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2 Japanese films nominated for Venice Film Festival's Golden Lion

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Jul 31Mother arrested over dead toddlers says she wanted time for self (AP)
A 23-year-old mother who was arrested Friday over the death of her two toddlers at their apartment in the city of Osaka after apparently neglecting them has told investigators that she wanted time for herself, police sources said Saturday. Sanae Shimomura was quoted as saying she had "got sick of feeding them and giving them a bath" since moving to the apartment in around January when she began working at a sex parlor after getting divorced in May last year. She was arrested on suspicion of abandoning the bodies of her 3-year- old daughter Sakurako and 1-year-old son Kaede in late June.
Jul 31Mother arrested over dead toddlers says she wanted time for self(AP)
A 23-year-old mother who was arrested Friday over the death of her two toddlers at their apartment in the city of Osaka after apparently neglecting them has told investigators that she wanted time for herself, police sources said Saturday. Sanae Shimomura was quoted as saying she had "got sick of feeding them and giving them a bath" since moving to the apartment in around January when she began working at a sex parlor after getting divorced in May last year. She was arrested on suspicion of abandoning the bodies of her 3-year- old daughter Sakurako and 1-year-old son Kaede in late June.
Jul 31Pachinko parlor customer stabbed to death(AP)
A 37-year-old customer at a pachinko parlor was stabbed to death Friday night in Yashio, Saitama Prefecture after a scuffle with a man who then fled the scene, police said Saturday. Masahiro Arai, a company employee, was stabbed in the neck and had collapsed when police rushed to the scene after receiving a call from a parlor employee around 10:30 p.m. He was confirmed dead at a hospital, the police said. Shortly before the incident, Arai was seen scuffling with a man in a corner of the parlor where about 120 people, including employees and customers, were present just before closing time, they said.
Jul 31Grumbling over sound waves / Low-frequency emissions cause health problems, residents claim (Yomiuri)
At present, low-frequency sound waves are not regulated. As no correlation between the sound waves and health problems has been discovered, the disputes are difficult to settle. The low-frequency waves can be generated by home appliances, air conditioners and electric substations. Healthy humans can hear sound waves between 20 hertz and 20,000 hertz. Low-frequency sound waves are less than 100 hertz.
Jul 30Convicted ex-pop idol Sakai gets divorced(AP)
Pop idol and actress Noriko Sakai, who was convicted of stimulant drug use and possession last year, has got divorced, her former management company, Sun Music Production, said Friday. Sakai, 39, and Yuichi Takaso, 42, who was also convicted of the same charges last year, had been in divorce talks for months, according to people close to her. In November, Sakai was sentenced to 18 months in prison, suspended for three years, by the Tokyo District Court for smoking a stimulant drug during a family trip to Amamioshima Island, Kagoshima Prefecture, and possessing the drug at her Tokyo home, both last summer.
Jul 30ASDF sex assault victim wins redress (Japan Times)
The Sapporo District Court ordered the state Thursday to pay \5.8 million in damages to a female former Air Self-Defense Force member who was sexually assaulted by a serviceman at a base in Hokkaido and later mustered out of the service against her will. The 24-year-old plaintiff was sexually assaulted by the 35-year-old male ASDF member in September 2006. When she asked to be examined by a gynecologist, her commander gave her permission on condition she be accompanied by a different male member, the court said, adding the commander also repeatedly urged her to leave the force.
Jul 302 Japanese films nominated for Venice Film Festival's Golden Lion (AP)
Two Japanese movies have been nominated for the 67th Venice Film Festival's Golden Lion award, organizers of the festival beginning Sept. 1 said Thursday. One is "Norwegian Wood" directed by Vietnamese-born French director Tran Anh Hung, based on Japanese novelist Haruki Murakami's bestseller of the same title. The other is "Ju-san nin no shikaku" (13 Assassins) directed by Japanese director Takashi Miike. The Venice Film Festival is regarded as one of the world's three major film festivals, and the winners of its main prizes are scheduled to be announced on Sept. 11, the closing day of the festival. American film director Quentin Tarantino chairs the awards committee.
Jul 29Spain likely to extradite 2007 Ginza robbery suspect: sources (AP)
The Spanish government will likely agree to transfer the custody of a Montenegrin member of the "Pink Panther" ring of thieves to Japan over a 2007 robbery case at a jewelry shop in Tokyo's Ginza district, government sources said Wednesday. Rifat Hadziahmetovic, 42, had been put on Interpol's wanted list by the Tokyo police for allegedly stealing jewels, including a diamond tiara worth 200 million yen, from the upscale Ginza shop in 2007. Spain has held his custody for an alleged involvement in a separate robbery case, according to the Metropolitan Police Department.
Jul 29'The Cove' surprises with box office success (Yomiuri)
Attendance figures have been consistently strong for "The Cove," a critical portrayal of the dolphin fishing industry of Taijicho, Wakayama Prefecture, since it began screening at cinemas in Japan more than three weeks ago. Although police officers were sent to some movie theaters on the film's opening day in anticipation of possible violence by protesters, the hubbub quickly subsided. The popularity of "The Cove," which won the Best Documentary prize at this year's Academy Awards, has led to additional theaters showing the film and others extending its run.
Jul 29Southern All Stars frontman Kuwata sidelined by cancer (Japan Times)
Keisuke Kuwata, singer-songwriter of the popular rock band Southern All Stars, has early stage esophageal cancer and will undergo surgery as early as next month, his management firm, Amuse Inc., said Wednesday. Kuwata, 54, will cancel a planned concert tour that was to run from Oct. 28 to Dec. 31 and postpone the release of a new solo album that had been set to go on sale Oct. 20, the company said.
Jul 29Record 44,210 child abuse cases logged in '09(Japan Times)
Child abuse cases handled by consultation offices hit a record 44,210 in fiscal 2009, rising for 19 straight years since statistics were first compiled in fiscal 1990, a government survey showed Wednesday. The figure reflects an increase of 1,546 cases from fiscal 2008, when the previous record was set, the Health, Labor and Welfare Ministry said in a preliminary report. During the reporting year, which ended in March, there was only one case requiring counselors to visit a household where child abuse was suspected, after the family had rejected the investigation, down from two cases in fiscal 2008 when such measures became possible under the revised child abuse prevention law.
Jul 28Japanese arrested in Nepal for possessing hashish (AP)
Nepalese police have arrested a 27-year-old Japanese national at Kathmandu's international airport on suspicion of possessing 1.2 kilograms of hashish, an official said Wednesday. Hirokazu Tamura, from Fukuoka Prefecture, was arrested on July 11 while trying to catch a flight to Bangkok, said Deputy Superintendent of Police Dibash Raj Udash of the government's Narcotic Drug Control Law Enforcement Unit.
Jul 28Man arrested for attempted murder after setting son alight (Mainichi)
A man has been arrested for pouring oil on his 14-year-old son's back and setting him alight in May, leaving the victim with severe burns, police said. Minoru Kuraoka, 42, an unemployed man of Neyagawa, Osaka Prefecture, was taken into custody on July 28 on suspicion of attempted murder. He denied the allegations against him during questioning. "I poured oil on his back, but I never set fire to him. I don't know why his back is burned," he was quoted as telling investigators.
Jul 28Life sentence for Peruvian in 2005 killing of girl upheld in retrial (AP)
The Hiroshima High Court on Wednesday upheld a 2006 lower court decision that sentenced a Peruvian man to life imprisonment for sexually assaulting and murdering a 7-year-old girl in the city of Hiroshima in 2005. Presiding Judge Takashi Takeda handed down the ruling to Jose Manuel Torres Yagi, 38, who is accused of molesting and strangling Airi Kinoshita, a primary school first-grader, in Hiroshima on Nov. 22, and also of abandoning her body in a cardboard box in a vacant lot. The high court reached the decision nine months after the Supreme Court ordered it to retry Torres' case in October 2009.
Jul 28Japan hangs 2 death row inmates, 1st execution in 1 year (AP)
Japan hanged two death row inmates in the first execution under the Democratic Party of Japan government launched last September, Justice Minister Keiko Chiba told a press conference Wednesday. The two are Kazuo Shinozawa, who was accused of murder in 2000 involving six female clerks at a jewelry store in Utsunomiya, Tochigi Prefecture, and Hidenori Ogata, who was involved in a double murder case in 2003, according to the Justice Ministry. Chiba said she herself attended the execution.
Jul 28Japan's rice field of dreams (CBS)
Rice farming has sustained the people of northern Japan's Inakadate village for two thousand years. Today, the ancient rice fields are the source of food and art. Up close, the stalks of rice look like any other found in a rice paddy. CBS News correspondent Celia Hatton reports there are several varieties planted here, each with different colored leaves. Combine them together and an enormous 15,000 square foot image is revealed. Every year, a local art teacher produces a computerized sketch. It's transferred onto a grid, and mapped with thousands of dots. It's then painstakingly recreated - point by point onto the rice field. Then, it's a family affair as villagers of all generations join in to hand-plant each rice shoot. Three months later, the rice field of dreams comes alive in sweeping images.
Jul 28Crown Prince visits war cemetery (Japan Times)
Crown Prince Naruhito offered flowers Tuesday at the national cemetery for people who died in the Battle of Okinawa in the city of Itoman. On the first day of a three-day visit to Okinawa, the Crown Prince also visited the Okinawa Prefectural Peace Memorial Museum, where he viewed an exhibition on the war and the prefecture's reversion campaign afterward.
Jul 27Akihabara mass murder defendant says he committed crime because of Internet harassment (Mainichi)
The defendant in the Akihabara mass murder case of 2008, which left seven dead and 10 injured, has told a court that he committed the crime because he had been harassed on an online bulletin board. "I did it as means to urge those who harassed me on an Internet bulletin board to stop it," the defendant, 27-year-old Tomohiro Kato, told the Tokyo District Court on July 27. "I shouldn't have committed the crime and I regret what I did." He was responding to questions by his defense lawyer. It was the first time since his first hearing on Jan. 28 that he has made a statement in court.
Jul 27Gun parts smugglers may have sold parts for several hundred guns (AP)
Three people arrested early this week on suspicion of smuggling a machine gun part into Japan from the United States may have sold parts for several hundred guns to gun enthusiasts across the country, police officials said Tuesday. The police said they are investigating the sales channels for the gun parts as they suspect that purchasers likely assembled the parts to make guns, and are meanwhile checking the internal mechanism of a rifle they have confiscated in relation to the case to see if it is lethal.
Jul 27Angelina Jolie: Japan's Narita Airport with the Kids! (buzznet.com)
Angelina Jolie and her four oldest kids - Maddox, 8, Pax, 6, Zahara, 5 and Shiloh, 4 - look like one big family as they hold hands and travel through Japan's Narita International Airport on Monday morning (July 26). The 35-year-old actress was also accompanied by Holly Goline, who has been her personal assistant for about a decade. Holly totes around Angie's Ferragamo grey leather tote with gold metal handles. The whole family's in town to premiere Angie's spy thriller Salt!
Jul 27Over half of 81 heatstroke victims died indoors (Yomiuri)
Extreme heat has seen 81 people across the nation die of what is believed to be heatstroke--more than half at home or indoors--between July 17 and Sunday, according to figures compiled by The Yomiuri Shimbun. Sunday's highest temperature was 38.1 C, observed in Tajimi, Gifu Prefecture. Oppressively hot weather prevailed across the nation, with temperatures 35 C or higher at 96 observation points nationwide.
Jul 27Japan women's life expectancy still the longest (Japan Times)
Japanese women had the longest life expectancy in the world for the 25th straight year in 2009, with an average life span of 86.44 years, a health ministry report showed Monday. Japanese men, along with their female compatriots, saw their average life expectancy register a record high for the fourth consecutive year, according to the report. The rate for Japanese men was 79.59 years, but it fell to fifth in the world from fourth in 2008.
Jul 27Model-making adds glam to bridge divide (Japan Times)
Having long been the domain of boys and men, plastic models are now becoming popular with the opposite sex. The difference is that while men try to make plastic models as authentic as possible, women appear willing to add something extra to make them unique. These "pulamo girls," as women who make plastic models are known, say they find it fun to be able to build everything from warships to their favorite animation characters, painting them in a variety of colors and adding glittering decorations.
Jul 27Ailing Kansai arrival dies after interrogation, bid to flee (Japan Times)
A 55-year-old African man complaining of illness who arrived at Kansai airport Sunday evening with a Belgian passport died after a lengthy interrogation and escape attempt, immigration officials said Monday. The man, whose name is being withheld by authorities, landed at Kansai International Airport from Ghana via Dubai at about 6:20 p.m. Sunday. Saying he felt ill, he was put in a wheelchair and taken to the immigration line upon arrival, according to the officials.
Jul 27Weekly No. of people taken to hospitals for heat stroke tops 9,000 (AP)
A total of 9,436 people were taken to hospitals for heat stroke in the week through Sunday and 57 of them were confirmed dead in the first medical examination as temperatures continued to soar across the country, according to data compiled Monday by the Fire and Disaster Management Agency. The number of deaths is unprecedentedly high as it came to 47 in July and August combined in 2008 and 16 in the two months last year, said the agency which began compiling data in 2008.
Jul 2713 still remain in Swiss hospitals following train crash (AP)
Thirteen people, including 12 Japanese, are still being hospitalized, two of them in critical condition, following a train accident of the panoramic "Glacier Express" in southeastern Switzerland, local health authorities said Monday. Meanwhile, the Swiss police said the train conductor noted certain rail deformities before the derailment, which killed a 64-year-old Japanese woman from Amagasaki, Hyogo Prefecture, adding that there are still no solid leads as to its causes.
Jul 26Volcanic tourism: Miyakejima island residents in Japan hope unique landscape will attract visitors (courier-journal.com)
Ten years after serious volcanic activity began on Mount Oyama, located on Miyakejima island in the Izu island chain, residents are trying to utilize the island's dynamic landscape - sculpted by 13 eruptions over 500 years - to attract tourists and revitalize the community. Volcanic activity has mostly waned since beginning in earnest on June 26, 2000, and residents began returning five years ago. However, emissions of volcanic gas continue, and damage caused by eruptions can still be seen in parts of the landscape. In Miyakemura village, steel bars from a ruined building stand high, and part of a car buried in volcanic ash can be seen underfoot.
Jul 26Copter crash in Saitama claims five (Japan Times)
A rescue helicopter crashed Sunday on a mountain in Chichibu, Saitama Prefecture, and the five people aboard were confirmed killed, police said. Prior to the accident, two rescue workers who had been on the aircraft, which is owned by the Saitama Prefectural Government, had been lowered to the ground to help a 55-year-old female climber who had fallen into a waterfall basin.
Jul 26'Totoro's home' reopens as park (Japan Times)
A well-known property in Tokyo dubbed "Totoro's home" reopened as a park Sunday based on a sketch by Hayao Miyazaki, creator of the popular character in the 1988 animated film "Tonari no Totoro" ("My Neighbor Totoro") who cherished the spot filled with trees and plants. There are more than 100 kinds of plants on the 840-sq.-meter property in Suginami Ward, and components from the house that once stood there before it burned down, including red roof tiles, were used for a restroom facility, a local official said, referring to efforts to create an atmosphere that would make visitors feel Totoro would live there.
Jul 2622 dead, 14 injured as heat wave continues in Japan (AP)
Twenty-two people died and 14 others were injured in Japan on Sunday as a result of water and mountain accidents as well as heat stroke as temperatures continued to soar across the country, according to reports compiled by Kyodo News. Fourteen people died in water-related accidents -- two each in Chiba, Aomori, Gifu and Shizuoka prefectures and one each in Yamaguchi, Hokkaido, Kanagawa, Nara, Wakayama and Kagawa prefectures -- while two people died in the mountains in Saitama Prefecture.
Jul 26Woman given 6-year prison term for fatal abuse of infant daughter (Mainichi)
A woman who fatally abused her 1-year-old daughter along with a man she met through an online dating service has been given a 6-year prison sentence in a lay judge trial. Emi Shimoda, 23, was found guilty of inflicting bodily injury resulting in death and was sentenced to six years in prison at the Tokyo District Court on July 23. "The defendant failed to stop any physical abuse (against her daughter) because she didn't want to be despised by her accomplice. I can only say how sad her daughter must have been, having not been protected by her mother," said Presiding Judge Masanori Hatoko.
Jul 25Women flee nursing, insurance trade for 'pink' careers (Tokyo Reporter)
Ask a gal working at a "pink" business what she was doing before she went into the life, and you're likely to be told she had formerly worked as a nurse or an insurance saleslady. In the latest installment of the long-running series titled "The Dark Side of the Sex Industry," Nikkan Gendai (July 23) investigates whether there's any substance to this story. Apparently, there is. Nurses' demanding duties mean they must always on the run, and those with a tendency to take things slowly and calmly tend to receive nasty treatment from their peers. And if an insurance saleslady reports good sales, her envious co-workers will start spreading rumors that she "landed the business by sleeping with customers."
Jul 252 arrested after infant suffocates in box (Yomiuri)
A man and woman living together in Yokohama were arrested Saturday on suspicion of suffocating the woman's 14-month-old daughter in December by confining the infant in a sealed wooden box, police said. According to the police, Nobutake Komaba, a 37-year-old sheet metal worker, and Sachiko Watanabe, 21, allegedly confined Watanabe's second daughter Yukina in the box Dec. 18-19 at their house in Kohoku Ward, Yokohama, eventually leaving her to die from suffocation. The two reportedly admitted the allegation, saying they always put Yukina in the box because she cried at night.
Jul 25Computer addiction dulls wits at work (Japan Times)
Differences in familiarity with computers are creating ever-wider gaps within the ranks of Japan's salarymen. Evening tabloid Nikkan Gendai (July 17) reports on the emergence of a new type of person at companies who never stops typing on his PC, even while being spoken to by a colleague. Such people have been tagged katakata-zoku (the clickety-clack tribe), derived from the noise they generate from their keyboards. Another variation of the katakata-zoku constantly fiddle with their iPhones, which don't generate annoying keyboard noise but are still seen as a distraction, leading to the banning of their use from meetings at many companies.
By J.S. on Aug 5, 2010
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tag : Japanese Society

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