While the ongoing rainy season means staying indoors to some people, for others, it is a chance to get out and enjoy the beautiful tapestry of ajisai (hydrangeas), whose colors vary from white to blue to pink to purple - and all shades in between.
Sakura (cherry blossoms) may get the glory, but there are many hydrangea-viewing events happening through the month (until the end of July in some northern regions).
In Kyoto, the 1,284-year-old Gansenji Temple in the southern city of Kizu, was founded by prominent Buddhist monk Gyoki, and is famous for its hydrangea garden, which is beautifully set against a three-story vermillion pagoda.
Japan's biggest newspaper, the Yomiuri Shimbun, has apologized to its readers for using the term "sex slaves" and "other inappropriate expressions" to describe the women forced to work in Japanese military brothels during World War II. (washingtonpost.com)
Thailand's parliament has voted to ban commercial surrogacy after outrage erupted over the unregulated industry following a series scandals including the case of an Australian couple accused of abandoning a baby with Down syndrome. (Japan Times)
Japanese newspaper The Asahi Shimbun said Friday it will cut the pay of two reporters over the retraction of their articles on the Fukushima nuclear disaster, saying they erred in describing the tumultuous few days after the accident. (Kyodo)
Police have arrested a 47-year-old man on arson and attempted murder charges after he attempted to set a hospital on fire in Hachioji, Tokyo, by throwing Molotov cocktails against walls inside the building. (Japan Today)
The Utsunomiya District Court in Tochigi Prefecture on Wednesday convicted two men over the illegal disposal of a body after they dumped the body of a young woman in a cardboard box near a quarry in Sano on Aug 4. (Japan Today)