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Mar 07 Tokyo ward's buzzing plan fails to repel vandals (Yomiuri)
 A novel attempt to discourage rowdy youths from loitering in a Tokyo park created quite a buzz--literally--but will be stopped because it proved less effective than having security guards patrol the park. Last May, the Adachi Ward Office installed a device that emits a high-frequency sound audible only to young people in a park that had been regularly vandalized. The noise, similar to the hum made by mosquitoes, was expected to irritate troublemakers hanging out at Kitashikahama Park late at night and force them to go elsewhere.
Mar 07 Tokyo ward's buzzing plan fails to repel vandals (Yomiuri)
 A novel attempt to discourage rowdy youths from loitering in a Tokyo park created quite a buzz--literally--but will be stopped because it proved less effective than having security guards patrol the park. Last May, the Adachi Ward Office installed a device that emits a high-frequency sound audible only to young people in a park that had been regularly vandalized. The noise, similar to the hum made by mosquitoes, was expected to irritate troublemakers hanging out at Kitashikahama Park late at night and force them to go elsewhere.
Mar 07 Japan defends honor in Mito's annual 'natto' speed-eating contest (Japan Times)
 The annual "natto" fermented soybean speed-eating contest was held Saturday in Mito, Ibaraki Prefecture, drawing 72 contestants including competitive eating regulars from various parts of Japan and eight people from overseas countries such as Australia. Participants in the preliminaries had to eat about 100 grams of sticky natto beans mixed with a bowl of about 310 grams of rice. The 10 who advanced to the final stage had to then eat 350 grams of natto. The winner was Masaki Nakamura, a 44-year-old company employee from the city, who set a record time of 30.97 seconds.
Mar 07 Shoplifting teens and sensei secrets; CM of the week (Japan Times)
 In the special two-hour drama "Garasu no Kiba" (The Glass Fang; TBS, Mon., 9 p.m.), an FM radio disk jockey named Akiko (Atsuko Takahata) is asked by the authorities to monitor and supervise a troubled teen named Yuka (Moe Arai). Yuka was caught shoplifting by the police and then released without being arrested. It is hoped that Akiko can somehow counsel her in such a way that she won't get into any more trouble. Akiko talks to the girl over and over and eventually comes to learn of her dysfunctional family background.
Mar 06 Roos have Japanese hopping (The Australian)
 A community in Japan is seeking help from Australia after sightings of an intruder with an Antipodean gait. Residents in the Mayama district of Osaki City, 400km north of Tokyo, claim to have seen kangaroos. Nurse Natsue Ishikawa, 30, says a roo pulled up alongside her in the fast lane while she drove home. "I looked out of the right window and came face to face with a kangaroo," she said. "It startled me. By the time I had checked the road and looked again, it was gone."
Mar 06 Tokyo Sky Tree: Room with a view (Tokyo Reporter)
 Tall, steel-framed television transmission towers are not generally thought of as being attractive neighbors. Yet real estate firm Sky Court is hoping that Tokyo Sky Tree, now under construction in the capital's eastern Sumida Ward, will convey a different image. The company has taken out newspaper advertising space to promote the units within its Sky Court Oshiage Ichibankan complex as investment properties due to their proximity to the future 634-meter-tall structure, which will make it the world's tallest free-standing tower when it is completed next year.
Mar 06 In Japan, schussing among the spirits (Globe & Mail)
 Tokachidake (dake means volcanic peak), an active volcano that last spewed in 1989, is 40 kilometres from the small farming town of Furano and offers the purest easily accessed backcountry terrain in the park. We are the first to forge through the forest to break trail for an ascent of Furanodake. We slog higher on the steep slope, cut a path amid wild arms of frozen dancers - the snow-covered silver birch. Ryounkaku has an excellent onsen, its water coloured rust by iron. But nearby there is a particularly wonderful onsen, the unadorned Fukiage, a short amble down a snowy path from the road. Spirits surely swirl in the steam as water percolates out of the earth amid a forest and falling snow.
Mar 06 Train kills Japanese in Taiwan on biz (Japan Times)
 A Japanese man died Friday after being struck by a train as it entered a railway station in northern Taiwan, police and media reports said. A railway police spokesman identified the man as Kunimitsu Ando, 35, from Aichi Prefecture. Ando arrived in the southern city Kaohsiung on Tuesday and was traveling on a business visa, the spokesman said.
Mar 06 Parents of starved boy in Nara had been at feud over debts (AP)
 Relations between the arrested parents of a 5-year-old boy in Nara Prefecture, who they allegedly starved to death, had turned sour over the father's debts, which appeared to have triggered the mother's abuse of the boy, investigative sources said Friday. Mami Yoshida, the 26-year-old mother of the boy, Tomoki, told investigators that she had violently taken out her frustration with her husband on their son because he looked like her husband Hiroshi, 35, whom she began to dislike as the family started to receive debt reminder notices.
Mar 06 Exploding police box men's room leaves one of Chiba's finest with minor injuries (Mainichi)
 A police officer here got a little more flame than he was expecting when he flicked on his lighter in a police box men's room early Friday and an explosion opened a seven square meter hole in the ceiling. The 51-year-old officer was sent to hospital with minor burns on his face and hands. According to police, there were no explosive materials in the washroom, and when another officer came running after hearing the blast he found a 1.5 meter pillar of flame spewing from the drain in the floor.
Mar 06 Teens charged with murder for knifing two young women (Mainichi)
 Police here have served new arrest warrants on two young men on suspicion of murder and attempted murder in the deaths of a local woman and her sister's friend, police said. The two youths, 18 and 17, stand accused of entering the home of Misa Nanbu, 20, and stabbing her and her younger sister's friend Mikako Omori, 18, to death with a kitchen knife on the morning of Feb. 10, and also of stabbing a 20-year-old man in the arm. The 18-year-old suspect was the ex-boyfriend of Misa's younger sister, and both youths were already being held on suspicion of abducting Misa's sister.
Mar 05 Japanese biker arrested for speeding based on Youtube video (examiner.com)
 A forty-two year old man in Japan was arrested by local police on March 4th for speeding and other traffic violations based on evidence from a Youtube video showing him going more than 130km/h over the limit on his motorcycle last year. Police in Wakayama Prefecture, near Osaka, arrested Hiroaki Iwahashi in connection with a Youtube video showing him going at least 188km/h in a 50km/h zone on his 1300cc motorcycle, according to Wakayama Broadcast System.
Mar 05 Crackdown on Tokyo fraud ring closes 'encounter' Internet sites (Tokyo Reporter)
 Law enforcement authorities from Tokyo and Miyagi Prefecture have shut down a major fraud ring involving online-dating sites designed to generate massive profits out of membership fees, reports Shukan Asahi Geino (Mar. 11). On January 16, Noriyuki Hoshi, the leader of the operation, and ten others were taken into custody by police for defrauding members of deai-kei (encounter) matchmaking sites by hiring male actors to take on online personas of ladies seeking dates. A reporter responsible for covering social media explains to the weekly that the victims were registered with such social networking sites as Mixi and Mobagetown.
Mar 05 Parents held over abuse death (Yomiuri)
 Police on Thursday arrested the parents of a 4-year-old boy suspected to have died from malnutrition and physical abuse at their hands, the police said. Officers from Warabi Police Station arrested Masami Shindo, 47, unemployed, and his wife, Sanae, 37, both of Warabi, Saitama Prefecture, on suspicion of aggravated abandonment of their second son, Rikito. Rikito died in February 2008 from causes including acute encephalitis, or inflammation of the brain.
Mar 05 Man tied to 6 attacks on women (Yomiuri)
 A series of sexual assault cases, including a rape in February, have occurred since November within about 500 meters of Ichinoe Station on the Toei Shinjuku Line in Edogawa Ward, Tokyo, The Yomiuri Shimbun has learned. According to an investigation source, in all six cases, young women were attacked late at night from behind by a person who covered their mouths and choked them. The Metropolitan Police Department suspects that all the attacks were committed by a young man wearing a knit hat who was sighted around the crime scenes.
Mar 05 Sakuradamon-gai incident turned into film (Yomiuri)
 A film about the assassination of the chief minister of the Tokugawa shogunate near the end of the Edo period (1603-1867) is being made for the first time, 150 years after the incident took place, in Mito. In the Sakuradamon-gai-no-hen incident in 1860, Ii Naosuke was assassinated by a group of samurai of the Mito domain. Moved by the enthusiasm of people in Ibaraki Prefecture--the former Mito domain--who hope to revitalize the prefectural capital by making it a filmmaking location, major filmmaker Toei Co. decided to create the film, which is scheduled to be released in autumn.
Mar 05 Child porn, ID theft drive record cyber crime in Japan (AFP)
 Internet crime in Japan jumped to a new record last year, led by ID theft and database attacks, child pornography posts and copyright violations, the national police agency said Thursday. Police made arrests or took other action in 6,690 cases in 2009, up 5.8 percent from the previous year and the highest figure since data was first collated in 2000. The number has more than doubled in four years. Child pornography cases nearly doubled to 507 last year, police said in a report, while cases of illegally accessing bank sites and other databases jumped to a record of 2,534 cases, surging by more than 45 percent.
Mar 05 Sweets maker's boss burglarized after film shoot (Japan Times)
 Jewels, watches and other expensive items worth ¥300 million were stolen from the home of the head of a popular Osaka-based confectionary two days after she let a TV crew film her private life there, it was learned Thursday. Shinko Kawamura, 58, is chairwoman of Cowcow Food System Co. of Takatsuki, Osaka Prefecture. The firm runs the Madame Shinco shops in Osaka and Hyogo prefectures, and her residence is in Ibaraki in the same prefecture.
Mar 05 Once a rail yard, prime Osaka site to become 'center of knowledge' (Japan Times)
 Full-scale work will begin at the end of this month to redevelop the Umeda Kita Yard, north of JR Osaka Station, where about 2.5 million passengers of railways and subway lines pass through daily. In 2012, the Umeda head store of Hankyu Department Stores Inc. and the Osaka Central Post Office will be rebuilt, drastically changing the area's look. The main structure at the 7-hectare-wide area in the north yard, whose first-stage redevelopment work will begin at the end of this year, is the Knowledge Capital, a state-of-the art technology facility.
Mar 04 Nara couple arrested for starving 5-yr-old son to death (AP)
 A 35-year-old man and his 26-year-old wife in Sakurai, Nara Prefecture were arrested Wednesday on suspicion of starving their 5-year-old son to death. Hiroshi and Mami Yoshida admitted to the allegation and were quoted by the police as saying they "could not feel affection" for their son, Tomoki. According to the Nara prefectural police, they had failed to give Tomoki sufficient food and necessary medical treatment since the beginning of this year, causing him to die earlier in the day of acute heart failure induced by starvation.
Mar 04 Foreigners get nod to skip social insurance (Japan Times)
 The Immigration Bureau announced Wednesday new guidelines for foreign residents, stating that joining the social insurance system is not a requirement for renewing or changing one's visa status. The bureau told The Japan Times on Feb. 1 that it had decided to change the wording of the new guidelines - which were originally drawn up last March and scheduled to take effect April 1 - to ease concerns that those without social insurance would be forced to choose between losing their visa and joining the insurance system.
Mar 04 Japan's prince regrets Masako can't join him on Africa trip (AFP)
 Japan's Crown Prince Naruhito, who heads to Africa this weekend, said Wednesday he regrets that his wife Masako, who suffers from a stress-induced illness, won't be joining him. The 50-year-old prince, heir to the Chrysanthemum Throne, will on Saturday start a 10-day visit to Ghana and Kenya at the invitation of their governments. "Masako appreciated the invitation from both the Ghana and Kenya governments," Naruhito told a news conference at his Togu Palace. "Not only she but also I feel regret for her inability to visit there."
Mar 04 Kids parks in Tokyo ward go smoke-free (Yomiuri)
 Finding a place to light up a cigarette is no longer as easy as a walk in the park. Tokyo's Kita Ward government has decided to remove all ashtrays in the 20 parks it has designated as being for children and ask people not to smoke in them after it was hit with a lawsuit late last year filed by two residents who claimed passive smoking in such a park damaged their health. Meanwhile, the Health, Labor and Welfare Ministry issued a notice to all local governments Feb. 25 calling on them to take measures to prevent people from inhaling secondhand smoke. Similar moves aimed at addressing problems caused by lighting up in public places are likely to spread nationwide.
Mar 03 Japan Airlines considering sewing security chips into uniforms to prevent them being sold (Daily Mail)
 New Japan Airlines are considering sewing security chips into their stewardess uniforms because they have become so popular on the black market. The airline (JAL) have found the uniforms, which feature grey jackets or waistcoasts, skirts, hats and a red neckerchief, are so in demand in the sex industry that they can be sold for a fortune. In addition, worn uniforms are incredibly popular with fetishists.
Mar 03 JAL, ANA mark doll festival with flights operated by female crew (AP)
 Japan Airlines and All Nippon Airways celebrated the Hina Matsuri doll festival on Wednesday by running domestic flights operated mostly by female crew, including copilots and mechanics. The two airlines introduced Hina Matsuri flights last year to highlight the role of women in the airline industry. While both airlines still lack women captains, female staff checked airframes and loaded baggage onto JAL's flight from Tokyo's Haneda airport to Kumamoto and ANA's flight from Haneda to Oita.
Mar 03 Ex-bar hostess in Tottori Pref. served fresh arrest warrant (AP)
 Police served a fresh arrest warrant Wednesday to a former bar hostess, who was already indicted for a murder-robbery allegation, on suspicion of killing her acquaintance in Tottori Prefecture. Miyuki Ueta, 36, allegedly killed Kazumi Yabe, 47, who was found dead in the Sea of Japan off the prefecture last April, to avoid paying him more than 1 million yen in debts, according to the police.
Mar 03 Miyazaki man admits to killing son, wife, mother-in-law (AP)
 A 22-year-old man under arrest has admitted to killing his 6-month-old son, wife and mother-in-law in the city of Miyazaki, investigative sources said Wednesday. Investigators said Akihiro Okumoto, who was arrested Tuesday on suspicion of abandoning the body of his son, Yuto, told them, "I killed the three."
Mar 03 City sets up 'otaku' complex (Japan Times)
 The city of Kitakyushu is seeking to boost international exchange for "otaku" enthusiasts of Japanese subculture by creating an arts-business complex including a "manga" comic museum and a variety of shops by around 2012. The city will try to set up the museum in the spring of that year in order that the envisioned complex near Fukuoka, a major gateway to other parts of Asia, can attract foreign otaku (geek fans) of manga and "anime" animation, especially those in China and South Korea, officials said.
Mar 03 Kin found slain; man, 22, arrested (Japan Times)
 A 22-year-old Miyazaki man was arrested Tuesday for allegedly burying the body of his 6-month-old son near their home, where his wife and mother-in-law were also found slain. Akihiro Okumoto was taken into custody after admitting in questioning that he tried to bury his son, Yuto, and police are investigating whether he is involved in the deaths of his wife, Kumiko, 24, and her mother, Takako Ikegami, 50, at their home in the city of Miyazaki.
Mar 02 S. Koreans DoS attack Japanese internet message board 2ch over figure skating? (examiner.com)
 South Koreans internet users, bothered by Japanese internet bashing of Korean gold medal figure skating star Yu-Na Kim, may be behind a massive denial of service (DoS) attack that has disabled one of Japan's most popular message boards known as 2channel, Japanese and Korean media outlets reported on March 2nd (JST). On February 28th, the Japanese-language version of a South Korean news site, Joins.com, reported that a Korea internet site was trying to gather internet users for a joint attack aimed at taking down the 2channel (2ch.net) message boards known to be filled with ultra-nationalist Japanese rhetoric and anti-Korean sentiments.
Mar 02 Publisher's concerns halt Hiroshima book (BusinessWeek)
 Publication has been halted for a disputed book about the atomic bombing of Japan at the end of World War II. Charles Pellegrino's "The Last Train From Hiroshima" had received strong reviews and had been optioned for a possible film by "Avatar" director James Cameron. But publisher Henry Holt and Co. said yesterday that Pellegrino "was not able to answer" several concerns, including whether two men mentioned in the text actually existed.
Mar 02 Police crack down on legal workers who help foreigners illegally work in Japan (Mainichi)
 Law enforcers are stepping up their crackdown on administrative scriveners who help foreigners illegally work or get falsely married in Japan, officials said. Since 2006, the MPD has arrested at least five administrative scriveners for helping foreigners illegally obtain work visas in Japan in violation of the Immigration Control and Refugee Recognition Law.
Mar 02 L.A.'s Little Tokyo looks to save struggling newspaper (Los Angeles Times)
 Mickey Komai opens one of the leather-bound books stored in his Little Tokyo office and delicately turns the yellowed pages filled with Japanese and English script. Here in the pages of the bilingual newspaper his family has run for most of a century is the tumultuous story of Japanese Americans in Southern California. The Rafu Shimpo covered acts to ban Japanese from owning land, bringing over brides and eventually immigrating at all. "Why do people hate the Japanese?" the paper plaintively asked in one 1926 issue. The Rafu declared its "100%" allegiance to America after Japan's 1941 Pearl Harbor attack even after its publisher, H.T. Komai, was one of the first Los Angeles Japanese leaders taken into custody by the FBI.
Mar 02 Culture Bridges Korea-Japan Relations (Korea Times)
 Golden girl Kim Yu-na has drawn international media frenzy after becoming the first South Korean figure skater to win the gold medal with a new Olympic record. Some foreign news outlets have shed light on the alleged bad blood between Koreans and Japanese based on Japan's annexation of Korea a century ago to interpret why Koreans were so attached to the 19-year-old. They said Koreans were overjoyed because Kim outperformed her Japanese rival, Mao Asada.
Mar 02 Over 30% of Tokyo homeless may be mentally disabled: study (AP)
 More than 30 percent of homeless people in Tokyo are suspected to be mentally disabled and may have difficulty in claiming social assistance by themselves, a study recently compiled by a group of psychologists and psychiatrists revealed. The group, led by Suimei Morikawa, 36, a doctor at the Kurihama Alcoholism Center in Kanagawa Prefecture, urges administrative bodies to give consideration to their situation in providing assistance.
Mar 02 Small hot spring inn set to bring visitors back to 1968 moment of 'crime as theatre' (Mainichi)
 In February 1968, second generation Korean resident of Japan Kim Hui-ro, pursued by police for the murder of two yakuza gangsters, fled to the hot spring resort of Sumatakyo in Shizuoka Prefecture and barricaded himself in a Japanese inn for five days. The incident was etched into Japan's postwar history as the country's first instance of "crime as theatre," with Kim inviting the press and blaming anti-Korean discrimination for his plight.
Mar 01 Johnny Depp tops best actor poll for 7th year in Japan (Reuters)
 Moviegoers in Japan can't get enough of Johnny Depp: The "Pirates of the Caribbean" star has been named favourite actor for a record seventh straight year in a survey by Japanese film magazine Screen. That topped the previous record of six consecutive years for Audrey Hepburn in the early 1960s in Screen's annual "Golden Grand Prix" readers poll, which the magazine has been conducting since 1952.
Mar 01 A steaming hot Japanese food truck in a cold economy (asianewsnet.net)
 Without a great location or heavy financial funding, a Japanese food truck in the outskirt of Taipei is proving that the make-or-break factor of a small business is to have a distinctive concept. Ingrid Lee, the self-financed owner of Oden Studio and Oden Bar, has transformed oden - Japanese hot pot with assorted ingredients like radish, tofu or fish cake, also known as Guandongzhu in Taiwan - into a must-have dish filled with surprises.
Mar 01 Nakata boots raise $1.5 million for Haiti relief (Reuters)
 A pair soccer boots belonging to former Japan captain Hidetoshi Nakata have raised almost $1.5 million for Haiti's earthquake disaster relief. The boots Nakata wore against Croatia at the 2006 World Cup in Germany were auctioned off online to help relief efforts after the devastating January 12 quake that according to the local government may have claimed as many as 300,000 lives.
Mar 01 Japan apologises for major tsunami alert (AFP)
 A Japanese official admitted Monday that the authorities may have been over-zealous in issuing their first major tsunami alert in more than 15 years for a wave that ended up causing almost no damage. "The agency's tsunami forecasts turned out to be a bit too big. I'd like to apologise for the prolonged alerts," Yasuo Sekita, a Meteorological Agency official in charge of earthquakes and tsunamis, told a news conference. Authorities on Sunday ordered more than half a million people to evacuate seaside areas and predicted that the tsunami sparked by Chile's massive earthquake might top three metres (10 feet) by the time it reached Japan.
Mar 01 Tsunami reaches Japan's Pacific side, 520,000 people told to evacuate (AP)
 Japan observed tsunami waves as high as 1.45 meters Sunday afternoon in wide coastal areas of its Pacific side, after a massive magnitude 8.8 earthquake struck Chile on Saturday. Authorities issued evacuation orders and advice to a total of about 520,000 people nationwide by Sunday evening, according to a Kyodo News estimate. The Japan Meteorological Agency said it observed a 1.2-meter-high tsunami at 3:49 p.m. at Kuji port in Iwate Prefecture, while the town office of Otsuchi, also in the prefecture, reported a tsunami of about 1.45 meters at the town's fishing port around 3:43 p.m.
Mar 01 Japan hit by 1.2m tsunami wave (Herald Sun)
 Japan has evacuated more than 320,000 people as a tsunami triggered by Chile's massive earthquake sent waves up to 1.2 metres high barrelling into its long Pacific coastline. Floodwaters inundated buildings and left cars stranded in eastern harbours on the main island of Honshu and on far-northern Hokkaido, while white-crested waves raced from the ocean up coastal rivers. By nightfall last night, police had reported no casualties and authorities downgraded the threat a notch from a "major tsunami alert", a warning of possible three-metre waves they had issued for the first time in over 15 years.
Mar 01 Pearl Harbor figure Kermit A. Tyler, 96 (Washington Post)
 "Don't worry about it." Those words, which he uttered on a peaceful Sunday morning in 1941 on the Hawaiian island of Oahu, would haunt Kermit A. Tyler for the rest of his life. Mr. Tyler was the Army Air Forces' first lieutenant on temporary duty at Fort Shafter's radar information center on the morning of Dec. 7, 1941, when a radar operator on the northern tip of the island reported that he and another private were seeing an unusually large "blip" on their radar screen, indicating a large number of aircraft about 132 miles away and fast approaching.
Mar 01 Popes, Bishops and War Criminals: reflections on Catholics and Yasukuni in post-war Japan (Japan Focus)
 In November 1945, General McArthur invited two Catholic priests to GHQ to sound them out on a proposal he was poised to implement, namely the razing of Yasukuni, the Tokyo shrine dedicated to the Japanese war dead. The priests were Bruno Bitter, SJ, head of Sophia University, and Patrick Byrne, Maryknoll. Both men quickly declared their opposition. It was, they insisted, the right and duty of citizens everywhere to honour their war dead; Yasukuni was, moreover, a national monument to the war dead, which honoured men and women of all faiths equally, and not merely a Shinto shrine.

By J.S. on Mar 10, 2010

tag : Japan Focus / Japanese Society



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