Mar 11, 2010

Mar 11, 2010

Originally published on on March 2010 Busted! Police in Nagoya arrested a 57-year-old motorist who tooled along with a motorcycle gang as it obstructed traffic, ignored red lights, and otherwise behaved badly. “I used to be a member of a biker gang a long time ago, and I couldn’t help but drive together with […]


Originally published on on March 2010


  • Police in Nagoya arrested a 57-year-old motorist who tooled along with a motorcycle gang as it obstructed traffic, ignored red lights, and otherwise behaved badly. “I used to be a member of a biker gang a long time ago, and I couldn’t help but drive together with them,” the man was quoted as saying.
  • In Kitakyushu, a 34-year-old man was arrested for ramming his car into a bosozoku gang and killing an 18-year-old motorcyclist.
  • A 52-year-old doctor in Shinjuku who was busted for selling over 300,000 tablets of prescription tranquilizer to a gangster reportedely said “I thought I would be attacked if I refused.”
  • A 43-year-old executive at a cosmetics company was arrested for stalking his ex-girlfriend after he sent emails “threatening to publish humiliating photos of her online.”
  • The National Tax Agency demanded ¥800 million in back taxes and penalties from the Japanese arm of Credit Suisse Securities after discovering that about 100 employees failed to declare some ¥2 billion.
  • A Japanese executive at Citibank in Tokyo was accused of dodging ¥30 million in income taxes by “pretending to live overseas.”

Sic transit

  • A befuddled 74-year-old man who said he was looking for his local tax office managed to drive his car into a “heavily guarded” area of New Chitose Airport in Hokkaido.
  • JR East announced that all Yamanote line train cars that have six doors will be replaced by carriages with four doors by August 2011.
  • The chief of the Tokyo Fire Department presented a commendation to a 24-year-old man who saved the life of a drunk 20-year-old woman who fell onto the Chuo line tracks at Koenji station.
  • Some 900 passengers were trapped inside their train when a maglev line in Aichi suffered a complete blackout during the morning rush hour.
  • Non-sequitur of the Week: An 18-year-old aspiring sumo rikishi who helped rescue a 4-year-old boy from a burning apartment in Kyoto was quoted as saying, “I’m glad he’s safe. I’ll do my best to become a strong wrestler.”

Coming & Going

  • The Supreme Court rejected the final appeal of Aum Shinrikyo member Tomomitsu Niimi, making him the tenth person who will be put to death over the cult’s mid-’90s reign of terror.
  • Meanwhile, the former commissioner general of the National Police Agency revealed that the NPA received a tip that the cult might be up to something nasty just prior to the 1995 Tokyo subway sarin gas attack.
  • It was reported that the Yoshinoya fast food chain, popularizer of the ¥390 beef bowls, has entered into business with farmers in Yokohama to produce onions for its gyudon.
  • A Tokyo-based tech firm called Nippon Telesoft has devised a karaoke machine for the blind that offers the lyrics of 100,000 songs in Braille.
  • It was announced that chart-breaking British songstress Susan Boyle will make her debut singing alongside an orchestra when she appears at the Nippon Budokan on April 1.

Illustration by Julanka

What recession?

  • For the fourth straight year, the average per capita income in Japan has risen.
  • The figure stands at ¥3.05 million, a 0.7 percent increase over a year earlier.
  • Saga Prefecture experienced the highest growth rate, at 5 percent.
  • There is a ¥2.5 million discrepancy between average income in Tokyo and Okinawa, the largest in the country.
  • Meanwhile, the number of personal bankruptcies in Japan fell 2.5 percent last year, compared to 2008.
  • It was revealed that the average fee for university entrance exams is ¥35,000, and that most examinees apply to five or six universities.

News from the Animal Kingdom

  • A black finless porpoise was spotted swimming in a portion of Nagoya’s Shinkawa River that flows through a residential area. The animal was caught and taken to a local aquarium.
  • The environment ministry announced that a landslide killed two short-tailed albatross chicks on the uninhabited island of Torishima in the Izu chain. The birds, an endangered species, have been deemed a “national treasure.”
  • Officials at a local aquarium in Niigata believe that the 3.4m-long, 109kg corpse that washed ashore last month is that of a giant squid.
  • Headline of the Week: Saitama Toughens Up Sign Posts in Battle Against Moisture, Dog Urine (via The Mainichi Daily News)

They’re baaaaacccckkkk

  • An LDP-backed candidate was elected governor of Nagasaki in a campaign that pitted him against a DPJ-sponsored candidate and five others.
  • A town in Kagawa Prefecture is planning to allow visitors to use an old-style coin known as the kanei tsuho in its shops and restaurants. The currency, worth around ¥30, was in circulation from 1636-1953.
  • It was announced that Japan and the US will jointly develop a device that controls drone aircraft for use “when the global positioning system is jammed or faces glitches.”
  • A 31-year-old Iranian man who owns a spice trading company was busted in Osaka for being involved in a drug trafficking ring. Oh, right, “spices”…

Here & There

  • A total of 7,500 households in Ishikawa Prefecture participated in a two-day trial for “ending analog broadcasts in favor of terrestrial digital transmissions.” Officials received three complaints from people who couldn’t suss out how to use their digital tuners.
  • A Tokyo-based English school called Fortress Japan was ordered to close by the Consumer Affairs Agency because of the coercive methods it used to get students. Apparently, sales reps of the eikaiwa chain strong-armed students at job fairs by telling them they’d never be able to find employment unless they took classes at the school.
  • In Miyagi Prefecture, a 4-year-old girl and her 2-year-old brother were in critical condition after their house caught fire while their mom was out shopping.
  • Seven cops in the Kodaira area of Tokyo were accused of covering up a speeding violation by one of their colleague’s wives.
  • It was reported that officials in South Korea are urging Japan to adopt daylight savings time. Japan, South Korea and Iceland are the only countries of the 30-member OECD that have yet to introduce DST.

Compiled from reports by the BBC, Japan Today, The Japan Times, International Herald Tribune/The Asahi Shimbun, The Mainichi Daily News, The Tokyo Reporter, The Daily Yomiuri, AP and Kyodo