February 15, 2012
This week’s required reading
By: Reg Dunlap | Feb 15, 2012 | Issue: 934 | No Comments | 2,878 views

Miwa Kaneoya

Brave new (digital) world

  • “Silent camera” apps are being blamed for a rise in complaints from women about perverts snapping illegal upskirt photos. The National Police Agency says the number of such incidents increased from 1,068 in 2006 to 1,702 in 2010.
  • An LDP lawmaker got a surprise when he discovered that someone hacked into his YouTube account and uploaded a Russian-language porn video.
  • Meanwhile, a hacker disabled the website of the government committee investigating the disaster at the Fukushima Daiichi nuclear plant.
  • Two Japanese companies were fined a total of ¥17 million by the Intellectual Property High Court for broadcasting copyrighted TV programs over the internet.
  • An Osaka man became the first person in Japan arrested for breaking a six-month-old law against creating computer viruses.

Your tax dollars at work

  • The government says it wants to establish an agency to investigate consumer-related accidents, including “injuries caused by exploding home appliances (or to the eyes by contact lenses), the after-effects of beauty treatment, and accidental ingestion of food or objects by infants.”
  • The Japanese foreign ministry will join the EU, the US and Australia in talks to develop a “code of conduct for outer space.”
  • The governor of Osaka says he wants to turn a stretch of the city’s Dotonbori river into a 2km-long pool for international swimming competitions.
  • Officials in Kawasaki suspect a police officer asked two of his friends to stage a bicycle “theft” so he could take credit for solving the case.

Well, duh

  • A study panel from the labor ministry has identified six categories of behavior that constitute “power harassment,” including “giving the cold shoulder in the workplace” and “demanding the impossible.”
  • The NPA says the recent rise in fatal traffic accidents on expressways might be linked to the elimination of tolls, which has “drawn inexperienced drivers to highways.”
  • The welfare ministry found that workers who make less than ¥2 million a year “have more health problems than higher earners.”
  • A 37-year-old Chinese man was arrested for throwing four Molotov cocktails at the Japanese Embassy in Seoul.

Welcome back, flyjin!

  • December was the first month since the March 11 disaster that the number of international flyers using Narita airport increased on a year-on-year basis.
  • Meanwhile, the labor ministry says the number of foreign workers rose in October compared to a year earlier.
  • A high-school baseball team from Ishinomaki, Miyagi Prefecture, was chosen to play in the spring Koshien tournament. Seventy percent of the team’s members had their “homes washed away or lost loved ones” in the quake and tsunami.
  • About 200 evacuees from Tamura village in Fukushima were allowed to return home to search for missing pets, but not a single animal was found.
  • 13 Number of Japanese cops who lost their jobs in 2011 because of DUIs, according to the National Police Agency
  • >¥3 trillion Sales at 7-Eleven convenience stores in Japan so far in fiscal 2011, the first time a conbini operator has reached that milestone
  • 34 Percent of people in Tokyo who walked home following the March 11 quake, according to the Railway Technical Research Institute
  • 13.4 km Average distance of their walk
—Japanese tennis star Kei Nishikori, 22, who cracked the top 20 in world rankings after reaching the Australian Open quarterfinals last month

Hitting the road

  • A newlywed couple in Shizuoka celebrated their nuptials by going for a spin on a new highway that’s scheduled to open in April. The couple “won” the ride in a lottery conducted by a local municipality.
  • The health ministry predicts that Japan’s population will shrink by a whopping 30 percent by 2060.
  • Meanwhile, Exxon Mobil said it would significantly reduce its business operations in Japan because of the “dwindling domestic market.”
  • The Chinese government has given approval for the Japanese Embassy in Beijing to relocate to the northeast of the city.


  • The owner of Tokyo Tower said repair work on the top portion of the structure, which was damaged in the March 11 quake, will begin in April.
  • Honda announced that it will reopen an assembly plant in Thailand that was shut down after being inundated during last year’s flooding.
  • The labor ministry said it wants to start offering pension benefits to part-time staff who work just 20 hours a week. Currently, pensions are available only to employees working at least 30 hours a week.
  • Sentence of the Week: “Seventy percent of middle school students think English ability would be useful for obtaining a job in the future, but only 11 percent want to get a job that requires English, according to an education ministry institute survey.” (via The Daily Yomiuri)

This just in…

  • A professor at Hokkaido University believes that “at least seven” earthquakes with a magnitude in the 9.0 range have hit Japan during the past 3,500 years.
  • Researchers at Tohoku University have developed a magnesium fuel cell for use during emergencies that can generate electricity from saltwater.
  • Isetan department store in Shinjuku has installed a currency conversion machine that exchanges Chinese yuan to yen. The device is the first of its kind at a Japanese depato.
  • Bottom Story of the Week: “Big Celebration Prepared for Japan’s Oldest Asian Elephant” (via The Mainichi Daily News)

Compiled from reports by AP, Japan Today, The Japan Times, The International Herald Tribune, The Asahi Shimbun, Tokyo Reporter, The Mainichi Daily News, Daily Yomiuri, AFP, Reuters and Kyodo



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