I’ll continue my job as long as I can use my body.”
—Satoshi Onda, president of J.League Division 2 club FC Gifu, on living with amyotrophic lateral sclerosis, or ALS
BORED IN SPACE
- An android called Kirobo, which in February completed an 18-month stint on the International Space Station, was recognized by Guinness World Records as taking part in the “highest-altitude human-robot conversation.”
- JAXA launched an intelligence-gathering satellite from its space center in Kagoshima, but don’t expect any further updates about the project—the info collected will be classified under the government’s new state secrets law.
- Officials at the science ministry have embarked on an effort to map out “the effects of global warming on every square kilometer of Japan.”
- The education ministry says school kids should study the Paralympics as a way of deepening their “understanding of disabled people and learn[ing] how to live alongside them.”
WELL, THAT’S EMBARRASSING
- A survey by the internal affairs ministry found that 18 of the government’s 24 most important administrative bodies—ministries, agencies, etc.—lack sufficient supplies to keep functioning in the aftermath of an emergency.
- One of them is the Fire and Disaster Management Agency.
- An elderly Hokkaido woman turned the tables on an attempted fraudster by playing along with the scam (which involved nonexistent shares in a construction project), then notifying police when the perp showed up to collect his money.
- Officials at Mitsubishi Electric say more than 1.5 million of the company’s TV sets were hit by a transmission glitch that caused them to “repeatedly turn on and off every few minutes.”
- 28,923: Number of suspected cases of child abuse referred by police to welfare authorities in 2013—a record
- 10,168,000: Vehicles sold worldwide in fiscal 2014 by the world’s former No. 1 automaker, Toyota Motor Corporation
- 10,185,000: Vehicles sold by Volkswagen
NEWS FROM THE IVORY TOWER
- The University of Tokyo revoked the PhDs of three former members of its bioscience institute for falsifying charts in their doctoral theses.
- Art students in Nakano are volunteering to paint colorful scenes on local storefronts that have been vandalized by graffiti.
- Administrators at Toin High School in Osaka—a perennial baseball powerhouse—were accused of keeping a ¥500 million slush fund for “wining and dining” potential recruits and their families.
- Researchers at the Tokyo University of Science, Keio University, and a local biotech startup developed a storage system that “preserves donor organs in a transplantable state for up to 24 hours.”
BUSINESS ON PARADE
- A newspaper investigation found many companies are unprepared for the My Number system, in which every Japanese citizen will be assigned a 12-digit ID code for taxation, social security, and disaster-response purposes next January.
- A government white paper says medium-sized businesses are being shut out of the economic recovery due to a shortage of skilled workers.
- Officials at Suzuki Motor announced a recall of 1.8 million cars and minivans because of faulty ignition switches—the largest ever recall in Japan.
- Headline of the Week: “Yoshinoya to Try to Increase Night Sales by Luring Drinkers” (via Jiji)
- Researchers at the World Health Organization declared Japan to be measles-free after no new cases of the disease were reported during the past three years.
- A Cabinet Office survey found that 10 percent of all Japanese women have been stalked, and 24 percent of married women have been abused by their spouses.
- A Gunma-based association of relatives of Imperial Army soldiers who died during the Battle of Peleliu in 1944 says the group will disband because its members are getting too old.
- Authorities in Izunokuni, Shizuoka Prefecture, have renamed two roads in honor of Yomiuri Giants great Shigeo Nagashima, who spent his off-seasons training in the hot-spring city.
Compiled from reports by AP, Japan Today, The Japan Times, Jiji, The Tokyo Reporter, The Mainichi, The Japan News, AFP, Reuters and Kyodo.