5 years on from the tsunami

On March 11th 2016, it was exactly five years since the earthquake and tsunami devastated Japan's northern coast. To mark this anniversary, this March at Inside Japan Tours is all about Tohoku: looking back on its troubles, celebrating its charms, and taking stock of how far the region has come in the past five years.

To read all about this beautiful region, including first-hand accounts of the disaster and recovery, visit our dedicated tsunami page:

The Japan Tsunami 5 Years On

Latest News

  • Thursday, 8th December 2016
    In General Japan News,

    Abe to become first Japanese leader to visit Pearl Harbor

    Japanese prime minister Shinzo Abe has made the historic decision to visit Pearl Harbor, the site of the attack that brought Japan and the US into World War Two. This announcement came on Monday (December 5th), just days before the 75th anniversary of the event on December 7th.

    Abe will be the first sitting Japanese leader to ever visit Pearl Harbor, although he has stressed that he will not be there to make an apology. Instead, he will make the visit in order to "pay tribute" to the soldiers and civilians on both sides who died in the conflict.

    Speaking to reporters, he said: "We must never repeat the tragedy of the war. I would like to send this commitment. At the same time, I would like to send a message of reconciliation between Japan and the US."

    Abe's visit will happen as part of a summit with US president Barack Obama; the last meeting the two will have before the end of Obama's second term. The two leaders have had a good relationship and fostered a spirit of forgiveness for World War Two that had not previously been seen.

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  • Thursday, 8th December 2016
    In General Japan News, Business In Japan,

    Could Japan become the next gambling powerhouse?

    A long-established ban on casinos in Japan could soon be lifted, opening the doors to widespread gambling throughout the country.

    The issue of whether or not to legalise casinos has been debated in Japan for years, with many believing concerns over gambling addiction and possible involvement of organised crime groups outweighing any benefits.

    Now, a controversial bill has been tabled and it took just 15 minutes to be passed through the lower house, despite several members walking out in protest prior to casting a vote.

    The legislation just needs to be agreed by the upper house in order to come into effect and it is thought this is also likely to be a swift process.

    Prime minister Shinzo Abe’s Liberal Democratic Party (LDP) controls the upper house and has been a long-time supporter of casinos since coming to power.

    He believes they could be the answer to boosting the economy, attracting investment in the country and supporting tourism.

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  • Friday, 2nd December 2016
    In General Japan News, Business In Japan, General Japan News,

    Japanese scientists become first in Asia to name element

    Japan already has many accolades to its name, but recently it has added to these by being the first Asian country to name a chemical element. The substance - nihonium - was synthesised for the first time ever by a team of scientists from Japan's Riken research institute in 2004, giving the researchers permission to name it.

    This was formally endorsed by the International Union of Pure and Applied Chemistry (IUPAC) on Monday (28th November), along with three other elements: moscovium, tennessine and oganesson. These were named by teams from the US and Russia.

    Nihonium - named after the Japanese word for Japan, as covered here - has an atomic number of 113, which means its nucleus contains 113 protons. It does not occur naturally, as it is highly radioactive and decays extremely quickly.

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  • Thursday, 1st December 2016
    In General Japan News, Business In Japan, General Japan News, Japan Entertainment News,

    Japanese Murakami fans poised for February release of new novel

    Fans of the internationally renowned novelist, Haruki Murakami, have been given some exciting news, with the release date for his next book announced.

    The newest novel will be on sale in Japan in February, according to Shinchosha Publishing C, which prints the books.

    Other than this, information on the release, including an exact date, what the theme of the novel and its title will be, is still scarce.

    The announcement was made on the publisher’s website yesterday (November 30th) with a picture of two blank books and the words: “Haruki Murakami’s new novel coming soon in February 2017.”

    Murakami himself has given little away, although he did describe the upcoming work as a very strange story when he recently spoke at an event in Denmark.

    The writer was visiting the country to receive the Hans Christian Andersen Literature Award, which shows his wide-reaching appeal outside of his homeland.

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