Hiroshi Hiyama

Hiroshi Hiyama

    Six-nation talks aimed at ending North Korea's nuclear-weapons programme broke up on Thursday following four days of deadlock, throwing efforts to implement a disarmament accord into disarray. North Korea's chief envoy Kim Kye-Gwan abruptly abandoned the talks and flew home on Thursday afternoon.

    Japanese copyright holders on Wednesday urged YouTube to do more to tackle unauthorised uploads after the popular video-sharing website agreed to post an infringement warning in Japanese. YouTube's current policy is to refuse users who violate copyrights three times.

    The race to set the industry standard for high-definition DVDs swept into Japan's stores Friday as Toshiba put on sale its first next-generation player. Supporters of the HD DVD format pushed by Toshiba and NEC are vying with the rival Blu-ray format, led by Panasonic and Sony, in a replay of the VHS-Betamax battle between two types of video cassette tapes in the late 1970s.

    Japan learned on Tuesday that the wife of the emperor's second son is pregnant, throwing a sudden question mark over controversial moves to end male-only succession in the world's oldest monarchy. No boy has been born to the imperial family since 1965, spelling crisis for an imperial line that legend holds has been uninterrupted for more than 2 600 years.

    On television around the world and even toasted by the Japanese embassy in Washington, Yumi Yoshimura and Ami Onuki, the two 30-something women who form the duo "Puffy," are learning the unlikely role of Japanese pop ambassadors. Puffy have suddenly succeeded where few Japanese pop artists have before -- finding a fan base overseas.

    Sony boss Howard Stringer, under pressure to reverse a slump at the electronics icon, announced 10 000 job cuts on Thursday but renewed his vision of the group as an electronics-to-entertainment colossus. Sony also issued its second profit warning this year, forecasting a net loss of 10-billion yen ($90-million).

    Japan's Parliament went to work on Wednesday on breaking up the massive post office after the landslide election victory of Prime Minister Junichiro Koizumi, whose popularity keeps on rising. Hours before the 42-day special session opened, Koizumi's Cabinet resigned, a formality in the wake of the September 11 general election, in which reforming the Japanese economy was the key issue.