Floating Christmas tree in northern port of Japan

snow train
NHK WORLD DAILY NEWS — A huge floating Christmas tree is attracting visitors to a historic warehouse area in the northern Japanese port city of Hakodate….After being decorated with 36,000 miniature bulbs at Hakodate port, the tree was loaded onto a transport vessel by crane on Monday. It was taken to a seaside tourist spot lined with red-brick warehouses….
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Japan Wants Gas Field Dispute With China Resolved

Japan’s Koizumi Wants Gas Field Dispute With China ResolvedBloomberg.com: Japan
Japan’s Prime Minister Junichiro Koizumi told Chinese Premier Wen Jiabao that China’s development of a gas field near Japanese waters is a problem that needs to be solved,….
….China and Japan are at odds over islands in the East China Sea near possible undersea energy reserves. China is developing a gas field in the area and Japan is concerned its share of the fuel could be siphoned off. Tensions escalated after a Chinese submarine entered Japan’s waters earlier this month.

Japanese Troops to Hide behind British For Protection in Iraq

Scotsman.com News – Latest News – Japanese Troops Look to British for Protection
….Japan’s Cabinet is likely to decide next week whether to extend its humanitarian mission in Iraq, the foreign minister said today….
…The Japanese base in Samawah, set up early this year, has been protected so far by a contingent of Dutch soldiers. The Netherlands, however, plans to withdraw its troops in March, meaning Tokyo will need to find new protectors. Defence Agency chief Yoshinori Ono said today that Tokyo would look to Britain for possible assistance….

Whale Meat Back On The Menu In Japanese Schools. 30/11/2004. Abc News Online

erved whale meat
Whale meat back on the menu in Japanese schools. 30/11/2004. ABC News Online
….Elementary and junior high school students in the south-western Wakayama Prefecture will be served whale meat twice a month starting in January…..

Gas prices cut in Japan

Bloomberg.com: Japan
Japan Energy Corp. and Cosmo Oil Ltd., Japan’s third- and fifth-biggest refiners, joined Nippon Oil Corp. and Idemitsu Kosan Co. in reducing wholesale prices for gasoline and other fuels in December as crude oil costs decline.
Japan Energy will cut prices by 2.4 yen (2 cents) a liter in December from November, Masanori Takata, a spokesman at the Tokyo- based refiner, said in a telephone interview today. Cosmo Oil will lower them by 2.2 yen a liter for the first half of December….

Yomiuri Giants consider day games

Daily Yomiuri On-Line
….The Yomiuri Giants are considering hosting day games on Sundays at Tokyo Dome next season for the first time in 14 years, an official of the Central League club said Monday.
Giants representative Hidetoshi Kiyotake said the plan is aimed at bringing back the younger fans to the stadium.
“This is just one idea in getting the kids back to the ballpark,” Kiyotake said. “Even on Sundays, the children usually have to leave by nine or so.”….

Japan’s New Mad-Cow Tracking System

Japan’s beef-tracking system to include retailers, restaurants
….Under the system, domestically grown cows and those imported live are each given a 10-digit registration number with which consumers can trace the background of the cow via the Internet.
…Japan introduced the system in December last year, after mad cow disease appeared in Japan in September 2001, hoping it would help improve management in the beef industry, prevent the disease from spreading, and restore consumer confidence.

Condom Sales Shrivel As Japan Logs Onto Cyber Porn : Hindustantimes.com

Condom sales shrivel as Japan logs onto cyber porn : HindustanTimes.com
….as a passion for the Internet leads the Japanese to choose unprotected sex, if any sex at all, the nation’s largest condom manufacturer said ahead of World Aids Day on Wednesday.
Domestic shipments have shriveled 43 percent from the peak in 1980 of 737 million to just 419 million condoms in 2003…

Yen ‘moves a bit too rapid’ — Japanese Finance Minister

Latest Forex News – FXstreet.com
Tanigaki says ‘current forex moves a bit too rapid’, Japan’s economy adjusting TOKYO (AFX) – Japanese Finance Minister Sadakazu Tanigaki believes the yen’s recent rise against the US dollar has been too rapid, raising the possibility Japanese authorities may intervene in the currency market to staunch a further advance…

Japanese “Soapland” is good for the heart

Prevent Disease.com – Saunas Linked to Improved Heart Health
Saunas Linked to Improved Heart Health
NEW YORK (Reuters Health) – Regular saunas may improve blood flow to the heart and prevent heart disease, according to Japanese researchers.
The benefits of repeated sauna therapy are similar to those of exercise, lead author Dr. Chuwa Tei of Kagoshima University in Japan, told Reuters Health. But saunas have an advantage, he added, because they can be used to treat people who have trouble walking and they do not overload the heart…..