Japan

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.