Japan formalizes assistance to three Grassroots Human Security Projects in Tonga

The projects include restoring emergency medical services for Ha’apai and ‘Eua with the purchase of an ambulance vehicle for each island.

Radio Tonga reports another project involves installing an ice making machine for ‘Uiha Island to boost their fishery sector.

Funding will also be provided for the construction of four classrooms for the technical course students of Tonga College ‘Atele.

'Time-saving' toilet finder app for Japanese workers

According to telecom operator KDDI, Japanese employees spend far too much time waiting for a lavatory to become available, so it has developed an app which shows the nearest vacant loo, the Japan Times reports.

Milner-Skudder to miss season opener

Milner-Skudder injured his hamstring playing against the Crusaders in their final pre-season game last weekend and didn't make the trip to play the Sunwolves in Tokyo.

Also missing is prop Loni Uhila who has a calf injury.

Coach Chris Boyd's 25-man touring squad includes all four of the Hurricanes 2016 All Blacks with captain and hooker Dane Coles, openside Ardie Savea, wing Julian Savea and star first five Beauden Barrett all on the plane to Japan.

Can this radio detect your mood and play songs to match?

Many roboticists and computer engineers seem to think so, because they're always trying to make their creations more human.

Take Solo, the "emotional radio", for example. A wall-mounted device that resembles a large clock, it features a liquid crystal display at its centre. When you approach it, the pictogram face shows a neutral expression.

But it then takes a photo of your face, a rod or antenna on the side cranks into life, and the LCD display indicates that it's thinking.

Nabana No Sato: Japan's most extravagant light display

Every winter, towns and cities across the country glow with impressive festivals featuring millions of colorful bulbs.

Best of all, these festivals keep going long after holiday cheer has passed, some carrying on well into spring.

Among the biggest and most impressive of them all is Nabana No Sato.

KitKat sushi: Has Japan gone too far?

The bars come in three flavors, which fortunately don't taste anything like the varieties of sushi they're modeled to look like -- unless you count the seaweed.

There's tuna sushi, which actually tastes like raspberry. The seaweed wrapped sushi omelet is really a pumpkin pudding KitKat.

Lastly, the sea urchin sushi is a Hokkaido melon with mascarpone cheese KitKat.

All three have a base made of puffed rice with white chocolate and a hint of wasabi.

Inspired by an April Fool's Day joke

Tokyo 2020 Olympics Medals to be made from mobile phones

The Japanese public will be asked to donate old phones and small appliances to gather two tonnes of gold, silver and bronze for the 5,000 medals.

The project hopes to promote sustainability and reduce costs.

"A project that allows the people of Japan to take part in creating the medals is really good," said Tokyo 2020 sports director Koji Murofushi.

"There's a limit on the resources of our earth, so recycling these things will make us think about the environment."

Japan's hi-tech toilets to get standardised symbols

Japan's hi-tech toilets famously include features such as lid and seat controls, flush strength, front and back bidets, and air drying,

Different manufacturers all use their own pictograms for each function.

But the Japan Sanitary Equipment Industry Association says this confuses foreign tourists.

The organisation said (in Japanese) that it hoped its eight new pictograms would make things easier for non-Japanese speakers and create "a toilet environment that anyone can use with peace of mind".

Japan helps Tonga with breadfruit industry

RNZ reports the investment is intended to improve food security and health as well as expanding the processing of breadfruit products for export.

The rural development NGO MORDI is party to the project and its general manager, Soane Patolo, says research has shown that 70 percent of breadfruit grown in Tonga goes to waste.

Mr Patolo says the investment from Japan will pay for new machinery to process the previously unused breadfruit into powder, paste and a popular dessert.

Pacific countries in Japan to discuss development and climate change

The meeting is one of several precursors to Japan's eighth Pacific Islands Leaders Meeting or PALM to be held in 2018.

Japan has been holding the summit every three years since 1997.

16 countries are expected to attend the meeting which will review progress since the last summit and prepare for the next one.

Speaking on behalf of the Pacific Islands Forum chair the Federated States of Micronesia's foreign secretary, Lorin Robert, said he was looking forward to discussing the Pacific's relations with Japan in the areas of climate change and ocean management.