This year's opening ceremony at the 84th National High School Baseball Invitational Tournament was an emotional event for both players and survivors of last year's devastating earthquake and tsunami.
The tourney opened Wednesday at Koshien Stadium in Nishinomiya, Hyogo Prefecture, with a march of players from 32 schools, a regular opening event that was canceled last year in the wake of the Great East Japan Earthquake.
After the march around the stadium to the hit song "Everyday--katyusha" by the pop group AKB48, last year's winning school returned a championship flag to the organizer.
Then, Shoto Abe, captain of the Ishinomaki Technical High School in Ishinomaki, Miyagi Prefecture, pledged fair play on behalf of the participants.
Abe's school was hit hard by the tsunami that followed the quake, as were many residents and other buildings in the prefecture.
"Through our play, let's move people, display courage and make people smile," he said. "Let's show Japan's fundamental power and human bonds."
Before the first game, students of Mie High School in Mie Prefecture in the bleachers along the baselines formed kanji reading, "Kizuna" (human bonds) and "Kokoro Hitotsu (One heart)" with the colored costumes they were wearing.
Cheering with musical instruments, which was banned last year in consideration of the region hit by the disaster, was allowed this year.
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 )
People enjoy viewing the 15-meter snow walls of the Yuki no Otani (Great Snow Valley), along the Tateyama Kurobe Alpine Route that passes through the Northern Japan Alps to link Toyama and Nagano prefectures. (The Japan News )
Tokyo prosecutors plan to look into whether a man, who has been arrested for allegedly vandalizing copies of Anne Frank's diary, is mentally competent to be held criminally responsible for his actions, informed sources said Wednesday. (Jiji Press )