Japan

Sapporo's local idol group, Team Crereco performs on a stage in front of a10-metre-tall and 18-metre-wide ice statue of the National Palace Museum in Taipei during the 65th annual Sapporo Snow Festival in Sapporo on February 5, 2014. The week-long festival started with a total of 198 snow statues on display and expects to attract around two million visitors.

Toshifumi Kitamura/AFP

Sapporo’s local idol group Team Crereco performs in front of a 10-metre-tall and 18-metre-wide ice statue of Taipei’s National Palace Museum during the 65th annual Sapporo Snow Festival on Wednesday. The week-long festival features 198 ice statues on display and expects to attract about 2m visitors.

Japanese Macaques groom each other in a hot spring at a snow-covered valley in Yamanouchi town

Issei Kato/Reuters

Japanese Macaques groom each other in a hot spring at a snow-covered valley in Yamanouchi town, central Japan, on Monday.

Japanese women in kimonos ride a train after a ceremony celebrating Coming of Age Day at an amusement park in Tokyo...Japanese women in kimonos ride a train after a ceremony celebrating Coming of Age Day at an amusement park in Tokyo January 13, 2014. According to a government announcement, about 1,210,000 men and women who were born in 1993 reached coming of age this year and the number is 10,000 less people than last year. The figure is the smallest number since the government started counting in 1968. REUTERS/Yuya Shino

Yuya Shino/Reuters

Japanese women in kimonos head home after celebrating Coming of Age day in Tokyo. According to the government, about 1.21m men and women who were born in 1993 reached coming of age this year. The figure is the smallest number since the government started counting in 1968. Read more

The 3D-custom-painted Toyota 86 by ARTIS company's Takahiko Izawa is displayed at the Kuhl Racing Factory booth during the Tokyo Auto Salon 2014 exhibition at the Makuhari Messe in Chiba on January 10, 2014. Almost 400 domestic and foreign companies participated in the three-day-long custom car exhibition with almost 800 vehicles on display.

Toshifumi Kitamura/AFP

The 3D custom-painted Toyota 86 by Artis company’s Takahiko Izawa is displayed at the Kuhl racing factory booth during the Tokyo Auto Salon 2014 exhibition at the Makuhari Messe in Chiba

People pray on the first day of business in 2014 at the Kanda Myojin shrine in Tokyo, Japan, on Monday, Jan. 6, 2014. Japanese equities rallied more than any other developed market last year, with the Topix surging 51 percent, as Prime Minister Shinzo Abe boosted stimulus to stoke inflation and spur growth in the world s third-biggest economy.

Kiyoshi Ota/Bloomberg

People pray on the first day of business in 2014 at the Kanda Myojin shrine in Tokyo, Japan. Japanese equities rallied more than any other developed market last year, as prime minister Shinzo Abe boosted stimulus to stoke inflation and spur growth in the world’s third-biggest economy

Japanese  well-wishers shout "banzai" (cheers) for Japan's Emperor Akihito during the royal family's public appearance for New Year celebrations at the Imperial Palace in Tokyo...Japanese well-wishers shout "banzai" (cheers) for Japan's Emperor Akihito during the royal family's public appearance for New Year celebrations at the Imperial Palace in Tokyo January 2, 2014.

Yuya Shino/Reuters

Japanese well-wishers shout “banzai” to Japan’s Emperor Akihito during the royal family’s public appearance for new year celebrations at the Imperial Palace in Tokyo on Thursday.

Emperor Akihito greets public on his 80th birthday...epa03999823 Well-wishers wave Japanese national flags while celebrating Emperor Akihito's 80th birthday during his public appearance at the Imperial Palace in Tokyo, Japan, 23 December 2013. Emperor Akihito, who reached his 80th birthday, still handles various events despite having heart surgery in 2012.

Franck Robichon/EPA

Well-wishers wave Japanese flags while celebrating Emperor Akihito’s 80th birthday during his public appearance at the Imperial Palace in Tokyo. Emperor Akihito still handles various events despite having heart surgery in 2012.

Doves fly above Chinese paramilitary policemen as they gather to mourn for the victims of 1937 Nanjing Massacre at the Nanjing Massacre Memorial Hall in Nanjing in east China's Jiangsu province Friday, Dec. 13, 2013. Nanjing on Friday marked 76 years after a bloody invasion by the Japanese imperial army that remains as one of the most sensitive friction points in the shared history of two Asian powers.

AP

Doves fly above Chinese paramilitary policemen as they gather at the Nanjing Massacre Memorial Hall, in Nanjing, China, to mourn the victims of the 1937 Nanjing massacre. The bloody invasion by the Japanese imperial army remains one of the most sensitive friction points between the two Asian powers.

A newly created small islet near Nishinoshima island of the Ogasawara island chain, 1,000 kilometres south of Tokyo.  A new island created by a volcanic eruption off Japan's coast is here to stay -- for now at least, scientists said on December 10, adding the new landmass could withstand erosion for several years.

Japanese Coast Guard/AFP

An islet near the coast of Japan that was created by a volcanic eruption is here to stay, at least for now, scientists said on Tuesday. The land mass near Nishinoshima island, part of the Ogasawara chain, 1,000 km south of Tokyo, could withstand erosion for several years.

Aviation Boatswain's Mate 2nd Class Tyler Stives, from Spring, Texas, inspects a catapult after an aircraft launch aboard the aircraft carrier USS George Washington during Annual Exercise 2013. The USS George Washington took part in a joint military naval drill with Japan on Thursday in waters off southern Japan, just days after it participated in humanitarian relief operations in the Philippines. More than 20 ships and 7000 U.S. personnel participated in this year's Annual Exercise 2013 which aims at strengthening ties between the United States Navy and the Japan Maritime Self Defence force. While the U.S. Navy would not confirm the exact coordinates, they were able to say the event took place, at one point at least, some 300 kilometers (186 miles) south east of Japan's southern most the islands of Okinawa. This is in the general vicinity, though not within, the new airspace defense zone which China newly established last week.

Liam Kennedy/U.S. Navy/Reuters

Aviation boatswain’s mate 2nd class Tyler Stives from Spring, Texas, inspects a catapult after a launch aboard the aircraft carrier USS George Washington during annual exercise 2013. The carrier took part in a naval drill with Japan in waters off southern Japan, just days after it took part in relief operations in the Philippines. The US Navy would not confirm the coordinates but said the drill took place about 300 km southeast of the Okinawa islands. This is in the general vicinity, though not within, the airspace defence zone that China established last week.