Japan

Japan launches surprise fireworks to lift spirits amid pandemic

The shows were held at secret locations, each lasting five minutes from 20:00 local time (12:00 BST).

Organisers set a time limit for the displays to avoid crowds gathering.

Initially, they said the time and date of the event would not be revealed but later reversed course, deciding a sudden pyrotechnics show could cause distress to some.

Filling the skies with a burst of light, the fireworks lasted long enough for people who did not know about it in advance to view them from the street or their homes.

Japan to end Tokyo's state of emergency

Social distancing curbs were loosened for most of the country on 14 May as new infections fell, but the government had kept Tokyo and four other prefectures under watch.

Japan's economy minister told reporters on Monday local time the government had received approval from key advisers to remove the state of emergency for all remaining regions.

It would be the first time the country has been completely free from the state of emergency since it was first declared a month and a half ago.

State of emergency lifted in most of Japan

The order still applies in Tokyo, Osaka and on the northern island of Hokkaido, where new cases are emerging daily.

Prime Minister Shinzo Abe said Japan's rate of infection had reduced to one seventh of the country's peak.

He urged the public to be vigilant, wear masks, and keep following distancing guidance.

"If possible, before 31 May, we would like to lift the state of emergency for the other regions as well," Mr Abe said.

Dan Carter has just confirmed his last game in Japan

The legendary out-half, who played 112 times for the All Blacks, turned 38 in March and fans will now wonder if the curtain has fallen on a stellar career where he featured for the Crusaders, Perpignan and Racing 92 before joining the Top League. 

UK lockdown extended while Japan declares national emergency

"We have just come too far, we've lost too many loved ones, we've already sacrificed far too much to ease up now, especially when we are beginning to see the evidence that our efforts are starting to pay off," Raab told reporters.

Raab is deputising while Prime Minister Boris Johnson recuperates from Covid-19 complications that nearly cost him his life.

Japan's PM Abe to declare state of emergency as soon as Tuesday, reports say

Abe will likely announce his plans to declare the emergency on Monday, Japan time, the paper said, while Kyodo news agency said new measures would likely come into force on Wednesday.

Pressure had been mounting on the government to make the move as the pace of infections continues to accelerate - particularly in the capital - even though it remains slow for now compared with the United States, countries in Europe and China, where thousands have died.

Olympics will be postponed, IOC member Dick Pound says

Major sporting nations Australia and Canada had already withdrawn as organisers came under global pressure to postpone the event for the first time in the Olympics' 124-year modern history.

"On the basis of the information the IOC has, postponement has been decided," Pound was quoted as saying by USA Today. "The parameters going forward have not been determined, but the Games are not going to start on July 24, that much I know."

Forty year 'curse' hits Tokyo Olympics

Forty years on, the upcoming Tokyo Games are the "cursed Olympics" once again, Japan's finance minister said, in remarks that could stir controversy at a time when his government is scrambling to quash speculation that the coronavirus epidemic could derail the world's biggest sporting event this year.

"It's a problem that's happened every 40 years - it's the cursed Olympics - and that's a fact," Taro Aso, who also serves as deputy prime minister, said in a parliamentary committee.

Japan could be the home of the 'new Super Rugby'

For the better part of thirty years, the Land of the Rising Sun has attracted some of the best athletes from around the world.

Japan’s culture has always been a massive pull-factor and the money on offer for even semi-professional standard players far trumps what’s been available in other countries.

For men who aren’t quite good enough to become full-time professionals in New Zealand, for example, but are still exceptional athletes, Japan has offered a legitimate career pathway.

Japan grants new ambulance for Nauru Health Ministry

At the signing ceremony, opened and conducted by Vania Scotty as MoC, Secretary for Health and Fiji-based Embassy of Japan deputy chief of mission Hada Tsuguyoshi signed the MOU for a Toyota Hiace van-style ambulance, including spare parts and consumables and an equipment training package valued at AU$137,063.

Health Secretary Garabwan expressed her deep gratitude to the Government of Japan for the provision of the ambulance.