The 'Land of the Rising Sun' for centuries was a very closed society until the first Europeans opened the door for trade. Japan then became and remained an economic powerhouse through the 20th century until today.
Japan is an archipelago in the northeastern Pacific region with a population of about 126 million, making it the world's 10th most populous country. It is currently the world's 3rd largest economy. The country today blends a distinctly Western lifestyle with its ancient religion and traditions that go back thousands of years.
No other country boasts as many thermal springs as Japan - the island nation bubbles and steams at more than 28,000 spots because four tectonic plates rub against each other deep beneath the Japan's landscape. This has brought the Japanese a long tradition of bathing, with countless opportunities to warm and cleanse body and soul.
At least seven sailors were killed and three injured after a US Navy destroyer collided with a container ship off the coast of Japan. Officials have begun questioning crew about the cause of the crash.
The nationalist prime minister Shinzo Abe is accused of pressuring bureaucrats to fund a university program run by a close friend. Documents that appear to verify the accusations are being called into question by Abe.
In Japan, tattoo culture is facing an existential crisis. After years of operating in a legal gray zone, a police crackdown on tattoo artists now sees dozens being charged and fined for not carrying a doctor's license. But in the southern city of Osaka, one young tattoo artist is fighting back. Thisanka Siripala went along to meet him.