Japan

Japan faces longer state of emergency, casting doubt on Olympics

Officials were leaning toward an extension of the measures in Tokyo, Osaka, Kyoto and Hyogo prefectures beyond 11 May as the country battles a surge in Covid-19 cases, the Yomiuri newspaper said on Wednesday.

Extending the measures, which were imposed on 25 April, would likely fan persistent concerns about whether the Tokyo Olympics, scheduled to begin on 23 July, can be held as planned.

The games have already been delayed once from last year due to the pandemic.

Japan town builds giant squid statue with Covid-19 relief money

The 13 metre-long sea creature lies in the port of Noto, where flying squid is the town's delicacy.

It reportedly used 25 million yen (NZ$320,300) of the emergency funding to build the statue.

Noto officials have told local media it is part of a long term plan to lure tourists back after the pandemic.

Japan is battling another surge in coronavirus cases, and Tokyo is currently under a state of emergency - the third for the country since the pandemic began.

Japan town builds giant squid statue with relief money

The 13m-long (43ft) sea creature lies in the port of Noto, where flying squid is the town's delicacy.

It reportedly used 25m yen ($228,500; £164,700) of the emergency funding to build the statue.

Noto officials have told local media it is part of a long term plan to lure tourists back after the pandemic.

Japan is battling another surge in coronavirus cases, and Tokyo is currently under a state of emergency - the third for the country since the pandemic began.

US and allies promise one billion jabs for South East Asia

The joint commitment was made following the first leaders' meeting of the so-called Quad - a group formed in 2007.

The vaccines - expected to be the single-dose Johnson & Johnson product - are set to be manufactured in India.

The US said the "massive joint commitment" would initially focus on delivering doses to South East Asia.

Powerful earthquake rocks Japan weeks from disaster anniversary

The 7.3-magnitude quake was felt strongly in Tokyo, but a tsunami warning has not been issued.

There are reports of about 50 people injured, officials say, and almost one million homes are without power.

The quake struck near the epicentre of a 2011 earthquake which triggered a tsunami and killed over 18,000 people.

That tsunami caused a nuclear accident at the Fukushima Daiichi Nuclear Power Plant - the world's most severe nuclear accident since the Chernobyl disaster in 1986.

IOC meets to discuss the future of Tokyo Olympics

With less than six months to go until the troubled Games are due to start, the board will instead tackle questions over the vaccination of athletes, international visitors and the attendance of spectators, and safety regulations among other matters.

The Olympic body, which will meet remotely, nevertheless finds itself in a similar situation to March last year, when it was forced to postpone the Games by 12 months as the Covid-19 pandemic shut down sport worldwide.

Vanuatu’s Aelan Chocolate hopes participation in Japan chocolate event will boost exports

“This participation is crucial for us at the moment where we are struggling exporting our products overseas and with the collapse of the tourism industry in Vanuatu, said Sandrine Wallez, Manager of Aelan Chocolate Makers.

Due to travel restrictions brought on by the global coronavirus (COVID-19) pandemic, the company’s distributor in Japan assisted with participation and promotion of Aelan Chocolate at the event in Tokyo this week.

Fiji boss sends warning to overseas XVs stars hopping on Olympic bandwagon

A set of criteria have been established in conjunction with coach Gareth Baber to try and sidestep the kind of pandemic problems that restricted the Fijian 15s team to just one game during the recent Autumn Nations Cup in Europe which saw numerous players and staff return positive tests. Bristol’s Semi Radradra has made it clear he wants to be part of the gold medal defence and Baber would like to include other European based players if they can be released for pre-Games camps and matches.

London 2012 chief feels Tokyo Olympics unlikely to go ahead

Keith Mills told BBC radio that the delayed Olympics, scheduled for July-August, were looking unlikely to happen in his opinion due to the COVID-19 pandemic.

"If I was sitting in the shoes of the organising committee in Tokyo, and thankfully I'm not, I would be making plans for a cancellation," he said.

"I'm sure they have plans for a cancellation but I think they will leave it to absolutely the last minute in case the situation improves dramatically and in case the vaccines roll out faster.

"It's a tough call and I wouldn't like to be in their shoes."

Snowstorm causes 130-car pile-up in Japan

The storm blanketed a stretch of the Tohoku Expressway in Miyagi prefecture at around noon on Tuesday.

Some 200 people have been caught up in the pile-up and rescuers were at the scene, officials said.

Japan has been hit by severe snowstorms in recent weeks with some parts of the country having double the average expected snowfall.

Authorities had already enforced a 50km speed limit on the road due to visibility.

There was a maximum wind speed of about 100km/h at the time of the incident, local weather officials said.