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Japan

In The News

Nord Stream Leaks, Abe Funeral, High-Speed Space Crash

👋 Ha’u!*

Welcome to Tuesday, where Japan honors former Prime Minister Shinzo Abe in a controversial state funeral, unexplained gas leaks are reported on Nord Stream pipelines and NASA’s Dart mission succeeds, at high speed. Meanwhile, German daily Die Welt looks at how European countries are dealing with the prospect of a winter energy crisis and the potential repercussions on their support for Ukraine.

[*Hopi, Arizona, U.S.]

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Abenomics Revisited: Why Japan Hasn't Attacked The Wealth Divide

Japanese Prime Minister Fumio Kishida promised to tackle wealth inequality and help struggling workers. But a year after he came to power, financial traders are once again the winners.

-Analysis-

TOKYO — Panic on the Nikkei, the Japanese stock market. Almost a year ago, at the end of September 2021, traders went into a panic in Tokyo. On Sept. 29, Fumio Kishida had just won the general election for the country's main conservative party, the Liberal Democratic Party. He was about to be named Prime Minister, succeeding Yoshide Suga, who'd grown too unpopular in the polls.

Kishida had won through a rather original reform program, which was in stark contrast with years of conservative pro-market politics. In his speeches, he had promised to generate a “new capitalism”. A phrase that makes investors shudder.

While he did not completely renounce his predecessors’ strategy called “Abenomics” — named after free-market stalwart Shinzo Abe, who was killed last July — Kishida declared that the government needed to tackle the issue of the redistribution of wealth in the island nation.

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Benjamin Button For Real? Scientists Are Close To Cracking The Code To Reverse Aging

The discovery that earned Japan's Shinya Yamanaka the 2012 Nobel Prize in Medicine has paved the way for new research proving that aging is a reversible process. Currently just being tested on lab mice, will the cellular reprogramming soon offer eternal youth?

PARIS — Barbra Streisand loved her dog Samantha, aka Sammy. The white and fluffy purebred Coton of Tulear was even present on the steps of the Elysée Palace, the French President’s official residence, when Streisand received the Legion of Honor in 2007.

As the singer and actress explained inThe New York Times in 2018, she loved Sammy so much that, unable to bring herself to see her pass away, she had the dog cloned by a Texas firm for the modest sum of 50,000 dollars just before she died in 2017, at the age of 14. And that's how Barbra Streisand became the happy owner of Miss Violet and Miss Scarlet, two puppies who are the spitting image of the deceased Samantha.

This may sound like a joke, but there is one deeply disturbing fact that Harvard Medical School genetics professor David A. Sinclair points out in his book Why We Age – And Why We Don’t Have To. It is that the cloning of an old dog has led to two young puppies.

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Asian Cults And Castes, Where New Religions Meet Power Politics

Emerging religions and cults in Asia are deeply intertwined with politics: in China, religions need political approval, while in Japan religious groups use political platforms to assert themselves. Not even the killing of former Japanese Prime Minister Shinzo Abe, carried out by a member of the Unification Church, has prompted a closer look at exactly what role religion plays in society.

On July 8, former Japanese Prime Minister Shinzo Abe was shot dead while giving a speech in Nara.

The suspect confessed that he killed Abe because of his close relationship with the Unification Church, which his mother adhered to and went bankrupt for. The Unification Church was founded by Korean Messiah Claimant Sun Myung Moon in 1954, and entered Japan in 1956. At its peak, it had 4.7 million followers, but declined after the 1990s due to scandals related to donations and brainwashing.

Meanwhile, in an interview on July 4, the new Chief Executive of the Hong Kong Special Administrative Region, John Lee Ka-chiu, mentioned that he had been practising qigong for more than 25 years.

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Coronavirus
John Donne Potter

Risks Of Reinfection And Long COVID: The Pandemic Is Not Over

Too many people no longer follow basic protocol: mask wearing, physical distancing and avoiding crowded events. The consequences are an increase in both daily case numbers and long COVID.

The latest Omicron variant BA.5 is fast becoming dominant worldwide, including in New Zealand and Australia. As it continues to surge, reinfection will become increasingly common and this in turn means more people will develop long COVID.

The two most concerning aspects of long COVID are its high prevalence (up to 30% of those infected) and a link between reinfection and a higher risk of harmful outcomes.

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LGBTQ Plus
Laura Valentina Cortés Sierra, Lisa Berdet, Lila Paulou, McKenna Johnson, Emma Albright and Bertrand Hauger

LGBTQ+ International: South African Fatwa, “Sims” Update — And The Week’s Other Top News

Controversy in Morocco, video games news from the U.S. and Japan, Russian activists ... and plenty of other news.

Welcome to Worldcrunch’s LGBTQ+ International. We bring you up-to-speed each week on the latest news on everything LGBTQ+ — a topic that you may follow closely at home, but can now see from different places and perspectives around the world. Discover the latest news from all corners of the planet. All in one smooth scroll!

Featuring, this week:

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In The News
Bertrand Hauger

Russia Strikes More Civilian Targets, Estonia Prime Minister Resigns, Nintendo Pictures

👋 Merhaba!*

Welcome to Thursday, where Russia keeps shelling non-military targets across Ukraine, Estonia’s prime minister resigns to form a new government and Nintendo eyes the big screen. Meanwhile, Serhiy Haidai (President Zelensky's chief adviser on the Donbas) tells Ukrainian daily Livy Bereg why the Ukrainian military was forced to retreat from key positions.

[*Turkish]

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Geopolitics
Dan Wu

What The Shinzo Abe Assassination Could Mean For The China Question

The death of the former Japanese Prime Minister has provoked different reactions between mainland China and Taiwan, but also between government officials and the public in the People's Republic. Looking ahead, will Japan's pro-Taiwan stance stick for the long haul?

-Analysis-

The assassination of Shinzo Abe has shocked the world, and East Asia in particular. The longest-serving Japanese prime minister was admired for his personal charisma and stern decisiveness, but was also among the most conservative and nationalistic leaders in the region's post-War history.

Even if he is credited with stabilizing Japan's economy, his two stints in office are notable for coinciding with the rise of China as a global economic and military power.

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In The News
McKenna Johnson, Lila Paulou, Lisa Berdet, Anne-Sophie Goninet and Bertrand Hauger

Shinzo Abe Shot Dead, Ukraine-Dominated Bali Summit, Tiny-Armed Dino

👋 Rojbaş!*

Welcome to Friday, where Japan’s ex-Prime Minister Shinzo Abe has died after he was shot during a campaign speech, Derek Chauvin is sentenced to 21 years in jail for the murder of George Floyd, and there’s a new T-Rex-like dinosaur in town. We also have our latest edition of LGBTQ+ International, featuring (among other things) cross-border Indigenous Pride and a heartwarming airborne proposal.

[*Northern Kurdish]

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Economy
Yaroslav Zheleznyak

Rebuilding Ukraine: Lessons From Nations That Rose From The Ashes Of War

After two months of war, experts in Ukraine are starting to consider what plan could work to restore the local infrastructure and economy, looking at the experience of Germany, Japan and Italy — countries that went down in history for their economic miracles after being destroyed by war.

-Analysis-

KYIV — World history has many examples of post-war reconstruction. Since the end of World War II, there have been more than 30 major wars and more than 250 military conflicts in the world, involving at least 60 countries.

Stay up-to-date with the latest on the Russia-Ukraine war, with our exclusive international coverage.

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But even with such a seemingly large sample, successful examples of recovery can be counted on the fingers of one hand. Each is unique and depends on many factors — from the banal availability of natural resources to the coincidence of circumstances in the region.

The case of Ukraine is unique. Our level of economic development, the presence of established state institutions and legitimate authorities, well-established production processes, and the stability of the financial system make the prospects for Ukraine's recovery significantly different from those of Afghanistan, Iraq, and Angola. Our country is closer to the examples of Europe, as well as some Asian countries after 1945.

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Economy
Daisuke Kondo

Why Japan's Auto Industry Can't Keep Pace With The Electric Vehicle Revolution

The "Made in Japan" label used to be a mark of progress, but Japanese manufacturing has declined rapidly. Now, the automobile industry, the last bastion of the country's technology, has fallen behind in the transition to electric vehicles.

TOKYO — From semiconductors, TVs, and computers to mobile phones, Japan was once the world’s leading manufacturer, and it swept the world with all these products. But since entering the twenty-first century, “Made in Japan has declined so fast that certain Japanese brands have simply disappeared.

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Geopolitics

Russia-Ukraine War Begins: 24 Newspaper Front Pages

Tensions culminated this week with Russian President Vladimir Putin launching a large-scale invasion of Ukraine, a move widely opposed by world leaders that made virtually every front page around the world.

"THIS IS WAR," reads the front page ofGazeta Wyborcza. Alongside the terse, all-caps headline, the Polish daily features a photo of Olena Kurilo, a teacher from Chuguev whose blood-covered face has become one of the striking images of the beginning of the Ukraine invasion.

Stay up-to-date with the latest on the Russia-Ukraine war, with our exclusive international coverage. Sign up to our free daily newsletter.

A day after simultaneous attacks were launched from the south, east and north of the country, by land and by air, some press outlets chose to feature images of tanks, explosions, death and destruction that hit multiple cities across Ukraine, while others focused on the man behind the so-called "special military operation": Putin.

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