Japan

Just more than 24 hours after powerful earthquakes struck a large island in southwest Japan, an even stronger quake has hit the same area.

The Associated Press quotes a Japanese official as saying 19 people were killed, bringing the total for the two big quakes to 29.

The company behind a proposed liquefied natural gas export terminal on Oregon’s southern coast has been busy lining up customers in Asia.

On Friday, the Canadian firm Veresen announced a preliminary purchase agreement with the Japanese trading company ITOCHU. Two weeks earlier, Veresen said it had a similar agreement in place with another Japanese firm, JERA.

Both deals are for 1.5 million tons of liquefied natural gas per year for 20 years. If finalized, they vouch for half the expected production capacity of the proposed LNG terminal in Coos Bay, Oregon.

Five years after an earthquake and tsunami damaged the Fukushima Dai-ichi nuclear power plant, Japanese authorities say a long-planned "ice wall" around the leaking facility can be turned on.

The underground refrigeration system that should create the frozen barrier was completed last month — more than a year behind schedule, The Associated Press reports.

For Natsumi Miyakawa, a young resident of Japan's Tohoku region, March 11, 2011, should have been a day to celebrate. It was her junior high school graduation day.

Instead, there was chaos and sadness. "Everything was scary," she recalls.

Five years after an earthquake and tsunami caused a series of meltdowns at the Fukushima Dai-ichi nuclear plant in Japan, there are signs of progress. Many workers cleaning up the ruined plant no longer need to suit up in full respirators. Some nearby villages that were evacuated are open to residents.

But there are still plenty of problems.

Courtesy of Letibee

When 24-year-old Koki Hayashi first came out to his mom, he was a junior in college.

"I just kind of said it quickly, 'Hey, I’m gay,'" he recalls.

“Stop it. That’s disgusting,” she said, according to Hayashi. That really hurt.

Japan — unlike the US — doesn't have a Puritan history that says homosexuality is some kind of cardinal sin. And for years it wasn't uncommon to see a cross-dresser on TV giving fashion advice or a Japanese cartoon with gay characters.

In a much-anticipated speech, Japan's Prime Minister Shinzo Abe expressed his "profound grief" and "sincere condolences" for his country's role in World War II.

But the leader stopped short of renewing apologies extended by his predecessors, and he said he doesn't want future generations to be "predestined to apologize" for the war.

The name Hiroshima is so tied to the atomic bomb that it's hard to imagine there were other possible targets.

But in early 1945, the U.S. was still months away from building its first bomb and certainly didn't know what to hit.

"Should it be a city? Should it be a military installation? Should you be just displaying the bomb, without killing anybody?" These are questions that were yet to be decided, says Alex Wellerstein, a historian at the Stevens Institute of Technology.

Seven Pacific Northwest veterans of World War II leave for Tokyo Thursday. They're carrying 70 captured Japanese flags to return for the 70th anniversary of the end of the war.

A piece of a commercial fishing boat that was ripped from Japan's coast by the March 11, 2011 tsunami has turned up on near Oregon four years later, carrying a small diaspora of live yellowtail jack fish, native to east Asian waters, according to state park officials.

Japan Bans Possession Of Child Pornography

Jun 18, 2014

Japan has banned the possession of child pornography, with some notable exceptions: manga, animation and computer graphics.

Parliament's upper house approved the measure Wednesday; the lower house passed the bill last month.

After 180 years, it is not too late to say thank you. That is what a Japanese delegation did last week as it retraced the history-making path of three  castaways to the Makah Indian Reservation on the Washington coast.

AP Photo/Eugene Hoshiko

Marcie Sillman talks with Seattle Times science reporter Sandi Doughton about Japan's efforts to rebuild after the devastating earthquake and tsunami on March 11, 2011.

EarthFix Photo/Ashley Ahearn

Following the 2011 tsunami in Japan, a nuclear reactor released hundreds of millions of gallons of radioactive water into the ocean. That sparked fear that contaminated water would reach the West Coast, but three years later, scientists say that radiation in our waters isn’t necessarily linked to the nuclear reactor. 

Bellevue SWAT, Japanese Farm Food, And Greendays Gardening

Apr 23, 2013
Flickr Photo/Steve Wilson

Bellevue’s SWAT Team Comes To A Seattle Neighborhood
Columbia City residents heard Monday night from Seattle and Bellevue officials about a shooting involving Bellevue police that happened in Seattle late last month. According to KUOW’s Patricia Murphy, the Seattle Police Department is investigating the incident.

Japanese Farm Food
Nancy Singleton Hachisu moved from California to Japan intending to stay a year. Instead she fell in love with the culture, the food and a local farmer. Now — many years and three kids later — she lives on an organic farm in an 80-year-old traditional Japanese farmhouse. She writes about life, love and food in her cookbook "Japanese Farm Food."

Greendays Gardening Panel
Gardening is not just growing vegetables, pruning ornamentals or planting natives. Modern organic gardeners are trying to incorporate practices and aestheticism that works in any kind of garden. Our gardening panel is just the group to bring the ideas together this week and every week on KUOW. They answer your gardening questions live at 10:40 a.m. Call 206.543.5869 or email weekday@kuow.org.

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