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Trade deal eluding U.S., Japan, senior U.S. official says

WASHINGTON (Reuters) - U.S. and Japanese trade negotiators have been unable to reach a deal to open Japan's markets more widely to imports ahead of President Barack Obama's visit to Japan, a senior U.S. administration official said on Friday. Negotiators are down to a relatively limited set of outstanding issues but considerable differences separate the two sides, the official told reporters, speaking on condition of anonymity.

Japan to abolish tariffs on Australian tuna, oranges in stages

Japan will abolish tariffs on southern bluefin tuna from Australia in stages over a decade once the recently agreed bilateral free trade deal takes effect, the farm ministry said Friday. Under the free trade agreement, Japan will also abolish tariffs on Australian oranges for the June-September period in stages over 10 years, according to the Ministry of Agriculture, Forestry and Fisheries.

Japan to abolish tariffs on Australian tuna, oranges in stages

Japan will abolish tariffs on southern bluefin tuna from Australia in stages over a decade once the recently agreed bilateral free trade deal takes effect, the farm ministry said Friday. Under the free trade agreement, Japan will also abolish tariffs on Australian oranges for the June-September period in stages over 10 years, according to the Ministry of Agriculture, Forestry and Fisheries.

Japan firm offers glowing finger for those phoning home

If you thought a finger that glows when you phone home was strictly the preserve of extra-terrestrials, think again: a Japanese firm has unveiled nails that light up when you make a call. Unlike "E.T." in the 1982 Steven Spielberg film, modern-day Japanese fashionistas need only pick up their Android-powered smartphone to set their finger glowing. Building on the immense popularity of manicure art -- where intricate patterns and small gem-like stones are stuck on the nail -- toy company Takara Tomy A.R.T.S. has developed a micro-thin LED sticker.

Japan confirms first bird flu case since 2011

TOKYO (Reuters) - Two chickens have tested positive for avian influenza at a farm in Japan where more than 1,000 chickens have died, marking the country's first case of bird flu in three years, the Agricultural Ministry said on Sunday. The highly pathogenic H5 virus was detected through genetic testing of chickens at a farm in Kumamoto prefecture in the south, the ministry said on its Website. A total of 1,100 chickens have died and about 112,000 would be culled, media said.

Recalls of vehicles in Japan hit record high in FY 2013

Recalls of domestically produced and imported vehicles in fiscal 2013 filed by automakers in Japan totaled a record-high 7.98 million units, the transport ministry said Wednesday. The ministry said the level was due largely to five cases of recalls involving more than 500,000 vehicles each, including that of Toyota Motor Corp. Prius hybrid models. The figure for the business year ended March 31 is the largest since the government started compiling relevant statistics in 1969.

Weak yen hurt S. Korean consumer goods exports to Japan, affected tourism in 2013: report

SEOUL, April 6 (Yonhap) -- A weak yen hurt South Korean consumer goods exports to Japan and influenced bilateral tourism trends last year, a report by an international traders association showed Sunday. According to the Korea International Trade Association (KITA), consumer goods exports to Japan dropped 13.1 percent on-year in 2013 to US$4.85 billion, from $5.59 billion tallied a year earlier, while imports from Japan reached $2.71 billion, a more modest 4.2 percent dip from the year before.

S. Korea protests Japan's claim over islets in textbooks

South Korea lodged a formal protest with Japan on Friday over its move to include its territorial claim to a pair of South Korean-held islets in elementary school textbooks. The Foreign Ministry summoned Japanese Ambassador Koro Bessho to hear the protest, after Japan's education ministry said earlier in the day its territorial disputes with South Korea and China will be mentioned in all social studies textbooks for elementary school students from the academic year starting in April 2015.

Japan assesses tsunami threat after Chile quake

Japan's meteorological agency said it was assessing Wednesday whether to issue a tsunami advisory after an 8.2 magnitude earthquake struck off Chile's Pacific coast, as authorities braced for waves potentially as high as one metre (3.3 feet). The quake struck late Tuesday, sending tsunami waves of more than two metres crashing into Chile's northern coast. The Japanese meteorological agency said tsunami waves could reach coastal zones of the Pacific country early Thursday, but that it was still assessing the danger.

Child abduction treaty comes into force in Japan

Japan on Tuesday enacted an international treaty on cross-border child custody disputes, more than three decades after it was agreed and after years of pressure from Western allies. The 1980 Hague Convention on the Civil Aspects of International Child Abduction came into force after the cabinet of Prime Minister Shinzo Abe endorsed last year's decision by both houses of parliament to approve the treaty.
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