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Toward Safer Roads for Foreign Rental Car DriversJapan Data

The number of foreigners renting cars in Japan has surged in recent years. With the number of accidents involving foreign drivers increasing in popular tourist destinations, the Japanese government has set its sights on trying to curb car accidents.

Japan’s Emperor and Imperial FamilyJapan Glances

Japan’s imperial family has a long history, shading back into legend. The emperor today has a ceremonial role and performs numerous functions as a symbol of the state.

Dissolving the House of Representatives: A Powerful Political ToolJapan Data

The Japanese constitution gives the prime minister the authority to dissolve the House of Representatives, the more powerful of Japan’s two Diet chambers. It is among the premier’s greatest political powers, seen as a means of bringing pivotal agenda issues to a public vote.

A Thousand Cranes Take FlightRemarkable Recovery: The Modern History of Japan’s EnvironmentIshi Hiroyuki

The red-crowned crane has long been revered in Japan as an auspicious bird. Once the cranes could be found throughout the country, but overhunting in the early years of Japan’s modern era decimated their numbers until they disappeared altogether on the main island of Honshū. Fortunately, extensive conservation efforts have brought back the beloved bird from near extinction. Where at one point there were only 33 red-crowned cranes confirmed in Japan, there are now 1,800.

Fragmented Yamaguchi-gumi a Sign of Changing Yakuza TimesThe Yakuza Landscape Today

Japan’s biggest criminal organization, the Yamaguchi-gumi, has broken up into three groups. While this would once have heralded a likely gang war, tightened legislation has made it difficult for the yakuza to act, preserving a curious balance of power. In this unusual situation, fundamental rules of the yakuza world are crumbling.

Timeline for September 2017Japan Timeline

Prime Minister Abe dissolves the Diet, Tokyo Governor Koike launches a new national party, Princess Mako is informally engaged, and Kiryū Yoshihide runs 100 meters in under 10 seconds. These are the stories that made headlines in September 2017.

Ocean Child: Reappraising Ono Yōko’s AchievementsLegends: Japan’s Most Notable NamesKusumi Kiyoshi

For many years, Ono Yōko’s putative role in the breakup of the Beatles overshadowed her own achievements as an artist and activist. Now all that is changing. Art critic Kusumi Kiyoshi adds his own insights to the ongoing reappraisal of this much-misunderstood Japanese legend.

The Recovery of the Short-Tailed Albatross: A Preservation Success StoryRemarkable Recovery: The Modern History of Japan’s EnvironmentIshi Hiroyuki

Once believed to be extinct, the short-tailed albatross was rediscovered by meteorological observatory staff on the remote island of Torishima. The discovery set in motion extensive efforts to protect and preserve the species, led by a man who has dedicated his life to the project.

Timeline for August 2017Japan Timeline

North Korea fires a missile over Hokkaidō, Prime Minister Abe reshuffles his cabinet, and Toyota and Mazda enter a business and capital alliance. Look back at the major stories of August 2017.

School Backpacks on a Peace-Building Mission: Recycled “Randoseru” Support Afghan LiteracyGlobal Partnerships

Even after six years of hard wear, Japanese elementary school backpacks have a lot left to give, and they are giving it to the children of Afghanistan. Since 2004, the Japanese have donated more than 180,000 used randoseru to needy schoolchildren overseas under a program administered by the Japanese Organization for International Cooperation in Family Planning in partnership with chemicals manufacturer Kuraray.

Japanese CastlesJapan Glances

Many castles were built in Japan during the Warring States period (1467–1568), when regional leaders vied for power. Although a large number were destroyed in the centuries that followed, there are still several fine structures to visit today, including those that have been reconstructed.

The Short-Tailed Albatross: A Majestic Bird Driven to the Brink of ExtinctionRemarkable Recovery: The Modern History of Japan’s EnvironmentIshi Hiroyuki

Its trusting nature and lack of agility on the ground has long made the albatross easy prey for humans. Whole colonies were once massacred for their soft down feathers, driving the species to near-extinction. The first of a set of articles on this bird looks at the early, disastrous history of its interaction with the Japanese.

Mount FujiJapan Glances

An introduction to Japan’s iconic mountain that draws visitors from around the world for its main summer climbing season.

Prized Visitors or Pests? Learning to Live with Japan’s Wild GeeseRemarkable Recovery: The Modern History of Japan’s EnvironmentIshi Hiroyuki

The number of white-fronted geese increased 33-fold in half a century, but farmers saw them as a pest. A pioneering initiative in their largest wintering ground, Izunuma in Miyagi Prefecture, is helping geese and people to live side by side.

Abe Reshuffles Cabinet in Bid to Reverse Slumping ApprovalJapan Data

On August 3, 2017, Prime Minister Abe Shinzō reshuffled his cabinet for the third time since being reelected premier in 2014, replacing 13 of 19 incumbent ministers. Kōno Tarō was appointed as minister for foreign affairs and Onodera Itsunori was tapped for minister of defense. Noda Seiko returned to the cabinet, taking on the role of minister of internal affairs and communications.

Timeline for July 2017Japan Timeline

The Liberal Democratic Party loses heavily in the Tokyo Metropolitan Assembly election, Japan and the European Union reach a deal on a broad framework for an economic partnership agreement, and Okinoshima is named as a UNESCO World Heritage site. Here are the top Japan news stories for July 2017.

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