News Japanese Prime Minister Shinzo Abe delivers his special address at the opening session of the World Economic Forum in Davos

Japan’s trade deficit has hit an all-time high as imports were swollen by higher energy prices and a weak yen.

Energy minister Yukio Edano apologised for the lack of records

Fukushima task force kept no records of meetings

It was the world's worst nuclear crisis for 25 years. But now, Japan's energy minister has admitted no one thought of keeping records of top-level discussions in the critical early days after disaster struck at the Fukushima plant.

Finance Minister Noda will become Japan's next prime minister after defeating Trade Minister Banri Kaieda in the ruling party leadership run-off vote

Japanese premier Yoshihiko Noda reshuffles cabinet

Japanese prime minister Yoshihiko Noda replaced five members of his cabinet today in a bid to win more co-operation from the opposition to raise the sales tax and rein in the country's bulging fiscal deficit.

Revival in air for insurers after a year of blows, says boss of Lloyd's

Record level of premium writing capacity likely despite second-highest claims bill in 2011

Strong quake recorded south of Japan

A strong earthquake with a preliminary magnitude of 7.0 struck under the sea several hundred miles south of Japan today, shaking buildings in the capital, but officials said there was no danger of a tsunami.

2011: a year of ups and downs downs

With the Footsie hitting its peak in February, defensive stocks have taken centre stage in the past 12 months. Household names and new issues alike have found it tough, reports Toby Green

Japan's nuclear response 'bungled'

Japan's response to the nuclear crisis that followed the 11 March tsunami was confused and riddled with problems, including an erroneous assumption an emergency cooling system was working and a delay in disclosing dangerous radiation leaks, a report revealed yesterday.

Leading article: How our Christmas Appeal helps

Boxing Day is the time at Christmas when the focus shifts from the family to the wider world. Historically, it was the day when tradesmen knocked on doors for their Christmas boxes. There were outings to the panto, and in more recent years, to sporting events.

Fifteen-year-old Wati, second right, with her father Yusuf, right, mother Yusniar, left, and younger brother Aris. The teenager was forced into begging

Tsunami girl, 15, finds her family after seven years

A girl who was swept away in the Indian Ocean tsunami seven years ago has recounted how she broke down in tears this week after tracking down her parents, who had long lost hope of finding her alive.

Residents try to free a car stuck in a liquefaction sink hole

Christchurch hit by another series of earthquakes

Another series of strong earthquakes struck the city of Christchurch yesterday, rattling buildings, sending goods tumbling from shelves and causing panic among Christmas shoppers.

Christchurch hit by new earthquakes

A series of strong earthquakes struck Christchurch, New Zealand, today, rattling buildings, sending goods tumbling from shelves and prompting terrified Christmas shoppers to flee into the streets.

Growth figures reveal challenges

The challenges faced by the global economy were underlined today by mixed growth figures from both sides of the Atlantic.

40-year plan to clean up Fukushima nuclear plant

Japan has released a new clean-up plan for its tsunami-hit nuclear plant that would take as many as 40 years to fully decommission while keeping the still vulnerable facility safely under control.

Japanese nuclear plant 'shutdown'

Japan's prime minister has announced that the tsunami-devastated Fukushima Dai-ichi nuclear power plant has reached a "cold shutdown" and is no longer leaking substantial amounts of radiation.

A loophole in international rules allows Japan to continue whale-hunts in the Southern Ocean

Japan uses tsunami victims' cash to shield whalers from activists

£19m from fund set up to rebuild coast stricken by triple disaster is diverted to help fishing fleet

The Fukushima nuclear power plant as seen by Tokyo Electric Power Company officials and journalists

Inside the twisted remains of Fukushima nuclear plant

Yesterday, reporters travelled for the first time to the centre of Japan's radiation catastrophe, the still-dangerous power plant devastated by March's earthquake and tsunami. This is what they saw.

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Independent Travel
Pompeii, Capri & the Bay of Naples
Seven Cities of Italy
Burgundy, the River Rhone & Provence
Prague, Budapest and Vienna
Lake Garda
Minoan Crete and Santorini
Prices correct as of 15 May 2015
Abuse - and the hell that came afterwards

Abuse - and the hell that follows

James Rhodes on the extraordinary legal battle to publish his memoir
Why we need a 'tranquility map' of England, according to campaigners

It's oh so quiet!

The case for a 'tranquility map' of England
'Timeless fashion': It may be a paradox, but the industry loves it

'Timeless fashion'

It may be a paradox, but the industry loves it
If the West needs a bridge to the 'moderates' inside Isis, maybe we could have done with Osama bin Laden staying alive after all

Could have done with Osama bin Laden staying alive?

Robert Fisk on the Fountainheads of World Evil in 2011 - and 2015
New exhibition celebrates the evolution of swimwear

Evolution of swimwear

From bathing dresses in the twenties to modern bikinis
Sun, sex and an anthropological study: One British academic's summer of hell in Magaluf

Sun, sex and an anthropological study

One academic’s summer of hell in Magaluf
From Shakespeare to Rising Damp... to Vicious

Frances de la Tour's 50-year triumph

'Rising Damp' brought De la Tour such recognition that she could be forgiven if she'd never been able to move on. But at 70, she continues to flourish - and to beguile
'That Whitsun, I was late getting away...'

Ian McMillan on the Whitsun Weddings

This weekend is Whitsun, and while the festival may no longer resonate, Larkin's best-loved poem, lives on - along with the train journey at the heart of it
Kathryn Williams explores the works and influences of Sylvia Plath in a new light

Songs from the bell jar

Kathryn Williams explores the works and influences of Sylvia Plath
How one man's day in high heels showed him that Cannes must change its 'no flats' policy

One man's day in high heels

...showed him that Cannes must change its 'flats' policy
Is a quiet crusade to reform executive pay bearing fruit?

Is a quiet crusade to reform executive pay bearing fruit?

Dominic Rossi of Fidelity says his pressure on business to control rewards is working. But why aren’t other fund managers helping?
The King David Hotel gives precious work to Palestinians - unless peace talks are on

King David Hotel: Palestinians not included

The King David is special to Jerusalem. Nick Kochan checked in and discovered it has some special arrangements, too
More people moving from Australia to New Zealand than in the other direction for first time in 24 years

End of the Aussie brain drain

More people moving from Australia to New Zealand than in the other direction for first time in 24 years
Meditation is touted as a cure for mental instability but can it actually be bad for you?

Can meditation be bad for you?

Researching a mass murder, Dr Miguel Farias discovered that, far from bringing inner peace, meditation can leave devotees in pieces
Eurovision 2015: Australians will be cheering on their first-ever entrant this Saturday

Australia's first-ever Eurovision entrant

Australia, a nation of kitsch-worshippers, has always loved the Eurovision Song Contest. Maggie Alderson says it'll fit in fine