Small Print: June 11, 2015

Small Print: June 11, 2015

Car-crash cover-ups, corporate comics, medal mania, and more ...


(Comic by Adam Garwood)

“The sea always provides something new. In the future, I’m looking forward to encountering creatures that are beyond my imagination.”

—Keiichi Matsuura, an ichthyologist at the National Museum of Nature and Science, on discovering a new species of fugu in waters off Kagoshima


  • In a Diet debate with Communist Party Chairman Kazuo Shii, Prime Minister Shinzo Abe admitted being unfamiliar with “certain passages” in the Potsdam Declaration, which is the document that set the terms of Japan’s surrender in World War II.
  • A survey by the environment ministry has found that elementary and junior high schools produce 17.2 kilograms of lunch waste per student each year.


  • The meteorological agency has revised the wording of its volcanic-activity alert system. Level 1, which formerly read “Normal,” now says, “Be aware that this is an active volcano.”
  • Officials at the communications ministry have launched something called the Innovation Initiative with the goal of “discovering and nurturing the next Steve Jobs.”
  • The labor ministry has come up with a clever way of getting young salarymen to learn about workplace issues: a manga that “helps demystify labor laws.”
  • The aircraft carrier USS George Washington left Yokosuka Naval Base after completing its seven-year mission in Japan. It will be replaced in the autumn by the USS Ronald Reagan.


  • The government awarded its annual spring medals and decorations to 675 people and 26 groups in recognition of their “distinguished performances and contributions to society.”
  • Among the athletes, artists and academicians to receive the Medal with Purple Ribbon were singer-songwriter Shinji Tanimura, novelist Jiro Asada, and Noh actor Kanze Kiyokazu.
  • The oldest honoree was volunteer worker Kaneki Ando, 97, who was cited for planting trees alongside roadways in Oita Prefecture.
  • The youngest was 28-year-old Takashi Ihara, who saved a girl from drowning in a river last summer.


  • 1: Number of Japanese movies that have opened in China during the past three years, after Stand by Me Doraemon premiered late last month
  • 15,219: World War II-era remains collected from the Philippines being stored at the HQ of the welfare ministry; they can’t be interred in an official cemetery because non-Japanese may be included among them
  • 264,000: Quota, in tons, on catches of sanma this season, the lowest ever


  • Authorities at the TMG have banned drones from all of the city’s 81 parks and gardens.
  • Popular video streaming site Niconico shut down the account of an activist group that’s been “organizing hate-speech campaigns targeting Korean residents in Japan.”
  • It was revealed that police in Chiba have been underreporting traffic-accident fatalities over the past 10 years.
  • Investigators vow that any officers found to be involved in the cover-up will be charged with “illegal production of public electromagnetic records,” which sounds pretty serious.


  • The Royal Swedish Academy of Sciences awarded its 2015 Crafoord Prize to Tomoko Ota, a professor emeritus at the National Institute of Genetics, for her “contributions to the understanding of gene evolution.”
  • Osaka native Yu Kurihara, 16, won the gold medal in the classical dance category at the prestigious Youth America Grand Prix ballet competition in New York.
  • Rie Saito, 31, took her seat as Tokyo’s first-ever deaf assembly member after winning office in April’s unified local elections. She represents Kita-ku.
  • Bottom Story of the Week: “Widow Finds New Strength in Running Husband’s Firm” (via The Japan News)

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