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Posts tagged ‘Poilace Vivid’

Japanese roots of Nobel winner Kazuo Ishiguro celebrated

October 06, 2017

TOKYO (AP) — Nobel literature laureate Kazuo Ishiguro left Japan at the age of 5, but some in the country of his birthplace are celebrating his roots. Ishiguro’s former kindergarten teacher in Nagasaki said it’s like a dream come true. Teruko Tanaka recalled to Japan’s Kyodo News service that he was a quiet boy who liked to read books.

Ishiguro was born in Nagasaki but raised and educated in England. He was awarded the Nobel Prize on Thursday. Nagasaki Mayor Tomihisa Taue said he is proud that the city has a Nobel Prize winner who has kept Nagasaki close to his heart. Ishiguro’s first novel describes the city soon after the U.S. atomic bomb attack in 1945.

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South Korea says natural North Korea earthquake detected

September 23, 2017

SEOUL, South Korea (AP) — South Korea’s weather agency said a magnitude 3.0 earthquake was detected in North Korea on Saturday around where the country recently conducted a nuclear test, but it assessed the quake as natural.

The quake was detected in an area around Kilju, in northeastern North Korea, about 20 kilometers (12 miles) southeast of where the North conducted its sixth and most powerful nuclear test on Sept. 3, according to an official from Seoul’s Korea Meteorological Administration.

China’s official Xinhua News Agency said earlier that the country’s seismic service detected a magnitude 3.4 quake in North Korea and saw the likely cause as an explosion. But the official from the South Korean agency said the analysis of seismic waves and the lack of sound waves clearly showed that the quake wasn’t caused by an artificial explosion. She spoke on condition of anonymity, citing office rules.

While there was media speculation that the earthquake may have been caused by the collapse of a tunnel weakened by this month’s nuclear test, another Korea Meteorological Administration official, who also didn’t want to be named, said the agency sees such possibilities as low.

The U.S. Geological Survey said that it detected a magnitude 3.5 quake in the area of previous North Korean nuclear tests, but that it was unable to confirm whether the event was natural. North Korea’s weakest nuclear test, its first one, conducted in 2006, generated a magnitude 4.3 quake. The USGS measured this month’s nuclear test at magnitude 6.3. The latest test was followed by a second magnitude 4.1 quake that some experts said could have been caused by a tunnel collapsing after the explosion.

North Korea has been maintaining a torrid pace in nuclear and weapons tests as it accelerates its pursuit of nuclear weapons that could viably target the United States and its allies in Asia. North Korea said its recent nuclear test was a detonation of a thermonuclear weapon built for its developmental intercontinental ballistic missiles. In two July flight tests, those missiles showed potential capability to reach deep into the U.S. mainland when perfected.

Defiant N. Korea leader says he will complete nuke program

September 16, 2017

SEOUL, South Korea (AP) — North Korean leader Kim Jong Un said his country is nearing its goal of “equilibrium” in military force with the United States, as the United Nations Security Council strongly condemned the North’s “highly provocative” ballistic missile launch over Japan on Friday.

The North’s official Korean Central News Agency carried Kim’s comments on Saturday — a day after U.S. and South Korean militaries detected the missile launch from the North Korean capital of Pyongyang.

It traveled 3,700 kilometers (2,300 miles) as it passed over the Japanese island of Hokkaido before landing in the northern Pacific Ocean. It was the country’s longest-ever test flight of a ballistic missile.

The North has confirmed the missile as an intermediate range Hwasong-12, the same model launched over Japan on Aug. 29. Under Kim’s watch, North Korea has maintained a torrid pace in weapons tests, including its most powerful nuclear test to date on Sept. 3 and two July flight tests of intercontinental ballistic missiles that could strike deep into the U.S. mainland when perfected.

The increasingly frequent and aggressive tests have added to outside fears that the North is closer than ever to building a military arsenal that could viably target the U.S. and its allies in Asia. The tests, which could potentially make launches over Japan an accepted norm, are also seen as North Korea’s attempt to win greater military freedom in the region and raise doubts in Seoul and Tokyo that Washington would risk the annihilation of a U.S. city to protect them.

The KCNA said Kim expressed great satisfaction over the launch, which he said verified the “combat efficiency and reliability” of the missile and the success of efforts to increase its power. While the English version of the report was less straightforward, the Korean version quoted Kim as declaring the missile as operationally ready. He vowed to complete his nuclear weapons program in the face of strengthening international sanctions, the agency said.

Photos published by North Korea’s state media showed the missile being fired from a truck-mounted launcher and a smiling Kim clapping and raising his fist while celebrating from an observation point. It was the first time North Korea showed the missile being launched directly from a vehicle, which experts said indicated confidence about the mobility and reliability of the system. In previous tests, North Korea used trucks to transport and erect the Hwasong-12s, but moved the missiles on separate firing tables before launching them.

The U.N. Security Council accused North Korea of undermining regional peace and security by launching its latest missile over Japan and said its nuclear and missile tests “have caused grave security concerns around the world” and threaten all 193 U.N. member states.

Kim also said the country, despite “limitless” international sanctions, has nearly completed the building of its nuclear weapons force and called for “all-state efforts” to reach the goal and obtain a “capacity for nuclear counterattack the U.S. cannot cope with.”

“As recognized by the whole world, we have made all these achievements despite the U.N. sanctions that have lasted for decades,” the agency quoted Kim as saying. Kim said the country’s final goal “is to establish the equilibrium of real force with the U.S. and make the U.S. rulers dare not talk about military option for the DPRK,” referring to North Korea’s official name, the Democratic People’s Republic of Korea.

He indicated that more missile tests would be forthcoming, saying that all future drills should be “meaningful and practical ones for increasing the combat power of the nuclear force” to establish an order in the deployment of nuclear warheads for “actual war.”

Prior to the launches over Japan, North Korea had threatened to fire a salvo of Hwasong-12s toward Guam, the U.S. Pacific island territory and military hub the North has called an “advanced base of invasion.”

The Security Council stressed in a statement after a closed-door emergency meeting that all countries must “fully, comprehensively and immediately” implement all U.N. sanctions. Japan’s U.N. Ambassador Koro Bessho called the missile launch an “outrageous act” that is not only a threat to Japan’s security but a threat to the whole world.

Bessho and the British, French and Swedish ambassadors demanded that all sanctions be implemented. Calling the latest launch a “terrible, egregious, illegal, provocative reckless act,” Britain’s U.N. Ambassador Matthew Rycroft said North Korea’s largest trading partners and closest links — a clear reference to China — must “demonstrate that they are doing everything in their power to implement the sanctions of the Security Council and to encourage the North Korean regime to change course.”

France’s Foreign Ministry said in a statement that the country is ready to work on tougher U.N. and EU measures to convince Pyongyang that there is no interest in an escalation, and to bring it to the negotiating table.

Friday’s launch followed North Korea’s sixth nuclear test on Sept. 3 in what it described as a detonation of a thermonuclear weapon built for its developmental ICBMs. The Hwasong-12 and the Hwasong-14 were initially fired at highly lofted angles to reduce their range and avoid neighboring countries. The two Hwasong-12 launches over Japan indicate North Korea is moving toward using angles close to operational to evaluate whether its warheads can survive the harsh conditions of atmospheric re-entry and detonate properly.

While some experts believe North Korea would need to conduct more tests to confirm Hwasong-12’s accuracy and reliability, Kim Jong Un’s latest comments indicate the country would soon move toward mass producing the missiles for operational deployment, said Kim Dong-yub, an analyst at Seoul’s Institute for Far Eastern Studies. He also said that the North is likely planning similar test launches of its Hwasong-14 ICBM.

South Korean President Moon Jae-in, a liberal who initially pushed for talks with North Korea, said its tests currently make dialogue “impossible.” “If North Korea provokes us or our allies, we have the strength to smash the attempt at an early stage and inflict a level of damage it would be impossible to recover from,” said Moon, who ordered his military to conduct a live-fire ballistic missile drill in response to the North Korean launch.

Lederer reported from the United Nations.

Japan’s Abe faces new challenge as he calls snap election

September 28, 2017

TOKYO (AP) — A surge of popularity for a freshly minted opposition party in Japan is making Prime Minister Shinzo Abe’s decision to call a snap election look riskier than initially thought. Abe dissolved the lower house of parliament Thursday, setting the stage for an Oct. 22 vote.

The Party of Hope, launched earlier this week by Tokyo Gov. Yuriko Koike, may not dethrone Abe’s ruling Liberal Democratic Party but analysts say it could put a dent in the LDP’s majority. A major setback could derail Abe’s presumed hope to extend his rule for three more years at a party leadership meeting next year.

Minutes after the lower house dissolution, Abe made a fiery speech to party members. He said he is seeking a public mandate on his tough diplomatic and defense policies to deal with escalating threats from North Korea, and that party members would have to relay his message to win voter support during the campaign.

“This election is about how we protect Japan, the people’s lives and peaceful daily life,” Abe said. “The election is about the future of our children.” Abe’s decision to dissolve parliament is widely seen as an attempt to reconsolidate his hold on power within the LDP, after a series of scandals and missteps earlier this year. A big enough victory could help ensure his re-election as party leader in September 2018.

The move is not without risks, but analysts say the timing may be better now than later. The Democratic Party, the largest opposition group, is in disarray, and the sudden election gives the Party of Hope little time to organize candidates and a campaign strategy.

Media polls, though, show the new party off to a respectable start, though still trailing the LDP. Jeff Kingston, a professor at Temple University’s Japan Campus in Tokyo, called Koike’s new party a game changer.

“I think it is really bad news for Abe,” he said. “She doesn’t actually have to win, but she has to inflict a bloody nose on Abe … If her party does better than expected, expect the long knives to come out in the LDP, and Abe could be ushered to the exit.”

Koike, at a news conference, denied speculation that she might run for parliament herself. “I will stay in the city and put my energy to lead Tokyo’s preparations ahead of the upcoming Olympics and Paralympics,” she said.

Still, a relatively good showing by her party could allow it to influence Abe on policies such as constitutional change, an issue both politicians have an interest in, said Stephen Nagy, a professor at International Christian University in Tokyo.

Working in Abe’s favor, he said, are the LDP’s nationwide electoral organization and his handling of North Korea, which has sent two missiles over Japan in recent tests. “Another missile test would likely put him in the limelight further, casting a shadow on the Party of Hope’s policy credentials,” Nagy said.

The Democratic Party, whose predecessor party held power in 2009-2012, is splintering, and many members have defected to Koike’s party. Party leader Seiji Maehara said the Democrats would do whatever it takes to bring down the Abe government.

Lower house members all stood up and chanted “banzai” three times in a dissolution ritual, then rushed out of the assembly hall. The other chamber, the less-powerful upper house, will not be up for election but remain closed until parliament is reconvened after the vote.

AP journalist Richard Colombo contributed to this story.

Japan’s baby panda now has a name: Xiang Xiang, or fragrance

September 25, 2017

TOKYO (AP) — Japan’s baby panda now has a name: Xiang Xiang, or fragrance. Tokyo Gov. Yuriko Koike announced Monday that the 3-month-old giant panda is called Shan Shan in Japanese, or Xiang Xiang in Chinese.

The name, whose Chinese characters mean fragrance, was chosen from more than 320,000 suggestions and was approved by Chinese authorities. The Ueno Zoo in Tokyo says the panda is healthy and growing rapidly. She now weighs 6 kilograms (13 pounds) and measures 65 centimeters (26 inches) long, nearly twice as big as she was a month ago, according to the latest measurement marking the 100th day since birth.

Videos released last week showed the fluffy black-and-white cub crawling, and some teeth coming in. Xiang Xiang was born on June 12 to the zoo’s resident giant panda, Shin Shin.

US WWII vet returns Japanese flag to fallen soldier’s family

August 15, 2017

HIGASHISHIRAKAWA, Japan (AP) — The former U.S. Marine knew the calligraphy-covered flag he took from a fallen Japanese soldier 73 years ago was more than a keepsake of World War II. When Marvin Strombo finally handed the flag back to Sadao Yasue’s younger brother and sisters Tuesday, he understood what it really meant to them.

Tatsuya Yasue buried his face into the flag and smelled it, then he held Strombo’s hands and kissed them. His elder sister Sayoko Furuta, sitting in her wheelchair, covered her face with both hands and wept silently as Tatsuya placed the flag on her lap.

The flag is a treasure that will fill a deep void for Yasue’s family. The flag Strombo handed to Yasue’s siblings is the first trace of their brother. The Japanese authorities only gave them a wooden box containing a few rocks, a substitution for the remains that have never been found.

The flag’s white background is filled with signatures of 180 friends and neighbors in this tea-growing mountain village of Higashishirakawa, wishing Yasue’s safe return. “Good luck forever at the battlefield,” a message on it reads. Looking at the names and their handwriting, Tatsuya Yasue clearly recalls their faces and friendship with his brother.

“The flag will be our treasure,” Tatsuya Yasue, a younger brother of the fallen soldier, told the Associated Press at his 400-year-old house. The 89-year-old farmer says the return of the flag brings closure. “It’s like the war has finally ended and my brother can come out of the limbo.”

Yasue last saw his older brother alive the day before he left for the South Pacific in 1943. Tatsuya and two siblings had a small send-off picnic for the oldest brother outside his military unit over sushi and Japanese sweet mochi, which became their last meal together. At the end of the meeting, his brother lowered his voice, asking Tetsuya to take good care of their parents, as he would be sent to the Pacific islands, harsh battlegrounds where chances of survival were low.

A year later, the wooden box containing the stones arrived. Months after the war ended, the authorities told Yasue his brother died somewhere in the Marianas on July 18, 1944, at age 25. “That’s all we were told about my brother, and we could only imagine what might have happened,” he said. Yasue and his relatives wondered Sadao might have died at sea off Saipan. About 20 years ago, Yasue visited Saipan with his younger brother, imagining what their older brother might have gone through.

The only person who can provide some of those answers, Strombo, said he found Yasue’s body on the outskirts of Garapan when he got lost and ended up near the Japanese frontline. He told Yasue’s siblings that their brother likely died of a concussion from a mortar round. He told them that Sadao was lying on his left, peacefully as if he was sleeping, not in pain.

At least the flag and his story suggest Yasue died on the ground, which raises hopes of retrieving his remains. The remains of nearly half of 2.4 million Japanese war-dead overseas have yet to be found 72 years after the World War II ended. It’s a pressing issue as the bereaved families reach old age and memories fade.

Allied troops frequently took the flags from the bodies of their enemies as souvenirs. But to the Japanese bereaved families, they have a much deeper meaning, especially those, like Yasue, who never learned how their loved ones died and never received remains. Japanese government has requested auction sites to stop trading wartime signed flags.

Strombo had the flag hung in a glass-fronted gun cabinet in his home in Montana for years, a topic of conversation for visitors. He was in the battles of Saipan, Tarawa and Tinian, which chipped away at Japan’s control of islands in the Pacific and paved the way for U.S. victory.

In 2012, he was connected to an Oregon-based nonprofit Obon Society that helps U.S. veterans and their descendants return Japanese flags to the families of fallen soldiers. The group’s research traced it to the tea-growing village of 2,300 people in central Japan by analyzing family names.

China’s Xi looks to party congress to cement authority

August 16, 2017

BEIJING (AP) — China’s leaders have been holding an annual unofficial retreat at a beach resort ahead of a key fall Communist Party congress at which President Xi Jinping will launch his second five-year term as party chief and move to cement his status as China’s most powerful leader in decades.

Xi has been shoring up his authority and sidelining rivals, leaving him primed to install allies in top positions and press his agenda of tightened state control and muscular diplomacy. That appears to include a push to insert his thoughts on theoretical matters into the party constitution and further cultivate a burgeoning cult of personality.

Xi’s moves have also fueled speculation that he may be eyeing a third term as party chief, breaking with the two-term limit roughly established by his predecessors.

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