The Emperor and Empress have visited Iwate, one of the 3 Japanese prefectures hardest-hit by the March 11th 2011 tsunami and earthquake. They spoke to people still living as evacuees in temporary housing.
The Emperor and Empress arrived in Tono City, Iwate Prefecture on Thursday. This was their first trip to the prefecture in 2 years.
Iwate Governor Takuya Tasso and Tono Mayor Toshiaki Honda briefed the Imperial couple about the situation of reconstruction work in the region.
The couple then visited a temporary housing complex where more than 60 people have moved from Kamaishi and other coastal areas devastated by the tsunami.
Japan's foreign minister announced a $7 billion initiative Monday to promote development in Southeast Asia's Mekong region, which encompasses parts of Vietnam, Laos and Thailand through which the river flows. (Japan Today)
Japan on Monday began its annual "Cool Biz" campaign, which encourages workers to dress more casually to help reduce energy use, with government offices allowing polo shirts, Hawaiian-style aloha shirts and similar attire. (Japan Times)
The Osaka District Public Prosecutor's Office has filed charges of drug trafficking against a 40-year-old woman who left a large quantity of illegal drugs inside a fast-food outlet, reports the Asahi Shimbun (April 30). (Tokyo Reporter)
An increasing number of people are using the "furusato nozei" hometown donation program to support Kumamoto Prefecture, southwestern Japan, which has been hit hard by a recent series of strong earthquakes. (Jiji Press)