Sport Laura Robson was victorious in Beijing on Sunday

The Brit lost to Kimiko Date-Krumm

Volleyball: Cuba race to world whitewash

CUBA CONFIRMED their status as the undisputed top women's team by retaining the World Championship with a 3-0 win over China in the final in Osaka yesterday.

So long, high-spending Japanese tourist

FROM the second-hand record shops of London's Camden Town to the wilds of the Scottish Highlands, and from the Champs-Elysees to the luxury hotels of Madrid, the Japanese tourist is looking like an endangered species.

A-Z of Employers: FITCH plc

Age: 26.

Mad in Japan

'Violent running groups', teenage knifings and murders and consumerist nihilism are Western cliches. But in Japan, a new generation of disaffected youth is horrifying the nation.

Science: It's not getting there

After years of attempting to make the floating `maglev' train a reality, the dream has proved too expensive. So why are Japan and Germany still trying?

Japan Briefing: Time to indulge the yen to travel

A strong pound means Japan has never been better value, says Simon Calder

Eating Out: Mel, Sue and lunch too

LUNCH; 60 Exmouth Market, London EC1R 4QE. Tel: 0171 278 2420. Open Monday to Friday from 8.30am until 6pm. Average price per person, pounds 5. Payment by cash or cheque only

A wry smile from the rising sun

Who says Japanese can't laugh? James Rampton watches Issey Ogata overturn the stereotype

ISSEY FOR REAL?

At first sight, Issey Ogata (right) commands attention because the very idea of a Japanese stand-up is so unusual. But there is more to him than mere novelty-value; he is actually a highly accomplished performer. With his vignettes sending up Japanese life, he is able to capture social types that transcend the language barrier. In 15 years, Ogata has developed from a building-site worker into the hottest property in Japanese live comedy - and, from Tuesday at the Lyric Theatre, Shaftesbury Avenue, we have the chance to see why.

The coolest catwalk

London Fashion Week is about to begin. For years international fashion saw it as a backwater, but now everyone wants to be in on the act

Film: Darkness on the razor's edge

The National Film Theatre is mounting a rare retrospective of the work of the Japanese director Kenji Mizoguchi, whose extreme life experiences shaped his ruthless working methods as well as his supreme artistry. Chris Darke assesses the master's work.

OPERA Mascagni's Iris Holland Park, London

The Italian operas flying the banner of verismo (realism) might be better identified as sentimentalismo, so assiduously do they skirt reality. Take Mascagni's Iris, typical japonaiserie, premiered in 1898, five years before Puccini's Madama Butterfly (Luigi Illica worked on both librettos). Iris, a washerwoman who cares for her blind father, is abducted by the libertine Osaka and his associate, Kyoto. Installed in the latter's brothel, bedecked in flimsy finery, she's paraded to potential customers, at which point her father reappears and flings mud at her. At this Iris throws herself into the sewers, where scavengers strip her body of valuables. With her dying breath, she bids farewell to light and warmth while her soul journeys heavenward.

700 escape mid-air crash over California

Two airliners each carrying approximately 350 people flew within 300ft of one another over Los Angeles, California, yesterday after a pilot apparently failed to follow instructions from the control tower at the city's LAX airport.

Obituary: Tomoyuki Tanaka

A shrewd eye for the quick yen is the distinguishing characteristic of the typical Osaka businessman. The highly successful film producer Tomoyuki Tanaka was no exception to this rule. Yet there was much more to the man than financial acumen. In his long life he made over 200 films for the Toho Movie Company, which he entered in 1944, rising to be chairman of the board of directors and chief executive producer.

Bullet train claims new speed record

As well as being the fastest, the Japanese bullet train is the oldest, the most efficient, and surely the best-equipped high-speed train in the world.
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Prices correct as of 17 April 2015
NHS struggling to monitor the safety and efficacy of its services outsourced to private providers

Who's monitoring the outsourced NHS services?

A report finds that private firms are not being properly assessed for their quality of care
Zac Goldsmith: 'I'll trigger a by-election over Heathrow'

Zac Goldsmith: 'I'll trigger a by-election over Heathrow'

The Tory MP said he did not want to stand again unless his party's manifesto ruled out a third runway. But he's doing so. Watch this space
How do Greek voters feel about Syriza's backtracking on its anti-austerity pledge?

How do Greeks feel about Syriza?

Five voters from different backgrounds tell us what they expect from Syriza's charismatic leader Alexis Tsipras
From Iraq to Libya and Syria: The wars that come back to haunt us

The wars that come back to haunt us

David Cameron should not escape blame for his role in conflicts that are still raging, argues Patrick Cockburn
Sam Baker and Lauren Laverne: Too busy to surf? Head to The Pool

Too busy to surf? Head to The Pool

A new website is trying to declutter the internet to help busy women. Holly Williams meets the founders
Heston Blumenthal to cook up a spice odyssey for British astronaut manning the International Space Station

UK's Major Tum to blast off on a spice odyssey

Nothing but the best for British astronaut as chef Heston Blumenthal cooks up his rations
John Harrison's 'longitude' clock sets new record - 300 years on

‘Longitude’ clock sets new record - 300 years on

Greenwich horologists celebrate as it keeps to within a second of real time over a 100-day test
Fears in the US of being outgunned in the vital propaganda wars by Russia, China - and even Isis - have prompted a rethink on overseas broadcasters

Let the propaganda wars begin - again

'Accurate, objective, comprehensive': that was Voice of America's creed, but now its masters want it to promote US policy, reports Rupert Cornwell
Why Japan's incredible long-distance runners will never win the London Marathon

Japan's incredible long-distance runners

Every year, Japanese long-distance runners post some of the world's fastest times – yet, come next weekend, not a single elite competitor from the country will be at the London Marathon
Why does Tom Drury remain the greatest writer you've never heard of?

Tom Drury: The quiet American

His debut was considered one of the finest novels of the past 50 years, and he is every bit the equal of his contemporaries, Jonathan Franzen, Dave Eggers and David Foster Wallace
You should judge a person by how they peel a potato

You should judge a person by how they peel a potato

Dave Hax's domestic tips are reminiscent of George Orwell's tea routine. The world might need revolution, but we like to sweat the small stuff, says DJ Taylor
Beige is back: The drab car colours of the 1970s are proving popular again

Beige to the future

Flares and flounce are back on catwalks but a revival in ’70s car paintjobs was a stack-heeled step too far – until now
Bill Granger recipes: Our chef's dishes highlight the delicate essence of fresh cheeses

Bill Granger cooks with fresh cheeses

More delicate on the palate, milder, fresh cheeses can also be kinder to the waistline
Aston Villa vs Liverpool: 'This FA Cup run has been wonderful,' says veteran Shay Given

Shay Given: 'This FA Cup run has been wonderful'

The Villa keeper has been overlooked for a long time and has unhappy memories of the national stadium – but he is savouring his chance to play at Wembley
Timeless drama of Championship race in league of its own - Michael Calvin

Michael Calvin's Last Word

Timeless drama of Championship race in league of its own