Small Print: July 16, 2015

Small Print: July 16, 2015

Botchi-zoku booms, lift loos, snowy summers, and more ...


She was right: sometimes the snow does come down in June (Photos via 123RF)

“I think I spoke too fast during the lecture and got dehydrated. I’m sorry that I caused trouble.”
—Former Tokyo Governor Shintaro Ishihara, who was hospitalized after nearly fainting during an appearance in Shimane


  • Seven Samurai star Toshiro Mifune (1920-1997) will join actor Sessue Hayakawa (1889-1973) and Godzilla (1954-present; whereabouts unknown) in the pantheon of Japanese film greats honored with a star on the Hollywood Walk of Fame.
  • In response to an unprecedented rise in the number of international tourists visiting winter resorts, government officials have relaxed the work-visa rules for foreign ski instructors.
  • The operator of a rotenburo in Tochigi was forced to close the facility down after hooligans filmed guests bathing in the nude and posted the footage online.
  • Authorities at Narita found a batch of stimulant drugs hidden inside bottles of sesame oil shipped from Hong Kong.


  • Officials at the meteorological agency announced that 55 of 154 observation points nationwide reported record-high temperatures in May.
  • Weather forecasters say a rare snowfall that hit Hokkaido last month was caused by “cyclones above the Sea of Okhotsk.”
  • Members of a private think tank urged elderly Tokyo residents to move out of the city due to fears that demographic trends will “worsen medical and nursing care shortages.”
  • Officials at the infrastructure ministry have convinced elevator operators to store drinking water and portable toilets for passengers to use in case of emergency.


  • ¥300 million: Amount donated by filmmaker Hayao Miyazaki to establish a park in Okinawa where kids “can get in touch with nature”
  • 603kph: Top speed reached this year by a JR Tokai maglev train—the fastest ever for a maglev, according to Guinness World Records
  • 52,000: Estimated number of foreigners who have failed to replace their alien registration certificates with resident cards, which they were required to do earlier this month


  • According to a health ministry survey, Japanese women gave birth to 1,003,532 babies last year—the lowest number on record.
  • Females in their 30s had 14,949 fewer children than the year before, while women in their 40s had 3,216 more.
  • By prefecture, Okinawa had the highest fertility rate at 1.86 children per woman, while Tokyo had the lowest with 1.15.
  • The report also found that the number of marriages taking place last year—643,740—was also a record low.


  • Twin giant pandas at a zoo in Wakayama celebrated their six-month “birthday,” which is significant because the animals become resistant to infections at about that age.
  • Members of an LDP committee on regulatory reform have recommended that homeowners be allowed to rent out rooms to tourists.
  • Researchers at ANA and the University of Tokyo have launched a study to “scientifically analyze effective in-flight service.”
  • Authorities at the NPA say they were unable to determine the whereabouts of 168 people suffering from dementia last year.


  • A military theme park in Saitama is gaining popularity thanks to a hit animated TV series called Girls & Panzer, which depicts female high school students “driving around in tanks.”
  • It was reported that a growing number of young Japanese people are getting into botchi-zoku (obtaining fulfillment in solitary environments) by “dancing alone at discos and cooking alone at barbecues.”
  • Researchers at Shimane University have found that the popular cancer drug Erbitux can trigger an allergic reaction in people who have beef allergies.
  • Officials in Fukushima are coming under fire for a plan to end housing subsidies for some people who were forced to evacuate in the wake of the nuclear disaster.

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