Small Print: April 2, 2015

Small Print: April 2, 2015

Tech addiction, drug busts, corporate spies, and more ...


(Comic by Rodger Sonomura)

“The cake is well-made and delicious.”
—Osaka resident Misao Okawa—the world’s oldest woman—at a party to celebrate her 117th birthday.


  • Journalist Masato Suwa, who from 1979 to 2002 wrote more than 6,300 articles for the daily “Yoroku” column of the Mainichi Shimbun, has died in Tokyo at the age of 84.
  • Besides being a prolific author, Suwa served as the paper’s European correspondent and was an expert on topics as diverse as medieval theology and modern French drama.
  • Parishioners in Nagasaki celebrated the 150th anniversary of Ōura Church, the oldest Catholic house of worship in Japan.
  • British publishing house William Reed Business Media named Japanese-French eatery Narisawa in Minami-Aoyama as the second best restaurant in all of Asia. Gaggan, a Bangkok-based Indian restaurant, took the top spot.


  • A Cabinet Office survey has found that the average high school student spends more than three hours a day online, mostly for email, messaging, and Facebook.
  • The survey also revealed that 74 percent of primary schoolers use the internet for playing games, and 69 percent of junior high school students like to watch videos.
  • A court in Hiroshima awarded ¥70,000 in damages to a former prison inmate who was “denied treatment for hay fever.”

5.17 million

  • Number of commuters who could be stranded in downtown Tokyo in the aftermath of a major quake


  • Size of the security force that will be deployed during the 2020 Tokyo Olympics


  • Estimated sales of new cars and trucks in Japan in fiscal 2015, the first time in four years the number is expected to drop below 5 million


  • NHK president Katsuto Momii appeared before a Diet subcommittee to try to explain why he referred to a meeting of the Democratic Party of Japan as “rubbish.
  • In a speech, former Prime Minister Junichiro Koizumi warned that nuclear plants in Japan are unsafe, likening them to “time bombs.”
  • A former police sergeant in Shizuoka was given a suspended prison sentence for conspiring with a yakuza gang member to entrap a suspected drug user in a sting operation.
  • Officials at the industry ministry are mulling a plan to raise the maximum fines on companies that leak corporate secrets abroad from ¥300 million to ¥1 billion.


  • Officials at JR West have unveiled a successor to their much-loved Twilight Express sleeper train, which was decommissioned last month after a quarter-century of service.
  • The new train, dubbed Twilight Express Mizukaze, features open-air observation decks and guestrooms with bathtubs. It will go into service in early 2017.
  • Government seismologists hope that a network of cables being laid off the coasts of northern and eastern Japan will help speed up tsunami detection times by as much as 20 minutes. The cables are attached to “gauges and other observation devices.”
  • Staff at the Japan Documentary Film Preservation Center say they’ve acquired three movies featuring previously unseen footage of the 1923 Great Kanto Earthquake. The films total about 15 minutes in length.


  • The government has decided to appoint a new minister to handle preparations for the 2020 Tokyo Olympics.
  • Officials will also establish a new agency charged with “strengthening Japanese athletics and enhancing the nation’s contributions to the world through sports.
  • Meanwhile, it was reported that work to demolish the National Stadium in Shinjuku to make way for a new venue for the 2020 Games is six months behind schedule.
  • Authorities in Sumida-ku have agreed to pay ¥149 million to buy a long-lost scroll by ukiyo-e master Katsuhika Hokusai (1760-1849).

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