Originally published on metropolis.co.jp on December 2012

Miwa Kaneoya

HONEYMOON OVER

  • A 22-year-old man who killed his 23-year-old wife after just a week of marriage said he and his bride were having “a hard time feeding [themselves] since around August.”
  • Officials at the Meteorological Agency say ocean waters around Japan are acidifying “at the fastest pace seen in centuries.”
  • According to a newspaper survey, nearly 70 percent of teachers around the country “lack the time” to deal with cases of bullying.
  • At a meeting of the Japan-Russia Intergovernmental Committee on Trade and Economic Issues, officials from Tokyo and Moscow agreed to develop Russia’s Far East “through joint projects in fields such as energy, agriculture and infrastructure.”
  • The health ministry says that, for the fourth consecutive month, the number of welfare recipients hit an all-time high in August.
  • A 16-year-old high-school student in Tokyo died after falling down a 10-meter ventilation shaft near an athletic field during PE class.

PAPER THIS

  • A Tokyo court gave a suspended prison sentence to an interior decorator who harbored AUM Shinrikyo fugitive Naoko Kikuchi for five years while she was on the run.
  • Bottom Story of the Week: “Geese Flock to Izu Marsh to Wait Out Winter” (via The Mainichi)
  • An “electric installation worker” who was hunting for wild boar in the mountains of Yamanashi shot and seriously wounded a 47-year-old female hiker.
  • The justice ministry says that 34.1 percent of ex-cons aged 65 or above are “unable to find permanent housing” after their release from prison.
  • A sudden increase in the number of spectators at bunraku performances in Osaka is being attributed to Mayor Toru Hashimoto’s “pledge to freeze municipal funding for the theater.”

THAT’S RAD, MAN

  • Researchers from the University of Tokyo have developed a “decontamination cloth… that absorbs radioactive cesium in water simply by soaking it.”
  • A UN health envoy chastised Japan for “over-emphasizing optimistic views” of radiation risks following the meltdown at the Fukushima nuclear power plant last March.
  • Meanwhile, officials at the World Health Organization said there is just a “low risk” of cancer for residents near the Fukushima plant.
  • Sentence of the Week: “Tokyo police have verbally warned the editorial departments of two major weekly magazines to stop carrying pictures of plaster art made in the shape of vaginas because they could constitute the display of ‘obscene’ objects, it has been learned.” (via The Yomiuri Shimbun)

A GIRL’S BEST FRIEND

  • The Tokyo tax bureau earned ¥93.15 million in an online auction of a 12-carat diamond seized from a delinquent taxpayer.
  • The sale topped the previous record for a non-real-estate item—a Bentley auctioned off in 2008 for ¥13.25 million.
  • The Consumer Affairs Agency scolded Sharp Corp. for running ads claiming its vacuum cleaners can decompose “mite remains and droppings” after an independent research institute found the devices can do no such thing.
  • JTB Corp says the top three New Year’s travel destinations for Japanese travelers this year are Seoul, Bangkok and Taipei.
  • Astronaut Koichi Wakata will be accompanied by “a small humanoid robot” when he becomes the first Japanese commander of the ISS next summer.