Small Print: November 12, 2014

Small Print: November 12, 2014

Self-defense tax breaks, contested islands, elementary school violence and more...


Thanks for the onsen (Comic by Rodger Sonomura)

“It was the same satisfying taste as before.”

—Hiroshi Matsuno, who took a bullet train from Kyoto to attend the reopening of famed noodle shop Kanda Yabusoba, which had been gutted by a fire last February


  • A court in Yokohama handed a two-year prison sentence to a local man who used a 3-D printer to manufacture handguns. The presiding judge said the man’s actions threatened to make gun control laws “toothless.”
  • Cops in Saitama responding to the sound of an explosion at an apartment complex discovered a metal tube that “appeared to have been used as a shell launcher.”
  • Police in southern Thailand arrested a local man for killing a 79-year-old Japanese expat who had been missing since September. The suspect’s girlfriend had withdrawn nearly ¥2.5 million from the victim’s bank account.
  • Headline of the Week: “Chief of Kanagawa Police Molestation Division Arrested for Groping Teen” (via Tokyo Reporter)


  • Six months after JR Central submitted an environmental impact assessment for its proposed maglev line between Tokyo and Nagoya, the transport ministry gave the project its blessing.
  • Land minister Akihiro Ota traveled aboard a Coast Guard ship to make a “survey” of one of the islands off Hokkaido that are claimed by Japan but controlled by Russia.
  • U.S. military personnel began dismantling the so-called Elephant Cage, a massive antenna array at the Misawa Air Base in Aomori that had been used to target radio communications from the Soviet Union and China during the Cold War.
  • Reporters at NHK and Mainichi Shimbun won the 2014 Kikuchi Kan Prize for their coverage of dementia sufferers who have wandered away from home. The annual award recognizes “achievements in Japanese literary culture.”


  • Cases of violence committed by children at elementary schools during the 2013 academic year—the first time the number has topped 10,000, according to the education ministry


  • Number of public schools around the country that are “at risk of being affected by a tsunami,” according to a government survey


  • Percent of Japanese people who oppose a government plan to legalize casinos, according to a newspaper poll


  • For the first time since the March 11 disaster, the government has set no power reduction targets for local municipalities this winter.
  • Government officials are considering a plan to offer tax breaks to companies that hire reserve members of the Self-Defense Forces.
  • Law enforcement authorities in Fukuoka have taken a novel approach to fighting organized crime: They’ve released a manga that depicts the dangers of life in a yakuza gang.
  • Officials at the Consumer Affairs agency say that, since April 2010, two kids have been killed and 32 others injured in accidents involving kick scooters.
  • The agency also slammed the operators of shabu-shabu chain Kisoji for labeling cheap cuts of meat as Matsusaka beef.


  • Japanese marine biologists have found an Okinawan deep-sea crab that “survives solely on bacteria growing on its body hair.”
  • The summit of Mt. Fuji got its first snowfall of the year on October 16, about two weeks earlier than usual.
  • To celebrate the 120th anniversary of the birth of mystery writer Edogawa Rampo (1894-1965), a Tokyo publisher has commissioned five contemporary novelists to create short stories in the vein of Rampo’s “Boy Detectives Club” series.


  • A whopping 73 percent of respondents to a newspaper survey said they oppose a plan to raise the consumption tax from 8 to 10 percent next October.
  • And just 1 percent said they are “better off” since the tax was hiked from 5 to 8 percent this past April.
  • In what’s being described as a rare move, more than 130 municipal assemblies across the country have adopted statements urging the repeal of the state secrets protection law.

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