Originally published on metropolis.co.jp on April 2013

POLICE BLOTTER

  • Cops in Toshima-ku arrested four operators of a brothel called the Otsuka Cosplay Academy for employing a 14-year-old girl as a sex worker.
  • Authorities in Hachioji believe that a serial arsonist is setting fire to local vending machines in an effort to “steal change.”
  • A 35-year-old lieutenant commander in the Maritime Self-Defense Force was arrested for “touching a 20-year-old female college student’s lower body” on the Keikyu line.
  • An Osaka woman was busted for getting her 6-year-old daughter addicted to sleeping pills. The woman told officials that she wanted the girl to go to bed at the same time she did.

NEWS YOU CAN USE

  • Japanese researchers have discovered that drinking four or more cups of green tea a day reduces the risk of strokes by 20 percent.
  • They also found that drinking two or more cups of coffee a day has the same effect.
  • Officials at NTT Docomo announced they are setting up 104 emergency base stations around the country that can run on generator power for “several days” in the event of a major disaster.
  • Government leaders are considering a plan that would allow female SDF troops to serve on the front line. Until now, women in uniform have been prohibited from joining “infantry corps equipped with machine guns and tank companies.”

FOREIGN INTRIGUE

  • A 43-year-old Japanese man on a business trip to Cambodia was robbed by two bandits on a motorcycle and “shot as he tried to fight them off.” The man later died.
  • The leaders of Japan and Sri Lanka have agreed to boost their alliance in “the fight against piracy in the Indian Ocean.”
  • Meanwhile, the defense ministers of Japan and Poland vowed to enhance exchanges between their militaries.
  • Government officials are discussing a plan to let the Coast Guard use decommissioned SDF destroyers to patrol areas around the disputed Senkaku islands.

NICE WORK

Eat that Senkaku. Via Flickr delta16v

  • A Japanese man who founded a medical equipment maker in Ohio was named to the US’s prestigious Manufacturing Council, a 26-member body that advises the commerce secretary on local industry.
  • Government leaders are considering a move to make the TOEFL a part of civil service exams. They say that “enhancing English skills is indispensable to the development of world-class human resources in the public sector.”
  • Officials at the labor ministry say they’ll submit to the Diet a bill that would make it “mandatory for both public and private sectors to hire people with mental health problems.”
  • The ministry’s goal is to increase the participation of mentally ill people in the workforce to 2 percent from the current 1.8 percent.

AND FINALLY…

  • It was reported that just 2 percent of business owners in quake-hit areas have sought help from a government-backed fund that was set up to support them. In all, the quake destroyed 53,000 offices and factories.
  • Government officials have created the post of ambassador to the Arctic Council, an intergovernmental group that includes Canada, Denmark, Finland, Iceland, Norway, Russia, Sweden and the US.
  • A Tokyo-based NPO says two-thirds of young Japanese women who commit suicide had previously attempted to kill themselves.
  • Bottom Story of the Week: “Ikebana Master Lays Out Japanese Sense of Beauty in NY” (via Jiji)

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