Typhoons ‘trick’ Japan’s cherry trees into blooming months early | World news

The arrival of Japan’s famed cherry blossoms is the cue for groups of office workers to eat and drink, cast off their inhibitions and ponder the transient nature of life against a backdrop of pale pink petals falling to the ground. But the nationally observed rite of spring has come early, with reports from hundreds …

‘There is hope here’: Fukushima turns to tourism after nuclear meltdown | World news

Even now, almost eight years after a deadly earthquake and tsunami triggered a meltdown at the Fukushima Daiichi nuclear power plant, the disaster’s physical legacy is impossible to avoid. The shells of gutted homes stand in barren rice paddies that lay in the path of waves that killed more than 18,000 people across three prefectures …

Myanmar must back ‘credible’ Rohingya inquiry, Japanese PM tells Suu Kyi | World news

Japanese prime minister Shinzo Abe has told Myanmar’s leader that a credible investigation into alleged human rights violations against Rohingya Muslims is key to resolving the crisis. Abe told a joint news conference after talks with Aung San Suu Kyi that Japan would support efforts by Myanmar to accommodate Rohingya who returned home from refugee …

Japan: US military base critic voted in as Okinawa governor | World news

Controversial plans to relocate a major US military base in Okinawa, southern Japan, suffered a setback on Sunday after Denny Tamaki, who has vowed to block the move, was elected the island’s governor. Tamaki, whose father was a US marine, won on an anti-base platform and vowed to fight plans to move Futenma, a sprawling …

Japan launches bid to end ban on commercial whaling | World news

Japan has launched a controversial bid to end the ban on commercial whaling, claiming that populations of certain types of whale have recovered sufficiently to allow the resumption of “sustainable” hunting. Representatives of Japan’s 70-strong delegation at this week’s International Whaling Commission [IWC] meeting in Florianópolis, Brazil, argued that the 1986 moratorium on commercial whaling …

Job fears as Japanese bid to build Royal Navy support ships | UK news

Fears are mounting that a billion-pound contract to build a new fleet of ships for the Royal Navy could go to a Japanese company. The move would trigger dismay in UK military circles and would be seen as a major setback for the country’s shipyards, struggling with dwindling order books. It could also have political …

Miraitowa and Someity: Tokyo 2020 Olympics mascots revealed | Sport

Meet Miraitowa and Someity – the smiling, waving mascots charged with building excitement for the Tokyo 2020 Olympics and Paralympics. The names were revealed as the pair stepped out to a cheering crowd in the Japanese capital for the first time on Sunday, just over two years before the Games begin. In a country which …

Red list research finds 26,000 global species under extinction threat | Environment

More than 26,000 of the world’s species are now threatened, according to the latest red list assessment of the natural world, adding to fears the planet is entering a sixth wave of extinctions. New research, particularly in Australia, has widened the scope of the annual stocktake, which is compiled by the International Union for the …

Belgium come from two down to knock out Japan in the World Cup’s last-16 | Football

It will go down as a World Cup classic, a wild and chaotic game that will be talked about in years to come, in particular those dramatic final seconds when Belgium went from one end of the pitch to the other in the blink of an eye to score the goal that completed a remarkable …