April 22, 2010

April 22, 2010

Originally published on metropolis.co.jp on April 2010 Dude, chill out The coach of a high school baseball team in Shimane Prefecture apologized for remarks he made following a loss to an unheralded rival in the recent Koshien tournament. Naomichi Nonomura of Kaisei HS had said his team’s performance “was a humiliation that will carry over […]


Originally published on metropolis.co.jp on April 2010

Dude, chill out

  • The coach of a high school baseball team in Shimane Prefecture apologized for remarks he made following a loss to an unheralded rival in the recent Koshien tournament. Naomichi Nonomura of Kaisei HS had said his team’s performance “was a humiliation that will carry over for generations. I can`t get over it… I want to die.”
  • Later in the tournament, Chiben Wakayama coach Hitoshi Takashima became the winningest skipper in Koshien history when he notched his 59th victory.
  • The mother of Estonian sumo wrestler Baruto, who was promoted to the second-highest rank of ozeki last month, said that after first arriving in Japan, her son “was unaccustomed to Japanese food and said over the phone that he missed rye bread and other foods.”
  • The 49-year-old president of an adult video company was arrested in Shibuya for raping one of his actresses.

Strange days

  • The 70-year-old president of the metalworking company that built the roof of the Fukuoka Dome was found murdered in a container in his firm’s stockyard.
  • Police across the country are stymied by the growing number of incidents involving sewing needles found in food products. Reports have come in from Kitakyushu (cabbage), Kochi (bread), and Ibaraki (dorayaki).
  • The National Consumer Affairs Center of Japan says that it has seen a two-fold rise in the number of scams involving unlisted stocks during the past year.
  • The Central Disaster Management Council said that rising sea levels caused by global warming might lead to an additional 7,600 deaths in Tokyo in the event of a tsunami caused by a strong typhoon.
  • A scientist at the Tokyo-based Institute for Industrial Science has developed a unit of measurement called the water footprint, or WF, which takes into account how much H2O is used to produce everyday items like beer, cellphones and bicycles. The International Organization for Standardization is said to have “begun to work on the establishment of international standards for WF calculations.”
  • Sentence of the Week: “Ten countries, including eight in Africa, do not have embassies in Japan and have their embassies in China take charge of diplomatic operations involving Japan, a trend that likely reflects China’s increasing, and Japan’s dwindling, global presence, an upper house committee meeting revealed Thursday.” (via Kyodo)

Tell us something we don’t know

  • A UN investigator said that Japan’s use of foreign unskilled laborers “may well amount to slavery” and that workers “face widespread racism and discrimination.”
  • In a sign that “workers aren’t reaping the benefits of the export-led recovery,” wages dropped for the 21st straight month in February,.
  • The DPJ is taking steps to prevent operators of low-cost housing facilities from scamming welfare recipients out of their benefits in exchange for room and board.
  • It was reported that Seoul has lodged a “strong protest” after the education ministry approved textbooks that “describe a pair of South Korea-controlled islets claimed by Japan as Japanese territory.”
  • The government extended its sanctions on North Korea for an additional year. The restrictions ban North Korean officials from entering Japan and prohibit ships from the country to dock here.
  • Headline of the Week: “Quake Unites People to Rebuild Church, Save Sake Brewers” (via The Japan Times).

Coming & going

  • The JNTO reported that the number of Chinese tourists visiting Japan skyrocketed 93.2 percent in February compared to a year earlier.
  • Over the same period, the number of overseas Japanese travelers dropped 5.1 percent.
  • Overall, the number of foreign tourists visiting Japan increased 63 percent during the past year.
  • Part of that surge can be accounted for by South Korean sightseers who flocked to Akita Prefecture, which was the setting for the popular Korean TV show Iris.
  • The justice ministry said it’s considering a plan to allow foreign nurses and dentists who have graduated from Japanese medical schools to, um, actually work in Japan.
  • The Fair Trade Commission raided ten branch offices of pharmaceutical giant Johnson and Johnson over concerns that the US company “exerted pressure on retailers not to advertise prices of its disposable contact lenses.”

Illustration by ENRIQUE BALDUCCI

Whatever floats your boat

  • It was reported that a 48-year-old American singer has been wowing locals in Hyogo Prefecture with a musical style that combines enka and soul music, which he performs in local bathhouses.
  • A 21-year-old jobless man in Saitama was arrested for sending some 140 emails threatening to blow up a local junior high school and kill all the teachers and students. Officials say the man has no apparent connection to the school and “no possible motive comes to mind.”
  • Uber-popular discount clothing chain Uniqlo unveiled its first store in Russia.
  • The transport ministry said it will start setting toll fees based on vehicle size and type. Minicars will pay up to ¥1,000 and buses about ¥10,000.

Couch potatoes, rejoice

  • Researchers at the University of Tokyo have found that a hormone called adiponectin can have the same metabolic effect as exercise – namely, burning fat and lowering blood sugar.
  • Police suspect that a Tokyo-based mobile game software company bilked investors out of \10 billion “by offering them fictitious money-making schemes.”
  • The Tokyo Metropolitan Police Department has assembled an investigative team devoted to tracking online scams in which people are lured into “bank account fraud, robbery, and sex crimes.”
  • In an effort to attract a bigger audience, the Japan Automobile Manufacturers Association is mulling whether to move the Tokyo Motor Show from Makuhari Messe in Chiba to Tokyo Big Sight.

Here & There

  • Chugoku Electric Power Co. suspended operations of a nuclear power plant in Shimane due to a variety of administrative blunders.
  • It was reported that the TMG has introduced Asia’s first cap-and-trade system for reducing greenhouse gasses. The plan covers some “1,330 offices, commercial buildings and factories” that are high energy consumers.
  • The DPJ announced a goal for Japan to reach 50 percent food self-sufficiency by the year 2020. The current figure is 41 percent.
  • The IPO of Dai-ichi Mutual Life Insurance Company, which went public on April 1, was valued at $15.5 billion – the second highest ever, after Visa in March 2008.
  • Bottom Story of the Week: “Ancient Shizuoka Wind Cave to be Filled with Concrete to Reinforce Local Road” (via The Mainichi Daily News).

Compiled from reports by the Bloomberg, BBC, Japan Today, The Japan Times, International Herald Tribune/The Asahi Shimbun, The Mainichi Daily News, The Tokyo Reporter, The Daily Yomiuri, AP and Kyodo