Huw Griffith

Deputy Bureau Chief, AFP Tokyo

Location icon Japan

Breaking: Hello Kitty not a cat, has never been: company

Hello Kitty is not a cat, the company behind Japan's global icon of cute insisted Thursday, despite an uproar from Internet users who spluttered: "But she's got whiskers!" The moon-faced creation that adorns everything from pencil cases to pyjamas the world over is, in fact, human.

Park a 'prostitute' pimped by Obama: Pyongyang

In a diatribe that was strongly worded even by the standards of its normally florid prose, the North lashed out at the relationship between a "master and its puppet" and threatened Park would pay a "dear price."

Obama visit lifts lid on simmering Asia tensions

Obama touches down in Tokyo a day after nearly 150 lawmakers paid homage at a shrine regarded by neighbouring nations as a symbol of Japan's brutal imperialist past, and shortly after the prime minister made an offering to the controversial site, AFP reports.

Bitcoin exchange MtGox in administration, bankruptcy eyed

A Japanese court Wednesday placed failed Bitcoin exchange MtGox in administration, with an order for bankruptcy expected to be issued soon, its administrator and chief executive said. "The Tokyo District Court decided today to dismiss the application for commencement of a civil rehabilitation and at the same time, an order for Provisional Administration was issued," a statement from CEO Mark Karpeles said.

50,000 protest Crimea action in Moscow

Around 50,000 people rallied in Moscow protesting Russia's intervention in Ukraine, a day before the Crimean peninsula votes on switching to Kremlin rule MOSCOW, Russia - Around 50,000 people rallied in central Moscow on Saturday, March 15, in protest at Russia's intervention in Ukraine, a day before the Crimean peninsula votes on switching to Kremlin rule.

Nurses Battle Fatigue in Tide of Philippine Typhoon Births

TACLOBAN, November 21, 2013 (AFP) - Kyrie Boniface is only a few hours old and seven weeks early, born before dawn in an under-equipped and over-crowded hospital in the typhoon-ravaged Philippine city of Tacloban. The nurses, who are working in 24-hour shifts, wrap him in plastic to keep him warm because they do not have an incubator.

'I spend my day opening body bags'

Related Stories Tacloban, Philippines - Clouds of flies rise as forensic pathologist Cecilia Lim opens body bags one-by-one, in a grim but crucial search for the identities of unknown typhoon victims in the Philippines. "Some of these remains, their faces are gone.

Japan claim China's behaviour over disputed islands jeopardising 'peacetime'

On Monday, China's coastguard sent four vessels into the waters around the islands, where they stayed for two hours, shadowed by their Japanese counterparts. That came after three consecutive days in which Tokyo scrambled its jets to meet Chinese aircraft flying near to Japanese airspace as they traversed a strait that leads into the Pacific.

Fears over North Korea nuclear test as Barack Obama arrives in Seoul

Barack Obama arrived in Seoul on Friday to growing signs North Korea was preparing for another nuclear test. The American president landed at a US Air Force base outside a South Korean capital still wracked with grief over the 300 people dead or missing more than a week after the sinking of the passenger ferry Sewol.

Cuddly mascots set for the chop in Japan

Tokyo (AFP) - Dozens of state-funded cuddly mascots could be culled in western Japan after a local authority found the public doesn't recognise many of them, as managers look to rein in an obsession with cuteness.

Abe calls snap Japan poll, delays tax hike

TOKYO: Prime Minister Shinzo Abe said on Tuesday (Nov 18) he was calling a snap election and delaying an expected sales tax rise after figures showed Japan was in recession.

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