Monday, April 11, 2005

Japanese film noir director dies

Japanese film noir director dies
Yoshitaro Nomura
Nomura was an inspiration to other Japanese directors
Japanese film director Yoshitaro Nomura, best known for the 1974 thriller Castle Of Sand, has died of pneumonia in a Tokyo hospital.

Nomura, who was 85, began working in the Japanese film industry aged 22.

He made his directorial debut in 1953 with Hato (Pigeon), and continued to make films over the next three decades.

Castle Of Sand, in which two detectives investigate the murder of a police officer, is regarded by critics as one of the best Japanese films ever made.

Yomura was renowned as a director of suspense thrillers and a pioneer of film noir in Japan, although he made samurai dramas and musicals as well during his career.

He also adapted novels by a number of authors, including Agatha Christie, for the screen.

He directed his last film in 1985, but continued to work as a producer for TV and film, as well as acting as a mentor to other Japanese directors.

In 1995, he was awarded a prestigious Order of the Rising Sun by the Japanese government."

China blames Japan for tensions

China blames Japan for tensions
Anti-Japanese protesters in Shenzhen, China
Anti-Japanese protests have been building throughout the week
Chinese authorities have said Japan must do more to heal ties after anti-Japanese demonstrations across China turned increasingly violent.

A Chinese foreign ministry spokesman said the state of relations between the two countries was not China's fault.

A Japanese government spokesman pointedly declined to respond.

The protests started over a new Japanese history textbook which allegedly glosses over wartime atrocities committed by Japan.

Chinese Foreign Ministry spokesman Qin Gang said that the responsibility for the current situation of Sino-Japanese relations "does not lie with China", China's official news agency Xinhua reported.

"The Japanese have to do more things conducive to enhancing mutual trust and maintaining the relations between the two countries, rather than doing the reverse," it added.

Japan's Chief Cabinet Secretary, Hiroyuki Hosoda, said it would not be productive to respond to the Chinese comments.

"If I said at this moment that this is terrible and condemned it, it would not make things any better," he said.


He added that the two countries were exchanging views through diplomatic channels, and that developments were being monitored.

"We have to work hard to prevent mutual misunderstanding from growing," he added.

Meanwhile, Japanese Foreign Minister Nobutaka Machimura is expected to travel to China to discuss "a number of bilateral and international issues".

Chinese protesters set light to a Japanese flag

On Sunday, anti-Japanese protests erupted in China for the second day running, spreading from Beijing to the southern province of Guangdong.

The rallies follow a 10,000-strong march in the Chinese capital - the city's biggest protest since 1999.

At least 3,000 people demonstrated at the Japanese consulate in the southern city of Guangzhou on Sunday, shouting for a boycott of Japanese goods and burning Japanese flags.

A Japanese diplomat said some windows in the consulate were broken.

Hong Kong cable television showed protesters with Chinese flags and banners reading "down with Japanese militarism".

On Sunday, Japan summoned the Chinese ambassador to demand a formal apology, after windows at its embassy in Beijing were broken during a demonstration despite the presence of Chinese police.

The ambassador, Wang Yi, said Beijing did not condone the protests.

However, correspondents say the fact that Saturday's demonstration took place at all signals tacit acceptance, if not approval, by the authorities.

The weekend's marches are the biggest to take place in China for many years, according to the BBC correspondent in Beijing, Louisa Lim - a fact which she says indicates official approval.