Category: japan


A man suspected of carrying out a frenzied knife attack that left a Japanese pop singer in critical condition allegedly told police he had been angered by her refusal to accept a gift he sent her.

Tomohiro Iwazaki was arrested after allegedly stabbing Mayu Tomita more than 20 times in the neck, chest, arms and back while she was waiting to go onstage in Tokyo at the weekend.

It emerged on Monday that police had not acted in response to complaints Tomita made earlier in May about being stalked online by her assailant, even though she was able to provide them with his name and address.

Police were still trying to confirm if Iwazaki was behind inappropriate messages to sent to the singer, according to Kyodo news agency, and did not report the allegations to its stalking unit after officers concluded an assault was not imminent.

Tomita, a 20-year-old university student who has launched a promising career as a pop singer and actor, was in critical condition after the attack on Saturday.

The 27-year-old suspect said Tomita had angered him by returning a gift he sent her without explaining why, police alleged. “I sent her a gift, but it was returned,” Kyodo quoted him as telling investigators. “I asked her why, but she gave an evasive answer, so I became mad and stabbed her numerous times.”

The singer reportedly complained to police weeks ago that Iwazaki had been posting “obsessive” comments about her on Twitter and other social media sites.

Tomita was about to perform at a small concert venue in the Japanese capital when, according to police, Iwazaki “ambushed” her.

Police arrested him moments later and retrieved a knife from the scene.

It is not unusual for female pop singers in Japan to appear at meet-and-greet events for the public and to perform at smaller, more intimate, concert venues.

Satoru Umeta, a 24-year-old unemployed man, was arrested in May 2014 after attacking two teenage members of the hugely popular girl band AKB48 with a saw at a public event.

Rina Kawaei and Anna Iriyama needed hospital treatment for fractures to their hands and cuts on their arms and heads.

Source: Japanese pop star in critical condition after knife attack by fan | World news | The Guardian

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BEIJING — Foreign Minister Fumio Kishida raised the issue of the South China Sea during talks in Beijing with his Chinese counterpart, Wang Yi, in the wake of China’s increasing activities in those waters, such as the construction of artificial islands.

Although Kishida’s comments on Saturday brought strong opposition from the Chinese side, the Japanese and Chinese governments likely shared the desire to prevent further deterioration in their relationship. Both sides also tried to highlight positive efforts to improve their relations.

Anticipating China’s strong opposition in the meeting, Kishida also mentioned the issue of the East China Sea, where Chinese vessels have frequently intruded into Japan’s territorial waters around the Senkaku Islands, according to sources.

Wang repeated his country’s official stance on the issues, but Kishida told him: “Even a bureaucrat can speak only of official stances. You are the foreign minister, so you should state the differences in our official positions and then propose what to do about them.”

The Japanese government is focusing on the situation in the South China Sea because the area is an important sea lane for Japan to import crude oil and natural gas from Middle Eastern countries. If the situation becomes unstable as territorial disputes intensify between China and other coastal countries, it could affect Japan’s economy.

Source: Japan in Depth / Kishida pushes China by raising maritime issues – The Japan News

The Maritime Self-Defense Force warship Ise sailed into a Philippine port near disputed South China Sea waters on Tuesday in another sign of deepening security ties between the World War II foes.

Tensions in the South China Sea — through which one-third of the world’s oil passes — have mounted in recent years since China transformed contested reefs into artificial islands capable of supporting military facilities.

The Ise, a helicopter carrier that Japan describes as a “helicopter destroyer,” docked in Subic Bay while on a “navigational training” mission, her captain said.

It marked the second time in just over three weeks that a MSDF vessel has visited Subic, a former major U.S. naval base that lies around 200 km from a Chinese-controlled shoal.

“We want to deepen the relationship with the Philippines,” the Ise’s skipper, Capt. Masaki Takada, told reporters, who were given a tour of the vessel.

Takada declined to say whether the Ise had been in contact with Chinese naval vessels during its voyage.

Source: Japan warship MSDF vessel visits Philippines as China sea row festers | The Japan Times

Communities that experienced strong earthquakes or floods in recent years, ranging from the Tohoku region to Niigata to Kobe, are taking quick action to support Kumamoto Prefecture and surrounding areas that have been hit by strong, deadly temblors since Thursday night.

These communities want to lend a helping hand not only with supplies but also knowhow based on their own quake experiences.

Sendai, which was hit by the March 2011 Great East Japan Earthquake, on Saturday night sent trucks loaded with rice, paper diapers and other vital supplies to the city of Kumamoto. It also dispatched two officials.

“After the quake, we received help from Kumamoto. I hope we can repay them for their kindness,” said Satoru Hirabuki, a 36-year-old official in charge of Sendai’s crisis management.

Japanese Red Cross Ishinomaki Hospital in Ishinomaki, Miyagi Prefecture, acted on its own to send a team of 15 doctors and nurses to the city of Kumamoto on Saturday, based on its experience of supporting disaster-hit areas in the March 2011 earthquake.

“Local medical experts are also victims of the quakes. But we have to race against time, and we want to support them from an early stage,” one of the Ishinomaki doctors said.

The city of Nagaoka, Niigata Prefecture, which was hit by the Niigata Chuetsu Earthquake in 2004, sent a team of six officials Saturday to the disaster-hit regional governments in Kyushu. The team will instruct on how to send out information to residents in efforts to lessen their worries and advise the regional governments about managing evacuation shelters.

The team brought along four cardboard cubicles for women to change clothes and breast-feed babies.

“I’m happy if the rooms improve the environment at the evacuation shelters,” said Machio Adashi, president of the company that produced the cubicles.

Source: Tohoku, Kobe, other areas hit by past quakes quick to send aid, staff to help temblor-struck Kumamoto | The Japan Times

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