JAPAN, as I see it
21.0K views | +0 today
Follow
JAPAN, as I see it
It's my home-town. As going in & out for the last 40years, I see Japan a little different.
Curated by Kuniko
Your new post is loading...
Your new post is loading...
Scooped by Kuniko
Scoop.it!

U.N. urges Japan to ban sexual exploitation of schoolgirls

U.N. urges Japan to ban sexual exploitation of schoolgirls | JAPAN, as I see it | Scoop.it
GENEVA —
Japan should ban commercial activities leading to sexual exploitation of children, a U.N. human rights official said in a recent report, showing particular concerns on the so-called “JK business” that refers to dating services offered by teenage schoolgirls.

Maud de Boer-Buquicchio, special rapporteur on the sale of children, child prostitution and child pornography, issued the report following her visit to Japan in October to look into issues including the business involving “joshi kosei,” which means high-school girls.

“‘JK business’ is not infrequent among some junior and senior high-school-aged girls (aged from 12 to 17 years), who consider it a part-time job with prestige,” the report said, while warning that “once in the business, they often find themselves coerced into providing sexual services by their employers or customers.”

It also noted that the business can take a variety of forms, such as walking dates, photo sessions or reflexology services provided by schoolgirls. Some allow men to be alone with girls to conduct activities that often lead to sexual contact or acts, it said.

The special rapporteur met with victims of “JK business” and prostitution and “they all wished for the ‘JK business’ to disappear,” according to the report.

Although welcoming that Japan has “made considerable progress” in combating the sale of children, child prostitution and pornography, the report added, “the sexual exploitation of children online and offline is, however, still a major issue of concern in Japan.”
more...
No comment yet.
Scooped by Kuniko
Scoop.it!

The great Japanese ATM heist

The great Japanese ATM heist | JAPAN, as I see it | Scoop.it

As you might expect, the better our defences against cyber-theft become, the more sophisticated and organized the cyber thieves become. Early on Sunday morning on May 15, approximately 100 people armed with counterfeit credit cards using data stolen from South Africa’s Standard Bank made about 14,000 separate ATM withdrawals at 1400 different ATM machines located at Seven-Eleven convenience stores across Japan. Each withdrawal netted the maximum amount of 100,000 yen that the machines allowed, or about $900 US. In the course of two hours a total of 1.4 billion yen, or about $12.7 million US, was withdrawn. It is believed that most if not all of the thieves left the country shortly afterwards. The planning of this raid was quite impressive, as were the economics. First, the economics. It’s reasonable to assume that the agents doing the actual withdrawals were low-level street operatives who would be paid for just a few hours’ work. Each one would have withdrawn cash to the tune of 14 million yen, or about $127,000 US. Let’s say the operating budget for each one would be $27,000, which would include travel expenses and payments. This would net a profit of $100,000 per operative, or $10 million in all, not counting the costs involved in stealing the original data and manufacturing the counterfeit credit cards. Let’s say that the latter amount to half a million, so your gross profit is now $9.5 million. Of course, some of the operatives would probably have decided to disappear on their own account immediately afterwards, taking the entire $127,000 with them. No doubt the raid planners would have foreseen this and would have had a significant enforcement team waiting. Expect to see a few mutilated bodies mysteriously appearing in various places in and around Japan in the next week or two. Nevertheless, the cost of enforcement and related losses must be subtracted from the gross profit. Let’s say ten percent of the operatives decide to strike out on their own. You would probably need a ten-man enforcement team to keep the others in line and, hopefully, recover some of the money from those ten percent. Let’s say your net losses amount to five percent of the gross profit, or $0.5 million, and your enforcement costs are $1 million. This brings your overall profit down to $8 million, which is still not to be sneezed at. The planning of this raid was meticulous. First, the timing of the raid was such that when it occurred the local time in South Africa was late on Saturday night, so the response to the coordinated withdrawals was probably a lot slower than if it had it occurred during normal business hours. Second, getting a large number of street-level operatives in and out of Japan (there are indications that most of them may have been from Malaysia) without arousing suspicion must have taken some organizing. And third, arranging to collect and dispose of 1.4 billion yen in cash from one hundred different operatives was probably no easy task. Whoever organized this operation was no mom-and-pop operator. It must have taken a lot of financial backing plus some significant managerial skills. My bet, for what it’s worth, is that it was done on behalf of some terrorist organization somewhere or other. The loser in all of this is of course South Africa’s Standard Bank. It will be interesting to see what they do to tighten up their security.

more...
No comment yet.
Scooped by Kuniko
Scoop.it!

Fukushima: The Extinction-Level Event That No One Is Talking About

Fukushima: The Extinction-Level Event That No One Is Talking About | JAPAN, as I see it | Scoop.it

Source: dougmichaeltruth.wordpress.com | Original Post Date: March 30, 2015 -



March 11, 2011: A massive earthquake of 9.0 magnitude struck off the coast of Japan, triggering a devastating tsunami, which left parts of the country in utter shambles. Official reports claim that 15,891 people lost their lives, 6,152 were injured and 2,584 were reported missing.


This was the most powerful earthquake ever recorded to have struck Japan, and the fourth most powerful in the world, since modern record keeping began in 1900.[1] This earthquake was so intense in magnitude, that it shifted Honshu, the main island of Japan by an estimated eight feet and actually shifted the Earth’s axis by between four and ten inches![2] Japan is a nation containing many nuclear reactors which produce roughly 30% of the nation’s electricity.[3] The majority of operable nuclear reactors are right along the coast, in one of the most seismically active areas on the entire planet!


The powerful tsunami caused complete devastation of three of the six nuclear reactors at the Fukushima Daiichi facility, the cores of which melted within the first three days. In November 2011, the Japanese Science Ministry reported that radioactive cesium had contaminated 11,580 square miles of the land surface of Japan,[4] with an additional 4,500 square miles contaminated.[5] The destroyed reactor sites have been dumping hundreds of tons of radioactive waste into the Pacific Ocean, every single day for the past four years and the devastating results are now becoming plainly obvious. Radioactive cesium (an alkali metal) rapidly contaminates an ecosystem and poisons the entire food chain, and this waste offshoot has been detected in Japanese foodstuffs over a 200 mile radius of the Daiichi facility.[6] Cesium and other radioactive waste products are bioaccumulative, meaning that they accumulate in an organism at a rate faster than the organism can eliminate it. Of course the Japanese government and TEPCO (Tokyo Electric Power Company) have blatantly lied about the amount of radioactive waste that has been leaking into the Pacific, however, the devastating results have been impossible to ignore. I’ve wondered since the beginning of this disaster-which has already shown to be far worse that the Chernobyl nuclear disaster in the Ukraine, in 1986-why the world’s top, leading scientists have not come together to figure out how to stop the leaking radiation. The reason is because no one knows how to deal with this catastrophe. In March of 2015, it was reported in the Times of London, that Akira Ono, the chief of the Fukushima power station admitted that the technology needed to decommission the three melted-down reactors does not exist, and he has no idea how it will be developed.[7] More recently, Naohiro Masuda, the decommissioning chief of the Fukushima Daiichi Decommissioning Company, also stated that the technology does not exist to remove the highly radioactive debris from the damaged reactors:...


The powerful tsunami caused complete devastation of three of the six nuclear reactors at the Fukushima Daiichi facility, the cores of which melted within the first three days. In November 2011, the Japanese Science Ministry reported that radioactive cesium had contaminated 11,580 square miles of the land surface of Japan,[4] with an additional 4,500 square miles contaminated.[5] The destroyed reactor sites have been dumping hundreds of tons of radioactive waste into the Pacific Ocean, every single day for the past four years and the devastating results are now becoming plainly obvious. Radioactive cesium (an alkali metal) rapidly contaminates an ecosystem and poisons the entire food chain, and this waste offshoot has been detected in Japanese foodstuffs over a 200 mile radius of the Daiichi facility.[6] Cesium and other radioactive waste products are bioaccumulative, meaning that they accumulate in an organism at a rate faster than the organism can eliminate it. Of course the Japanese government and TEPCO (Tokyo Electric Power Company) have blatantly lied about the amount of radioactive waste that has been leaking into the Pacific, however, the devastating results have been impossible to ignore. I’ve wondered since the beginning of this disaster-which has already shown to be far worse that the Chernobyl nuclear disaster in the Ukraine, in 1986-why the world’s top, leading scientists have not come together to figure out how to stop the leaking radiation. The reason is because no one knows how to deal with this catastrophe. In March of 2015, it was reported in the Times of London, that Akira Ono, the chief of the Fukushima power station admitted that the technology needed to decommission the three melted-down reactors does not exist, and he has no idea how it will be developed.[7] More recently, Naohiro Masuda, the decommissioning chief of the Fukushima Daiichi Decommissioning Company, also stated that the technology does not exist to remove the highly radioactive debris from the damaged reactors:

Japan has also seen a skyrocketing of childhood Cancer rates, particularly, thyroid Cancer.[10] As of August, 2013, TEPCO admitted that between “20 trillion to 40 trillion becquerels[11] of radioactive tritium may have leaked into the sea since the disaster.”[12] Since it’s been shown over and again, that TEPCO repeatedly lied and covered up the true extent of the disaster, that number is most likely far greater. While official sources keep claiming that there is no danger from the leaking radiation, sea life all along the west coast of the US has been dying in alarming numbers, and many fish and sea creatures tested off the west coast have shown extremely high amounts of radioactivity, that far exceeds safe limits. In actuality though, there really are no “safe” limits of radiation. The Japan Times reported on Feb 25th, 2015, that cesium and other radioactive waste was pouring from the reactor one site, directly into the ocean.[13] TEPCO did nothing to prevent the leak and simply ignored the problem for close to a year![14] There has been a massive die-off of marine life along the west coast of the US, which has scientists “baffled.” Do you mean to tell me that scientists studying this death of the Pacific haven’t taken into account the possibility that it could be caused by the hundreds of tons of nuclear waste that has been pouring into the Pacific each day for the last four years? So few dare to admit the extent of damage caused by this disaster or the fact that it is forcing us to face the possibility of our own extinction. What happens when the planet’s largest body of water is rendered lifeless on a planet made up mostly of water? What happens when the radiation accumulates in the atmosphere and is spread throughout the world by the jet stream?...

more...
No comment yet.
Scooped by Kuniko
Scoop.it!

Japan to question officials involved in Tokyo's 2020 Olympic bid

Japan to question officials involved in Tokyo's 2020 Olympic bid | JAPAN, as I see it | Scoop.it
TOKYO —
Japan on Friday said it would question officials involved in Tokyo’s successful 2020 Olympics bid over a multi-million dollar payment which is being probed by French investigators.

Japan’s announcement comes after French prosecutors said they suspect that $2 million paid to a son of disgraced former world athletics supremo Lamine Diack was aimed at winning support for the Tokyo 2020 bid.

“We will further work to confirm facts,” top Japanese government spokesman Yoshihide Suga told a regular press conference, citing the French probe.

The allegation follows earlier controversies surrounding the Tokyo Olympics, which had to scrap its original main stadium design due to its hefty price tag, and had to weather plagiarism accusations over the Games’ logo.

Olympic Minister Toshiaki Endo said the government’s Sports Agency will speak to officials from the Tokyo metropolitan government and the Japanese Olympic Committee.

However, Suga and Endo both said they were confident that no wrongdoing occurred, based on previous declarations by officials.

“I don’t believe that such (corruption) took place,” Endo told reporters, adding that he will be closely watching the outcome of the Japanese probe.

Suga said the government had already received a report that the bid committee did not make such a payment after suspicions first emerged in January following a report by the World Anti-Doping Agency.

While Japanese officials strongly deny any wrongdoing by the Tokyo bid, the Asahi Shimbun daily quoted “several bid committee members” as saying there was a team outside the formal bid committee that conducted “unknown” activities.

Some 2.8 million Singapore dollars ($2 million) paid to a company owned by Papa Missata Diack is at the center of the suspicions, French prosecutors said in a statement Thursday.

Diack father and son already face corruption charges in France.

Two payments were made in 2013 to Black Tidings, a Singapore-based company linked to Papa Diack, who was employed by the International Association of Athletics Federations (IAAF) as a consultant, the prosecutors said.

The International Olympic Committee chose Tokyo over Istanbul and Madrid as host for the 2020 Games in September 2013. Diack senior was an IOC member at the time.

Suga on Thursday insisted that the bid was “clean”, and other officials reiterated that stance on Friday.

“All money is accounted for” in the Tokyo bid team’s records and no such alleged payments were made, a Tokyo metropolitan government official in charge of the 2020 Games told AFP.

The alleged payments were discovered as part of an inquiry into allegations that the Diacks organised bribes to cover up failed dope tests by Russian athletes, French prosecutors said. France became involved as the money may have been laundered in Paris.

Prosecutors said the money was “labelled as ‘Tokyo 2020 Olympic Games Bid’, coming from an account opened at a Japanese bank, for the profit of the ‘Black Tidings’ company in Singapore”.
more...
No comment yet.
Scooped by Kuniko
Scoop.it!

Tokyo Olympics: €1.3m payment to secret account raises questions over 2020 Games

Tokyo Olympics: €1.3m payment to secret account raises questions over 2020 Games | JAPAN, as I see it | Scoop.it
A seven-figure payment from the Tokyo Olympic bid team to an account linked to the son of the disgraced former world athletics chief Lamine Diack was apparently made during Japan’s successful race to host the 2020 Games, the Guardian has learned.

The alleged payment of about €1.3m (£1m), now believed to be under French police scrutiny, will increase pressure on the International Olympic Committee to investigate properly links between Diack’s regime and the contest to host its flagship event. It also raises serious questions over Tokyo’s winning bid, awarded in 2013.


Papa Massata Diack: Tokyo bid claims the latest in an avalanche of allegations
Read more
Any suggestion that votes could have been were bought will be hugely embarrassing for the IOC, which has set great store by the probity of its bidding process since reforms following the bribery scandal which that erupted that preceded the 2002 Salt Lake City Winter Games.

Diack Sr was an IOC member between 1999 and 2013, becoming an honorary member in 2014 before resigning as president of the International Association of Athletics Federations (IAAF) in November last year after allegations he had accepted more than €1m in bribes to cover up positive Russian doping tests. He is now prevented from leaving France while prosecutors there investigate corruption at athletics’ governing body.

In March, the Guardian revealed that the French investigation had widened to include the bidding races for the 2016 and 2020 Olympics.

It is now understood that among transactions under suspicion are payments totalling about €1.3m apparently sent from the Tokyo 2020 bid, or those acting on their behalf, directly to the Black Tidings secret bank account in Singapore. The account is linked to Lamine Diack’s son, Papa Massata Diack, who was employed by the IAAF as a marketing consultant.
more...
No comment yet.
Scooped by Kuniko
Scoop.it!

Learn Japanese To Chat With Anime Character

Learn Japanese To Chat With Anime Character | JAPAN, as I see it | Scoop.it

learning japanese site to chat with anime character. learn japanese language through anime manga


How To Use Anime Chat is a site where you can learn Japanese by chatting with an anime character. If you don't know Japanese, please refer to [Example Sentences] on the right hand side and try inputting some words or sentences. The character will give you an answer! You can study by using the functions on this site and improve your Japanese!

more...
GoMama247's curator insight, May 7, 5:40 AM
cute anime teaching Japanese. Interesting website
Scooped by Kuniko
Scoop.it!

Women-only train carriages? What a ridiculously regressive idea | Gabrielle Jackson

Women-only train carriages? What a ridiculously regressive idea | Gabrielle Jackson | JAPAN, as I see it | Scoop.it

The latest retro fad in western societies seems to be for sex segregation. It comes in the colour pink and is framed in feminist language, but in reality it’s ridiculously regressive.

The city of Perth has recently introduced female-friendly parking zones (coloured pink), they already exist in Germany and Switzerland. Last year in the UK, Jeremy Corbyn floated the idea of women-only train carriages and now in Australia, the idea has been floated again by a (male) national secretary of the Rail, Tram and Bus Union. In the US, female-only rideshare services are starting up around the country.

We need to think very carefully about what we’re saying when we advocate for female-only train carriages, parking spaces or taxis (and indeed what it means when we colour them all pink). We’re saying we need protection from men. We’re saying women are not safe to be alone in our society. We’re saying we can’t trust most men. We’re saying we want to live in a society where it’s OK for women not to feel safe in mixed company.

Is this the world we want to live in?


I’ve lived in Australia, the UK and US and have always felt safe in mixed company. This is not to say that sexual harassment does not exist on a wide scale, or that violence against women isn’t endemic. Sexual harassment is a burdensome fact of daily life for young women. But we know that women are more likely to be sexually assaulted by someone they know than a stranger on a train. These female-only spaces don’t improve our society, they create a sense of fear. If women don’t feel safe on a train, that’s a societal problem that a single pink carriage can’t fix. Wouldn’t a more sensible solution be to create a safe carriage for all passengers? How about we increase patrols on public transport during the day? How about we make reporting and punishment of public harassment and assault faster and more efficient? I want to live in a society where I feel safe to live an independent life – and I do, for the most part. I do travel alone, I do catch trains and taxis and park my car late at night. And it’s true that sometimes I feel scared. But mostly I feel scared walking in the streets at night rather than in a taxi or on a train. Should we create women-only streets or pathways too? Or suggest women have a male escort at all times for her own safety? How about we cover ourselves in a cloak to stop the catcalling? During the Iranian revolution, men and women were constantly reminded: My sister, guard your veil, My brother, guard your eyes. If you’re arguing for something like segregation, surely you have a responsibility to study where these arguments have been used before and where they may go when taken to their logical conclusion. When arguing for any new policy, we must always understand how the policy may be used against us. I realise that public space is still overwhelmingly male space and that this needs to be addressed. It’s annoying that some men take up so much of the seat on public transport or that “manspreading” is even a thing. But I fail to see how segregating ourselves will fix this problem. Surely, in 2016, progressive women and men should be putting our efforts into demanding that crimes against women be taken seriously, stamping out sexual harassment, catcalling and random acts of violence. Why are we always asking women to change their behaviours – get in this carriage, park in this space, use this taxi service – in order to feel safe? I know that sexual harassment is still rife in western society. I recently had my breast groped by a stranger in an upmarket Sydney restaurant. But my solution to that is not to demand a female-only or family-friendly area in that restaurant...

more...
No comment yet.
Scooped by Kuniko
Scoop.it!

How Japan came to rank worse than Tanzania on press freedom

How Japan came to rank worse than Tanzania on press freedom | JAPAN, as I see it | Scoop.it

The state of press freedom in Japan is now worse than that in Tanzania, according to a new ranking from the non-profit group Reporters Without Borders. Japan came in 72nd of the 180 countries ranked in the group’s 2016 press freedom index, falling 11 places since last year. Europe's media was deemed to have the most freedom this year, but the situation has worsened significantly in most of the Asia-Pacific region. For Japan's journalists, things have taken a turn for the worse relatively recently. Just six years ago, the country ranked 11th in the world. Japan's poor performance on press freedom is particularly surprising given its standing as one of the world’s leading developed countries. The island nation of 125 million people has the world's third-largest economy and a vibrant democracy whose postwar constitution guarantees freedoms of speech, press and assembly. “With Japan hosting the G7 meeting next month of leading democracies, the press crackdown is an international black eye for Japan and makes it an outlier in the group,” said Jeff Kingston, a professor of history and director of Asian studies at Temple University and author of the book "Contemporary Japan: History, Politics, and Social Change since the 1980s." The 2011 meltdown at the Fukushima nuclear power plant set the stage for the erosion of press freedoms, Kingston said. “Japan's slide in the rankings began with the incomplete coverage of the Fukushima meltdowns and the government’s efforts to downplay the accident; Tokyo Electric Power Company (and Japan) denied the triple meltdown for two months,” he said. “Sadly, the Japanese media went along with this charade because here it is all about access. Those media outlets that don't toe the line find themselves marginalized by the powers that be. Since [Fukushima], Japan’s culture wars over history, constitutional revision and security doctrine have been fought on the media battlefield.”

The state of press freedom in Japan is now worse than that in Tanzania, according to a new ranking from the non-profit group Reporters Without Borders. Japan came in 72nd of the 180 countries ranked in the group’s 2016 press freedom index, falling 11 places since last year. Europe's media was deemed to have the most freedom this year, but the situation has worsened significantly in most of the Asia-Pacific region. For Japan's journalists, things have taken a turn for the worse relatively recently. Just six years ago, the country ranked 11th in the world. Japan's poor performance on press freedom is particularly surprising given its standing as one of the world’s leading developed countries. The island nation of 125 million people has the world's third-largest economy and a vibrant democracy whose postwar constitution guarantees freedoms of speech, press and assembly. “With Japan hosting the G7 meeting next month of leading democracies, the press crackdown is an international black eye for Japan and makes it an outlier in the group,” said Jeff Kingston, a professor of history and director of Asian studies at Temple University and author of the book "Contemporary Japan: History, Politics, and Social Change since the 1980s." The 2011 meltdown at the Fukushima nuclear power plant set the stage for the erosion of press freedoms, Kingston said. “Japan's slide in the rankings began with the incomplete coverage of the Fukushima meltdowns and the government’s efforts to downplay the accident; Tokyo Electric Power Company (and Japan) denied the triple meltdown for two months,” he said. “Sadly, the Japanese media went along with this charade because here it is all about access. Those media outlets that don't toe the line find themselves marginalized by the powers that be. Since [Fukushima], Japan’s culture wars over history, constitutional revision and security doctrine have been fought on the media battlefield.”

“The Abe administration’s threats to media independence, the turnover in media personnel in recent months and the increase in self-censorship within leading media outlets are endangering the underpinnings of democracy in Japan,” Reporters Without Borders concluded in its report released this month about declining media freedoms in Japan. “Independence of the press is facing serious threats,” David Kaye, U.N. special rapporteur on the promotion and protection of the right to freedom of opinion and expression, said during a news conference at the Foreign Correspondents’ Club of Japan on Tuesday. “Many journalists who came to me and my team asked for anonymity in our discussions. Many claimed to have been sidelined or silenced following indirect pressure from politicians.” The state originally invited Kaye to visit last December, but the trip was canceled abruptly after Japanese authorities claimed to be unable to set up meetings in time. Kaye called for Japan’s Broadcast Law to be revised to ensure press freedom, and criticized Japan’s press club structure as detrimental to an independent press. In Japan, reporters are granted access through press clubs, or “kisha clubs,” formed around groups and government organizations. They serve as gatekeepers, and typically don’t grant access to weekly magazines, like Shukan Bunshun, which excel at investigative journalism. “Journalists in those kisha clubs tend to be focused very much together in this same kind of social network. And I think that allows for mechanisms of pressure. It may be a kind of peer pressure that’s very difficult to resist,” Kaye said.

more...
No comment yet.
Scooped by Kuniko
Scoop.it!

Japan’s press freedom faces serious threat – UN expert

Japan’s press freedom faces serious threat – UN expert | JAPAN, as I see it | Scoop.it
DESPITE the government’s assurances on the safeguarding of media freedom, an expert from the United Nations (U.N.) believes the independence of Japan’s press is facing serious threats.

U.N. Special Rapporteur David Kaye’s warning of these threats came as a result of a week-long visit which included interviews with journalists and government officials.

Speaking to reporters in Tokyo today, Kaye announced that he found “several worrying trends” on the matter.

Kaye said that among his concerns is a law meant to ensure media-coverage fairness that allows the government to revoke broadcasting licenses over perceived violations.

He also said the so-called “secrets act” law, meant to protect national security and public safety, is so broad that it could obstruct people’s right to know.

He urged Japanese journalists to work together to develop leverage to overcome these challenges.

The Japanese government under Prime Minister Shinzo Abe has repeatedly said freedom of the press is protected in the country, in line with its constitution which guaranteed freedom of speech.

However, Japan was not ranked among the highest of countries for press freedom, standing at 25th position according to Freedom House’s scores for 2015.

SEE ALSO: Japan secrecy law stirs fear of limits on freedoms

On the legal environment alone, Freedom House pointed out the restrictive Protection of Specially Designated Secrets Act, which went into effect in Dec. 2014 despite opposition from international and local press freedom advocates as well as the Japanese public.

Passed in 2013, the law can punish whistleblowers who leak vaguely defined “state secrets” for up to 10 years in prison, while journalists who publish leaked information can face up to five years in jail.

The non-governmental organisation also pointed out that the law grants ministers the power to designate certain information as state secrets for up to 60 years.
more...
No comment yet.
Scooped by Kuniko
Scoop.it!

Japan hit by second powerful earthquake with fears of worse ahead

Japan hit by second powerful earthquake with fears of worse ahead | JAPAN, as I see it | Scoop.it

A second major earthquake in less than two days has shaken Japan’s southern island of Kyushu, with at least 20 people thought to have been killed and more feared buried in building collapses and landslides.

The 7.3 magnitude earthquake struck at around 1.30am on Saturday, waking people across the island – including the thousands already in crisis centres. It caused widespread damage, with several landslides and a village evacuated over fears a dam might burst.

On Thursday a weaker magnitude 6.5 earthquake in the same region of Kumamoto brought down buildings, killed nine people and injured about 800. More than 100 aftershocks followed until the ultimately bigger quake on Saturday morning that led to the earlier, smaller event being reclassified as a foreshock. Japan’s prime minister, Shinzo Abe, called off a visit to Kumamoto on Saturday given the worsened situation after the new earthquakes struck. “He was scheduled to visit Mashiki but now he does not think that would be the best use of his time,” Abe’s office told the Guardian. The Japanese government’s chief cabinet secretary, Yoshihide Suga, said on Saturday that 1,500 people had been injured, 80 of them seriously, and casualty figures were likely to increase. Nearly 70,000 people had left their homes, he said. Tsunami warnings were triggered by Saturday’s quake, though no tsunami eventuated, and there was confusion and anxiety for the thousands of evacuees who had already seen their homes destroyed or damaged. Adding to an atmosphere already fraught with uncertainty, heavy rain was forecast for Saturday evening, bringing the risk of further landslides.

more...
No comment yet.
Scooped by Kuniko
Scoop.it!

鎧と女性 : 写真で見る昔の日本 / Photos of Last female Samurai

鎧と女性 : 写真で見る昔の日本 / Photos of Last female Samurai | JAPAN, as I see it | Scoop.it
剣術というと男性のもののように思いがちですが、江戸時代の日本では別式女(べっしきめ)と呼ばれる女性たちがプロの剣術家として身を立てていました。なぜ女性の剣術家が必要とされたのかというと、大名家の女性たちは家族以外の男性との接触を禁止されていたためです。
more...
No comment yet.
Scooped by Kuniko
Scoop.it!

Onna bugeisha - The Powerful Female Samurai Warrior | Kusuyama

Onna bugeisha - The Powerful Female Samurai Warrior | Kusuyama | JAPAN, as I see it | Scoop.it

Onna bugeisha – The Powerful Female Samurai Warrior: In the earlier periods such as the Heian and Kamakura, there were female members of the samurai class who became prominent or even present on the battlefield. They were the exception and not the rule, but this doesn’t mean that most women were powerless ^^;


Bushi women were trained mainly with the naginata because of its versatility against all types of enemies and weapons. They would also use the kaiken – a type of dagger – and the art of tantojutsu in battle.

It was generally the responsibility of women to protect their homes rather than go off to battle in the field, so it was important that they become skilled in a few weapons that offered the best range of techniques to defend against anyone who would attack on horseback.

During the Sengoku period (mid. 15th century – beginning of 17th century) there are accounts of the wives of warlords, dressed in ornated armor, leading bands of women armed with naginata. It was probably at this time that the image of women fighters with naginata arose. ...

more...
No comment yet.
Rescooped by Kuniko from Our environment & animal friends 環境と野生の友達
Scoop.it!

This Innovative Seaweed-Based Packaging Could Soon Replace Plastic!

This Innovative Seaweed-Based Packaging Could Soon Replace Plastic! | JAPAN, as I see it | Scoop.it

Have you ever considered how much plastic you might be responsible for wasting? If you’re the average American, you’re likely to throw away an astonishing 185 pounds of plastic per year. Worse, 50% of the plastic that ends up in landfills and the oceans was only used once before it was discarded. Only 5% of what’s tossed into the trash is every recovered, and that’s dismal considering its effect on the environment. 

Because plastic, on average, requires 500 to 1,000 years to decompose, the Japanese design company AMAM decided to develop a more earth-friendly way to package goods.

Called Agar Plasticity, the product is derived from agar, which is a gelatinous material that is readily found in red marine algae. (Recently, TrueActivist reported about a new water bottle made out of the seaweed, which you can ready about here)


Explains Araki, one of the designers: “We were attracted to the materiality of agar—the delicacy in its texture and beauty in its appearance—at a local supermarket. Relatively soon after that, we thought its delicate and light structure would be suitable for cushioning material. Then, we did some experiments and found agar was moldable, so we decided to send our proposal to LDA.” According to GOOD, the design team’s project is one of four finalists for the 2016 Lexus Design Award. Each team was paired with a design mentor to bring a prototype to life for Milan Design Week. The seaweed actually has a fascinating history as a food ingredient in Japan. It is typically sold dried, but people can also melt the agar in hot water to make traditional Japanese sweets and desserts. Reportedly, the process of making agar-based packaging is quite simple.


First, agar powder is dissolved in simmering water and then poured into a mold. Once the agar sets into a kind of jelly, the mold is frozen for approximately two days. This freezing process forms the agar into a structure that can provide cushioning for a packaged item, according to Araki. Finally, after two days, the frozen agar solution is thawed and completely air-dried. “We are currently designing a box-like package, which has a cushioning structure derived from the freezing process for delicate objects (like a fragrance bottle), cushioning sheets for wrapping, and nugget-like cushioning,” Araki says. “We are ultimately dreaming of replacing disposable plastic products, such as shopping bags, amenity goods prepared at hotels and so forth, with agar-derived plastic.” The designer also relays that someday, the team hopes the algae-based packaging will replace plastic. However, the process is presently “too technical and chemical for us to achieve by ourselves.” With help from researchers interested in collaborating, however, it could be made possible. Packaging made from agar, however, would be an incredibly beneficial alternative to plastic. Agar-based packaging can be disposed of in an environmentally-friendly way, as agar absorbs and retains water very well. It could also be used to improve water retention by mixing it with soil in a garden...

more...
No comment yet.
Scooped by Kuniko
Scoop.it!

PROVOKE: Between Protest and Performance Photography in Japan, 1960–75 - Exhibition at Fotomuseum Winterthur | LensCulture

..The Japanese photo magazine, Provoke, appeared for three issues between November 1968 and August 1969 and is regarded as one of the high points of post-war photography.

In the largest ever exhibition devoted to the topic, Fotomuseum presents a close look at the magazine’s gestation, innovative aesthetics and the contribution of its key collaborators.

The 1960s and 1970s were a turbulent period in Japanese history as workers, farmers and students protested the speed of modernization and Japan’s alliance with the United States during the Cold War. The exhibition reveals how photography was deeply implicated in the aesthetic and political debates of the time, challenging and renewing older documentary forms. With around 250 objects, Provoke brings together photographs and publications by some of Japan’s most influential photographers, including Nobuyoshi Araki, Daidō Moriyama, Takuma Nakahira and Shōmei Tōmatsu.

Divided into three sections, the exhibition defines photography as performative, both in a political and artistic sense. It sets the emergence of Provoke against a backdrop of widespread social unrest, beginning in 1960 with extensive public protests against the renewal of a security treaty with the United States. The breakdown of parliamentary politics in Japan led to an explosion of counter-journalism, including the photographic production of the so-called ‘protest book’. Made by trade unionists, students and environmental activists, the books documented 15 years of ferocious struggle, including anti-government demonstrations and the movement to expel American military bases from Japanese soil. Often rudimentary in their production and with innovative layouts, they capture the spirit of violent protest, developing an aesthetic of bodily immersion and disorientation. Along with the work of more established photographers, the protest book revolutionized realist aesthetics, overturning established humanist modes of documentary representation.

The magazine Provoke drew from this culture of turbulent renovation. Its makers – poet and art critic Takahiko Okada, theorist-photographers Takuma Nakahira and Kōji Taki, and photographers Yutaka Takanashi and Daidō Moriyama – believed that traditional reportage was exhausted and they sought out a visual language to renew the perception of a rapidly changing modernity. Focussing primarily on the urban environment...

more...
No comment yet.
Scooped by Kuniko
Scoop.it!

HumanTrafficking.org | Japan

The Situation Japan is a destination, source, and transit country for men, women, and children subjected to forced labor and sex trafficking. Japanese organized crime syndicates (the Yakuza) are believed to play a significant role in trafficking in Japan, both directly and indirectly.1 Source During 2010, there was a growth in trafficking of Japanese nationals, including foreign-born children of Japanese citizens who acquired nationality.2 Transit Japan is a transit country for persons trafficked from East Asia to North America.3 Destination Japan is recognized as having one of the most severe human trafficking problems among the major industrialized democracies.4 Japan is a destination country for women and children from East Asia, Southeast Asia, and to a lesser extent, Eastern Europe, Russia, and Latin America who are subjected to sexual and labor exploitation.5 Recruitment techniques are often based on false promises of employment as waitresses, hotel staff, entertainers, or models.6 Traffickers also use fraudulent marriages between foreign women and Japanese men to facilitate entry of victims into Japan for forced prostitution.7 Further, Japan continues to be an international hub for the production and trafficking of child pornography.8 Japan is home to an immense sex industry that includes a wide variety of commercial sex operation models, including themed-brothels, hostess clubs, escort agencies, ‘snack’ clubs, strip theatres, and street prostitution. Many are owned, controlled, or ‘taxed’ by the Japanese organized crime network, the Yakuza, or increasingly by foreign-based groups such as Korean or Colombian crime networks.9 Japanese men continue to be a significant source of demand for child sex tourism in Southeast Asia.10 Male and female migrant workers from China, Indonesia, the Philippines, Vietnam, and other Asian countries are also sometimes subjected to conditions of forced labor.11 While not as widespread as sex trafficking, labor trafficking is believed to take place in construction, factory work, and domestic servitude situations.12 Although the Government of Japan has not officially recognized the existence of forced labor within the Industrial Trainee and Technical Internship Program (the “foreign trainee program”), the media and NGOs continue to report abuses including debt bondage, restrictions on movement, unpaid wages and overtime, fraud, and contracting workers out to different employers. The majority of trainees are Chinese nationals who pay high fees to Chinese brokers to apply for the program.13 Internal Trafficking Japan has a significant amount of internal trafficking of women and girls who are trafficked for sexual exploitation. Recruiters actively recruit in subways, popular hangout spots for youth, at schools, and other venues, making promises of success to young women and children if they model or work at certain clubs. Children are also often recruited at a young age to be abused through child pornography.14 The Japanese Government The Japanese Government was placed in Tier 2 in the 2011 U.S. Department of State’s Trafficking in Persons Report for not fully complying with the Trafficking Victims Protection Act’s minimum standards for the elimination of trafficking but making significant efforts to do so. Japan does not have a comprehensive anti-trafficking law, but Japan’s 2005 amendment to its criminal code, which prohibits the buying and selling of persons, and a variety of other criminal code articles and laws, could be used to prosecute trafficking offenses. These laws prescribe punishments ranging from one to 10 years’ imprisonment.15 Prosecution The Japanese government has taken modest, but overall inadequate, steps towards enforcing laws against trafficking. The government reported 19 investigations for offenses reported to be related to trafficking, resulting in the arrest of 24 individuals in 2010. The government convicted 14 of these individuals for various trafficking-related offenses, with penalties ranging from only a fine to jail sentences of one to 4.5 years. The government investigated only three cases of suspected forced labor during 2010 but failed to arrest, prosecute, convict, or sentence to jail any individual for forced labor.16 Additionally, the government fails to address government complicity in trafficking offenses. Although corruption remains a serious concern in the large and socially accepted entertainment industry in Japan, which includes the prostitution industry, the government did not report investigations, arrests, prosecutions, convictions, or jail sentences against any official for trafficking-related complicity during 2010.17 The National Police Agency (NPA), Ministry of Justice, Bureau of Immigration, and the Public Prosecutor’s office regularly train officers on trafficking investigation and prosecution techniques. In July 2010, the government distributed a 10-page manual to assist law enforcement, judicial and other government officers in identifying and investigating trafficking offenses and implementing victim protection measures.18 Protection Japan continues to lack dedicated shelters for victims of trafficking....

more...
No comment yet.
Scooped by Kuniko
Scoop.it!

Read the air

Read the air | JAPAN, as I see it | Scoop.it
TOKYO —
U.S. venture capitalist James Riney has always had his foot in two cultures. He came to Japan when he was one, returned periodically through age 12, then completed his schooling in the United States. Having two home countries prepared him to become one of his generation’s key entrepreneurs.

In an exclusive interview with The Journal, Riney spoke on a range of topics including his career path, the state of venture capital, and how he plans to transform entrepreneurship in Japan.

SEEING IT ALL

Each culture has its own way of doing business, and cultural differences can be an obstacle to success in a global economy. As Riney has come to realize, those who can see both sides are extremely valuable.

“The benefit of growing up in both worlds is that you always have a birds-eye view of everything. You always have one foot inside Japan and one foot outside,” he explains. “It does give you sort of this global perspective that local Japanese can’t necessarily understand, and also [one that] people from abroad can’t necessarily understand about Japan. I think a big part of the reason that I’ve gotten to where I am is the ability to take advantage of that arbitrage.

“In Japanese you say ‘kuuki wo yomu’ (‘read the air’). I think reading the air is a really important thing that I learned as an adult coming back to Japan and actually being in the workforce.”

THE ROAD TO 500

Today Riney is head of 500 Startups Japan, where he manages a $30 million fund to help nurture the nation’s fledgling companies. But how did he get there?

“There’s not like a romantic creation story,” he says. “I was never really exposed to entrepreneurship growing up or in college. I didn’t even know anything about Silicon Valley at the time.”

Upon graduating, he followed a traditional path and landed at J.P. Morgan. “The tendency is to go toward something that’s like a brand name that your peers and your parents are going to respect you for. So I kind of went that direction, because I didn’t know any better. And then I just threw myself into that world. I met a lot of very smart people—and that was the valuable part that I got out of it — but immediately I realized that this was just not for me.”

His first startup was ResuPress. Riney recognized that, while there is a lot of demand for bilingual talent, candidates in Japan are most often prioritized by test scores — not always a good measure of one’s communication ability. The idea was to give prospective employers a way to quickly assess true English ability through a video-based supplement to traditional resume services. “That was a good idea in theory, but the problem is that it wasn’t very defensible. Big players can just put that feature into their platform.”

So they evolved the concept into Storys.jp, based on the idea of “the story that doesn’t fit on your business card.” In a country where LinkedIn doesn’t work well for networking — because it is seen as a job search site — this platform allowed professionals to tell the stories of their successes in a way that worked within the culture.

The final stop before 500 Startups was DeNA, where Riney oversaw Silicon Valley and southeast Asia investments. He cites the trust placed in him there as important. “If I really had conviction about an investment, my boss never said no. Because he trusted me so much, I grew a lot more.”

ENTREPRENEURSHIP IN JAPAN

Now, with 500 Startups as the vehicle, Riney has begun helping those who seek to innovate in Japan. With it comes some specific challenges.

Riney’s experience giving a presentation at Keio University, attended by students and a lot of people from corporate departments, highlights one such obstacle. “I was just curious, so I asked ‘Would you hire an entrepreneur who failed?’ I saw maybe 10 percent of the hands go up out of the corp dev people. Hardly anyone wanted to hire someone who had failed before. That was a shame, and I think that’s one of the big reasons why people are afraid to take risks. That would be different in America. It’s a completely different perspective.

“The irony is, now the big topic in Japan is open innovation,” he continues. “Everyone is like ‘How do we create new ideas and new business?’ But they don’t realize that these people that are starting companies—even if they failed—you want them inside your company. Because just because you’re smart and you start a company, it doesn’t mean it’s going to be big. And so, if you fail, it also doesn’t mean you’re an idiot. You need those people back inside your organization so you can create these fresh ideas and build them inside.”

The level of investment in Japan is also a major challenge according to Riney. “In any given year, there’s about $1 billion in venture capital, and about $200 million in angel investment. So you have $1.2 billion versus $48 billion in venture capital in the U.S., $24 billion in angel investment, then add crowdfunding and it’s like $75 billion. It’s a huge, huge gap. I’m not saying that this number from Japan should be anywhere close to that, but it should at least be $10 billion.”

500 Startups plans to change this. Conceding that they cannot change the mindset of the large domestic companies, the plan is to attract M&A interest from abroad. Riney sees the time lag of six to eight months between the emergence of a new business model in the US and the appearance of a similar company in Japan as a key. “We see an opportunity to invest in those [Japanese] companies and then use the 500 network to build a relationship with the company in the U.S. We want to build that over one or two years so, when they actually start thinking about Japan, they start thinking about it as an acquisition rather than going about it by themselves.”

FIRST STEPS

Closing out his discussion with The Journal, Riney offers a bit of personal advice for those looking for venture capital. “Before you come to people like 500 Startups, you should be thinking about the team elements. If you have something that’s lacking, make sure you have other members who complement that. One thing that I really, really look at is, whether the CEO was able to get people who are very, very high caliber. Because if you can get high-caliber people to take a risk, to leave their presumably very cushy jobs to jump into this risky startup, that shows your ability as a CEO.”
more...
No comment yet.
Scooped by Kuniko
Scoop.it!

Sales of drive-hunt dolphins up 40% despite ban on acquisition

WAKAYAMA —
Sales of dolphins and other small cetaceans caught in controversial drive hunts off the town of Taiji in western Japan between September and April increased nearly 40% from the previous year, despite a ban on the acquisition of the creatures introduced by the country’s aquarium association, local data showed Tuesday.

According to the Wakayama prefectural government, fishermen caught 936 cetaceans using the method in the eight-month hunting season, virtually unchanged from 937 the previous season.

Of the 936, 117 were sold to aquariums unaffiliated with the association or to dealers, up from 84 the previous year.

Orders for Taiji dolphins and other small cetaceans stood at about 150 last August, roughly the same as in past years, and not affected by the ban as orders from facilities that do not belong to the Japanese Association of Zoos and Aquariums increased.

The figures raise doubts over the effectiveness of actions aimed at curbing drive hunts, a technique that has drawn international criticism as cruel but which the people of Taiji call part of their fishing culture.

In drive hunting, fishermen capture dolphins by herding them into coves, banging metal poles against their fishing boats.

The hunting practice has spurred international outcry, especially after the Oscar-winning 2009 U.S. documentary film “The Cove” showed the bloody slaughter of dolphins during a drive hunt.

While the number of dolphins and cetaceans sold showed an increase from the previous season, a lean year, it was still “fewer than normal times as the annual average over the last five years was about 150,” a Wakayama government official said.

Yoshifumi Kai, an official of the Taiji fisheries cooperative association, said there was “no major confusion during hunting last year” despite the acquisition ban.

But Kai said prospects are “unclear” as long as members of JAZA—consisting of 89 zoos and 62 aquariums—stick with the ban.

Halting the acquisition of Taiji dolphins poses future challenges for some aquariums in Japan that cannot breed dolphins on their own. Dolphins are often the stars of shows staged at aquariums, garnering revenue required to operate entire facilities.

Leaving JAZA enables aquariums to procure dolphins from Taiji. A whale museum run by the Taiji town government did so in September, becoming the first member to withdraw from the Japanese aquarium body since the ban was imposed in May last year.

© KYODO
more...
No comment yet.
Scooped by Kuniko
Scoop.it!

Behold, Some of Japan's Dirtiest Rooms

Behold, Some of Japan's Dirtiest Rooms | JAPAN, as I see it | Scoop.it

There's a stereotype that all Japanese people are very clean and neat. This stereotype is just not true. Some folks in Japan keep a clean house, but some roost in pigsties. And, yes, many of those folks are female. See, in Japan, that's the other stereotype: that guys' rooms are usually messy, with discarded instant ramen packages and drink bottles everywhere. Conversely, ladies' abodes are supposed to be neat, cute, and frilly. This is a stereotype in lots of different countries—make that, an untrue stereotype in lots of countries. Some ladies are slobs! Some dudes are not! For years now, Japanese men and women have been uploading photos of their filthy rooms to online bulletin boards. The photos are disaster zones and show pics of people's "oheya" (汚部屋), which literally means "dirty" (汚) "room" (部屋). It's a pun of the Japanese word for "room", "oheya" (お部屋), which uses the polite marker "o" (お). These photos have nothing on the "daraku heya" (堕落部屋), or depraved rooms of female geeks.


A Japanese research firm recently released a study that polled over 550 females between the ages of 20 and 29 about whether or not they were residing in dirty dwellings. Nearly 23 percent said they lived in a dirty room—and had been told as much. Almost 34 percent said they thought they lived in a dirty room, but hadn't been told as much. Then, 8.7 percent, let's call them dirty room deniers, were told they resided in unclean living conditions, but thought their room was fine. That's well over fifty percent of those polled who either think they live in filth or have been told as much. Then, there were 34.6 percent who haven't been told that their room is dirty—and, likewise, don't think it is, either. In the last few years, several well known female celebrities have showed just how dirty their apartments or houses are. Usually, Japanese people, like people anywhere, are reluctant to show off their residence if it's not clean. Some of the dirty room celebs have been comedians like Naomi Watanabe. But, more and more, fashion models, like Haruka Christine are revealing that, yes, they live in squalor—like many females their age. This is just a sample, and the internet has far messier residences to offer, but below you can see photos of Japanese "dirty rooms" from over the years. Some belong to men. Some belong to women. Perhaps the sex toys and hug pillows can clue you into whose room is which. Then again, maybe not!

more...
No comment yet.
Scooped by Kuniko
Scoop.it!

Japan's schools 'hateful' places for LGBT students: rights group

Japan's schools 'hateful' places for LGBT students: rights group | JAPAN, as I see it | Scoop.it
TOKYO —
Japanese schools are filled with “hateful” comments about gay and transgender people, including remarks by teachers that can aggravate bullying and push some students into depression, Human Rights Watch (HRW) said in a report Friday.

The study was based on interviews with dozens of LGBT students at schools across the country, and also teachers, who the rights group said were often a key part of the problem.

“Hateful anti-LGBT rhetoric is nearly ubiquitous in Japanese schools, driving LGBT (lesbian, gay, bisexual and transgender) students into silence, self-loathing, and in some cases, self-harm,” the group said.

Nearly every interviewee “said that they heard anti-LGBT rhetoric in school, including LGBT people called ‘disgusting,’ the use of slur words such as ‘homo,’ and declarations that ‘these creatures should never have been born’”.

While HRW noted that such discrimination is not just an issue in Japan, the country does lag behind the United States and many other Western nations in terms of gay rights and same-sex marriage.

Historically, Japan has been broadly tolerant of homosexuality, with documented cases of samurai warriors during feudal times having male lovers, while same-sex relationships have been depicted in traditional art, such as ukiyoe, or wood block prints.

As Japan industrialised and modernised, however, from the late 19th century, Western prejudices against homosexuality were increasingly adopted.

Sachi N., a 20-year-old lesbian interviewed for the HRW report, said she learned in class that homosexual relations were the main cause of AIDS and were a “very weird thing to do”.

“Everything I heard and was taught (about LGBT people) was bad,” she was quoted as saying.

“Even though now I am a lesbian and I know it, I still have a bad concept of it. I still think it’s my fault.”

HRW researcher Kyle Knight said working with teachers and making LGBT issues part of the curriculum was crucial to fixing the problem.

“The most important thing to combat this… is to arm the teachers with appropriate information to have LGBT topics included in the curriculum,” he told reporters Friday.

Bullying is widespread—and sometimes brutal—in Japanese schools, but government policies aimed at fixing the problem do not specifically address LGBT students, who are among the most vulnerable, the rights group said.

There are signs of a growing public acceptance, however.

Tokyo’s bustling Shibuya entertainment district has started issuing symbolic “partnership certificates” to same-sex couples, in what was a landmark advance for Japan’s gay rights movement.

Some other municipal governments have also followed suit, while corporate Japan is also showing signs of moving toward recognising same-sex couples.

© 2016 AFP
more...
No comment yet.
Scooped by Kuniko
Scoop.it!

1,000 quakes recorded in southwest Japan in 2 weeks since initial disaster

KUMAMOTO —
More than 1,000 seismic events had been recorded in Kumamoto and Oita prefectures by Thursday in the two weeks since a magnitude-6.5 earthquake struck southwestern Japan, while over 30,000 people remain evacuated from their homes.

The frequency of the seismic events, ranging from minor jolts to the M7.3 quake that occurred two days after the initial April 14 quake, is unusually high as the nation’s total last year was 1,842, the Japan Meteorological Agency said, urging people to stay alert for more earthquakes.

Major transportation lines were rapidly recovering in the region, with bullet train services on the Kyushu Shinkansen Line resuming on all tracks the day before and the Kyushu Expressway expected to fully open Friday.

But repairs to smaller roads have lagged behind, with rocks, trees and debris from buildings severing routes in at least 295 locations.

Debris and waste generated by the earthquakes have spilled onto the streets in parts of Kumamoto city, with public garbage collection services hard-pressed to cope, prompting the Self-Defense Forces to begin hauling waste outside the city Thursday.

At least 30,000 people were still sheltering at evacuation centers in Kumamoto Prefecture. The prefectural government has decided to secure some 4,200 temporary housing units, half through construction and the other half by renting, using a supplementary budget of 36.6 billion yen for fiscal 2016.

While the earthquakes alone have killed 49 people, the prolonged evacuation has also taken a toll, with 16 people suspected to have died as of Wednesday due to illness caused by stress and fatigue and other quake-related causes.

Nearly 100 people have been diagnosed with or suspected to have so-called economy class syndrome, caused by prolonged inactivity, according to a Kyodo News survey.

The central government adopted on Thursday an ordinance for extending deadlines for some administrative procedures, including updating of driving licenses.

Among the more than 200 special measures expected to be launched based on the ordinance is one to freeze bankruptcy procedures for companies that went bust due to the earthquakes for a maximum of two years in an effort to prevent chain-reaction bankruptcies.

Ministers plan to visit the quake-hit areas in the coming days to view the damage and help speed up recovery.

Transport minister Keiichi Ishii said Thursday he will visit affected areas Friday and Saturday to inspect damage to local infrastructure and exchange opinions with Kumamoto Gov Ikuo Kabashima.

Culture minister Hiroshi Hase will on Sunday visit the city of Kumamoto, home to Kumamoto Castle, a major tourist attraction that has suffered severe damage through the repeated quakes.

Internal affairs minister Sanae Takaichi will also visit affected areas in Kumamoto Prefecture on Monday and hold talks with the Kumamoto governor and Kumamoto Mayor Kazufumi Onishi.

© KYODO
more...
No comment yet.
Scooped by Kuniko
Scoop.it!

Quakes in southwestern Japan unlikely to cease soon: meteorological agency

KUMAMOTO —
The Japan Meteorological Agency said Wednesday it sees no signs of earthquake activity abating in Kumamoto and surrounding southwestern prefectures after powerful jolts last week, while urging people to remain alert.

As heavy rainfall of between 40 and 50 millimeters per hour is expected in Kumamoto and Oita prefectures on Thursday, the agency also warned of the escalating risk of landslides and flooding of rivers.

More than 600 seismic events ranging from minor jolts to strong earthquakes were detected by the agency in the region since a magnitude-6.5 quake occurred Thursday evening, followed by a more powerful M7.3 quake on Saturday. It is the highest frequency of earthquakes on record, the agency said.

A total of 48 people had been confirmed dead as of Tuesday following the series of earthquakes, after rescuers said one body was found Wednesday morning at the site of a major mudslide in Minamiaso, Kumamoto Prefecture.

Aside from the 48, 11 people have died in Kumamoto Prefecture from quake-related issues such as illness or fatigue from stress at shelters, the Kumamoto prefectural government said Wednesday.

Despite persistent quakes, transport services across the region were slowly being reestablished, with a regional high-speed train service resuming some operations in the morning for the first time in six days, following the partial reopening of Kumamoto airport the day before.

The Kyushu Shinkansen bullet train is now operating between Shin-Minamata Station in Minamata, Kumamoto Prefecture, and Kagoshima-Chuo Station in the city of Kagoshima, which makes up about a third of its normal 288.9-kilometer journey.

Full resumption of services was expected to take more time as workers continued to remove the train that derailed near Kumamoto Station, while track damage was found in about 150 other places.

With tens of thousands of people remaining in evacuation centers, some municipalities began considering building temporary housing.

In Kumamoto Prefecture, where most of the major earthquakes occurred, a total of 8,784 homes and public facilities were found flattened or damaged as of Wednesday, according to local governments.

Combined with those in surrounding prefectures of Fukuoka, Oita, Miyazaki and Nagasaki, the figure stood at 9,144.

“Residents living in shelters are nearing their limit. We are now at a stage where we need to secure housing” for them, said Kumamoto Mayor Kazufumi Onishi at a disaster management meeting Wednesday.

The hardest-hit Kumamoto town of Mashiki said nearly half of the 11,000 dwellings in the town, or 5,400, sustained damage, including 1,026 that were completely flattened.

A town official designated a sports ground as a candidate site for constructing temporary housing while noting “nothing has been decided,” including when and how many people would be relocated.

The village of Nishihara was also planning to construct temporary housing after over 1,400 homes collapsed or were damaged.

A village official from Minamiaso, which has 500 residences reported damaged, said it is still trying to grasp the full extent of the devastation and needs some time before deciding whether it needs to construct temporary accommodation.
more...
No comment yet.
Scooped by Kuniko
Scoop.it!

U.N. rights expert sees threats to press independence in Japan

U.N. rights expert sees threats to press independence in Japan | JAPAN, as I see it | Scoop.it

TOKYO — A U.N. rights expert warned Tuesday of “serious threats” to the independence of the press in Japan, including laws meant to protect coverage fairness and national security that he said could work as censorship. U.N. Special Rapporteur David Kaye, finishing a weeklong visit to Japan in which he interviewed journalists and government officials, said many Japanese journalists were feeling pressured to avoid sensitive topics, and that some told of being sidelined because of complaints from politicians. “The independence of the press is facing serious threats — a weak system of legal protection, persistent government exploitation of a media lacking in professional solidarity,” Kaye told reporters at the Foreign Correspondents’ Club in Tokyo. He said he was taken aback by a widespread fear among journalists in Japan, many of whom requested anonymity to talk to him, fearing repercussions. The picture of Japanese journalism he painted was unflattering, including newspapers delaying or killing stories critical of the government. He also said a reporter was demoted and given a salary cut after writing an article on the nuclear plant in Fukushima, which went into meltdowns in 2011. Among Kaye’s concerns is a law meant to ensure media-coverage fairness that allows the government to revoke broadcasting licenses over perceived violations. He also said the so-called “secrets act” law, meant to protect national security and public safety, is so broad it could obstruct people’s right to know. Japan’s government has repeatedly said freedom of the press is protected in the country, and sees nothing wrong with the law about the broadcasting license. That penalty has never been carried out on a broadcaster, but Kaye noted such measures can work as a threat to keep outspoken journalists in check. He said he decided to visit Japan after hearing about well-known broadcasters quitting, fueling speculation that they had been forced out. Kaye, whose report Tuesday was preliminary, is making a full report next year to the U.N. Human Rights Council. He said his job is not to take action but to identify problems, and urged reporters and activists in Japan to work together to change the climate for journalists. Japan needs to pass anti-discrimination laws, instead of focusing on hate speech, which could backfire and curb the freedom of expression, he said. It also needs to protect whistleblowers, crucial for providing reporters with information about nuclear power, disaster response, national security and other topics of public interest, Kaye said.

more...
No comment yet.
Scooped by Kuniko
Scoop.it!

About 30% of workers in Japan mull quitting after nursing relatives

TOKYO —
A labor union survey has revealed that Japanese firms may face a major problem in keeping hold of their workers in a rapidly graying society due to the needs of some older staff to look after aging relatives.

The Japanese Trade Union Confederation, better known as Rengo, found that 27.9% of employees aged 40 or over who had taken care of elderly parents and other family members in the past five years have considered leaving work, and that 1.6% of such workers actually quit.

The survey was conducted between February and June last year on some 8,200 workers at firms where Rengo’s member labor unions operate, and included nonunion staff such as members of management and part-time employees.

About 2,900 of the workers, or 35.3%, had taken care of their parents or other family members sometime in the last five years, according to Rengo, Japan’s largest umbrella organization for unions with a membership of some 6.82 million.

Asked to name three reasons for considering leaving work or actually quitting, 48.1% of those workers said caring for relatives interfered with their work and 44.1% said it pushed them to their physical limits.

The survey also showed 17.9% said they wanted to focus on providing nursing care.

Asked to point out three sources of anxiety related to nursing care, 60.1% of those workers said they worried about the cost of care, followed by 59.1% who said they did not know how long they would have to continue to provide care, and 40.8% who cited the need to change their working style.

A total of 70.7% of the care receivers were the workers’ own parents and 19.8% were their partners’ parents, while the remainder included their spouses or children.

© KYODO
more...
No comment yet.
Scooped by Kuniko
Scoop.it!

Heroic Women of the Samurai Class

Heroic Women of the Samurai Class | JAPAN, as I see it | Scoop.it

The women of the samurai class had a great influence over the political process and they played a vital part during the Sengoku period of Japan.


Female women warriors of the Japanese upper class are known as onna-bugeisha (女武芸者). Many of them were widows, wives, daughters, and even rebel women who engaged in battle beside samurai men. Onna-bugeisha were members of the bushi (samurai) class in feudal Japan who were trained to use weapons to protect their, honor, family, and household from enemies. Even before the emergence of the samurai class, women were trained to use a naginata (a wooden shaft with a curved blade on the end), kaiken (an 8-10 inch long, single or double-bladed dagger), and the art of tantojutsu (a Japanese variety of knife fighting systems). This ensured protection for Japanese communities that didn’t have enough male fighters. Onna bugeisha Ishi-jo, wife of Oboshi Yoshio (one of the 47 ronin) In archeological evidence uncovered at the site of the Battle of Senbon Matsubaru between Takeda Katsuyori and Hojo Ujinao in 1580, DNA tests on 105 remains found that 35 of them were female. It was concluded that samurai women warriors fought in armies, although their involvement was hardly ever recorded. There are very few stories about samurai women warriors compared to male warriors, but female samurai warriors were nonetheless found in warships and battlefields through the course of history. Female involvement in warfare is generally more defensive than offensive. There are no records of women being recruited to serve in armies, nor were they ordered to fight. Samurai women warriors came from different family backgrounds ranging from peasants to noblewomen. They were motivated to fight for their political beliefs, religion, or revenge. They fought willingly to their deaths as the ultimate sacrifice for their cause. A samurai woman warrior’s involvement in conflict was indirect yet considerable as shown by the battles and exploits that remain to be some of the greatest in samurai history. - See more at: http://www.kcpwindowonjapan.com/2014/03/heroic-women-of-the-samurai-class/#sthash.1T1020Qi.dpuf

more...
No comment yet.
Scooped by Kuniko
Scoop.it!

Death by overwork on rise in Japan

Death by overwork on rise in Japan | JAPAN, as I see it | Scoop.it

Tokyo: Japan is witnessing a record number of compensation claims related to death from overwork, or "karoshi", a phenomenon previously associated with the long-suffering "salary man" that is increasingly afflicting young and female employees.

Labour demand, with 1.28 jobs per applicant, is the highest since 1991, which should help Prime Minister Shinzo Abe draw more people into the workforce to counter the effect of a shrinking population, but lax enforcement of labour laws means some businesses are simply squeezing more out of employees, sometimes with tragic consequences.


Claims for compensation for karoshi rose to a record high of 1456 in the year to end-March 2015, according to labour ministry data, with cases concentrated in healthcare, social services, shipping and construction, which are all facing chronic worker shortages. Read more: http://www.smh.com.au/world/death-by-overwork-on-rise-in-japan-20160403-gnx1dw.html#ixzz44oug0YGK Follow us: @smh on Twitter | sydneymorningherald on Facebook


Hiroshi Kawahito, secretary general of the National Defense Counsel for Victims of Karoshi, said the real number was probably 10 times higher, as the government is reluctant to recognise such incidents. Kawahito, a lawyer who has been dealing with karoshi since the 1980s, said 95 per cent of his cases used to be middle-aged men in white-collar jobs, but now about 20 per cent are women. Read more: http://www.smh.com.au/world/death-by-overwork-on-rise-in-japan-20160403-gnx1dw.html#ixzz44oupFrnx Follow us: @smh on Twitter | sydneymorningherald on Facebook...

more...
No comment yet.
Scooped by Kuniko
Scoop.it!

Japan police catch man suspected of kidnapping and holding girl captive

Japan police catch man suspected of kidnapping and holding girl captive | JAPAN, as I see it | Scoop.it
Japanese police have caught a 23-year-old man wanted for allegedly abducting a teenage girl who escaped the previous day after being held captive in his apartment for nearly two years.

Police said on Monday that the girl, now aged 15, escaped from suspect Kabu Terauchi’s apartment in downtown Tokyo on Sunday while he was out shopping and called home from a payphone. She disappeared two years ago from her hometown in Saitama, near Tokyo.

Saitama police said the girl, whose name is withheld because she is a minor, told investigators that she escaped when her captor forgot to lock the door from outside when he went out to go shopping in the Akihabara district.

Investigators captured Terauchi in the early hours of Monday near a forest west of Tokyo. Police plan to formally arrest him and charge him with kidnapping.

The girl’s disappearance two years ago when she was just 13 was major news in Japan at the time.

The girl was seen wearing a sweatsuit and sandals in the cold weather while using a payphone at a train station in downtown Tokyo. Her mother reported the call to the police, who raided Terauchi’s Tokyo apartment early on Monday.

Police quoted her as saying that she spent most of the past two years in Terauchi’s apartment near his university in Chiba before moving to Tokyo last month. She was always locked up in the apartment and closely watched, but was not tied up. There were times she was taken outside the apartment but always with her captor and under close watch.
more...
No comment yet.