Originally published on metropolis.co.jp on September 2013


  • On a trip to Okinawa last month, US filmmaker Oliver Stone told journalists that the only reason America maintains its military bases in Japan is because “it had lost its previous foes, and [is] now looking for new enemies.”
  • Members of a “local revitalization group” in Ibaraki have announced plans to make a film about an Imperial Japanese Navy air unit that trained kamikaze pilots in the region during the final days of World War II.
  • Government officials said they will relocate an SDF airstrip on the island of Iwo Jima to make it possible to recover the remains of Imperial Army soldiers believed to be buried nearby.
  • Meanwhile, authorities at the land ministry displayed the wreckage of a World War II-era transport plane that was dug out of the ground near a runway at Haneda Airport.


  • A Kawasaki-based inventor has developed a bicycle that can filter water while it’s being pedaled.
  • In the first procedure of its kind, doctors at Osaka University have treated a pancreatitis patient by removing the offending organ, separating its insulin-producing islets, and transplanting them back into the patient.
  • Researchers at the National Agriculture and Food Research Organization have discovered that “warmer temperatures sweeten the taste of apples.”
  • A research group headed by a professor at Waseda University has developed a six-wheeled robot that can be operated by smartphone to conduct environmental surveys.


  • An expert on juvenile delinquency says that the popular Line social networking service “has become a hotbed of bullying among school students.”
  • It was reported that three-quarters of all calls made to Japanese telephone counseling services for children go answered.
  • A survey by Recruit Marketing Partners Co. found that 38.6 percent of Japanese college students are “reluctant” to study abroad, mostly due to “the need for large sums of money” and “language barriers.”
  • Officials at the TMG have ordered an investigation into incidents in which children have been injured or killed after becoming entangled in the pull-cords of window blinds.


  • Police in Aichi arrested a 29-year-old man for “hijacking a taxi and holding the driver captive inside the vehicle while he drove for roughly 100 kilometers.”
  • A group of volunteers has vowed to restore the Kamata area of Tokyo—a hotbed of early Japanese film—to “its former cinematic glory.”
  • A survey team from the health ministry has found that 49 percent of underage smokers scored their cigarettes by borrowing Taspo age verification cards belonging to someone else.
  • Authorities at the Council for Cultural Affairs have recommended that “churches and Christian sites” in Nagasaki be granted UNESCO World Heritage status.


  • A dramatization of the 2002 Haruki Murakami novel Kafka on the Shore will be staged in London, New York, Australia, Singapore, France and China… but not until 2015.
  • Government officials have allocated ¥9.3 million to help renovate a clinic in northern Thailand that is dedicated to treating refugees from Myanmar.
  • The administration of Prime Minister Shinzo Abe has vowed to “create a society friendly to those suffering from dementia.”
  • Bottom Story of the Week: “Housewife in Hokkaido Issues Own Newsletter for 25 Years” (via Mainichi Japan)


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