Japanese react to minister taking paternity leave | AFP

Japan’s environment minister caused a stir earlier this week when he announced that he would take two weeks of paternity leave – the first time a cabinet minister has publicly committed to such a move in the country. His decision is met with approval from ordinary citizens on the streets of Tokyo.

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On This Day: 16 January 1980

Paul McCartney was arrested in Tokyo, as Japanese authorities said he had more than seven ounces of marijuana in his luggage. (Jan. 16)

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FILE : Wanted: Girlfriend to fly to the Moon with Japanese billionaire | AFP

A Japanese billionaire has launched an online wanted ad for a girlfriend who will fly around the Moon with him on a SpaceX rocket. Yusaku Maezawa, who recently announced his break-up with a Japanese actress, is accepting applications from “single women aged 20 or over” who want to enjoy life to the fullest.

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Get away from it all…in space | AFP Animé

Videographic showing how holidays in space may soon become the latest craze. A Japanese billionaire has launched an online wanted ad for a girlfriend who will fly around the Moon with him on a SpaceX rocket.VIDEOGRAPHICS

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Japanese youths take part in ceremony ahead of Coming of Age Day | AFP

Students from Kokugakuin University in Tokyo take part in a ceremony on Saturday involving traditional costumes and performances, ahead of Japan’s Coming of Age Day which falls on January 13 this year.

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Tiny electric firetruck designed for tight spaces

A tiny electric fire truck designed for small places is on show at the CES technology show in Las Vegas. It’s the product of a partnership between Japanese company Panasonic and the Silicon Valley-based startup Tropos Motors. (Jan. 9)

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Carlos Ghosn: Tokyo residents react to Beirut press conference | AFP

Residents of Tokyo’s Ginza district react to Carlos Ghosn’s press conference in Beirut, in which the former Renault-Nissan chief slammed Japanese justice and said he had been forced to flee the country because he would not get a fair trial.

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Carlos Ghosn: the rise and fall of the automotive tycoon | AFP

Former auto tycoon Carlos Ghosn, once-revered boss of three huge car companies, has masterminded an exit from Japan as stunning as his arrest that shocked the world more than a year ago.

The 65-year-old’s journey from one of the world’s best-known CEOs to a Japanese detention cell on financial misconduct charges was one of the most precipitous downfalls in corporate history.

Carlos Ghosn’s flight from Japan | AFP Animé

Fugitive auto tycoon Carlos Ghosn on Wednesday accused Nissan and Japanese prosecutors of plotting against him, vowing to prove his innocence at his first public appearance since fleeing the country. Videographic showing his flight from Japan to Beirut.VIDEOGRAPHICS

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Carlos Ghosn says won’t accuse Japan officials ‘not to hurt Lebanon’ | AFP

Carlos Ghosn says won’t accuse Japanese officials ‘not to hurt Lebanon’ as he faces the world’s media on Wednesday during a press conference in Beirut, for the first time since his Houdini-like escape from Japan. SOUNDBITE

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Director takes ‘The Grudge’ back to its roots

Director Nicolas Pesce discusses his love for Japanese horror, and explains why his version of “The Grudge” is rated R. (Jan. 2)

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Capsule hotel concept a hit in Milan | AFP

Cheap and cheerful capsule hotels are forever expanding from their Japanese cradle, including now in Milan where the tiny, stacked rooms are helping the Italian city cope with exploding tourist numbers.

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Chinese, S.Korean and Japanese leaders kick off summit in Chengdu | AFP

China hosts the leaders of squabbling neighbours South Korea and Japan on Tuesday, flexing its diplomatic muscle with America’s two key military allies in Asia and seeking regional unity on how to deal with a belligerent North Korea. IMAGES

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Today in History for December 23rd

Highlights of this day in history: The Christmas poem ‘A Visit from St. Nicholas’ is first published; Former Japanese premier Hideki Tojo is executed; Mormon religion founder Joseph Smith, Jr. is born; North Korea releases the 82 U.S. Seamen. (Dec. 23)

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Russia’s Lavrov meets his Japanese counterpart in Moscow | AFP

Russian Foreign Minister Sergei Lavrov meets his Japanese counterpart Toshimitsu Motegi in Moscow. IMAGES

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Beating, homesickness: tough path to the top for Georgian sumo star | AFP

The sumo champion hauls his giant frame from the ground, sand and clay caking his sweaty back and fury flashing from his eyes as he chastises himself for his defeat. His 178-kilogramme (392-pound) body and white mawashi, or belt, are commonplace, but his bright blue eyes and Western features instantly mark out Georgia-born Levan Gorgadze as different in the traditional Japanese sport.

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Cherry blossoms prompt full-blown scandal for Japan’s PM | AFP

It might be the most Japanese of political scandals: a furore over Prime Minister Shinzo Abe’s guest list at a party to mark the annual cherry blossom season. from protestsN°1MX0C0

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Body of slain doctor arrives in Japan after Afghan shooting | AFP

The body of Tetsu Nakamura, a beloved Japanese doctor who was shot to death in Afghanistan after decades of his earnest support for the country, arrives back in Japan. IMAGES

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Today in History for December 7th

On this date in 1941, Japanese forces attack the home base of the U.S. Pacific Fleet at Pearl Harbor in Hawaii – prompting America under President Franklin D. Roosevelt to enter World War II. (Dec. 7)

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‘Parasite singles’: searching for a partner in Japan | AFP

A sharply dressed crowd of Japanese singletons shuffle awkwardly around conference-room tables, exchanging small-talk and CVs in an attempt to find a marriage partner — all of them accompanied by their parents. (ATTN CLIENTS: This video is part of an AFP series on the changing social norms around sex, love and marriage in East Asia. Related videos from China and South Korea are also available.)

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Afghans mourn Japanese doctor’s death | AFP

Distressed Afghans hold vigils to mourn a beloved Japanese doctor who transformed barren swaths of eastern Afghanistan and spent decades caring for the sick.

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Thin skin: Japan firm develops ultra-fine spray-on facemask | AFP

A Japanese cosmetics company unveils what it says is the world’s first spray-on skin, a moisturising facemask made of fibres one-100th the thickness of a human hair.

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G20: Motegi meets with Lavrov | AFP

Japanese Foreign Minister Toshimitsu Motegi holds a bilateral meeting with Russian counterpart Sergey Lavrov on the sidelines of the G20 Foreign Ministers summit in Nagoya. IMAGES

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New Japanese emperor treats crowds to rare open-top car imperial parade | AFP

Thousands of flag-waving spectators gather to cheer Japan’s new Emperor Naruhito during a rare open-top car imperial parade that was rescheduled after a deadly typhoon. Some in the crowd camped overnight to nab a prime stop by the palace for the 30-minute parade featuring the emperor and his wife Empress Masako. Security forces lined the entire length of the route in double rows, keeping close watch as the slow-moving parade passed, flanked by police on motorbikes.

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World Heritage castle blaze in Japan’s Okinawa ‘under control’ | AFP

Firefighters work to control a major fire that devastated a historic Japanese castle on the southern island of Okinawa, destroying large parts of the World Heritage site’s complex, according to local authorities. The fire was brought under control by early afternoon, a local fire department spokesman told AFP, adding that the blaze had consumed more than 4,800 square metres (51,667 square feet) of the castle complex.

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