warns of wiping Japan ‘off world map’ over U.N. resolution

North Korea on Sunday denounced a recent U.N. resolution condemning its human rights violations, warning of retaliation against Japan and other sponsor countries.

Princess Noriko marries son of Izumo Taisha priest, relinquishes royal status

Princess Noriko on Sunday married the eldest son of the head priest of the Izumo Taisha grand shrine in Shimane Prefecture, thereby relinquishing her Imperial status.

Japan to finally outlaw possession of child porn, but manga gets free pass

A ban on the possession of child pornography came a step closer on Wednesday, but it would exclude pedophilia portrayed in manga.

Fears widen over Kadena toxins

Just days after the commander of U.S. Kadena Air Base, near the city of Okinawa, promised parents their children’s schools were safe from dioxin contamination, a further 50 chemical barrels have been unearthed from adjacent land and a retired U.S. Air Force major has come forward with claims the school grounds are located near a former dump-and-burn site for waste that included military defoliants.


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