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.
Police in Niihama, Ehime Prefecture, are investigating the mutilation deaths of three cats whose bodies were left in a park. Two were found dead in February, and the third was found on Saturday. (Japan Today )
Banging on drums and waving "Sayonara nukes" signs, thousands of people rallied in a Tokyo park and marched to Parliament on Sunday to demand an end to nuclear power ahead of the third anniversary of the Fukushima disaster. (scmp.com )
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 )