Originally published on metropolis.co.jp on July 2013

Christi Rochin


  • A research team led by a professor at Keio University has found mice can tell the difference between paintings by Wassily Kandinsky and Piet Mondrian.
  • In response to wild deer causing damage to local plant species in the Oze marshlands, Fukushima officials say they’ll start “shooting the animals with high-pressure water guns.”
  • Japanese scientists have determined a class of insecticides aka neonicotinoids may be responsible for colony-collapse disorder, which is threatening the global honeybee population.
  • Police in western Tokyo arrested a man who ran a health clinic despite having no medical license. None of the man’s 8,000 “patients” reported any ill effects from the treatment.


  • University of Tokyo lecturer Isamu Kaneko, who developed the infamous Winny file-sharing software, died of a heart attack at age 42.
  • Labor ministry officials say April was the first month in five years during which the number of households on welfare declined.
  • Authorities at UNESCO have added a document written by a medieval Japanese regent—described as the “world’s oldest autographic diary”—to their Memory of the World registry.
  • Talk about chutzpah—executives at TEPCO have asked for approval on an electricity-rate hike that would, in part, be used to fund maintenance on 70 vacant housing units at their corporate dormitories.


  • Justice ministry officials say 2012 was the fourth consecutive year the number of foreigners living in Japan declined.
  • As of December 31, there were a total of 2,033,656 foreign residents in the country—a decrease of 0.7 percent from 2011.
  • Chinese nationals account for 652,555 of the foreign population, or 32.1 percent, followed by Koreans at 530,046 (26.1).
  • Foreigners living in quake-hit Iwate and Miyagi increased in number by 3.1 and 2.5 percent, respectively.

bottoms up

  • Wine officials in Paris have granted certification to a Yamanashi grape known as Muscat Bailey A. It’s the second Japanese grape on their list after Koshu, also from Yamanashi.
  • The Imperial Household Agency announced the Emperor and Empress will visit India in November.
  • Authorities at the Japan Direct Marketing Association say they received 1,030 complaints about overseas shopping websites last year, a massive increase from 130 problems in 2010.
  • Engineers at Toyota are investigating a series of accidents in which the automatic-braking system in their vehicles activated without warning.

and finally…

  • A survey by a Tokyo-based home-security company found 14.5 percent of single working women in their 20s believe “there are men around them who could start stalking them in the future.”
  • What’s more, 9 percent said they have been victims of stalking and 11 percent that they have dealt with “behavior that verges on stalking.”
  • Officials at the NPA say 623,841 criminal offenses were committed in the first half of 2013—6.3 percent down from last year.
  • The NPA also said that 26 percent of home burglaries “involved unlocked houses.”

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