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Arrest over China-Japan 'poisoned dumplings' row

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Mar 30 Arrest over China-Japan 'poisoned dumplings' row (BBC)
  A man has been arrested in China accused of poisoning dumplings in a case which led to a diplomatic rift with Japan, state media reports. Temporary factory worker Lu Yueting, 36, allegedly put insecticide in some frozen dumplings because he was unhappy with his pay and colleagues.
Mar 30 'Doraemon' author's museum to feature 50,000 original drawings (Kyodo)
 A museum dedicated to the author who created "Doraemon" and other popular cartoon series will feature around 50,000 original drawings, the desk and other items the late cartoonist used as well as his cartoon characters, planners announced Monday. The Fujiko F. Fujio Museum is scheduled to open Sept. 3, 2011 in Kawasaki, Kanagawa Prefecture, the city where he spent more than three decades till his death in 1996. The three-story structure will have a total of around 5,500 square meters, according to an outline unveiled.
Mar 30 A fresh approach to Japanese food (Japan Times)
  Nicolas Soergel graciously brings two tiny plates to the table. They each contain three pinkish "umeboshi" (salted, dry plums), but those on one of the plates have been preserved for just one year; the ones on the other plate - whose skins are a little more wrinkled - are three years old. "Please savor the flavor of 'ume,'" he says in fluent Japanese. And sure enough, the older ones smell and taste subtly milder, though both kinds contain the same amount of salt. Hang on a minute. This is umeboshi - not wine or sake, over which people often compare the fragrance. Isn't it a bit strange to sniff at sour plums? Soergel nods, grinning.
Mar 30 For older travelers, cars replace hotels at bedtime (Yomiuri)
 The joys of traveling in this country usually are thought to center on sampling the local cuisine and relaxing in a spacious bath. But recently, an increasing number of people are traveling and sleeping in their cars parked in rest areas at popular destinations. Baby boomers and seniors account for a remarkably high number of travelers opting to sleep in their vehicles rather than in an inn or hotel.
Mar 29 Japan ready to strike food safety deal with China (Mainichi)
 Japan plans to make final arrangements with China for a bilateral deal on food safety, following the detention of a Chinese man suspected of involvement in poisoning frozen dumplings that made 10 people ill in Japan two years ago, government sources said Saturday. Tokyo hopes to reach a formal agreement with Beijing by the time Prime Minister Yukio Hatoyama visits China for an expo in Shanghai, possibly in early May, the sources told Kyodo News.
Mar 29 Arrest doesn't end gyoza fears (Yomiuri)
 Although a Chinese man has been arrested on suspicion of lacing frozen gyoza with insecticide, many shoppers in Japan remain uneasy about eating food made in China and want stores to continue strict checks on foods that have become regular fixtures on their tables. A 33-year-old housewife of Koto Ward, Tokyo, who was shopping at a supermarket in the ward, said she was surprised to hear the poisonings were an inside job, and wondered how the man had apparently sneaked a hazardous chemical into the factory in China where the gyoza was made.
Mar 29 Minamata disease suit to be settled as plaintiffs OK mediation plan (Kyodo)
 A damages suit filed by unrecognized sufferers of Minamata mercury poisoning disease is now certain to be settled as the plaintiffs decided Sunday to accept a court-brokered settlement plan. On March 15, the Kumamoto District Court gave both the plaintiffs and defendants until Monday to decide whether to accept its plan to settle the suit filed in 2005. The central and Kumamoto prefectural governments as well as chemical firm Chisso Corp. have since agreed to accept the settlement plan.
Mar 29 Tokunoshima residents hold protest rally against Futemma plan (Kyodo)
 About 4,200 residents of Tokunoshima Island in Kagoshima Prefecture held a protest rally Sunday following reports that the island is one of the candidate sites being considered by the central government for the relocation of a U.S. Marine base. "There has been no approach from the government and we cannot allow the government to ignore locals and proceed with negotiations on the relocation" of the U.S. Marine Corps' Futemma Air Station in Okinawa Prefecture, a mayor of one of the three towns on the island said.
Mar 27 Roppongi Art Night free for all (Asahi)
  Roppongi Art Night 2010, a free, all-night festival of art, performance and fun, takes place this weekend in Tokyo's Roppongi district in Minato Ward. Noboru Tsubaki's 13-meter-tall balloon installation "Before Flower," conceived as a tribute to the Earth's ancient plants, will be a highlight at the Roppongi Hills complex.
Mar 27 Vertu sells 20-million yen cellphones (Asahi)
  British luxury cellphone maker Vertu on Friday put on sale a line of gold-lacquered handsets crafted by a Japanese living national treasure that will sell for a whopping 20 million yen ($217,650). Designs for the limited-edition phones were produced by maki-e lacquer artist Kazumi Murose, 59, and include such motifs as chrysanthemums. Only four handsets are available, and each has a different design. Maki-e painting is a Japanese technique in which lacquer is sprinkled with gold or silver powder.
Mar 27 3 foreigners pass tough nursing exam (Asahi)
  Two Indonesians and one Filipina have become the first among hundreds of applicants from their countries to pass Japan's state nursing examination, the health ministry said Friday. Yared Febrian Fernandes and Ria Agustina, both 26 from Indonesia, and Lalin Ever Gammed, 34, from the Philippines, were among 47,340 people, including Japanese, to pass this year.
Mar 27 Embracing the bicultural identity (Japan Times)
  Leslie Lorimer defied definition in Japan from the time she was a young child, when her blond hair, blue eyes and fluent Japanese proved a startling mix. She and her brother would enjoy going to the imported-foods shop in Yokohama, where they would point to non-Japanese and exclaim, "Oh, look at the gaijin!" Back then, Lorimer found nothing odd about their pastime. She says, "We never thought we were gaijin, we were Japanese." Despite what Lorimer thought as a girl, in terms of citizenship, she was not Japanese. She was born in Oregon to American parents, but lived in Japan from 1964, when she was 2.
Mar 27 Spring arrives with big black belching fires (Japan Times)
 As it gets warmer on Shiraishi Island, the old ladies sit out on their porches to warm themselves in the sun. There is renewed activity on the port as 83-year-old Man-chan scurries around his party tent, taking down Christmas lights and decorations. Time doesn't slow down here, it just lengthens. Holidays are much longer here than on the mainland, and one holiday tends to run into the next. The annual island cherry blossom viewing party will take place twice this year because once just wasn't enough. Even after including the numerous unofficial nighttime cherry blossom viewing parties under the lanterns and the after-parties in Man-chan's tent. For an island of just 659 people, we rock.
Mar 27 Judge apologizes as Sugaya acquitted of 1990 murder in retrial (Mainichi)
  In a retrial for a 1990 murder known as the Ashikaga case in which a four-year-old girl was killed in Ashikaga, Tochigi Prefecture, Toshikazu Sugaya, whose life sentence was confirmed in 2000 and released in June 2009, was acquitted by the Utsunomiya District Court on Friday. "The DNA tests had no admissibility as evidence, Sugaya's confession was false, and it has become apparent to everyone that he is not the culprit," said Presiding Judge Masanobu Sato. After handing down the ruling, Sato stood up along with the two associate judges present and apologized. "Having failed to fully listen to Mr. Sugaya's real voice, we ultimately stripped him of 17 1/2 years of freedom. I deeply apologize."
Mar 27 Okinawa, Kagoshima locals angered by gov't Futemma plan (Kyodo)
 Local politicians and residents in Okinawa and Kagoshima prefectures expressed strong dissatisfaction Friday after media reports that the central government is considering relocating a U.S. Marine base within Okinawa or to a Kagoshima island. With Prime Minister Yukio Hatoyama having pledged to settle the issue of the relocation of the U.S. Marine Corps' Futemma Air Station in Okinawa by the end of May, strong local protests will make it difficult for him to meet the deadline.
Mar 27 Japanese fishing villages: He's hooked (Chicago Tribune)
 Travelers to Japan may never stray from the urban comfort of Tokyo and Kyoto, deeming the back roads too mysterious and awkward. But I wondered how an American would fare off the beaten path, where road signs are in Japanese characters and driving is done on the left. The answer came with the exploration of the Tango Peninsula in the Sea of Japan due north of Kobe, when I was offered a chance to ride with three Australians. They planned to sleep in two remote fishing villages, including one night on a Japanese houseboat. As an extra treat, we might visit the seaside village of Obama.
By J.S. on Mar 31, 2010

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