Originally published on metropolis.co.jp on February 2014

Christi Rochin


  • Just when you thought TEPCO couldn’t get any slimier, the utility is demanding that its employees’ families return the compensation they received to evacuate their homes following the nuclear disaster at Fukushima Daiichi.
  • An elementary school teacher in Yokohama was arrested for selling children’s books from the school library in an online auction.
  • Officials at Sanrio were forced to admit that some of the merchandise at their flagship store in Ginza was labeled as made in Japan when in fact it came from China.
  • Headline of the Week: “Head of NPO Promoting Motherhood Arrested for Beating his Wife” (via Japan Today)


  • Researchers from Kyoto University and an aquarium in Niigata have found that dolphins and humans “seem to perceive the world in fundamentally similar ways.”
  • Scientists in Tokyo and Hiroshima have begun a study to determine how the taste of different foods affects blood circulation. The goal is to develop “technology to make objective assessments of palatability.”
  • Physicians at Sapporo Medical University will conduct Japan’s first clinical trial using stem cells in an attempt to regenerate the nerves of people with spinal cord injuries.
  • Researchers at the University of Tokyo have found that when female medaka (killfish) seek a mate, they choose males that are “visually familiar.”


  • The Japan Communist Party revealed that it’s losing about 500 members each month due to “advanced age or death.”
  • Officials at the NPA say 27,195 people committed suicide in Japan in 2013—the second consecutive year that the number was below 30,000.
  • The justice ministry says 50 dialysis machines are available in prisons around the country to treat convicts with kidney ailments. The bad news? Almost no prison doctors know how to operate the devices.
  • A breakout of food poisoning in Shizuoka sickened 900 children and forced the closure of 14 elementary schools.


  • Officials at the environment ministry confirmed that a crested ibis released from a conservation center on Sado Island has made its way to Honshu. It’s the first such sighting in three years.
  • Meanwhile, it was reported that ibises still in captivity on Sado have been destroying their own eggs, possibly as a result of “stress.”
  • An unidentified object that dropped from a US military aircraft flying over Kanagawa smashed the windshield of a parked car but caused no injuries.
  • Put away the party hats: the head of the IMF has said that the “initial boost from Abenomics is weakening a bit.”



  • Officials at the Japan Society of Obstetrics and Gynecology said they’ll revise their code of ethics to allow common-law couples to undergo in vitro fertilization.
  • The government says 76.6 percent of college seniors have landed jobs prior to graduation this spring, a rise of 1.6 percentage points from last year.
  • In the first promotional event of its kind, makers of kokuto shochu held a tasting event for importers, restaurateurs and hotel operators in Berlin.
  • At the same time, officials in Gifu have announced plans to invade France… with a marketing campaign for the region’s famed Hida beef.

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