“If the prospect of heading back to school in September has you ready to die, remember you’ve got a place of refuge at the library”
—From a series of tweets sent out by staff at Kamakura City Library, which offers a haven for emotionally troubled youth


  • In a story that will terrify claustrophobes everywhere, a maintenance worker in Tokyo was fired for “intentionally stopping elevators and trapping people inside.”
  • Authorities ordered several beaches near Tokyo closed after spotting a group of 30 sharks swimming in coastal waters, including 10 hammerheads.
  • Japanese researchers have found that men exposed to secondhand smoke may be three times more likely to suffer from gum disease than men who breathe in smoke-free environments.
  • For the first time in 11 years, officials at Ueno Zoo will try to impregnate a giant panda by artificial insemination.


  • Agriculture industry officials say consumers are increasingly choosing lean beef over marbled beef, thanks in part to a rise in the number of restaurants that dry age their own meat.
  • Previously, lean beef had been seen as “a cheap, affordable food for the masses.”
  • About 400 pharmacies have adopted Sony’s paperless drug prescription service, which allows “patients and their doctors to keep better track of what medicines are being used.”
  • Officials at Sumitomo Chemical say they’ll set up a research center in Brazil to study and develop new pesticides.


  • 0: Number of people who have enrolled in a National Police Agency program that offers counseling and treatment to stalkers
  • 6: Number of Japanese citizens who visited a graveyard in suburban Pyongyang last month to pay respects to relatives who died in the area shortly after World War II
  • 390: Height, in meters, of a skyscraper planned by Mitsubishi Estate Co. near Tokyo Station. Upon completion, it will be the tallest building in Japan.


  • It was reported that, since the government pushed through tougher national security guidelines, the SDF has seen a drastic drop in applications from prospective recruits.
  • Meanwhile, Defense Minister Gen Nakatani hinted that the new guidelines would allow Japan to come to the aid of U.S. warships—even when no Japanese nationals are on board.
  • A junior LDP lawmaker caught flak for referring to students protesting the defense bills as “selfish.”
  • Another ruling party politician was in hot water over an article that described how he and his school friends trapped a teacher in a bathroom and threw firecrackers in through a window.


  • A report by the National Tax Agency says alcohol consumption in Japan peaked in 1992, when the average person drank 108 liters of booze per year.
  • By 2013, the figure had dropped to 83 liters.
  • According to the report, the five prefectures with the highest alcohol consumption are Tokyo (109.4 liters per person/year), Kochi (99.1), Aomori (95.8), Miyazaki (95) and Niigata (94.8).
  • The biggest teetotalers are in Hokkaido (89.7).


  • Researchers at 11 universities and institutes are collaborating on an effort to better forecast the climate conditions that give rise to sudden violent rainstorms.
  • The goal is to provide residents in high-risk areas with at least 30 minutes of advance warning.
  • Officials in Nara say ancient coins unearthed at Yakushi-ji Temple may be the earliest known evidence of the custom of burying currency to purify a construction site.
  • Bottom Story of the Week: “60-year-old Japanese Woman Has High Hopes for 2017 World Rafting Championships” (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