Nara fears 1,300th anniversary flop
The ancient capital of Nara is celebrating the 1,300th anniversary of its founding throughout 2010 with hundreds of events that officials hope will bring in nearly 13 million visitors and raise the city's profile domestically and internationally as a historical and cultural tourism center. But questions are growing about how successful the celebrations will ultimately prove, with concerns over the effect of the weak economy on events and attendances, a lack of foreign language tourism information and a local populace that has been slow to embrace the festivities.
Japan Airlines rejects Delta, stays with American
Japan Airlines, wooed for months by Delta Air Lines with promises of cash and a broad global network, is spurning the world's biggest carrier and opting to keep its alliance with American Airlines. Japan's flagship carrier says it will strengthen its partnership with American and apply to the U.S. government for antitrust immunity on trans-Pacific flights.
Hokkaido inmates making trash cages
Inmates at Abashiri Prison in Hokkaido are producing garbage cages that are winning strong popularity from resident associations and other groups because they save space and deter crows. At Abashiri Prison, 50 trash cages are made every month. They are priced in the ¥30,000 range, one-fifth to one-sixth cheaper than conventional trash bins.