Credit: Japan Aerospace Exploration Agency

Around 6 pm on Thursday night, the Japanese spacecraft Hayabusa 2 touched down on Ryugu—a distant asteroid.

The craft wasn't there to make friends, something it promptly proved by firing a bullet into the asteroid. The goal, according to officials at the Japan Aerospace Exploration Agency, is for Hayabusa 2 to collect debris from the asteroid to bring back to Earth for testing.

Keep reading... Show less
TOKYO, JAPAN - DECEMBER 23: Emperor Akihito Of Japan greets the public at the Imperial Palace on December 23, 2014 in Tokyo, Japan. Emperor Akihito of Japan turned 81 on December 23, 2014. (Photo by Jun Sato/Getty Images)

Japan is facing a potential Y2K meltdown in 2019.

Software can’t be written with every contingency in mind. The culprit isn’t a malicious bug or poorly written code. The problem is that Emperor Akihito will be relinquishing the Chrysanthemum Throne in 2019, and Japanese computers aren’t ready.

Keep reading... Show less
CBS This Morning/YouTube

The concept of family is fundamental to every society. Yet for many people, geographical or emotional distance may make family unavailable when needed. Estrangement and abuse unravel many family bonds. Death leaves voids in families that can never be filled. In Japan, however, a remarkable business makes it easier for families to feel complete: you can hire a replacement family member to fill in for the absent person.

Companies have sprung up to provide friends and family — for a fee. Rental fathers can be hired to walk a bride down the aisle, impersonate a father for children being raised by single-mothers, appear at public events, or provide fatherly advice. Men or women can be hired to play the role of romantic partner for family events for gay people who aren’t ready to come out. Other rental people simply provide a few hours of conversation or companionship. The relationships can be lengthy and ongoing.  

Keep reading... Show less
Ninjas from Iga (L and 2nd R) pose with female ninjas from Tokyo's Musashi ninja clan (2nd L and R) during the Iga-Ueno Ninja Festival at the Ueno park in Iga city on December 8, 2013. Iga city in Mie prefecture, about 350-kilometre west of Tokyo, a birthplace of Iga-style ninjas, held the two-day-long festival to attract visitors to the city. AFP PHOTO / TOSHIFUMI KITAMURA (Photo credit should read TOSHIFUMI KITAMURA/AFP/Getty Images)

Like many small cities in Japan, the city of Iga, in Mie Prefecture, is facing a serious depopulation problem. The city of 95,000 is shedding about 1,000 residents annually. Young people from Iga, like young people across the planet, are forsaking rural life in favor of city life.

In order to help combat this trend, Iga Mayor Sakae Okamoto is looking to Iga’s past. And what sets it apart from any number of cities in similar circumstances is that Iga’s history is awesome. Iga claims to be the birthplace of the ninja. It’s already home to one ninja museum, and the city is making moves to underscore its history. But a recent effort to promote its revitalization plan left Okamoto scrambling to set the record straight on some fake news.

Keep reading... Show less
Photos post-Fukushima disaster. (Pallava Bagla/Corbis via Getty Images)

Japan needs workers. It is the world’s oldest society, with a quarter of its population over the age of 65. By 2060, an estimated 40 percent of the population will be seniors, with 27 percent over age 75.

To augment the workforce and take care of all those older people, the country is bringing in immigrants to perform service sector jobs. It’s also issuing “technical intern visas” to more skilled workers who can perform factory and construction work. Oh, and nuclear cleanup work. Although, the workers may not have known that’s what they were doing. No one thought to tell them.

Keep reading... Show less
WASHINGTON, D.C. - FEBRUARY 28: President Donald Trump shows off a hat that says "Make Counties Great Again" before signing an Executive Order to begin the roll-back of environmental regulations put in place by the Obama administration February 28, 2017 in the Roosevelt Room of the White House in Washington, D.C. The Clean Water Rule, also known as WOTUS, the Waters of the U.S. rule, has been unpopular with some farmers, housing developers and energy companies. (Photo by Aude Guerrucci-Pool/Getty Images)

President Donald J. Trump’s surprise announcement that he will seek to impose tariffs on steel and aluminum imports sent shockwaves around the world yesterday and roiled the financial markets. Whether those tariffs get implemented is open to debate. Many believe the reality show theatrics with which he made the announcement were intended to distract from the accelerating scandals that are engulfing his White House.

But if he really intends to enact the tariffs, which are opposed by many in his administration, it shouldn’t come as a surprise. Trump campaigned on the promise of “America First” and many of his actions in the first year of his presidency have been designed to deliver on that campaign slogan.

Keep reading... Show less
Logan Paul (YouTube)

Logan Paul, an American YouTube personality, published a video on YouTube showing the body of someone who had just committed suicide in Japan. The video was filmed in Aokigahara, a forest in the northwestern area of Japan's Mount Fuji, which is the world's most popular suicide site. Paul's video was published on YouTube on December 31 and has already garnered 6.5 million views. Since its publication, the internet has attacked Paul for posting the video. However, in the beginning of the video, Paul stressed that he did not monetize the video. According to the Metro, Paul is worth about $6 million, and makes most of his money from product endorsements. He currently has 3.9 million Twitter followers and about 16 million subscribers on YouTube.

Keep reading... Show less