Small Print: September 17, 2015

Small Print: September 17, 2015

Furniture frauds, benevolent bowlers, sowing cyborgs, and more ...


(Comic by Rodger Sonomura)


  • Officials at the MPD say disgraced Mt. Gox president Mark Karpeles used ¥6 million of embezzled funds to buy a customized canopy bed from a Tokyo furniture dealer.
  • The National Museum of Nature and Science completed its first renovation in 16 years. The new attractions include an Allosaurus skeleton and a model of Japan’s first weather satellite.
  • Staff at the Fire and Disaster Management Agency are designing a translation app to be used specifically by ambulance crews.
  • The agriculture ministry is doling out ¥1.2 billion to develop robots that can alleviate the workloads of farmers and “improve the quality of crops.”


  • Guinness World Records has recognized 112-year-old Yasutaro Koide of Nagoya as the oldest man on Earth, who says his secret to a long life is “not to overdo [it], or drink or smoke.”
  • Illustrator Ryohei Yanagihara, creator of the dapper Uncle Torys character in Suntory liquor ads, died at a hospital in Yokohama. He was 84.
  • A 73-year-old Yamanashi man raised ¥160,000 for survivors of the March 11 disaster by completing a 24-hour bowling marathon.


  • 52: Percentage of female lawmakers in regional assemblies who say they’ve been sexually harassed on the job
  • 2,500: Estimated number of railway enthusiasts who showed up at Ueno Station late last month for the final run of the Hokutosei sleeper train, which since 1988 had operated between Tokyo and Hokkaido
  • 24,567: People taken to hospitals with heatstroke in July, a record for the month
  • 450,000: Number of vehicles recalled by Mitsubishi Motors Corp this month due to problems with an engine control system and an exhaust component


  • Citing the recent stabilization of the security situation in Afghanistan, a Japanese arts preservation group says it will return 102 “cultural assets” to authorities in Kabul.
  • The works include statues and murals illegally removed from archaeological sites and museums and entered Japan via the black market.
  • Workers for JR East began cleaning up Jōban Line tracks that were contaminated by fallout from the meltdown at Fukushima Daiichi.
  • A fire at a Nippon Steel and Sumikin pipe factory in Kawasaki disrupted traffic on the metropolitan expressway but caused no problems at Haneda Airport, which lies just across the Tama River.


  • Researchers at Russia’s national archive discovered a cache of 55 photographs depicting Japanese nationals detained at Soviet repatriation camps in Dalian, China, after World War II.
  • To quell doubts about the quality of generic drugs produced overseas, the health ministry will dispatch inspectors to facilities that manufacture pharmaceutical ingredients abroad.
  • Government sources say Prime Minister Shinzo Abe is considering a trip to India to urge the adoption of shinkansen technology for the country’s high-speed train network.
  • Officials at the internal affairs ministry are concerned that, although more domestic companies are expanding overseas, the number of teachers at Japanese schools overseas is declining.


  • A group of about 50 college students from 10 nations met in Hiroshima and Tokyo for the fifth annual Global Next Leaders Forum.
  • The participants hope to gain skills to “tackle international issues in close cooperation.”
  • A Cabinet Office survey found that a disproportionate number of minors who commit suicide do so “after taking long vacations.”
  • Bottom Story of the Week: “Quiet Observation Urged for Sea Turtle Egg-laying” (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