"We must never let a little robotic cat take control of our minds." 

Chinese media have accused Japanese manga star Doraemon of trying to corrupt China’s youth. 

Photo: Bobby Yip/Reuters

A Japanese oil tanker has exploded off the country’s south-west coast near Himeji port, leaving one of the eight people aboard missing, the country’s coast guard has said. Four others were severely injured in the accident on Thursday. Full story here

Photo: 5th Regional Coast Guard Headquarters/EPA

Share your photos of cherry blossom season

Cherry blossom season is gorgeous this year. Whether you’re snapping them in Japan, Washington DC or your home town, we’d love to see your images of cherry blossom in spring. Share your photos »

Photograph: Lorraine Kerr/GuardianWitness

Japan told to halt Antarctic whaling by international court

The International Court of Justice has ordered a temporary halt to Japan’s annual slaughter of whales in the southern ocean after concluding that the hunts are not, as Japan claims, conducted for scientific research.

The UN court’s decision, by a 12-4 majority among a panel of judges, casts serious doubt over the long-term future of the jewel in the crown of Japan’s controversial whaling programme. Read more

Pictured: Three dead minke whales lie on the deck of the Japanese whaling vessel Nisshin Maru, in the Southern Ocean. Photograph: Tim Watters/AP

The Fukushima children who have to play indoors – in pictures

11 March marks the third anniversary of the earthquake and tsunami that devastated Japan’s Fukushima Daiichi nuclear power plant. The nearby city of Koriyama recommended, shortly after the disaster, that children up to the age of two should not spend more than 15 minutes outside each day. See more

Pictured: Two-year-old Nao Watanabe plays in a ball pit at an indoor playground built for children and parents who avoid playing outside because of concerns about nuclear radiation. Photograph: Toru Hanai/R

A volcano has erupted in south-western Japan, coating a nearby city with a layer of ash.

People in Kagoshima city wore masks and raincoats and used umbrellas to shield themselves from the ash after the Sakurajima volcano erupted on Sunday afternoon. Drivers turned on their headlights, and local media described the ash as like driving through snow at night.

Dozens of Japanese commuters pushed a 32-tonne train carriage away from the platform to free a woman who had fallen into the 20cm (8in) gap between it and the platform.

Photograph: Norihiro Shigeta/AP

Giant Panda Shin Shin is seen at Ueno Zoo in Tokyo, Japan. Shi Shin had shown signs of pregnancy, but it turned out to be a false hope. From picture desk live: the best news images of the day

Photograph: The Asahi Shimbun/Getty Images

It may be slightly disturbing, but a Japanese company can now print a 3D hologram of your unborn foetus. Oliver Wainwright explains.

Photograph: Pioneer

An inspector wearing a mask tries to make a baby, held by an amateur sumo wrestler, cry during the Nakizumo Festival, or crying baby contest, at Sensoji Temple in Tokyo.

Photograph: Kiyoshi Ota/EPA