Well, that didn't take long. Only weeks after 10 Japanese nationals were killed in a terrorist attack in Algeria, Japan's military is practicing how to rescue citizens at risk overseas. Now all they need is a law that allows them to do it for real.
Some 80 members of the Japan Ground Self Defense Force joined with U.S. Marines in Thailand this weekend to whisk scores of Japanese and other foreign citizens out of harm's way in a mock evacuation drill. The soldiers learned how to secure landing zones, screen evacuees, call in Marine Corps helicopters and coordinate with other foreign troops, administrators and relief workers. The Japanese "victims" were mostly volunteers and family from the embassy in Bangkok.
The training event was part of the annual Cobra Gold exercise, which this year includes troops from the U.S., Japan, Thailand and four other countries. A dozen other nations, including China, have sent observers.
In truth, planning for the evacuation drill began last year, but it took on greater meaning for the Japanese after the slaughter in Algeria. At least 38 hostages were killed by terrorists or died in a rescue attempt by Algerian troops.
Japan will go ahead with research whaling in the northwestern Pacific for fiscal 2014, but by reducing catches following an International Court of Justice ruling that ordered the country to stop whaling in the Antarctic Ocean, the Agriculture, Forestry and Fisheries Ministry said Friday. (The Japan News )
Kanagawa prefectural police said Friday they have arrested an unemployed 42-year-old man on assault charges for allegedly attacked a 10-year-old elementary school boy and two others as they were playing in Yokosuka City in February of this year. (Japan Today )
Japan and the United States ended their three-day ministerial talks in Washington on Friday on the Trans-Pacific Partnership multilateral free trade initiative, being unable to narrow differences over Japanese tariffs in key farm product categories. (Jiji Press )
Hatsune Miku, a computer-generated Japanese pop star who performs as a hologram, is to support some of Lady Gaga's tour of North America next month, the U.S. songstress has announced on Twitter. (Japan Today )
Tochigi prefectural police said Thursday that they are questioning a man in his 30s over the murder of a 7-year-old girl in December 2005. Japanese media quoted police as saying that the man, who was arrested for dealing in fake brand-name goods, has hinted at his involvement in the murder. (Japan Today )