“I’ve haven’t seen so many deaths over such a short period since we opened in 1989.”
—Kazuomi Nishikiori, vice director of Tokyo Sea Life Park in Edogawa-ku, on the mysterious demise of hundreds of bluefin tuna and bonito
- Sony president Kazuo Hirai described the cyber-attack against his company’s U.S. movie division as being so sophisticated, it’s like it came “from another dimension.”
- Meanwhile, officials with the central government unveiled a plan to enlist private-sector security experts to boost the country’s defenses against hackers.
- Archaeologists in Fukui discovered a bird fossil dating back to the Cretaceous Period, about 120 million years ago. It’s just the second fossilized bird ever found in Japan.
- Residents in Shika, Ishikawa Prefecture, made a startling discovery in the early hours of January 9: A man, believed to be North Korean, who washed ashore aboard a 10-meter-long fishing boat.
- Authorities with the environment ministry dispatched survey teams to try and figure out why nori from the Seto Inland Sea has been “losing its color.”
- A man in Osaka filed a ¥42 million lawsuit against IKEA over a defective bar stool that, he says, collapsed and left him with a disabled thumb.
- Officials at the Japan Tourism Agency are offering municipalities in rural areas up to ¥5 million to promote initiatives encouraging parents to visit with their kids during school vacations.
- The central government has finally agreed to conduct health checks on fishermen who were exposed to fallout from U.S. hydrogen bomb tests in the Bikini Atoll in 1954.
- Disgraced researcher Haruko Obokata missed the deadline for appealing an investigative panel’s findings that she fabricated data in scientific papers on so-called STAP cells.
- Bowing to pressure from LDP assembly members, Tokyo governor Yoichi Masuzoe reneged on a pledge to enact an ordinance limiting secondhand smoke ahead of the 2020 Olympics.
- Agriculture minister Koya Nishikawa met Vietnamese president Truong Tan Sang in Hanoi and asked him to relax a quarantine on Japanese apples.
- The mayor of Seoul said municipal officials in Japan and South Korea should combat soured bilateral relations by hosting “intercity and private-sector exchanges.”
- The central government has decided to allocate ¥150 billion in its fiscal 2015 budget for relocating the U.S. military’s Futenma air station in Okinawa. That’s twice the amount in last year’s budget.
- Members of a health ministry panel warned that 20 percent of senior citizens in Japan may be afflicted with dementia by 2025.
- Baby food manufacturer Wadoko recalled one of its products after a customer complained of an insect mixed in with the food.
- Meanwhile, pub operator Watami says a patron found a metal screw in one of the bento boxes made by its food-delivery arm.
MATTERS OF LIFE AND DEATH
- Authorities at the National Police Agency say 4,113 people were killed in traffic accidents in 2014. That’s the 14th straight year the number has declined, and way down from the peak of 16,765 fatalities in 1970.
- But, for the first time, elderly people were involved in more than half of all car crashes.
- A U.N. conference on disaster preparedness scheduled for next month in Sendai will include a presentation about the “miracle of Kamaishi,” in which thousands of students in the city are said to have survived the March 11 disaster thanks to a rigorous training program.
Compiled from reports by AP, Japan Today, The Japan Times, Jiji, The Tokyo Reporter, The Mainichi, The Japan News, AFP, Reuters and Kyodo