Originally published on metropolis.co.jp on July 2013

Green Anoles adapting to Okinawa. Photo by PiccoloNamek, via Wikipedia


  • A bear that mauled a 78-year-old man in the mountains of Fukushima later attacked four people who came to retrieve the victim’s body, including the man’s son.
  • Environmental experts fear that an invasive lizard called the green anole is threatening the ecosystem of Ano-jima, an uninhabited island in the Ogasawara chain.
  • A researcher at the University of Tokyo’s Atmosphere and Ocean Research Institute says that shellfish living in bays off the coast of quake-hit Iwate are showing signs of recovery.
  • People in Akita marked the 30th anniversary of the Nihonkai-Chubu Earthquake, which caused a tsunami that claimed 100 lives, including 13 children on a school excursion.


  • A 10-year-old boy fell onto the tracks at Yotsuya station while walking down the platform hunched over his cellphone. The kid was unhurt, but the mishap delayed about 23,000 commuters.
  • An expert panel appointed by the education ministry has compiled guidelines for high-school coaches advising them against “hitting and kicking” their students, as well as inducing “physical and emotional stress.”
  • Meanwhile, just 26 percent of junior high school teachers say they feel confident in their ability to “stop bullying if asked for help by students.”
  • A poll by Osaka Prefecture University has found that just 40 percent of school social workers have proper certification.


  • A Japanese cheerleader who won a tryout with the NFL’s Jacksonville Jaguars will join the American football team’s 34-woman roster for the 2013-14 season.
  • Call it choral diplomacy: the leading men’s choirs from Japan and South Korea performed together for the first time in five years at a goodwill concert in Tokyo.
  • Officials at Tokyo’s Olympics bid committee have unveiled a commemorative gold coin to help fund their campaign to win the 2020 Summer Games. The coins weigh 123 grams and sell for a cool ¥1.5 million.
  • Sentence of the Week: “Japanese food manufacturer Kewpie Corp. has deleted the wings from its cupid-like logo on its popular mayonnaise brand in some Southeast Asian countries as Islamic law forbids the worship of icons.” (via Mainichi Japan)


  • The NPA says a record 2,465 mountain climbers went missing in Japan in 2012.
  • Of these, 1,254 were found unharmed, 927 were rescued after sustaining injuries, 35 were never found and 249 died.
  • It was reported that many port towns in Japan are decommissioning ships used for harbor tours because of rising fuel costs and declining interest.
  • Officials in Chiba unveiled a smartphone app that lets residents report problems such as “graffiti, illegal waste dumping [and] excessively bumpy pavement that is difficult to navigate with baby strollers.”


  • The health ministry says that 2012 was the third year in a row that the number of people suffering from “work-induced mental illness” hit a record high.
  • Senior policymakers of the ruling coalition announced a plan to speed up the approval process for anticancer drugs.
  • Headline of the Week: “Researchers Use Gamma Rays to Sterilize Beef Liver” (via The Japan News)
  • Staff at an elementary school in Iwate discovered a report card given to famed poet Kenji Miyazawa (1896-1933). It “reveals high marks [and] perfect attendance.”

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