Originally published on metropolis.co.jp on April 2013

A brave new erection. Via fotolia.com



  • A Japanese man who traveled to Malaysia to marry a woman he met over the internet was rescued by police after being kidnapped by three Nigerians at the airport.
  • Officials in Hyogo suspended a prefectural employee for three months for “stuffing his backpack full of food at an all-you-can-eat buffet and trying to take it home.”
  • The Supreme Court upheld a lower court’s decision ordering a deadbeat mom to pay ¥50,000 to her ex-husband for “each time she denied him access to their daughter.”
  • Police in Kawasaki arrested a 19-year-old man for murdering his mother after finding “a head, a left arm and other body parts” in the apartment the two shared.


  • A professor at Nihon University found documents in the US National Archives showing that Japanese leaders “discussed an option for the country to possess ‘defensive’ nuclear weapons to protect against the Soviet Union amid the Cold War.”
  • A construction company in Chiyoda-ku paid ¥2.2 million to personnel in Tateyama, Chiba, for repair work on a municipal office that the firm had built… in 1960.
  • Officials at Tokyo Skytree say 44.76 million people have visited since it opened last May—a lot more than the expected 27.5 million.
  • A poll conducted by the MPD found that although more than 90 percent of Tokyoites are “worried” about a major earthquake, just 26 percent take part in disaster-awareness events.


  • The government says if a major quake were to strike the Nankai Trough, it would cause ¥17 trillion in damage—more than 10 times the cost of the 3/11 disasters.
  • Officials at the defense ministry are in hot water for free-speech violations after asking applicants to provide info about their spouses’ nationality and whether they had undergone “treatment for alcohol, drugs or psychological disorders.”
  • The Japanese government lodged a complaint with authorities in France after a French company sold “a device to facilitate landing by ship-based helicopters” to China.
  • Meanwhile, a 35-year-old Japanese expat living in Singapore died while rock climbing in the Batu Caves outside Kuala Lumpur.


  • Japanese researchers have succeeded in using gene therapy to restore the memory of mice suffering from Alzheimer’s disease.
  • Scientists led by a professor at Toyama College have found that the internal organs of firefly squids “contain a substance that helps reduce liver fat.”
  • Researchers in Mie have discovered a new mineral—called Vanadoallanite-(La), if you must know—that contains rare-earth materials.
  • An orchestra from quake-hit Sendai completed its first foreign tour since 3/11. The group visited Russia to show “appreciation for Russian relief activities.”


  • An woman in Kagoshima became the sixth person in Japan to die from a new tick-borne viral disease called severe fever thrombocytopenia syndrome, or SFTS.
  • Government officials will likely impose no power-saving targets this summer thanks to “continuing efforts to save electricity across Japan and progress in building new thermal power plants.”
  • An air-bag defect caused officials at Toyota, Honda, Nissan and Mazda to recall 3.38 million vehicles.
  • Bottom Story of the Week: “Gunma Farm Gearing up to Show off Newborn Lambs” (via Mainichi Japan)

Compiled from reports by AP, Japan Today, The Japan Times, Jiji, The Tokyo Reporter, Japan Probe, The Mainichi, Daily Yomiuri, AFP, Reuters and Kyodo