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.
Fewer than 40 pct of residents and commuters in Tokyo take specific measures to prepare for a possible huge earthquake beneath the Japanese capital, despite high awareness on disaster prevention, a Metropolitan Police Department survey showed Friday. (Jiji Press )
The man under arrest for fatally stabbing one man and wounding three others during a 10-minute rampage in Kashiwa, Chiba Prefecture, on Monday night, told police on Thursday that he wanted to hijack a plane at Haneda airport and fly it into Tokyo Skytree to take revenge on society. (Japan Today )
The man lauded as "Japan's Beethoven," who has admitted he never wrote his compositions, appeared before cameras for the first time since the scandal surfaced - clean-shaven and minus his trademark sunglasses. (abcnews.go.com )
The 24-year-old suspect in the murder of a man on a street in Kashiwa, Chiba Prefecture, on Monday is believed to have posted a profile online in which he identified himself as a "celeb NEET," meaning a celebrity without a job, according to local online news site J-Cast News. (Japan Times )
The proportion of single nonregular Japanese male workers in their 20s who have girlfriends stood at 18.7 pct in 2012, against 30.7 pct for regular employees, a government survey revealed Thursday. (Jiji Press )
Police in Kashiwa, Chiba Prefecture, on Wednesday night arrested a 24-year-old unemployed man over four knife attacks within 10 minutes that left one man dead and three others injured on a street. (Japan Today )