Japan

9:20am

Thu May 17, 2012
The Two-Way

Good News, Bad News: Japanese Economy Surges, But Likely Will Slow

In a classic example of "on the one hand, on the other hand" economic analysis, the word that Japan's economy grew at a strong 4.1 percent annual rate in the first quarter is being followed by cautionary talk of slower growth for the world's third-largest economy in coming quarters.

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2:41pm

Wed May 16, 2012
Asia

U.S. Forces In Australia Draw Mixed Reaction

Originally published on Wed May 16, 2012 5:34 pm

U.S. Marines are shown during a training exercise south of Darwin, Australia. Marines recently arrived in Australia as part of a move by the U.S. to place greater emphasis on Asia and the Pacific.
Glenn Campbell The Sydney Morning Herald/Fairfax Media via Getty Images

Since a small contingent of Marines landed in the northern port town of Darwin last month, the U.S. has shown greater interest in using Australian military facilities as part of a larger effort to refocus its military capabilities in Southeast Asia and the western Pacific.

"We have no better ally or friend in the world than Australia, and we have no area in the world which is as important or dynamic over the next 50 years as the Asia Pacific," says Jeffrey Bleich, the U.S. ambassador to Australia.

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6:58am

Tue May 15, 2012
The Two-Way

'Biggest Public Toilet In The World' Now Good To Go In Japan

The biggest public toilet in the world, officials claim. The flowers and plants will be put in the ground after the soil has settled properly, according to The Japan Times.
Ichihara City

It's only for women — and only for one woman at a time, it seems.

But officials in Ichihara City, Japan, claim they've created the "biggest public toilet in the world."

As The Japan Times reports, outside the city's train station there's now a fenced-in, "200-sq.-meter plot of land" with flowers, plants, pathways and — "smack in the middle" — a toilet enclosed in a glass box.

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12:55am

Thu May 10, 2012
Asia

After The Quake, Japanese Shop For Survival

Originally published on Thu May 10, 2012 2:48 am

Store manager Naoto Higashi models a helmet, a fully stocked kit in his backpack, and a windup flashlight. Such items have become popular in Japan following last year's huge earthquake and tsunami.
Lucy Craft for NPR

Walk into any large Japanese retailer nowadays, and you might think Japan had become a nation of survivalists.

Aeon, a Wal-Mart-like chain of stores, devotes a sizable chunk of floor space to something called bosai-yohin, or "disaster-protection gear."

Naoto Higashi, a manager at one of the Tokyo stores, demonstrates some of their best-sellers, flashlights that have become the Swiss Army knives of anti-earthquake gear.

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3:18am

Mon April 30, 2012
Business

The Last Word In Business

Originally published on Mon April 30, 2012 5:42 am

The structure will open in Tokyo next month. The building is nothing but a tower of steel and concrete — no offices, no apartments.

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