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Japan in 2015: The Year’s Top Stories

Security legislation passes amid protests, Prime Minister Abe Shinzō makes a statement to mark the seventieth anniversary of the ending of World War II, and Japanese hostages are killed in Syria. A look back on the biggest Japan-related stories of 2015.
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Timeline for August 2015

Prime Minister Abe Shinzō marks the seventieth anniversary of the end of World War II with his formal statement, the first nuclear plant restarts since all plants shut down nearly two years ago, and the largest demonstration to date against new security legislation takes place outside the National Diet in Tokyo. These are the top Japanese news stories for August 2015.
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Getting Serious About International TourismNagai Tomomi

With the 2020 Olympics approaching, the Abe government has laid out ambitious plans to turn Japan into one of the world’s top tourist destinations. What will it take for this island country to triple tourist arrivals over the next 15 years?
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Tokyo Holds Steady at Fourth in World Ranking

On October 9, the Mori Memorial Foundation released its Global Power City Index, an annual ranking of 40 of the world’s top metropolises. The 2014 report saw the top four positions remain unchanged from the previous year, with London leading, followed by New York, Paris, and then Tokyo at fourth. The Japanese capital has remained in the number-four position for seven consecutive years, starting in…
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Celebrating 50 Years Since the Tokyo Olympics: Reflections and Thoughts for the FutureFukiura Tadamasa

The opening ceremony of the 1964 Tokyo Summer Olympics, the eighteenth Olympiad, took place on October 10. Under the Olympic charter, the duty of declaring the games officially open falls to the head of state of the host country. On request from International Olympic Committee President Avery Brundage, Emperor Hirohito officially declared the Tokyo Games open, reverently addressing the athletes an…
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LA 1932: Japan’s Breakout OlympicsRichard Medhurst

In October, Japan will celebrate the fiftieth anniversary of the 1964 Summer Olympics in Tokyo, the first hosted by the nation. It is less well known that the capital was first due to hold the games in 1940. Although ultimately it would forfeit this opportunity after the outbreak of war with China in 1937, Japan’s goal of hosting the Olympics was one reason why it sent such a large team to Los Ang…
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Closing the Gates on Japan’s Symbolic National StadiumJames Singleton

Now that the excitement of Tokyo being chosen to host the 2020 Summer Olympics and Paralympics has begun to fade, it’s time for planners to get down to the nitty-gritty of preparing for the games. Ironically, this means flattening one of the most enduring symbols of the 1964 Tokyo Olympics, the Kasumigaoka National Stadium. At the end of May, the national stadium will close its gates for the last…
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Timeline for February 2014

Japanese athletes experience success and disappointment in Sochi; a new governor defeats antinuclear candidates to win election in Tokyo; and record snowfall brings chaos to parts of Japan. Look back on the top Japanese news stories of February 2014.
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Legendary 41-year-old Powers Japan’s Ski Jumping RevivalYanai Yumiko

The thrilling competition at the Sochi Winter Olympics has drawn to a close. Japan’s Olympic team ended up with one gold, four silver, and three bronze medals; this is the highest total medal count for any Winter Olympics held outside of Japan. The return to form of the country’s ski jumpers was particularly encouraging: Japan’s jumpers earned medals for the first time since the 1998 Nagano Olympi…
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Asada Mao’s Skating Comeback Wins HeartsYanai Yumiko

The moment her performance finished, Asada Mao looked up and burst into tears. Then, in the midst of thunderous applause, she gave a little nod and with a beaming smile lifted her hands to the crowd. Asada’s poor showing in the short program on the first day of the ladies’ single skating event in Sochi had left her well behind the field in sixteenth place. She bounced back in the following day’…
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