Asia-Pacific: Japanese Government Eager to Learn Mattis’ Japan Views

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According to government sources, Mattis likely did a stint in Okinawa for training during his career in the marines, but his views on Japan-U.S. relations are not known. The government is striving to gather Mattis’ remarks on the Asian-Pacific region and other matters.

The Yomiuri Shimbun reports: The Japanese government is hastening to gather information on retired U.S. Marine Corps Gen. James Mattis, whom U.S. President-elect Donald Trump has chosen as the next secretary of defense. Mattis is said to have had hardly any contact with Japan and his stance toward Japan is unknown.

“The top brass of the U.S. forces has always valued the U.S.-Japan alliance. I don’t think [Mattis] is going to propose a reduction of U.S. bases in Japan.”

— Senior official of the Defense Ministry

In Japan, Defense Minister Tomomi Inada told reporters on Friday that she intends to build a good relationship with the United States “regardless of who [the next U.S. secretary of defense] is” by helping the new secretary to “fully recognize the importance of our ties.” Inada was inspecting the Air Self-Defense Force’s Gifu Air Base on the day.

Japan's Self-Defense Force honor guards prepare for a welcoming ceremony of new Defence Minister Gen Nakatani in Tokyo on December 25, 2014. Prime Minister Shinzo Abe promised December 24 at the start of his new term to revive Japan's economy so he can pursue "powerful diplomacy", but China's state media warned him to be wary about changing the pacifist constitution. AFP PHOTO / KAZUHIRO NOGI (Photo credit should read KAZUHIRO NOGI/AFP/Getty Images)

[Read the full story here, at The Japan News]

According to government sources, Mattis likely did a stint in Okinawa for training during his career in the marines, but his views on Japan-U.S. relations are not known. The government is striving to gather Mattis’ remarks on the Asian-Pacific region and other matters. Read the rest of this entry »


Utagawa Kuniyoshi: The Sixty-nine Post Stations of Kisokaidô Road, 1852

 

 


Japan and South Korean Governments Expand Unilateral Sanctions Against North Korea

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The government decided Friday to strengthen unilateral sanctions against North Korea using measures such as expanding the range of entities and individuals subject to asset freezes.

The decision follows North Korea’s repeated nuclear tests and ballistic missile launches.

The new measures, which are in line with the unilateral sanctions introduced in February, include expanding a reentry ban to include people who have traveled to North Korea.

The government intends to urge Pyongyang to change its position by stringently blocking the departure and entry of people linked to North Korea’s nuclear and missile developments and flow of funds, according to sources.

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“I intend to take further unilateral measures in cooperation with the United States and South Korea,” Prime Minister Shinzo Abe said during a meeting of Cabinet ministers concerned with the issue of Japanese citizens who were abducted by North Korea, held at the Prime Minister’s Office the same day.

[Read the full text here, at The Japan News]

Under the new measures, the range of asset freezes will be expanded to 54 entities and 58 individuals, the sources said.

The list includes a trading company in Liaoning Province, China, that was sanctioned by the United States in September for its alleged involvement in the proliferation of weapons of mass destruction by North Korea. Read the rest of this entry »


China: Shinzo Abe Statue with Hitler Mustache Removed by Shenyang Mall After Japanese Consulate Complains

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The Abe wax figure was first unveiled last week along with likenesses of Barack Obama and Vladimir Putin. 

Alex Linder writes: Unfortunately, customers visiting one Shenyang shopping mall will no longer be greeted by a bowing Shinzo Abe with a Hitler mustache after the mall received complaints from the Japanese consulate in the city.

The Abe wax figure was first unveiled last week along with likenesses of Barack Obama and Vladimir Putin. Behind the kowtowing Japanese Prime Minister were Chinese characters reading: “Commemorating the September 18th Incident.”

“Confusingly, the worker added that the Hitler mustache was added intentionally to ‘make sure it didn’t entirely resemble Abe,’ and that the backdrop had nothing to do with the statues, as they had just been placed there temporarily.”

In English, this is known as the Mukden or Manchurian Incident, when a staged explosion in Shenyang (then called Mukden) provided Japan with the pretext for its invasion of Manchuria in 1931. This year was the 85th anniversary of that incident, causing some “patriotic” Chinese companies to ban their employees from buying the new iPhone 7.

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“The figures were all made by a craftsman from Dandong, Liaoning province, and displayed in order to ‘enrich the shopping experience of customers.'”

Those bans were largely ridiculed across China, as was this wax figure. Chinese netizens called the Abe-Hitler figure a “disgrace.” Read the rest of this entry »


[VIDEO] Replay: Incredible Lunar Views From The Japanese Selene Orbiter – Earthrise 

Take a journey across the surface of the moon. See the earth rise and set from the lunar surface.

This video was recorded by the SELENE Lunar Orbiter – images are copyright JAXA / NHK
SELENE , better known in Japan by its nickname Kaguya, was the second Japanese lunar orbiter spacecraft following the Hiten probe]

Produced by the Institute of Space and Astronautical Science (ISAS) and the National Space Development Agency (NASDA), the spacecraft was launched on September 14, 2007. After successfully orbiting the Moon for a year and eight months, the main orbiter was instructed to impact on the lunar surface near the crater Gill on June 10, 2009.[2] Read the rest of this entry »


Japan Prepares for Nuclear War with North Korea by Warning Citizens to Shelter in Event of Kim Jong-Un Bomb Attack

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Japanese people are bracing themselves for nuclear attack with chilling advise on what to do if Kim Jong-un presses the red button

For the first time since North Korea began a series of nuke tests, people in Japan are being issued with terrifying instruction on how to deal with nuclear war.

A downloadable pamphlet is now available on the island nation’s civil defence website.

Called “Protecting Ourselves against Armed Attacks and Terrorism,” it outlines emergency measures in the event North Korean missiles are fired at the country.

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It bears similarities to the creepy Protect and Survive documents issued in Britain and Northern Ireland during the early 1980s following the Soviet Union’s invasion of Afghanistan.

Like the UK’s booklet it give top-tips on how to avoid being fried and radiated. Read the rest of this entry »


Yuki Da! Tokyo has November Snow for First Time in 54 Years

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Tokyo (AFP) – Tokyo woke up Thursday to its first November snowfall in more than half a century, leaving commuters to grapple with train disruptions and slick streets.

Snow began falling before dawn with the mercury approaching zero as a cold weather system moved south.

The Japan Meterological Agency said it was the first time snow had fallen in November in central Tokyo since 1962.

Amounts were greater in suburban areas closer to mountains but even central Tokyo saw brief accumulations, which the agency forecast to be as high as two centimetres (one inch).

That was the first November accumulation since records began in 1875, the agency said.

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“I was surprised to see snow at such an early stage of the season,” said Hiroko Tanaka, a Tokyo resident.

“I felt this may be a sign of something abnormal in terms of natural phenomena,” she told AFP.

But experts say the situation is nothing to worry about.

“Today’s snowfall and accumulation occurred because several elements came together at once by chance,” said Sakiko Nishioka, an agency official in charge of weather forecasting.

“It does not mean this can signal any unusual weather conditions this season such as a super cold winter,” Nishioka told AFP, adding that it was also unclear if it was related to climate change or events such as El Nino.

Tokyo, which extends over a wide area and includes many suburbs, enjoys relatively mild winters compared to some other parts of the country where snowfall is more frequent. Read the rest of this entry »


COMPUTOPIA Magazine: ‘School Without Teachers, Humanless Factories, Digital Calculation is the Future of Humanity’

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JAPAN: 1.4-Meter Tsunami Hits Sendai  

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Tsunami reached wide areas of the Tohoku and Kanto regions. At Sendai Port in Sendai, a tsunami of 1.4 meters was observed, the highest since the March 2011 Great East Japan Earthquake.

The agency also issued a tsunami advisory for the Pacific coast from Aomori Prefecture to Chiba Prefecture, as well as for the Izu Islands chain.

The agency said a tsunami of 90 centimeters high was observed in Soma, Fukushima Prefecture; 80 centimeters high in Kuji, Iwate Prefecture, and Ishinomaki, Miyagi Prefecture; and 50 centimeters high in Oarai, Ibaraki Prefecture.

The agency downgraded the tsunami warning issued for Fukushima and Miyagi prefectures to a tsunami advisory at 9:46 a.m.

All the tsunami advisories were lifted by 12:50 p.m.

The tsunami warning issued Tuesday was the first since one was issued for Miyagi Prefecture after an earthquake with its epicenter off the Sanriku coast occurred on Dec. 7, 2012.

At a press conference held Tuesday morning, Koji Nakamura, the agency’s official in charge of earthquake information, called on people in areas where a strong jolt was felt to be alert against earthquakes of the same scale for the next week or so. Read the rest of this entry »


Barack ‘Lead From Behind’ Obama Says Goodbye to World Stage After 8 Years 

U.S. President Barack Obama holds a press conference at the conclusion of the APEC (Asia-Pacific Economic Cooperation) Summit in Lima, Peru November 20, 2016. REUTERS/Mariana Bazo

LIMA (AFP-Jiji) — U.S. President Barack Obama bid farewell to the world stage Sunday, pondering his legacy and offering advice to his successor at the end of his final foreign tour.

His historic presidency and charisma have made Obama a rock star on the international scene, even at times when the daily grind of politics dimmed the glow around his election as the United States’ first black president in 2008.

Obama spoke to both the American people and the world as he gave his final foreign press conference in Lima. Read the rest of this entry »


[VIDEO] LATEST FOOTAGE: Earthquake in Fukushima Japan, Tsunami Warning 


LIVE: 7-3-Magnitude Earthquake – Tsunami Warning in Fukushima Japan, Livestream

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[VIDEO] Tsunami Warning Issued After Quake Off Fukushima in Japan

TOKYO (AP) — An earthquake with preliminary magnitude of 7.3 struck Tuesday off the coast of Fukushima prefecture in Japan. A tsunami warning for waves of up to three meters (10 feet) was issued.

The Japan Meteorological Agency says the quake struck around 6 a.m at a depth of 10 kilometers (6 miles). It warned people along the coast to move to higher ground.

The U.S. Geological Survey measured the magnitude at 6.9. The earthquake shook buildings in Tokyo, 240 kilometers (150 miles) southwest of the epicenter.

Fukushima prefecture is home to the nuclear power plant that was destroyed by a huge tsunami following an offshore earthquake in 2011…(more)

Developing…


BREAKING: Tokyo Earthquake Reports: Japan Preliminary Magnitude 7.3 – Off Fukushima

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Early reports of a Japan earthquake

Preliminary M7.3 of Fukushima

Tsunami advisory has been issued (for Fukushima Prefecture … also for Aomori, Iwate , Miyagi, Ibaraki, & Chiba Prefectures)

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Residents have been urged top leave the Fukushima coast

USGS reporting M7.3

  • 67km northeast of Iwaki (on Honshu)

Read the rest of this entry »


Illusion: Porn Makers Want Sexual Fantasies to Become Virtual Realities

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Are you ready for your VR Kanojo? 

 reports: In June, hundreds of people thronged a small virtual reality event in Tokyo’s Akihabara district, forcing the organizer to cancel it halfway through.

“In the future, some say we might see people giving up on real-life relationships in favor of virtual romance — a possibility that could emerge as the technology becomes more immersive, which is likely to raise a moral question.”

What drew such a big crowd so quickly?

A VR-based porn demonstration.

“It was unexpected,” said Kento Yoshida, head of the group that organized the event. “But it proved that many people have expectations for VR adult content.”

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Industry insiders claim that adult VR content may be the key to spreading the technology to the general public, just as it did with videotapes and the internet.

[Read the full story here, at The Japan Times]

They said VR’s potential is huge because it could eventually lead to virtual sex, either with a digital character or a real person in a different location. The technology can also be used to fulfill one’s secret fantasies more easily.

“There’s a certain degree of adverse reaction to adult content. I’m concerned that it might damage the image of VR.”

While admitting that the erotic possibilities made possible by VR will provoke critics of adult content, they said it will still be meaningful to have a new option for sex.

Yoshida, who is also president of Tokyo-based adult video maker VRG, said most people remain unaware of VR’s potential, which is why he held the Akihabara event.

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“Illusion plans to release a game called ‘VR Kanojo’ — ‘VR Girlfriend’ —  that lets players virtually enter an imaginary girlfriend’s room to have sex. The producers say they are focused on making players feel the girlfriend is really there.”

“At that time, people didn’t really know what VR was … so I thought that adult content would be the most catchy topic to use to get people more familiarized with VR,” he said.

The technology opens up a whole new horizon for people with sexual fantasies, he said.

For instance, if people harbor a desire for abnormal or illicit sex, fulfilling that desire may be difficult or risky in real life, to say the least. But VR can make it all possible, Yoshida said.

“VR headsets allow people to effectively jump into whatever they see, so this kind of immersive experience could lead to virtual sex with digital characters or other people.”

It can also help others who are too shy to express their feelings or start a relationship.

“VR is the best way to satisfy their sexual needs,” he said.

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[ALSO SEE – For Japan’s ‘stranded singles’, virtual love beats the real thing]

VR headsets allow people to effectively jump into whatever they see, so this kind of immersive experience could lead to virtual sex with digital characters or other people, Yoshida said.

But achieving high-quality virtual sex means conquering several technological barriers, including the lack of physical sensation, he said.

Other Japanese firms are already cashing in on the trend. Read the rest of this entry »


Utagawa Hiroshige: Evening rain at Azuma Shrine, 1838


Shinzo Abe: ‘Our alliance will not function without trust. I came away convinced that President-elect Trump is a leader who can be trusted’

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After the talks, Abe gave a golf driver to Trump as a gift, while Trump gave a golf outfit to Abe.

NEW YORK — Prime Minister Shinzo Abe and U.S. President-elect Donald Trump held a meeting in New York on Thursday evening.

It is believed that Abe emphasized during the meeting the importance of the Japan-U.S. alliance and free trade mechanisms, such as the Trans-Pacific Partnership agreement.

After the meeting with Trump, Abe told reporters, “It gave me confidence that the two of us can build a relationship of trust.”

Abe and Trump agreed to meet again.

It was Trump’s first meeting with a foreign leader since winning the U.S. presidential election. It is extremely rare for a Japanese prime minister to meet with a U.S. president-elect.

[Read the full story here, at The Japan News]

The talks were held in Trump’s residence within Trump Tower in Manhattan. The meeting lasted about 90 minutes, longer than the initially scheduled 45 minutes. Abe had only his interpreter present.

Trump had the following people present: retired Lt. Gen. Michael Flynn, former head of the Defense Intelligence Agency, who is seen as likely to take the national security adviser’s post; Ivanka, Trump’s eldest daughter; and Jared Kushner, Ivanka’s husband. Read the rest of this entry »


BREAKING: After NY Talks, Abe Confident He Can Build Trust-Based Ties with Trump

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Prime Minister Shinzo Abe said the two talked about various issues but refrained from disclosing the contents of the meeting with Trump because the talks were unofficial.

He made the comments in New York after a meeting that was intended to smooth relations following Trump’s campaign rhetoric that cast doubt on long-standing U.S. alliances.

Abe became the first world leader to meet Trump on Thursday, seeking reassurances over the future of the U.S.-Japan security and trade relations.

Abe met with Trump in New York, where the incoming president is working on setting up an administration after his surprise election victory last week that has injected new uncertainty into old U.S. alliances.

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“I do believe that without confidence between the two nations (the) alliance would never function in the future and (after) the outcome of today’s discussion I am convinced Mr. Trump is a leader in whom I can have great confidence,” Abe said following the meeting.

Trump’s campaign rhetoric caused consternation in many world capitals, including Tokyo. Trump has said he would demand that allies such as Japan and South Korea contribute more to the cost of basing U.S. troops in their countries.

Such comments have worried Japan at a time when the threat from North Korea is rising, and China is challenging the U.S.-led security status quo in the Pacific. Read the rest of this entry »