Small Print: October 22, 2015

Small Print: October 22, 2015

Raccoon rampages, kissing cures, tart trickery, and more ...


“I don’t know how they found me.” (Photo via 123RF)

“No matter where you go, you bring with you not just your family name, but your country’s pride.”
—Boxing great Manny Pacquiao, addressing the crowd at the Philippine Festival in Yoyogi Park last month


  • An animal believed to be a raccoon ran amok in Akihabara, injuring two cops and a passerby and “forcing the Tokyo Fire Department to mobilize an aerial ladder truck.”
  • Police in Hyogo say a female scam artist placed 7,000 calls to 1,200 bakeries in 30 prefectures to tell them she found a hair in one of their cakes.
  • Officials at the education ministry say elementary school students were involved in a record-high number of violent incidents last year.
  • Novelty manufacturer Thanko has unveiled an umbrella that doubles as a makeshift seating device.


  • In response to ISIS propaganda videos that show the militants traveling in convoys of Japanese pickup trucks, Toyota released a statement saying it does not “sell vehicles to potential purchasers who may use or modify them for paramilitary or terrorist activities.”
  • The operator of a medical clinic in Osaka was “awarded” an Ig Nobel Prize for conducting a study on whether kissing can relieve allergies.
  • JR East announced it will discontinue service of the Cassiopeia sleeper train, which since 1999 has operated between Ueno and Sapporo.
  • Headline of the Week: “Doctor Punches Patient in Stomach After His Third Visit to ER in One Night” (via Japan Today)


  • 143,000: Number of vehicles Honda has recalled in the U.S. due to a “software problem that could cause the front wheels to lock up”
  • ¥300,000: Subsidy offered by the health ministry to companies that enroll in a program to promote women in the workplace
  • 0: Number of businesses that have applied for the subsidy since it began last year


  • A survey by the Shibuya-based National Institution for Youth Education found that just 37.1 percent of Japanese high-school students “respect their parents or guardians.”
  • The figure for American high-schoolers is 70.9 percent.
  • According to the same poll, only 38 percent of Japanese youngsters say they’re willing to take care of their aged parents.
  • That compares with 88 percent of Chinese respondents who say they are.


  • TMG officials are hoping to revive the fortunes of the Toden Arakawa Line—Tokyo’s last streetcar network—by introducing “new, more passenger-friendly cars.”
  • Authorities at the Global Geoparks Network added Mount Apoi in southern Hokkaido to their list of notable venues that combine “conservation, sustainable development and community involvement.
  • The University of Tokyo placed 43rd in the London Times’ annual global college rankings. That’s the tops in Japan but one spot behind Peking University.
  • A survey by cookware manufacturer Zojirushi has found that the number of children in elementary school who can “light a match or use a can opener” has declined drastically over the past 20 years.


  • The transport ministry is planning a sightseeing water cruise that will take visitors from Haneda Airport all the way up to Akihabara. The trip will last two and a half hours and pass under 30 bridges.
  • Meanwhile, efforts are underway to designate the Ueno museum area a “cultural forest” and position it as an international arts destination ahead of the 2020 Tokyo Olympics.
  • Officials at the welfare ministry say that, by 2025, Japan will have a shortfall of 380,000 nursing care workers.
  • Bottom Story of the Week: “Princess Kako Uses Sign Language”

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