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Japan's ambassador to South Korea returned to Tokyo on Monday, reiterating its frustration over a statue of a "comfort woman" which has reignited a diplomatic row over Tokyo's wartime sex slavery.
 
A brisk start
Japanese bathers pray for a healthy 2017 while dipping in a cold-water tub with blocks of ice at a park adjacent to Teppozu Inari Shinto Shrine during a winter ritual in Tokyo, Sunday, Jan. 8. About 100 people gathered for the mid-winter event.
 
Bluefin tuna auctioned off for US$632,000
A Japanese sushi chain boss bid a winning 74.2 million yen (US$632,000) Thursday for a 212 kilogram bluefin tuna in what may be Tsukiji market's last auction at its current site in downtown Tokyo.
 
Lions and fish
A lion dance makes its way to a diner at a sushi restaurant at Asakusa district in Tokyo on Tuesday, Jan. 3.
 
Japanese emperor greets New Year well-wishers
Japan's Emperor Akihito delivered his traditional New Year address Monday with tens of thousands of people flocking to the Imperial Palace for what could be his last such appearance after he expressed his desire to abdicate.
 
A squirrel eats an offering on the altar on New Year's Day at the Tsurugaoka Hachimangu Shrine in Kamakura, near Tokyo, Sunday, Jan. 1. The temple, like many throughout Japan, was crowded over the New Year's weekend, with locals visiting to offer a prayer in hope of a fresh start in 2017.
 
Kim says N. Korea in 'final stages of test launching ICBM'
North Korea is in the "final stages" of developing an intercontinental ballistic missile, leader Kim Jong-Un said Sunday, claiming the country had significantly bolstered its nuclear deterrent in 2016.
 
An SUV drove off the fifth floor of a parking garage in Japan Saturday, killing three of its five passengers, local media reported.
 
Japan defense minister visits controversial shrine honoring war dead
Japan's hawkish defense minister prayed Thursday at a controversial war shrine in Tokyo the day after accompanying Prime Minister Shinzo Abe on a symbolic visit of reconciliation to Pearl Harbor, drawing condemnation from China and South Korea.
 
The president of Japan's biggest advertising agency said he plans to step down, a year after an employee suicide linked to allegations of extreme overwork at the company.
 
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