“I hope to tell people about the madness of the war. That is my last job.”
—Toshio Tono, 89, who is the last surviving witness to the vivisection of eight American POWs at a hospital in Fukuoka in 1945
- A senior official with the Civil Aviation Bureau had his tablet PC stolen after falling asleep on a Denentoshi Line train. The device contained a list of emergency contact information for staff at the land ministry.
- An American woman who was trying to row across the Pacific by herself had to be rescued by the crew of a Japanese freighter about 250 kilometers off the coast of Fukushima Prefecture.
- It was reported that, after lowering the voting age from 20 to 18, government officials are struggling to help youngsters “navigate [the] elections law minefield.”
- An LDP study panel is considering legislation that would “prevent the leaks and misuse of genetic information.”
BY THE NUMBERS
- A survey by Nippon Life Insurance Company has found that 31 percent of single Japanese women “expressed little interest in marrying.”
- Another survey suggests that 87 percent of parents in Japan want to have a second child but can’t afford to.
- Government officials announced a plan to curb ballooning medical costs by reducing hospital beds by more than 10 percent over the next decade.
- Disgraced stem-cell researcher Haruko Obokata returned the ¥600,000 she received from the RIKEN institute for publishing papers in Nature that turned out to be fraudulent.
- 38: Percent of respondents to a Cabinet Office poll who say they “don’t want a boyfriend or girlfriend”
- 11,279: Number of scholars who signed a statement against the government-sponsored security bills after the legislation cleared the Lower House of the Diet
- 9,139,900: Number of foreigners who visited Japan during the first six months of 2015—the most on record
- Researchers at the Japan and International Motion Picture Copyright Association say movie piracy robs the industry of about ¥20 billion a year.
- A professor at Kanto Gakuin University has found World War II-era documents suggesting the U.S. military planned to use almost the entire main island of Okinawa as a staging ground for an attack on the Japanese mainland.
- Scientists say an aurora that appeared in Hokkaido in March—the first to be spotted in Japan in 11 years—was caused by magnetic storms near the Earth, not explosions on the surface of the sun.
- Officials at the environment ministry are organizing the world’s first survey on microscopic plastic waste in the Antarctic Ocean. The rubbish can be ingested by plankton and represents a threat to the food chain.
DEATH BE NOT PROUD
- A government white paper on suicides during 2014 found that the number of people who killed themselves was below 30,000 for the third consecutive year.
- Of the 25,427 people who took their own lives, 62 percent were men and 38 percent women.
- The top reasons given were health problems, money issues, and family difficulties.
- The report also found that suicides among people aged 18 or younger were concentrated around “the start of a school semester.”
- It was announced that Pope Francis will likely beatify Takayama Ukon (1552-1615), a feudal lord who gave up his title and was forced into exile because of his faith.
- Officials at the meteorological agency have begun receiving data from the Himawari-8, the first geostationary weather satellite that can shoot color photos of the Earth.
- At long last, Japan’s major mobile carriers are mulling a plan to eliminate their standard two-year contracts, which are universally reviled by consumers.
- Bottom Story of the Week: “Gunma Town Signs Dinosaur Research Partnership with Mongolia” (via Mainichi Japan)
Compiled from reports by AP, Japan Today, The Japan Times, Jiji, The Tokyo Reporter, The Mainichi, The Japan News, AFP, Reuters, and Kyodo