The administration wants to “pivot east” - to move away from Europe and the Middle East and more towards Japan, South Korea, and especially China - given its economic and military power.
Kathleen Molony – director and executive committee member of the Fellows Program at Harvard University's Weatherhead Center for International Affairs. She was formerly the Executive Director of the Massachusetts Office of International Trade.
Two weeks ago marked the second anniversary of the nuclear disaster and subsequent evacuation of Fukushima, Japan defying the government-mandated evacuation orders and living by himself inside “The Zone” is 53 year-old Naoto Matsumara, a fifth generation rice farmer who returned to Fukushima not long after the disaster first unfolded. Vice Japan’s Ivan Kovac is director and editor of “Alone in the Zone”, a documentary that follows Naoto on his mission to care for the pets and livestock abandoned after the 2011 tsunami and subsequent nuclear meltdown.
The dream of “being discovered” is on parade at a casting call in Novosibirsk, one of several Siberian cities that supply the pre-adolescent, doe-eyed, “Russian look” models most desired by the Japanese fashion market. Ashley Arbaugh scours rural beauty pageants for girls, typically poor, mostly looking for a way out, and sends them off to Tokyo. That journey, marked by deceit and exploitation, is the subject of “Girl Model”, a documentary feature by David Redmon and Ashley Sabin. Together, David and Ashley have produced, directed and edited seven documentary feature films. Their latest, “Girl Model,” makes its broadcast premiere on PBS’s acclaimed POV series on Sunday.
Paul Schubert and his wife decided to buy a new car last summer — a really fuel-efficient one. After a lot of research, they settled on a Toyota Prius. But there was a problem: They couldn't find one.
The tsunami that devastated Japan in March had dried up supplies of the Prius, which is made in Japan, and a dealer told them they would have to wait — "about four months," Schubert says. "And we thought, well, it'd be, probably, end of November, early December before we were going to have a car."
Japanese linguist Kazuo Ueda (left) worked 20 years on a 1,300-page, 28,000-entry Idishugo Jiten, or Yiddish-Japanese dictionary. He is shown here with his wife, Kazuko, at their home in Kyushu, Japan.
Credit Library of Congress
Worldwide, the number of people fluent in Yiddish — a hybrid of German, Hebrew, Russian and other languages that uses the Hebrew alphabet — is dwindling. In Japan, it's estimated there are only a few dozen devotees. This Yiddish poster from 1917 exhorts immigrants to the United States to buy Liberty Bonds.
A smattering of Yiddish words has crept into the American vernacular: Non-Jews go for a nosh or schmooze over cocktails. Yet the language itself, once spoken by millions of Jews, is now in retreat.
But you don't have to be Jewish to love Yiddish. In Japan, a linguist has toiled quietly for decades to compile the world's first Yiddish-Japanese dictionary — the first time the Jewish language has been translated into a non-European language other than Hebrew.
Japan is home to Asia's oldest and largest motion-picture industry, with its own unique genres and traditions. While every film industry has stuntmen, only Japan has a class of actors whose main job is to be sliced and diced by samurai sword-wielding protagonists. But the decline of period dramas means that this class of actors is literally a dying breed.
Demolished ships lie strewn about near the fishing port of Minamisanriku town, in Miyagi prefecture, northeastern Japan, Feb. 23, 2012. The local fisherman's union says last year's tsunami wiped out 90 percent of local fishing boats.
Credit Daniel Berehulak / Getty Images
Last year's tsunami destroyed Tamiko Abe's house, and a year later, the 71-year-old (shown here March 5, 2012) still lives in temporary housing.
Credit Chris McGrath / Getty Images
Volunteers assist workers who are slicing and packing seaweed at a temporary processing yard set up on the Minamisanriku harborfront, March 8, 2012.
With a fierce yell and a resounding thwack, 13-year-old Japanese student Nanami Usui brings her bamboo sword down on her opponent.
By practicing Kendo, or Japanese swordsmanship, Usui is one of several students in the town of Minamisanriku who are rebuilding their confidence after last year's tsunami washed away their homes and shattered their hometown in the country's northeast.
Usui says she dreams of being a police officer, but she doesn't know yet where she wants to live and work.
The earthquake and tsunami that hit Japan on March 11, 2011, lasted for many terrifying minutes. But the multiple nuclear meltdowns that followed created an emergency that lasted for weeks and a legacy that will last for decades.
Here's how the event unfolded. The tsunami knocked out power to the Fukushima Dai-ichi nuclear power plant. As a result, the cooling systems failed and three reactors melted down. Steam laced with radioactive material poured into the air. Water contaminated with radiation also flowed into the sea.
Students at Tohoku Chosen, an elementary and junior high school for North Koreans in Sendai City, now take dance classes in the school's cafeteria because their main building was destroyed when the earthquake struck northeast Japan last March.
Credit Doualy Xaykaothao / NPR
Students draw during art class at Imagine Japan, an English-language school in Sendai City, Japan. Immediately following last year's earthquake and tsunami in northeast Japan, a teacher observed some of the kids drawing faces and bodies with black markers.
Teacher Dave Rowlands is talking to his students in a kindergarten class at Imagine Japan, an English-language school in the Miyagi Prefecture of Sendai City. The school is just a short walk from pre-fabricated homes built for families who lost more than just property in the earthquake and tsunami last year.
"What came after the earthquake, was what?" Rowlands asks. "A tidal wave. In Japanese, what do we say? Or in English, actually, tsunami is now used around the world in many languages. Tsunami. We kind of leave the 't' off of there."
Members of the media, wearing protective suits and masks, visit the tsunami-crippled Fukushima nuclear power station during a press tour, in northeastern Japan's Fukushima prefecture, Feb. 28. Japan is marking the first anniversary of the March 11 tsunami and earthquake, which triggered the worst nuclear accident in the country's history.
Credit Franck Robichon / EPA/Landov
Koichi Kitazawa (shown here March 1 in Tokyo), former director of the Japan Science and Technology Agency, heads the independent commission that investigated the Fukushima accident. The commission concluded that the government, and not a nuclear power company, should bear primary responsibility for the nation's nuclear safety.
Credit Issei Kato / AP
The Unit 3 reactor at the Fukushima nuclear power plant, shown here on Feb. 20, 2012, was one of three reactors involved in the nuclear accident last year.
A year after suffering the worst nuclear accident in its history, Japan is still struggling to understand what happened at the Fukushima nuclear plant in the country's northeast.
Last week, an independent commission released a report arguing that Japan narrowly averted what could have been a far deadlier disaster and that the government withheld this information from the public.
A worker is given a radiation screening as he enters the emergency operation center at Tokyo Electric Power Co.'s tsunami-crippled Fukushima Dai-ichi nuclear power plant on Feb. 20.
Credit David Guttenfelder / AFP/Getty Images
A deserted street inside the contaminated exclusion zone around the crippled Fukushima Dai-ichi nuclear power station, on Nov. 12, 2011. Experts say health effects of radiation exposure likely won't be detectable and a bigger problem is the mental health issues resulting from the trauma of the tsunami.
One year ago this Sunday, a 9.0 magnitude earthquake off Japan triggered a tsunami that killed 20,000 people. It also triggered multiple meltdowns at the Fukushima Dai-ichi nuclear power station, one of the worst nuclear disasters in history.
But health effects from radiation turn out to be minor compared with the other issues the people of Fukushima prefecture now face.
A woman picks carrots on her farm as she explains her fears that no one will buy them since the radiation fallout in March 2011 in Fukushima, Japan. A year later, challenges persist for farmers in the region.
Credit Doualy Xaykaothao for NPR
Yoshiko Watanabe stands near where her roadside vegetable stand used to be in Kawauchi village in Japan's Fukushima prefecture.
The mountain village of Kawauchi lies partly inside the area deemed unsafe because of high levels of radiation in Japan's Fukushima prefecture. Chiharu Kubota uses a high-pressure water gun to hose down buildings there.
Radiation is still leaking from the Fukushima Dai-ichi nuclear plant, which suffered multiple meltdowns immediately after last year's earthquake and tsunami.
Because of a faraway tragedy, and a fluke of nature, the two men are learning a thing or two about the global economy – and about the fine line between passion and obsession.
If there were such a thing as a professional mushroom forager in New Hampshire, Keith Garrett would be it. So would Eric Milligan.
The two men have been hunting mushrooms in the Lakes Region for the last six years. More than 5,000 species of mushrooms have been identified in this region alone, but Milligan and Garrett are walking encyclopedias.