Japan widens virus restrictions as omicron surges in cities
Restaurants and bars will close early in Tokyo and a dozen other areas across Japan beginning Friday as the country widens COVID-19 restrictions due to the omicron variant, which has caused cases to surge to new highs in metropolitan areas.
Teenager arrested in stabbing near Japan entrance exam venue
Three people, including two students on their way to take university entrance exams, were stabbed Saturday just outside of a test venue, and authorities arrested a 17-year-old student at the scene on suspicion of attempted murder, Tokyo police said. The victims — two 18-year-old high school students and a 72-year-old man — were all conscious and their injuries were not life-threatening when they were rushed to a hospital for treatment, police said. Police said the attacker, who was identified only as a high school student from the central Japanese city of Nagoya because he is a minor, slashed the three people in their back on a street just outside of the University of Tokyo’s main campus, one of the venues for Japan’s two-day nationwide entrance exams this weekend.news.yahoo.com
'My Caucasian counterpart': Black TikToker calls out Japanese purikura photo booth for lightening her skin
A biracial Black and Asian TikTok user living in Tokyo took to social media after a purikura photo booth made her look as light as her Japanese relatives. The TikTok user, @burnthimawari, posted a video showing the picture she took with her cousin and mother in Japan. “I have a bone to pick with Japan’s purikura because look at this,” she says at the beginning of her video.news.yahoo.com
Japan keeps border controls as it prepares for omicron surge
Japan will keep its borders closed to most foreign citizens through February as it attempts to accelerate coronavirus booster shots for elderly people and expand hospital capacity to cope with the rapidly spreading omicron variant, Prime Minister Fumio Kishida said Tuesday. Japan briefly eased border controls in November after COVID-19 cases rapidly declined, but quickly reinstated a ban on most foreign entrants after the highly transmissible new variant emerged. Kishida said the stringent border controls have helped slow the variant's spread and “bought time” to prepare for an imminent surge.news.yahoo.com
Tokyo worshippers pray for good health in ice water purification ceremony
Tokyo worshippers participate in the annual ice water purification ritual at the Teppozu Inari Shrine, an event to pray for good health in the new year. The participants warm up by stretching their bodies and jump into a pool of cold water with huge ice blocks in it. The New Year event has nearly 70 years' history in the community. "I pray for the coronavirus pandemic to end soon," says 74-year-old Yoshiko Shibata, the oldest participant.news.yahoo.com
Japan's emperor prays for pandemic dead in New Year message
Japan’s Emperor Naruhito offered prayers for those who died during the pandemic, taking to video for the second straight year for his New Year’s greeting on Saturday, having canceled public palace gatherings to curb coronavirus infections. Sitting before a bonsai tree with his wife Masako, Naruhito praised and thanked doctors and other health care workers, and expressed concern for countries lacking access to vaccines and adequate hospital systems. Japan has recorded more than 18,000 COVID-19-related deaths, but the pace of deaths has fallen in recent months.news.yahoo.com
Japan Cabinet OKs record defense budget amid Taiwan concerns
Japan’s Cabinet has approved a record 5.4 trillion yen ($47 billion) defense budget for fiscal 2022 that includes funding for research and development of a new fighter jet and other “game-changing” weapons as Japan bolsters its defense capabilities in response to China’s growing military might and its tensions with Taiwan.
US Embassy in Tokyo warns of 'suspected racial profiling' by Japanese police
The U.S. Embassy in Tokyo issued a tweet on Sunday warning that foreigners were being stopped by Japanese police in "suspected racial profiling incidents." "The U.S. Embassy has received reports of foreigners stopped and searched by Japanese police in suspected racial profiling incidents. Several were detained, questioned, and searched," the tweet said. "U.S. citizens should carry proof of immigration and request consular notification if...news.yahoo.com
Pets of the week: Tokyo and Zeus want to be adopted together. Webster is a lap cuddler
JACKSON, MI -- The Jackson County Animal Shelter, 3770 Spring Arbor Road, has many pets available for adoption. All they have is each other after their owner moved away. The dog adoption fee is $150 for medium and large dogs and $250 for puppies and small dogs, which includes vaccinations, microchip and sterilization. Cat adoption fees are $60 for one cat, $80 for two, which includes applicable tests, vaccines and spay/neutering. See more pets available for adoption at Petango.com.mlive.com
Japan retracts new flight bookings ban after criticisms
Japan says it has retracted a ban on new incoming international flight bookings to defend against the new variant of the coronavirus only a day after the policy was announced, following criticisms that it was an overreaction. The transport ministry on Wednesday issued a request to international airlines to stop taking new reservations for flights coming into Japan until the end of December as an emergency precaution to defend against the new omicron variant. The ministry said Thursday it has retracted the request after receiving criticisms that the ban was too strict and tantamount to abandoning its own people.news.yahoo.com
US reports 1st case of omicron variant in returning traveler
The U.S. identified its first known case of the omicron variant Wednesday — in a vaccinated traveler returning to California from South Africa — as scientists around the world raced to establish whether the new, mutant version of the coronavirus is more dangerous than the previous ones.
Japan confirms first case of new coronavirus variant
Japan confirmed on Tuesday its first case of the new omicron coronavirus variant, a visitor who recently arrived from Namibia, an official said. Chief Cabinet Secretary Hirokazu Matsuno said the patient, a man in his 30s, tested positive upon arrival at Narita airport on Sunday and was isolated and is being treated at a hospital. Matsuno did not identify his nationality, citing privacy reasons.news.yahoo.com
Japan bans entry of foreign visitors as omicron spreads
Japan announced Monday it will suspend entry of all foreign visitors from around the world as a new coronavirus variant spreads, prompting an increasing number of countries to tighten their borders. “We are taking the step as an emergency precaution to prevent a worst-case scenario in Japan,” Prime Minister Fumio Kishida said. The decision means Japan will restore border controls that it eased earlier this month for short-term business visitors, foreign students and workers.news.yahoo.com
Operator: Impact from release of Fukushima water minimal
The operator of the tsunami-wrecked Fukushima nuclear power plant says a data simulation of its planned release of treated radioactive water into the sea suggests it would have an extremely small impact on the environment, marine life and humans.
US Indo-Pacific Command chief in Japan, reaffirms commitment
The head of the U.S. Indo-Pacific Command has met with Japan’s Prime Minister Fumio Kishida and reaffirmed America’s commitment to achieving a free and open Indo-Pacific despite rising tensions amid China’s increasingly assertive military actions.
Japan, Germany expand military ties as German warship visits
Defense Minister Nobuo Kishi on Friday said Japan will step up military cooperation with Germany in the Indo-Pacific region as he welcomed a port call by the first German warship to visit Japan in about 20 years. The frigate Bayern is visiting Tokyo after two days of joint exercises with the Japanese Maritime Self-Defense Force destroyer Samidare in the Pacific Ocean amid increasingly assertive maritime activities by China in the region.news.yahoo.com
Japan keeps tourists out despite lower virus cases
Filled with pink and fuzzy things and cuddly bears, a tiny store in the heart of Tokyo's Harajuku district, is bursting with "kawaii," the Japanese for "cuteness." What it doesn't have enough of, as in zero, are foreign tourists. And it could sure use some. Like much of Asia, including Taiwan, Vietnam and Australia, Japan's borders remain closed to tourists from abroad. But while other Asian countries inch toward reopening, Japan looks likely to keep its borders shut for some time to come. That's a hardship for the many businesses that had come to rely on foreign tourists, who numbered 32 million in 2019, before the pandemic. (Oct. 29)news.yahoo.com
Vaccines, masks? Japan puzzling over sudden virus success
Almost overnight, Japan has become a stunning, and somewhat mysterious, coronavirus success story. Daily new COVID-19 cases have plummeted from a mid-August peak of nearly 6,000 in Tokyo, with caseloads in the densely populated capital now routinely below 100, an 11-month low. Japan, unlike other places in Europe and Asia, has never had anything close to a lockdown, just a series of relatively toothless states of emergency.news.yahoo.com
Japan PM says Fukushima wastewater release can't be delayed
Japan's new prime minister on Sunday said the planned mass disposal of treated but still radioactive water stored at the tsunami-wrecked Fukushima nuclear plant cannot be delayed, despite concerns from local residents. Speaking at his first visit to the facility since taking office, Fumio Kishida said his government would work to reassure residents in the prefecture about the technical safety of the wastewater disposal project. The Fukushima Daiichi plant suffered a triple meltdown in 2011 following a massive earthquake and tsunami.news.yahoo.com