As Japan struggles to get its groove back, the capital beckons as a bright bargain. Lee Hannon visits.
The bright neon lights of Tokyo may dim this year, but the flicker of hope that Japan will remain a top tourist destination still glimmers.
It's been more than a year since the land of the rising sun faced its darkest days after World War II, after a massive earthquake and deadly tsunami killed tens of thousands of people as it washed away entire towns and villages. Tourists in Japan left as quickly as multinational corporations evacuated their workers.
Latest statistics show Chinese tourists are returning in record numbers to Japan. Some 138,400 visited in January alone, up 39.6 percent from the same period last year pre-quake.
The numbers went into freefall following the March earthquake and only began to stabilize last September. Japanese businesses and tour operators say the rapid increase in visitors from the mainland, Hong Kong and Taiwan is offering some much needed optimism in a country still struggling to get back on its feet.
It is a mathematical algorithm, not just common sense, that Japan's nearest neighbor would return first and there's no wonder.
The country still has a lot to offer: shopping for electronics, a visit to Mount Fuji or the ancient temples in Kyoto, or - for the more adventurous - the ski slopes in the north.
Just over one ton of water contaminated with radioactive particulates leaked from one of the containment vessels at the stricken Fukushima Daiichi nuclear plant on Wednesday, Tokyo Electric Power Co (TEPCO) said. (Japan Today )
Japan is expected to secure the minimum required power supply capacity when electricity demand peaks in August, even if all the country's nuclear reactors remain offline, estimates by major regional utilities showed Thursday. (Kyodo )
A former Bridgestone Corp. (5108) executive agreed to plead guilty to conspiring to fix prices for auto parts, a day after a grand jury indicted another executive and two former workers at the Japanese tire maker. (Bloomberg )
Tochigi prefectural police said Thursday that they are questioning a man in his 30s over the murder of a 7-year-old girl in December 2005. Japanese media quoted police as saying that the man, who was arrested for dealing in fake brand-name goods, has hinted at his involvement in the murder. (Japan Today )
People enjoy viewing the 15-meter snow walls of the Yuki no Otani (Great Snow Valley), along the Tateyama Kurobe Alpine Route that passes through the Northern Japan Alps to link Toyama and Nagano prefectures. (The Japan News )
Tokyo prosecutors plan to look into whether a man, who has been arrested for allegedly vandalizing copies of Anne Frank's diary, is mentally competent to be held criminally responsible for his actions, informed sources said Wednesday. (Jiji Press )
Apparently perplexed but thrilled to find himself in the spotlight, Iwao Hakamada, formerly the world's longest-serving death-row inmate, made his first public appearance Monday in Tokyo since being released from prison and hospitalized. (Japan Times )
Aichi prefectural police are investigating a possible link between the discovery of the bodies of a husband and wife and their eldest son, and the body of a male relative of the deceased family who was found hanging by his neck in a hotel. (Japan Today )