Japan's leader departed for a weeklong African tour Thursday, keeping up a busy travel schedule designed to restore Japan's global influence in the face of China's rise, as well as help Japanese companies win business overseas.
An explosion at a Japanese factory that had previously attracted the attention of safety inspectors killed at least five people and injured a dozen more on Thursday.
Hundreds of people fell sick across Japan after eating frozen food that may have been tainted with a pesticide.
A massive manhunt was underway in Japan on Wednesday with 4,000 police officers, 850 vehicles, sniffer dogs, helicopters and boats scouring a port city for an escaped rape suspect, reports said.
Japan's foreign minister left for Spain and France on Tuesday, where he was expected to press Tokyo's case in its spat with China.
Turkish Premier Recep Tayyip Erdogan met his Japanese counterpart Shinzo Abe for free trade talks Tuesday, as pressure mounted at home over a corruption scandal in which hundreds of police officers were fired.
More than 350 people across Japan have fallen ill after eating pesticide-contaminated frozen food produced by the nation's largest seafood firm, national broadcaster NHK said Tuesday.
Sushi restaurateur Kiyoshi Kimura paid 7.36 million yen (about US$70,000) for a 507-pound (230-kilogram) bluefin tuna in the year's celebratory first auction at Tokyo's Tsukiji Market on Sunday, just 5 percent of what he paid a year earlier despite signs that the species is in serious decline.
A fire near a central Tokyo station threw parts of Japan's bullet train system into chaos on Friday, as tens of thousands of passengers tried to return home from New Year holidays.
Japan's nationalist Prime Minister Shinzo Abe has said the country's pacifist post-World War II constitution which limits its military to self-defence could be amended by 2020.