A tale of two visits: Kishida and Xi tread starkly different paths on Ukraine

One voiced his anger as he saw first firsthand the destruction caused by Russia’s invasion. The other toasted a close friendship with Moscow

On Tuesday, Japan’s prime minister laid a wreath for the dead outside a church in the blasted Ukrainian town of Bucha, while 800km away in Moscow Xi Jinping was treated to an opulent state dinner by Vladimir Putin, underscoring the division in Asia over Russia’s invasion.

The first Japanese leader to visit a country in conflict since the second world war, Kishida toured Bucha, a town that has become synonymous with Russian brutality, and where the mayor has said more than 400 civilians were killed.

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Xi invites Putin to China in show of support as Moscow talks continue

Chinese and Russian leaders to discuss Ukraine in formal talks after friendly dinner, while Fumio Kishida meets Volodymyr Zelenskiy in Kyiv

Xi Jinping has invited Vladimir Putin to visit China this year in a symbolic show of support after the international criminal court issued an arrest warrant for Russia’s president over accusations of unlawfully deporting Ukrainian children.

The Chinese leader extended the invitation during a meeting on Tuesday morning with the Russian prime minister, Mikhail Mishustin, as part of his state visit to Moscow.

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You could cook while on the toilet: a night in one of Tokyo’s micro-apartments

The tiny homes, which measure just nine square metres – or three tatami mats – are the architectural answer to rising rents

It is one of the shortest viewings in estate agency history. As soon as the door opens, every inch of living space except the sleeping quarters is visible.

A tiny genkan entryway, which could nearly accommodate three pairs of shoes, leads to a shower cubicle on the right with just enough room to swing a sponge, next to a toilet that – door left open – one could occupy while just about rustling up dinner in a kitchenette 50cm away on the other side of the “corridor”.

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North Korea continues run of weapons tests with ballistic missile launch

Firing of short-range weapon comes as the US and South Korea stage major military drills

North Korea fired a short-range ballistic missile, Seoul’s military has said, in the fourth such weapons test in a week, which comes as South Korea and the United States stage major military drills.

“Our military detected one short-range ballistic missile fired from around the Tongchang-ri area in North Pyongan province at 11.05 am towards the East Sea,” South Korea’s joint chiefs of staff said on Sunday, referring to the body of water also known as the Sea of Japan.

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Tokyo citizens hand in record ¥3.99bn of lost cash

Police department says it has returned almost ¥3bn to owners, while ¥480m has gone to finders

The honest citizens of Tokyo handed in a record ¥3.99bn (£24.5m) in lost cash to police last year – an average of more than £67,000 a day.

Japan’s national police agency said the amount was up ¥600m from the previous year, and beat the previous high of ¥3.84bn declared at police stations across the capital in 2019.

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Yoon arrives in Japan for historic talks with Kishida – and beloved omurice

Leaders expected to use first summit since 2011 to address Japan’s use of Korean forced labour, as well as threats posed by North Korea and China

Yoon Suk Yeol will be treated to his favourite dish – omelette rice – when he becomes the first South Korean president to visit Japan in more than a decade on Thursday, as hopes rise for an end to years of animosity between the north-east Asian neighbours.

Given that the menu for official dinners has been a diplomatic flashpoint between the two countries, efforts by Yoon’s hosts to accommodate his palate are evidence of the recent thaw in relations, as regional tensions rise over North Korean missiles and Chinese military activity.

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Japanese man granted retrial after 45 years on death row

Iwao Hakamada, 87, was convicted of four murders in 1968 but granted ‘temporary release’ in 2014 after new evidence emerged

A court in Japan has granted a retrial to a man – thought to be the world’s longest-serving death row inmate – who was sentenced to hang for the murders of a family of four almost six decades ago.

The Tokyo high court ruled on Monday that Iwao Hakamada, 87, should be tried again for the crimes in a decision campaigners said was a “step towards justice”.

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Arrests made after wave of ‘sushi terrorism’ upends Japan’s restaurant industry

Reports of deliberately unhygienic behaviour have risen in recent weeks, including an incident in which a diner drunk from a soy sauce bottle

Police in Japan have made several arrests after the country’s multibillion dollar revolving sushi industry was rocked by a spate of “sushi terrorism”, including a case in which a customer wiped saliva on food destined for other diners.

The Kyodo news agency reported on Thursday that three people – all part of the same group of diners – had been arrested on suspicion of forcible obstruction of business.

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Japan’s next-generation H3 rocket self-destructs after liftoff due to engine failure – video

Japan's H3 rocket, branded a possible competitor to SpaceX's Falcon 9, self-destructed after liftoff when its second-stage engine apparently failed. It is the second H3 failure for Japan's space agency, Jaxa, after the rocket failed to leave the launchpad in a previous attempt in February. Footage taken from Jaxa's livestream shows Tuesday's launch from the Tanegashima space centre in south-western Japan. The launch initially appeared to be a success, with the rocket lifting off and the first-stage separation appearing to go as planned. Moments later, the livestream was paused before operators announced they had ordered the rocket to self-destruct.

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‘Sushi terrorism’ sees Japan’s conveyor belt restaurants grind to a halt

Chains across the country have taken action after viral videos showed people licking communal bottles and touching passing food

Could “sushi terrorism” forever change the way millions of diners in Japan eat their country’s signature dish?

The carefree days of hi-tech sushi dining – in which customers take plates directly from a conveyor belt – appear to be over, as restaurant chains scramble in response to a spate of hygiene incidents caused by badly behaved clientele.

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Japan’s H3 rocket fails after liftoff in second mission attempt

Next-generation rocket, which Jaxa space agency hopes can compete against SpaceX Falcon, blows itself up after engine failure

Japan’s next-generation H3 rocket has self-destructed after liftoff when its second-stage engine apparently failed.

The mission was to launch an observation satellite. The rocket has been mooted as a possible competitor to SpaceX’s Falcon 9.

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Biden hails ‘groundbreaking’ South Korean plan to compensate victims of Japan’s forced labour

Victims groups criticise compensation deal which aims to resolve a disagreement that has long frustrated ties between Seoul and Tokyo

South Korea said that its companies would compensate people forced to work under Japan’s 1910-1945 occupation of Korea, in a bid to improve poor relations that have impeded trade and cooperation between the two countries for generations.

The disagreements over labour and women forced into Japanese military brothels have bedevilled ties between the two pivotal US allies for years, but South Korean president Yoon Suk-yeol has made a push to repair the relationship.

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Japan’s top ad agency indicted over Olympics bid-rigging scandal

Dentsu Group charged after arrest of Tokyo 2020 committee official accused of rigging Games-related tenders

Japan’s biggest advertising agency and five other companies have been indicted for allegedly violating an anti-monopoly law, in a corruption scandal over allegations of bid-rigging during the Tokyo Olympics.

The indictment followed the arrest this month of a senior Tokyo 2020 organising committee official and three others who were accused of rigging a string of Olympic Games-related tenders.

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Japan baffled by iron ball washed up on beach – video report

Police are inspecting a large iron ball that washed up on a beach in Japan, but authorities have said they do not know what it is – only that it is not about to explode. Police began inspecting the ball, which is orangey-brown with what appear to be darker patches of rust, after a local woman spotted it resting on the sand metres from the shore while she was out for a walk earlier this week, Asahi TV reported. There are no indications, either, that it was involved in espionage by nearby North Korea or China

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China and Japan meet for formal security talks to stabilise tensions

Officials meet in Tokyo to discuss concerns at China’s cooperation with Russia and Japan’s military buildup

Chinese and Japanese officials met in Tokyo on Wednesday for formal security talks for the first time in four years, in a meeting aimed at stabilising increasingly strained relations.

In Japan’s national security strategy, released in December, China was described as “the greatest strategic challenge” to Japan’s peace and security.

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