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Kyoto's traditional townhouses added to World Monuments Fund list

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JAPANESE TREND / Japanese Society (65) / Japanese Society (67)

Taking up herewith Japanese Social Trend News by Media in last week.
Recent Social Trend in Japan will be read via these News.
I'm interested in "Franklin dad considers hunger strike in Japanese jail ", "Asia's 'Astro Boy' set to take on Hollywood " and "Kyoto's traditional townhouses added to World Monuments Fund list" and so on.
Oct 11 Birth control pill still unpopular in Japan 10 yrs after introduction (Kyodo)
 A decade since their much-publicized introduction, low-dose birth control pills that enable women to control pregnancy are still struggling to gain popularity in Japan due to strong fears about side effects. September marked the 10th anniversary of their introduction in the country, but the number of users is estimated at just 3 percent of women of childbearing age -- 16-49 years -- in Japan as of 2008.
Oct 11 Japan's No. 1 playboy hardly a lady-killer (Japan Times)
 When Tamura first put the idea to Ishida, the actor seemed reluctant to have his every romantic notion and action recorded by cameras, but he accepted, probably knowing that the coverage would allow him to keep up appearances as "Japan's No. 1 playboy," a reputation basically self-promoted and the main source of his livelihood. This reputation is maintained with the help of tabloids and weeklies, in particular Friday magazine, which for a time appeared to have a photographer specially assigned to Ishida.
Oct 11 Campaign against groping (Japan Times)
 Every year in Japan, some 1,800 men are arrested for groping women on trains. In a stepped-up campaign of intervention, police are apprehending suspects and putting pressure on operators of the growing number of "how to" Web sites for gropers (chikan). The development of police forensics makes it possible now to obtain physical evidence of rubbing, touching or chewing on hair, a common act.
Oct 10 Franklin dad considers hunger strike in Japanese jail (newschannel5.com)
 Christopher Savoie remains behind bars after prosecutors decided overnight to extend his time in a Japanese jail. Now, after capturing international attention for trying to rescue the children who were abducted from him, the Franklin father may be contemplating even more drastic action. Police in Fukuoka, Japan, had held him for 10 days. Friday, they decided to hold him for another 10 days while they decide what to do with his case.
Oct 10 Chinese sisters given special permits to stay despite losing suit (AP)
 Two Chinese sisters who lost a lawsuit against a government deportation order were granted special permission to stay in Japan on Friday in an unusual step taken by Justice Minister Keiko Chiba. The sisters, Kana and Yoko Kitaura, aged 21 and 19, whose Chinese names are Jiao Chunliu and Chunyang, are attending college and live in Nara Prefecture, according to their support group.
Oct 10 Custody extended for US man for snatching own kids (AP)
 Japanese police said Friday that they are keeping an American man in custody for 10 more days before authorities decide whether to press charges against him for snatching his children from his ex-wife. Christopher Savoie, of Franklin, Tenn., was arrested Sept. 28 after allegedly grabbing his two children, ages 8 and 6, from his Japanese ex-wife as they walked to school. He will remain held in city of Yanagawa where he was arrested, on the southern island of Kyushu, police official Kiyonori Tanaka said.
Oct 10 Custody laws force parents to extremes (Japan Times)
 The high-profile case of Christopher Savoie, a Tennessee man who was arrested in Fukuoka Prefecture for snatching his two children from his Japanese former wife and now faces kidnapping charges, illustrates the extremes a partner in a broken international marriage will resort to for child custody. The case, which made a splash in U.S. media, especially on CNN, also highlights the uniqueness of Japan's culture and judicial system regarding the custody of children in cases of divorce, and its lack of regard for custody rulings by courts overseas where divorces took place, such as the one in the U.S. favoring Savoie.
Oct 10 Asia's 'Astro Boy' set to take on Hollywood (AFP)
 When a feisty little robot named "Astro Boy" emerged from the Japanese comic world in the 1960s, children across the globe were charmed by his charisma and inspired by his courage. The cartoon character used super powers to fight all manner of evil, from man-hating robots to robot-hating men, but nothing could have prepared him for the battle he now faces: "Astro Boy" is about to take on Hollywood. First sketched by Osamu Tezuka in 1956, "Astro Boy" became an instant classic of the Japanese-invented manga-style comics with its tale of a powerful little robot boy built by a scientist in the image of his deceased son.
Oct 09 Japan recovers from Typhoon Melor as new storm forms (Bloomberg)
 Japanese teams began clearing roads of debris and fixing bridges damaged by Typhoon Melor, which swept across Honshu yesterday, as a new storm developed over the Pacific to the south of Tokyo. As many as five people died after Melor, the first typhoon to make landfall in Japan since September 2007, crossed the coast near the city of Nagoya, bringing winds of 139 kilometers per hour and stranding millions of commuters and airline passengers.
Oct 09 Man nabbed for threatening to shoot Kanagawa governor over smoke ban (AP)
 Police on Friday sent prosecutors papers on an Ehime Prefecture man who allegedly threatened to shoot Kanagawa Gov. Shigefumi Matsuzawa for setting the country's first local ordinance that bans smoking inside public facilities. The 49-year-old smoker has admitted to the charges, saying he did it because he thought he would not be able to smoke if a similar antismoking ordinance was introduced in Ehime Prefecture, according to Kanagawa police.
Oct 09 Sea Shepherd's frustrated Capt. Paul Watson lashes out at Australia (Los Angeles Times)
 The Sea Shepherd Conservation Society's planned mission this winter against the Japanese whaling effort has hit a snag because Capt. Paul Watson and his first officer are experiencing visa issues and so far are not being allowed into Australia. Watson claims politics are behind the stringent visa requirements he's being asked to comply with and on Tuesday posted a letter on the Sea Shepherd website blasting Australia's government for its stance on whaling and for trying to "sabotage" the Sea Shepherd campaign.
Oct 09 Typhoon leaves commuters stranded (Yomiuri)
 Hundreds of thousands of commuters were stranded Thursday morning in Tokyo and adjacent prefectures as the operation of trains on almost all Japan Railway lines was suspended due to Typhoon No. 18. There were chaotic scenes in some subway stations as commuters rushed to take the subway instead of using JR lines. At least 451 domestic and international flights of airlines, including Japan Airlines and All Nippon Airways, had been canceled as of 12:30 p.m.
Oct 09 Cheap DVDs of classics get the top court hook (Japan Times)
 The Supreme Court rejected appeals Thursday by companies producing cheap DVDs of classic films in two cases and banned the sale of 21 DVD movies of Charlie Chaplin and Akira Kurosawa to protect their copyrights. At issue were nine Chaplin movies, including "Modern Times" and "The Great Dictator," and 12 Kurosawa films, including "Rashomon" and "Ikiru" ("To Live"). All were released by 1952 and their DVDs were being sold at bookstores and other places for ¥500 each.
Oct 09 Robbery compromise?: five years (Japan Times)
 A Chinese visa overstayer was sentenced to five years in prison Thursday at the Tokyo District Court by a group of lay and professional judges for robbery resulting in injury at a convenience store in 2001. Prosecutors had demanded a seven-year prison term, while the defense lawyers argued 3 1/2 years were appropriate. The trial was the second involving lay judges at the Tokyo District Court since the system was launched in May.
Oct 09 Powerful typhoon slams into Japan, 2 die (AP)
 A powerful typhoon tore through Japan's main island Thursday, peeling roofs off houses, cutting electricity to hundreds of thousands and forcing flight cancellations before turning back toward the sea. Two men died. During morning rush hour, more than 2 million commuters in Tokyo were stranded for hours as train services on several lines were suspended, while in other regions trucks were toppled on highways and bridges were destroyed by flash floods.
Oct 09 The U.S. Japan child-custody spat (foreignpolicy.com)
 The prospects are not good for Christopher Savoie, an American citizen whose recent attempt to reassert custody of his children landed him in a Japanese prison under investigation for kidnapping. Local prosecutors in Fukuoka, the western Japanese prefecture where Savoie is being held, are nearing a deadline to decide what charges to bring against the Tennessee native, who traveled to Japan to take back the children his Japanese ex-wife Noriko absconded with in August.
Oct 08 Japan court acquits file-share software creator (AFP)
 A Japanese high court on Thursday acquitted the creator of a popular file-sharing software program of copyright violations, overturning an earlier conviction. "It was a very fair judgement," Isamu Kaneko, the 39-year-old developer of the Winny "peer-to-peer" program. Winny, which Kaneko had made available on his website, enables users to exchange files such as computer games and movies over the Internet for free, making Kaneko a cyberspace icon in Japan.
Oct 08 Winny software developer acquitted (AP)
 The Osaka High Court on Thursday acquitted the developer of the Winny file-sharing software program of copyright violation, reversing the initial guilty ruling by a lower court that imposed a 1.5 million yen fine. Isamu Kaneko, 39, who published the software on his website in May was accused of assisting two users to illegally make movies and other files available for download through peer-to-peer online file exchanges in September 2003 in violation of copyrights.
Oct 08 Foreign nurses hit 7-year wall (Yomiuri)
 Vietnamese nurses who have studied and obtained nursing qualifications in this country are appealing to the government to abolish the seven-year limit on their work visas in Japan. Established government policy requires these nurses, who came to Japan for the purpose of study, to return home after seven years of work. However, some are decrying the situation as unfair since nurses from Indonesia--a country that has an economic partnership agreement with Japan--have no limits on how long they may stay if they obtain the necessary nursing qualifications.
Oct 08 Tapes reveal Sugaya denied murder during questioning (Yomiuri)
 Tape recordings of the interrogations of Toshikazu Sugaya, a man believed to have been wrongly convicted of the 1990 kidnapping and murder of a 4-year-old girl, reveal Sugaya denied involvement in the crime on one occasion before confessing during subsequent questioning, sources said Tuesday. Sugaya, 62, served 17 years of a life sentence for the murder in Ashikaga, Tochigi Prefecture, before being released in June after DNA tests revealed it was highly unlikely he had committed the crime. His retrial will begin on Oct. 21.
Oct 08 Regaining custody of kids not crime: Savoie (Japan Times)
 An American arrested for allegedly trying to forcibly take his children from his former Japanese wife in Fukuoka Prefecture said in a Tuesday interview that he did not think his actions were criminal. Savoie allegedly abducted his 8-year-old son and 6-year-old daughter, who were on their way to school with his ex-wife, on Sept. 28. He forced the children into a rented vehicle together with four other acquaintances, and the ex-wife and the children sustained bruises in the incident, according to the police.
Oct 07 Transit passenger with handgun arrested at Narita (AP)
 An American man has been arrested at Narita International Airport for carrying a loaded handgun after evading tight security at a U.S. airport, Narita airport authorities said Wednesday. The 51-year-old man was arrested by Chiba police at Narita on Sept. 30 on charges of violating the gun control law after airport officials found the automatic gun in his bag while he was transferring to a flight for Bangkok, they said.
Oct 07 Kyoto's traditional townhouses added to World Monuments Fund list (AP)
 The World Monuments Fund announced Tuesday that Kyoto's traditional townhouses, called machiya, have been added to 92 other sites that are at risk of disappearing in a total of 47 countries throughout the world. Kyoto was one of the few Japanese cities that survived World War II undamaged, with many of its machiya remaining intact. The wooden townhouses, however, are fast disappearing.
Oct 07 SKorean actor Bae Yong-joon cuts Japan tour due to illness (Channel NewsAsia)
 South Korean actor Bae Yong-joon was forced to cut short his promotional tour in Japan on Friday after his health took a turn for the worse, his agency BOF said. Bae who was scheduled to stay till Sunday, was overworked and had to cancel several events and return to Korea. He has been resting since his return and his health has shown improvement, Bae's agency said. However, he will undergo a medical checkup to see whether he needs to be hospitalised.
Oct 07 Flush before you fly: Japanese airline asks passengers to 'empty bladders' before take-off (Daily Mail)
 A Japanese airline has embraced a controversial new method of reducing aircraft weight - by asking passengers to spend a penny before boarding. All Nippon Airways has announced that 'loo monitors' will be positioned by the boarding gates in terminals to ask waiting passengers to use the toilets before entering the aircraft. The airline believes that empty bladders will equal lighter passengers and therefore, a reduction in carbon emissions.
Oct 07 Men, teens arrested over body found stuffed into drum in Fukui (AP)
 Police on Tuesday arrested three 17-year-old girls and served further arrest warrants on three men already in custody for allegedly dumping a man's body in the sea off Fukui Prefecture after stuffing it into a metal drum. The arrests came a day after the police recovered from the bottom of Obama bay the body of a man believed to be a missing 19-year-old from Osaka Prefecture, following confessions by the three men who are already being held in connection with robbery.
Oct 07 Japan hit over child porn (Japan Times)
 The head of UNICEF on Tuesday condemned Japan's laws on child pornography, saying the country is falling behind global standards and is guilty of spreading illegal material abroad. Debate in the Diet on revising legislation has stalled due to arguments over whether to ban the personal possession of child porn.
Oct 06 Big in Japan, but could America love Moomin? (Reuters)
 In one of the quirkiest book cults America has never heard of, a round-snouted troll is hauling consumers' wallets from their pockets despite the worst recession in decades. The license-holders for Moomin, who say license sales increased 35 percent this year, are contemplating expansion.
Oct 06 Lady Gaga gets inked (twice) in Japan (popeater.com)
 Lady Gaga's wild, fashion-centric lifestyle never ends -- even when she's off stage. In the latest issue of Interview Magazine, the 'Paparazzi' singer let them follow her, proving that her life offstage was just as "wildly insane as her life on stage." Gaga took on Japan and managed to get inked twice before preparing for the magazine's S&M photo shoot.
Oct 06 Nagasaki Chinatown's bright light (Japan Times)
 Toshiyuki Hayashi, a second-generation Chinese immigrant in Nagasaki, has a lot of "tourism charisma." Hayashi is the originator of the Nagasaki Lantern Festival, an annual Chinese New Year's festival that drew 920,000 tourists in 2007. Hayashi's idea of hanging up 200 to 300 Chinese red lanterns over the local Chinatown has eventually developed into a major event with dragon dances and 15,000 shiny lanterns, a popular tourist attraction now widely known across the country.
Oct 06 Cops told to initiate groper arrests (Japan Times)
 The National Police Agency wants more Tokyo-area police officers - rather than civilians - to be the initial arresting parties in cases of alleged groping on trains in light of the rising number of acquittals due to insufficient evidence. Citizen's arrests of someone caught red-handed are legal and common in groping cases, usually initiated by the alleged victim. But authorities have a hard time gathering incriminating evidence as well as witnesses, and often end up having to rely on the claim made by the victims.
Oct 06 Comic book crusader (Sydney Morning Herald)
 When he finished university, Tetsuya Totsuka planned to be a nuclear physicist. Today he is one of the most respected writers of food manga in Japan. And with the release of new English-translation editions of his most popular series Oishinbo, a la carte, his impact is set to be much wider. His Japanese friends know him by his nom de plume of Tetsu Kariya. Oishinbo started in 1984 as a weekly 22-page page comic strip. It now appears in two paperback editions a year, there have been more than 100 issues and it has sold more than a million copies.
Oct 06 Corpse of missing boy found in barrel in bay in Fukui Prefecture (Mainichi)
 A body believed to be that of a missing 19-year-old boy has been found in a barrel abandoned in a bay here, police said. The corpse found in the barrel appears to be that of a 19-year-old boy from Izumi, Osaka Prefecture, who went missing in April this year, investigators said. The barrel was discovered in the water near Aoto Bridge in Obama Bay in Oi, Fukui Prefecture, following a confession by some of the boy's acquaintances who have admitted to his murder.
Oct 06 Japan urged to end 'false confessions' (BBC)
 Hiroshi Yanagihara cannot forget the day he was forced to confess to a crime he did not commit. A taxi driver, he had been detained on suspicion of attempted rape. The police interrogation was so relentless, he says, that it brought him to the brink of suicide. Amnesty International has now called on Japan's new government to immediately implement reforms of the police interrogation system to avoid such miscarriages of justice.
Oct 05 2 taxi drivers die after falling off cliff at sightseeing spot in Shizuoka (Mainichi)
 Two Tokyo men died on Sunday after they fell off a cliff at a sightseeing spot here, police said. Shortly before 3 p.m., police received an emergency call from a shop assistant along the Jogasaki coastline here, saying that two men had fallen off the cliff. A rescue team found them lying on the rocks about 20 meters below. They were rescued but were pronounced dead.
Oct 05 Indonesian police say Japanese tourist was raped while dying (AP)
 Indonesian police confirmed Monday that a 33-year-old Japanese tourist who was found dead last week on the resort island of Bali had been raped by her attacker while she lay dying. Rika Sano was found dead Sept. 28 in the Kuta resort area after having been reported missing from her hotel on Sept. 25.
Oct 05 Body of missing Chinese woman found strangled in Hokkaido (Mainichi)
 A body found buried in the town of Mori on Saturday has been identified as a 28-year-old missing Chinese woman who was apparently strangled to death, police said. Song Fang, 28, of Chinese nationality and a trainee at a local fish processing company, had been missing since Thursday, according to police. She reportedly died from suffocation after being strangled.
Oct 05 Student attacked with knife, robbed in Kyoto (Yomiuri)
 A 19-year-old student at a vocational school was stabbed with a knife and robbed of her bag containing about 4,000 yen and other items early Sunday in Nakagyo Ward, Kyoto, police said. According to Horikawa Police Station, the student was on her way home at about 4:35 a.m. when a man grabbed her from behind and told her, "Keep quiet." The man then stabbed the woman in the neck and lower back, and fled with her bag.
Oct 04 Body hair fetish shop forced to raise arms in surrender (Tokyo Reporter)
 Back in 1986, a cute, saucy, 21-year-old university co-ed from Kagoshima named Kaoru Kuroki began appearing in AV productions to make some money for a trip to Italy. Kuroki starred in a movie titled "SM'ppoi no Suki," (loosely translated as "Some like it SM style") and created an immediate stir not only for her personality and acting skills, but for the abundant black bush that blossomed beneath her upper limbs, which she eagerly exposed at every opportunity.
Oct 04 Group calls for release of American dad jailed in Japan (CNN)
 During the demonstration, A handful of people rallied outside the Japanese Embassy on Saturday to show support for an American man who is jailed in Japan, accused of trying to kidnap his own children. Christopher Savoie's wife, Amy, along with others from the Children's Rights Council of Japan -- a group that advocates visitation for both parents in divorce cases, and which organized Saturday's event -- called for Savoie's release.
Oct 04 Alcohol addiction stalking nation's elderly (Yomiuri)
 Just two months after retiring, a 68-year-old man in Tokyo was given a sobering warning by his doctor: "You have a choice--will you stop drinking, or will you keep drinking and die soon?" The man had been fond of drinking since he was young. But since retiring, his alcohol consumption had steadily increased. Freed from the responsibilities of working at a company, he started drinking whisky diluted with water before lunch. Eventually, he was hitting the bottle all day.
Oct 04 Japan's gender equality may be 'insufficent,' but it's surely coming (Japan Times)
 As the vast majority of societies worldwide are male dominated, one of the most contentious issues they face as they evolve centers on the status of women. The United Nations has been working to improve the educational, social, economic and political rights of the world's women since the establishment, in 1946, of its Commission on the Status of Women, and its powerful Declaration on the Elimination of Discrimination Against Women, which dates from 1967.
Oct 04 Diving with dolphins in the Izu Islands (Japan Times)
 It's hard to fathom being able to dive among dolphins without ever leaving Tokyo, but the Izu Islands have always been one of the capital's best-kept secrets. Located a few hundred kilometers offshore, the islands - whose population would barely fill a city block - fall under the jurisdiction of the Tokyo Metropolitan Government, yet feel worlds apart from the frenzy of the city. Used as places of exile for criminals and other undesirables during the feudal Edo Period (1603-1867), the islands today are an ideal weekend retreat, boasting fascinating environments both on land and beneath the waves.
Oct 04 Cheers to women drinking on their own terms (Japan Times)
 On July 31, an organization called Shufu Rengo, along with a conference of groups that address alcohol-related issues, sent a letter to liquor-industry associations containing a 'request' to enforce 'self-regulation' of television commercials targeting women.
By J.S. on Oct 15, 2009



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