Modern phoenix: The bird brought back from extinction in Japan

by Sara HUSSEIN Every day for the past 14 years, 72-year-old Masaoki Tsuchiya has set out before sunrise to search for a bird rescued from extinction in Japan. Starting his car under star-dotted skies unpolluted by light, he works alone in the pre-dawn chill, marking sightings or absences in a planner, interrupted only by the […]

Totoro’s home: Japan crowdfund for forest that inspired film

A Japanese city is launching a crowdfunding campaign to help preserve a special spot of woodland: the forest that inspired the animator of beloved movie “My Neighbour Totoro”. The city of Tokorozawa outside Tokyo plans to buy the 3.5-hectare “Totoro Forest” for 2.6 billion yen ($19 million), with crowdfunding covering just a small portion of […]

‘The power of cannabis’: Japan embraces CBD despite drug taboo

With its zero-tolerance cannabis laws, deep social stigma against the drug and moves to tighten rules on consumption, Japan is no stoner’s paradise. But you wouldn’t guess it watching Ai Takahashi and her friends twerking, body-rolling and lighting up to the weed anthem “Young, Wild & Free” at a tiny, packed club in Tokyo. What […]

Yen slides to 24-year low against dollar

by Etienne BALMER The yen plunged to its lowest level against the dollar since 1998 on Monday as sky-high US inflation fuels a widening monetary policy gap between Japan and the world’s largest economy. Japan’s currency has been weakening for months, accelerated by the US Federal Reserve’s aggressive monetary tightening to tackle soaring inflation caused […]

Partial ops eyed in 2025: Digging for Metro Manila subway starts

Tunneling works for the Philippines’ first-ever subway line is set to begin soon with the arrival of a high-tech equipment from Japan. President Rodrigo Duterte graced on Independence Day the lowering of the tunnel boring machine into the ground in Valenzuela. “Ang ibig sabihin ‘yung paghukay para sa Metro Manila Subway through tunnel boring machine […]

Dancing ‘old heart-throbs’ become TikTok sensation in Japan

Showing off their awkward moves in shirts, ties and brightly coloured belly warmers, four men in their 50s and 60s have become Japan’s latest TikTok sensation. The group’s mission? To promote their small countryside town, whose population is in decline, through dance routines to pop tunes that fans call “adorable”. Since their first post in […]

Nearly 700-year-old samurai sword smuggled into Switzerland

Swiss customs authorities said Tuesday they had discovered a nearly 700-year-old antique Japanese samurai sword during a routine vehicle search, after it was smuggled into the country. The Federal Office for Customs and Border Security said in a statement the Katana sword, dated to 1353 and valued at 650,000 euros ($700,000), had been discovered in […]

Japan to allow mass tourism, but only in tour groups

Japan announced Thursday it will reopen to tourists from 98 countries and regions starting June 10, ending a two-year pandemic closure, but travellers will only be allowed in with tour groups. The decision comes after the government last week said it would test allowing small group tours with visitors from the United States, Australia, Thailand […]

Pacquiaos looking fresh and fab in Japan

After a busy campaign for the presidency, Senator Manny Pacquiao is taking a much-deserved break with his family in Japan. Senator Manny, his wife Jinkee, and their youngest son Israel shared snaps from their trip. View this post on Instagram A post shared by Manny Pacquiao (@mannypacquiao) View this post on Instagram A post shared […]

Japan to trial group tours in move to ease Covid border rules

Japan will trial small group tours with travellers from the US, Australia, Thailand and Singapore from this month, the government said on Tuesday, as it experiments with easing strict Covid border rules. The country’s borders have been closed to almost all arrivals since the spring of 2020 in response to the coronavirus pandemic. Authorities only […]