J-Pop group SMAP's scheduled performance on June 13 at the Shanghai World Expo has been cancelled after the authorities deemed it a safety risk.

Sake is gradually increasing its presence at banquets where Japanese government leaders play host to foreign dignitaries...sake has begun to be included among other beverages at dinners and receptions amid growing calls from within the ministry to actively push sake in the field of diplomacy.

There's been no shortage of tedious commentary driving home the narrative about how the Obama administration is tougher on America's allies than on America's enemies. But in the case of Japan, I think it's pretty clear the administration put an ally in an impossible situation.

Embattled Japanese Prime Minister Yukio Hatoyama said Wednesday he was resigning over his broken campaign promise to move a U.S. Marine base off the southern island of Okinawa. The prime minister faced growing pressure from within his own party to resign ahead of July's upper house elections.

Japanese Prime Minister Yukio Hatoyama and Chinese Prime Minister Wen Jiabao are mulling the launch of a joint Japan-China toon festival as well as a joint pic and TV drama week.

Chinese Premier Wen Jiabao carried on efforts to boost the friendship between the people of China and Japan by exercising with Tokyo locals in a park on Monday morning. "The friendship between China and Japan had its base at the non-governmental or grassroots level," the Chinese premier said on the three-day official visit to Tokyo, which ran from Sunday to Tuesday.

Putting aside their diplomatic rivalry, Japan and China agreed on Monday to hold joint animation and TV drama festivals to promote grassroots cultural exchange... As a first step, each country will hold a festival or a special week next year to introduce the other's screen offerings, such as animation and TV drama series, the official said.

There is one area, however, where Japan could engage in a strategy that would simultaneously help its economy and give it an edge over China. This is immigration. Japan is unique among economies that are highly developed and in demographic decline in having so few immigrants.