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Ayako Mie of the Japan Times, Khaldon Ahzari of Pan Orient News and David McNeill of the Independent discuss what the April tax increase will mean to the public and the administration, question whether xenophobia is raising its head, offer their take on a journalist's dream of unlimited funds and share their favorite blossom viewing spots.


by Kazuaki Nagata in the Japan Times

The parents of Megumi Yokota, who was abducted by North Korean agents in 1977, expressed hope Monday that Tokyo will use Pyongyang's economic fragility as leverage when they met for high-level talks next week.   Read the article in the Japan Times


by NHK World

The Ukrainian ambassador to Japan has reiterated that Sunday's referendum in Crimea was invalid. Ihor Kharchenko spoke at the Foreign Correspondents' Club of Japan in Tokyo on Monday.  Read the article


By Mari Iwata of the Wal Street Journal

Despite continued opposition from local fishing groups, a controlled release of lightly contaminated water at the Fukushima Daiichi nuclear power plant should be considered, the head of the International Atomic Energy Agency said on Monday. "Common practice is to treat contaminated water as much as possible . . . and then release it into the environment," Yukiya Amano, Director General of IAEA, told a news conference in Tokyo, adding that he believed the current situation of ever-growing batteries of storage tanks is "not viable."  Read the article

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