Tokyo's Asakusa neighborhood is one of the capital's top tourist destinations. Sensoji Temple and the shopping arcade nearby offer visitors a glimpse into traditional Japan. This coming weekend, though, the area will be full of Brazilian energy and the passionate rhythm and music of samba.
Now in its 32nd year, the Asakusa Samba Carnival, modeled after the Rio de Janeiro original, has grown to become Japan's biggest samba festival. Originally started in 1981 after Taito Ward invited over the winning group of that year's Carnival in Rio, the festival today features thousands of dancers - male and female - dressed up in gorgeous costumes.
Japan plans to boost financial aid to developing countries to help them tackle climate change by providing about ¥1.3 trillion (about $10.6 billion) a year by 2020, Prime Minister Shinzo Abe said on Thursday. (The Japan News)
The Japanese government plans to tighten its energy-efficiency standards for lamps to effectively ban production and imports of fluorescents and incandescents, informed sources said Thursday. (Jiji Press)
Japan stayed bottom among 32 comparable Organization for Economic Cooperation and Development member states in public spending on education for the sixth straight year in 2012, an OECD survey has shown. (Jiji Press)
A 60-year-old man in Tochigi Prefecture, northeast of Tokyo, who claims to be an exorcist was arrested Thursday on suspicion of killing a diabetic boy by halting the administration of insulin, police said. (Japan Today)
Police and animal protection center officials captured the last of two emus, an ostrich-like bird from Australia, that escaped from a farm in Takasaki, Gunma Prefecture, earlier this month. (Japan Times)
Tokyo Metropolitan Police have arrested the head of an adult video (AV) label specializing in productions featuring gay men for employing an underage male actor, reports Nippon News Network. (Tokyo Reporter)
Fukuoka Prefectural Police on Wednesday will re-arrest an upper-ranking member of the Kudo-kai organized crime group for participation in two arson attacks, reports the Sankei Shimbun. (Tokyo Reporter)
Three bodies have been retrieved from a boat found floating in the Sea of Japan off the coast of Fukui Prefecture on Sunday, two days after a similar discovery in waters off a neighboring prefecture, reports the Yomiuri Shimbun (Nov. 23). (Tokyo Reporter)