Japan

Washington Gov. Jay Inslee and Japanese Ambassador to the U.S. Kenichiro Sasae signed a Memorandum of Cooperation Tuesday to strengthen trade between the Evergreen State and Japan.

In Japan, the world's third largest economy, the Brexit means more bad news for a country already struggling with its finances.

Following the British vote to leave the European Union, the Japanese stock market on Friday saw the largest single day drop since the year 2000 (though it did rebound a bit on Monday).

Tens of thousands of people are demonstrating against the heavy U.S. military presence on the island of Okinawa, Japan.

It's "one of the biggest demonstrations in two decades" against the U.S. military bases on the island, Reuters reports, and comes after an American allegedly raped and killed a local woman named Rina Shimabukuro.

For four days, a 7-year-old boy has been missing in bear-inhabited woods in northern Japan. His parents initially said he disappeared as the family was gathering food in the forest, but later admitted leaving him alone intentionally, as a punishment.

More than a hundred people continued to search for Yamato Tanooka on Tuesday, to no avail.

Carmaker Mitsubishi Motors says "improper conduct" resulted in 625,000 of its vehicles getting inflated gas mileage ratings, in a scandal that's centered on minicars made for Japan's market.

The cars in question are Mitsubishi's eK Wagon and eK Space, as well as the Nissan Dayz and Dayz Roox (which the industrial giant made for Nissan Motors). While the scandal seems to be limited to the Japanese domestic market, Mitsubishi says it is now investigating vehicles it made for overseas markets as well.

Just more than 24 hours after powerful earthquakes struck a large island in southwest Japan, an even stronger quake has hit the same area.

The Associated Press quotes a Japanese official as saying 19 people were killed, bringing the total for the two big quakes to 29.

Temporary is lasting a long time for evacuees in neat blocks of prefabricated housing in Fukushima city. The wood siding on their tiny homes looks new. But these trailers are stretching into their fifth year of use.

Saki Sato, 77, shows me around her home, where she lives alone in a kind of limbo. Each room is about the size of a king-size mattress.

In the central Japanese mountain village of Damine, children have kept up an unbroken tradition of performing Japan's classical theater, kabuki, year after year for more than three centuries. But as people age or leave for opportunities in cities, the village is running out of performers.

Danny Choo

You can already buy gigantic packages of toilet paper and toothpaste at Costco stores everywhere from Misato City, Japan, to Lidcombe, Australia. Those are just two of Costco's 634 stores worldwide. 

But now, Costco is planning a more aggressive expansion in the coming 12 months. The wholesale retailer says it aims to open as many as 36 more stores, 10 more than in the fiscal year that ended at the beginning of September. Half of those stores will be outside the U.S.

A delegation of 250 people from a prefecture in Japan is visiting Washington to celebrate 50 years of a sister-state relationship.

Leaders from Washington state and the Hyogo Prefecture will renew their relationship in a joint agreement Monday afternoon. They will then gather to celebrate with food and entertainment that honors both regions.

Ashley Gross / KPLU

State and local leaders have promised Boeing expedited permitting to build its next 777 wide-body jet, as well as the plane’s carbon-fiber wing, in Washington. Still, the Puget Sound region faces competition for wing assembly not only from elsewhere in the U.S., but also from Japan.

Strategic News Service

Back in 2007, Strategic News Service publisher Mark Anderson warned KPLU listeners about the dangers of "cheap money" from Japan, which helped fuel the subprime mortgage debacle. Mark advised investors to put more of their money into cash, rather than stocks.

The following year, the bottom fell out of the stock market.

Is history about to repeat itself? Mark believes Japan and other nations are printing too much money again, making conditions ripe for another meltdown.

With Mark's permission, we're reprinting a special alert he recently sent to SNS subscribers on April 12:

Luke Lai

The grounding of Boeing’s 787 Dreamliner has been a big blow to Japan – both its airlines and its aerospace industry. It’s a reflection of the strong ties between Boeing and Japan.

Japanese airlines have been very loyal to Boeing for decades. They have almost half of the 787 Dreamliners delivered so far. All Nippon Airways was the launch customer.

Chris Pike / Flickr

Sockeye salmon returning to Canada this year will be tested by the Canadian Food Inspection Agency (CFIA) for radiation contamination that might be picked up in the North Pacific from Japan's Fukushima nuclear disaster.

However, Washington state officials have no plans to test salmon specifically for radiation related to the Japanese disaster because earlier environmental testing showed so few signs of radiation that current levels in fish, if any, would be "undetectable," a spokesperson for the Department of Health said.

Gray Davis / KPLU

The Seattle Cherry Blossom and Japanese Cultural Festival starts today. This year, the annual event isn’t just a celebration of spring. Organizers say it’s also an opportunity to work through feelings about the devastating earthquake and tsunami in Japan last month.