JAPAN, as I see it
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JAPAN, as I see it
It's my home-town. As going in & out for the last 40years, I see Japan a little different.
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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.”
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Japan shuts down entire Tokyo Metro system in response to North Korea missile test

Japan shuts down entire Tokyo Metro system in response to North Korea missile test | JAPAN, as I see it | Scoop.it
One of Tokyo’s major underground systems says it shut down all lines for 10 minutes yesterday, after receiving warning of a North Korean missile launch.  Tokyo Metro official Hiroshi Takizawa says the temporary suspension affected 13,000 passengers.  Service was halted on all nine lines at 6.07am. It resumed at 6.17am after it was clear there was no threat to Japan. 
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Sexual assault in Japan: 'Every girl was a victim'

Sexual assault in Japan: 'Every girl was a victim' | JAPAN, as I see it | Scoop.it

Tokyo, Japan - Tamaka Ogawa was about 10 years old when she was sexually assaulted for the first time. It was a public holiday and she was on the subway. A man standing behind her pulled down the band of her culottes and underwear, touched her bare bottom, then pressed himself against her. She recalls feeling shocked and physically sickened. When she reached home, she repeatedly washed the spot where he had pressed himself against her, although she was conscious of not spending too long in the toilet, in case her family noticed that something was wrong.

Some years later, on her first day of senior high school, she was groped on the commute home. After that, the groping and sexual assaults - men would often stick their hands inside her underwear - became a regular occurrence as she made her way to or from school in her uniform. Each time, she would run away, unsure of what to do. 

"I thought of myself as a child," she reflects. "I could not understand that adults were excited by touching me."

It would be improper to express anger towards an adult, she thought, and she worried about attracting attention. Besides, her parents had never spoken to her about such things and how she ought to handle them.

She recalls one incident particularly clearly. She was about 15 and on her way to school. A man began to touch her, putting his hand inside her underwear. He was aggressive and it hurt, she remembers. When the train stopped, she got off. But he grabbed her hand and told her: "Follow me." Ogawa ran away. She believes that people saw what was going on, but nobody helped.

She felt ashamed and complicit, she says.

"He seems to have thought that I was pleased with his act," the now 36-year-old reflects.

"When I was in high school, every [girl] was a victim," says Ogawa. "[We] didn't think we could do anything about it."

Today, Ogawa, a writer and cofounder of Press Labo, a small digital content production company in Shimokitazawa, an inner-city Tokyo neighbourhood, often writes about Japan's gender inequality and sexual violence issues.

In 2015, she began writing about the country's long-standing problem with groping - or chikan, in Japanese - often experienced by schoolgirls on public transportation. Many victims stay silent, unable to talk about their experiences in a society which, by many accounts, trivialises this phenomenon. 

But, in the past two years, that has begun to change as more people speak up against it.


An intervention Yayoi Matsunaga is one of those people. One morning in late January, the 51-year-old arrived at a coffee shop in the bustling neighbourhood of Shibuya with a suitcase of badges. The round badges, designed to deter gropers, feature illustrations such as a schoolgirl peering angrily from between her legs, or a crowd of stern-looking rabbits and include the messages, "Groping is a crime" and "Don't do it". Each comes with a leaflet instructing the wearer to clearly display the badges on their bags, to stand confidently and to be vigilant. Matsunaga began her Osaka-based organisation, Groping Prevention Activities Centre, in 2015 after her friend's daughter was regularly molested while taking the train to school. Takako Tonooka, the pseudonym she has used in interviews with the Japan Times, confided in her mother, and the two tried various solutions to stop the attacks. They bought a stuffed toy which says "Don't do it" when pulled. They spoke to the police and the railway authorities, who said they would act if it was the same perpetrator - but it never was. Tonooka even wore her school skirt shorter and found that she was harassed less. Matsunaga says trains display posters telling groping victims to be brave and to speak up. Tonooka started practising saying "Stop it" and "No" at home. She began to confront offenders, who would then angrily deny touching her. Onlookers did not help. Eventually, she and her mother created a label to attach to her bag, which says, "Groping is a crime. I'm not going to give up" and features a picture of policemen catching perpetrators. It worked. But the label made Tonooka self-conscious, and Matsunaga says boys teased her. Matsunaga decided that Tonooka should not have to fight on her own, so she came up with an idea to involve others by crowdsourcing ideas for anti-groping badges. "High school girls are really into this 'kawaii' culture so they had to be cute," she says...

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Research uncovers evidence that ancient Japan was 'more cosmopolitan' than previously thought | The Japan Times

Research uncovers evidence that ancient Japan was 'more cosmopolitan' than previously thought | The Japan Times | JAPAN, as I see it | Scoop.it
Ancient Japan may have been far more cosmopolitan than previously thought, archaeologists said Wednesday, pointing to fresh evidence of a Persian official working in the former capital of Nara more than 1,000 years ago.

Present-day Iran and Japan were known to have had direct trade links since at least the 7th century, but new testing on a piece of wood — first discovered in the ’60s — suggest broader ties, the researchers said.

Infrared imaging revealed previously unreadable characters on the wood — a standard writing surface in Japan before paper — that named a Persian official living in the country.

The official worked at an academy where government officials were trained, said Akihiro Watanabe, a researcher at the Nara National Research Institute for Cultural Properties.

The official may have been teaching mathematics, Watanabe added, pointing to ancient Iran’s expertise in the subject.

“Although earlier studies have suggested there were exchanges with Persia as early as the 7th century, this is the first time a person as far away as Persia was known to have worked in Japan,” he said.

“And this suggests Nara was a cosmopolitan city where foreigners were treated equally.”

Nara was the capital of Japan known as Heijokyo from around 710 to around 784 before it was moved to Kyoto and later to present-day Tokyo.

The discovery comes after another team of researchers last month unearthed ancient Roman coins at the ruins of an old castle in Okinawa Prefecture.

It was the first time coins from the once mighty empire have been discovered in Japan, thousands of kilometers from where they were likely minted.
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Hospital personnel may be behind patient poisonings; 46 deaths on same floor since July

YOKOHAMA —
Police increasingly suspect that the killing of two patients at a hospital in Yokohama may have been conducted by a person connected with the hospital and with some medical knowledge, investigative sources said Thursday.

The person may also have randomly sought to tamper with intravenous drips because some 10 unused drip bags were found with small holes, in a possible sign someone tried to inject into them surfactant compound, which police believe was used to kill the two patients.

A week has passed since the police began a full-fledged investigation into the cases that took place at Oguchi Hospital, but who and for what reason the intravenous drips had been tampered with remain a mystery.

Sources close to the matter said the hospital has recorded the deaths of 46 more inpatients since July who had stayed on the fourth floor where the two victims were.

There were some days around mid-August and mid-September when four or five people died, but Oguchi Hospital could not confirm any hospital infections and thought the reason was because it had been accepting more seriously ill patients, the sources said.

The hospital in Yokohama’s Kanagawa Ward has 85 beds and specializes in internal medicine, orthopedics and rehabilitation for the elderly. It has also been accepting more patients in the terminal phase of their illnesses.

Police will investigate the deaths of the patients but are unlikely to be able to specify the causes because many of the bodies have already been cremated.

“We see many people pass away due to the nature of this hospital, but had the impression that the number of those dying was increasing a bit,” a hospital official said.

It was not immediately known how the figures compare with deaths in other hospitals catering to patients with similar diseases or at a similar stage of life.

The hospital first alerted the police about the possibility that intravenous drips had been tampered with on Sept 20. The police have so far determined that two 88-year-old male patients—Nobuo Yamaki and Sozo Nishikawa—were poisoned to death.

Investigators did not notice holes on the intravenous drip bags the two patients had used, but they discovered holes in the seals on the rubber plugs in about 10 of the 50 unused bags kept at a nurses’ station on the fourth floor of the hospital.

A nurse who works at a hospital in Tokyo told Kyodo News that expertise is needed to inject chemicals into drip bags, while an investigative source said, “It’s difficult to imagine a situation that an outsider entered the nurse station and tampered (with the drip bags).”

The two patients died around the three-day weekend that began on Sept 17 and when the number of hospital staff on duty was less than usual. At night, the entrance of the hospital was locked with security guards on service to prevent outsiders from entering.

Surface acting agents are widely used in hospitals as disinfectants but can be poisonous to the human body and are not allowed to be administered orally.

© KYODO
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Mayor sued over leaflet upholding 'traditional' gender roles in Japan

OTSU —
A university professor has sued the mayor of a city in Shiga Prefecture, saying a leaflet on child-rearing upheld traditional gender roles and breached the principle of equality between men and women.

Hiroyuki Hayakawa, 55, a professor at Nagoya Gakuin University, sued Masahiro Nomura, the mayor of the city of Ritto, for around 410,000 yen (about $4,100) to reimburse the city government. Hayakawa, a resident of the city, filed the complaint at the Otsu District Court on Monday.

In the leaflet, titled “12 rules for child rearing,” an illustration of a boy is accompanied with the words “answer cheerfully,” whereas an illustration of a girl is accompanied with the words “speak politely.”

Hayakawa claims the leaflet reproduces “a typical gender image of men as active and women as kind.”

The leaflet also states that fathers should “enhance (children’s) respect for social norms” and mothers should “encourage” children when they make mistakes rather than scold them.

The illustrations suggest the relationship between a husband and wife is akin to that of a master and servant, the plaintiff claims.

The central government has set guidelines for local governments to be mindful of gender equality in publications.

The city government said it will consider its response after studying the complaint.

© KYODO
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10,000 tons of toxic water pools in Fukushima nuclear plant trenches

TOKYO —
Around 10,000 tons of contaminated water have pooled in underground trenches around the Nos. 1 to 4 reactor buildings of the crippled Fukushima Daiichi nuclear power plant, according to the plant operator Tokyo Electric Power Company Holdings Inc.

Tokyo Electric Power Co (TEPCO) has no immediate plan to remove the water in the trenches where cables run for the nuclear power complex devastated by the March 2011 earthquake and tsunami disaster.

Water that flowed into the trenches in the wake of the huge tsunami is believed to have been mixed with highly radioactive water leaking from the basements of reactor buildings and contaminated rainwater.

“Compared with around 70,000 tons of highly contaminated water that remain in the basements of the reactor buildings, (the water in the trenches) has a low level of concentration and thus poses little threat in terms of radiation exposure and the environment,” said an official of TEPCO.

TEPCO said in a report issued in July—based on research conducted in fiscal 2015—that it has found around 8,000 tons of toxic water in 17 locations in the trenches that connect with reactor buildings where highly radioactive water accumulates, as well as around 3,000 tons of toxic water at 11 locations in trenches that do not connect with reactor buildings.

Of the water in the trenches around the Nos. 1 to 4 reactor buildings, a removal procedure was completed by June for around 500 tons of water in a pipe that measured the highest level of radioactive cesium at 500,000 becquerels per liter.

The level of radioactive cesium in water at other locations in the trenches was mostly measured at several thousands becquerels or below.

The level in toxic water in the basements of reactor buildings has been measured at around dozens of millions becquerels at maximum.

TEPCO has said it will continue to monitor and measure the level of contamination in water in the trenches regularly and consider taking measures to remove the water in the future. But no concrete plan has been created yet.

The electricity firm has so far removed a total of around 10,000 tons of highly radioactive water at three locations in the trenches running in the seaside of the complex and completed the procedure to fill locations concerned with cement to prevent water leaks.

Still, the level of radioactive cesium remains unchecked at 40 locations in the trenches due to high radioactive levels as well as debris and other objects blocking the research operation.

Around 8,000 tons of contaminated water, including those with an extremely low level of contamination, have also been found in the trenches running around the Nos. 5 and 6 reactor buildings. The two units have lower levels of radiation doses than the Nos. 1 to 4 units as there were no nuclear meltdowns or hydrogen explosions there during the nuclear disaster.
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Getting stopped by police in Japan – how often does it happen (and why?)

Getting stopped by police in Japan – how often does it happen (and why?) | JAPAN, as I see it | Scoop.it
TOKYO —
Japan is not without its random, unpredictable crimes, but in general it’s one of the safest countries in the world. Rates of theft and violent crime are comparatively low, and with 24-hour-staffed “koban” police boxes every few blocks, it’s easy to feel protected here.

However, foreigners in Japan sometimes report being stopped by the police and asked for ID, a practice which can seem shocking and unfair, especially if you’re not sure why it’s happening. With the police in Japan having less violent crime to deal with, they’re often tasked with handling smaller matters like bicycle theft, lost items, and simply giving directions to passers-by. They also sometimes pop by your house on their rounds to leave a friendly note in your mailbox letting you know where your nearest koban is. In short, the police in Japan have quite an approachable image, and are often addressed by members of the public as “Omawari-san“, or, literally, “Mr./Ms. Walk-Around.”

So, why do they stop foreigners? Well, firstly it’s important to note that they also stop Japanese people and ask to see their IDs as well. Being stopped by the police in Japan doesn’t necessarily mean you’ve done anything wrong at all. If you’re an unfamiliar face in their patrol area, they may just want to know what you’re doing there.

When I was working in a small rural town in Kyoto Prefecture, I was stopped in my first week there by a pair of officers who asked to see my ID (this was during the days of the “Gaikokujin toroku”/alien registration system, and not the residence system that’s in place today). I produced my ID, and then we had a really nice chat about the town and where all the best drinking spots were. They even told me about the town festival that was happening that weekend. Nothing to worry about, right?

Of course, the police sometimes stop people for more serious matters, including checking foreigners’ residence cards or passports to make sure they’re not illegally present in the country. Also, if a crime has been reported in the area, they may stop people randomly. If you’re riding a bicycle, they may stop you and ask to see your bike registration (since bike theft is a big issue in Japan, each bicycle must be registered at purchase.) If a police officer asks for your ID, you are legally obligated to show it. It is illegal to walk around in Japan as a foreigner without either your passport or residence card on your person. However, if you’re stopped by a plain-clothes policeman, it’s probably a good idea to ask to see their “keisatsu techo” (police badge) as well.

But how often do people get stopped by the police in Japan? YouTuber That Japanese Man Yuta conducted a survey of his viewers asking exactly that question. The results are quite reassuring. Yuta also describes his own personal experiences of being stopped by the police in the video, which you can watch below.

As Yuta’s initial survey shows, you’re only likely to be stopped by the police once every three years in Japan on average! Of course, it seems that some people get stopped far more often than others, though it’s not exactly clear what the main factor is. Yuta’s survey is ongoing so head over to this link if you’d like to share your personal experience!
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Yopparai Tengoku (Drunkards' Heaven) - Photographs and text by Kenji Kawamoto | LensCulture

Yopparai Tengoku (Drunkards' Heaven) - Photographs and text by Kenji Kawamoto | LensCulture | JAPAN, as I see it | Scoop.it
In Japan, some business men and women have a reputation for working hard and drinking hard, day after day — these photos document the places where they can go no further, so they simple stop where they are, and wait
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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...

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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....

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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.”
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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
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7 years after tsunami, Japanese live uneasily with seawalls

7 years after tsunami, Japanese live uneasily with seawalls | JAPAN, as I see it | Scoop.it
When a massive earthquake struck in 2011, Japanese oyster fisherman Atsushi Fujita was working as usual by the sea. Soon after, a huge black wave slammed into his city and killed nearly 2,000 people. Seven years on, Fujita and thousands like him along Japan's northeast coast have rebuilt their lives…
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Japan's defense budget for FY 2017 likely to hit record Y5.1 tril

TOKYO —
Japan’s defense budget in fiscal 2017 could hit a record high of around 5.1 trillion yen ($44.64 billion), a government source said Thursday, as the country seeks to cope with security challenges amid China’s maritime assertiveness and North Korea’s missile threats.

It would mark the fifth straight year of increases in the country’s defense budget, which also includes costs linked to the realignment of U.S. forces in Japan. Defense spending has been on an uptrend since the fiscal 2013 budget compiled under Prime Minister Shinzo Abe who returned to power in December 2012.

The government is also considering boosting defense spending in an extra budget expected to be compiled later this month for fiscal 2016 through next March, according to the source.

In view of China’s maritime assertiveness, Japan is trying to beef up its defenses of remote islands, especially in and around Okinawa Prefecture, southwestern Japan, enhance capabilities to intercept ballistic missiles from North Korea, and boost space and cybersecurity.

Still, the envisaged increase in defense budget comes in contrast to Japan’s efforts to rein in spending on social welfare and education.

The defense budget for fiscal 2012 compiled under the government of the then Democratic Party of Japan, the predecessor of the main opposition Democratic Party, stood at 4.71 trillion yen. It topped 5 trillion yen for the first time in fiscal 2016 when the figure came to 5.05 trillion yen.

Under a five-year defense program through fiscal 2018, the government expects an average annual rise of 0.8 percent for defense spending.

Funds allocated for the realignment of U.S. forces are expected to increase from 179.4 billion yen in the current fiscal year, according to the source.

The funds will be used to help transfer some U.S. Marines to Guam from Okinawa where the bulk of U.S. military facilities in Japan are concentrated, and move U.S. carrier-borne fighter jets from the U.S. Navy’s Atsugi base in Kanagawa Prefecture, southwest of Tokyo, to a base in Iwakuni, Yamaguchi Prefecture in western Japan.

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Viral Math Question. What Is 9 - 3 ÷ 1/3 + 1 = ?

Viral Math Question. What Is 9 - 3 ÷ 1/3 + 1 = ? | JAPAN, as I see it | Scoop.it
This problem went viral in Japan after a study found 60 percent of 20 somethings could get the correct answer, down from a rate of 90 percent in the 1980s.
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Japan's bar federation targets abolishing death penalty for 1st time

TOKYO —
The Japan Federation of Bar Associations will propose for the first time to its members next month that they work for the abolition of capital punishment so that even the worst offenders can be rehabilitated.

The proposal comes at a time when more than two-thirds of nations have abolished the death penalty by law or in practice.

It also reflects concerns over miscarriage of justice, given that four death row inmates were exonerated in the 1980s through retrials and another death row inmate was freed in 2014 following 48 years behind bars after a court reopened his case. The decision has been appealed by prosecutors.

“If an innocent person or an offender who does not deserve to be sentenced to death is executed it is an irrevocable human rights violation,” said Yuji Ogawara, a Tokyo-based lawyer who serves as secretary general of a JFBA panel on the death penalty.

The proposal will be submitted to the federation’s annual human rights meeting on Oct 7 in Fukui for formal adoption as a JFBA declaration.

The federation is targeting abolition of the death penalty by 2020, when the U.N. Congress on Crime Prevention and Criminal Justice will be held in Japan.

In its 2011 declaration, the federation urged the government to immediately start public debate on the death penalty, but stopped short of clearly calling for its abolition.

Since then, the federation has carried out more in-depth discussions on the issue by organizing symposiums, exchanging views with lawmakers, Justice Ministry officials, journalists and diplomats as well as those in religious circles.

It has also sent delegations overseas to research penal systems in countries including Britain, South Korea, Spain and the United States.

“There are still lawyers who support the death penalty, but I think we have developed an environment that enables us to seek its abolition,” said Ogawara, who was involved in drafting the proposal.

As an alternative to the death penalty, the federation proposes whole life sentences without parole should be considered as one option.

But even if whole life sentences without parole are given, there should be scope for subsequently reviewing the sentence if an offender has truly been rehabilitated, as it would be inhumane to allow no possibility of such inmates ever being released, it says.

Those who commit crimes, in many cases, are the socially disadvantaged who could be rehabilitated with appropriate approaches, Ogawara said. “The penal system should contribute to promoting social reintegration of offenders, rather than satisfying the desire for retribution.”

It is also important to enhance assistance measures for crime victims and their bereaved families, the JFBA says in the proposal, stressing the need to provide continued support to them “as the primary responsibility of society as a whole.”

Japan was urged by the U.N. Human Rights Committee in 2014 to “give due consideration to the abolition of the death penalty,” but has legitimized its continuance by citing the outcome of a survey that indicated more than 80 percent of people in Japan support the death penalty.

Critics maintain that the respondents were not provided with sufficient information on the execution system.

The secrecy surrounding executions in Japan has been criticized at home and abroad, with neither death row inmates nor their lawyers and families given advance notice of hangings. It also remains unclear what criteria authorities use in deciding when inmates are to be executed.

Japan hanged two death row inmates in March, bringing to 16 the total number of people executed since Prime Minister Shinzo Abe came to power in December 2012.

© KYODO
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The discussion has started, although it's a good news, but 250 yrs later than western civilisation
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Mother questioned after 4 children found dead in home

FUKUOKA —
A 41-year-old woman is being questioned after her four young children were found dead in their home in Sue, Fukuoka Prefecture, on Monday morning.

According to police, the woman’s husband, Masao Fuchi, 39, discovered the bodies in a Japanese-style room on the first floor of the house at around 5:50 a.m., Fuji TV reported.

Police said that the four children, a boy, Shunsuke, aged 10, twin girls Mina and Miyu, aged 6, and a 3-year-old girl, Mio, had been strangled to death with a TV game cord, while their mother had slit her wrists with a kitchen knife.

Police said the mother survived her wounds and was taken to hospital where she is in a stable condition. Police quoted her as saying she killed her children and then tried to kill herself, but will wait until she recovers before questioning her further.

The woman’s husband said everything seemed alright on Sunday night at 11 p.m. when he went to bed.

Meanwhile, local media reported that the woman called 110 on Aug 19, seeking consultation about a domestic problem but was vague and rambling, according to police. However, police said they visited the home on the afternoon of Aug 19 but found nothing out of the ordinary.

The woman called 110 again the next day to say that things were OK, police said.

The local child welfare consultation center said it had received no reports from the family or school about any trouble at home.
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Skilled Photographers Capture Japan's Gorgeous Summer Firefly Phenomenon

Skilled Photographers Capture Japan's Gorgeous Summer Firefly Phenomenon | JAPAN, as I see it | Scoop.it
Japan is a beautiful country full of breathtaking buildings, landscapes, and scenery any time of year. In the height of summer, however, something particul
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Teacher who sat for anthem deserved pay cut: Japan court

Teacher who sat for anthem deserved pay cut: Japan court | JAPAN, as I see it | Scoop.it
Tokyo (AFP) —
A school was right to cut the pay of a teacher who refused to stand for the national anthem, a Japanese court has ruled.

Hiroko Shimizu, 63, filed the case demanding education authorities in Osaka retract the punitive measure taken after she ignored an all-rise order for the national anthem during a 2013 graduation ceremony.

But Osaka District Court presiding judge Hiroyuki Naito on Wednesday turned down her demand, ruling the pay cut was appropriate, a court spokesman said.

The order to stand for the singing of the anthem was not aimed at forcing participants to follow any ideology, Naito told the court, according to Jiji Press.

Rather, it was to ensure that “the ceremony proceeded smoothly and order was maintained,” he said.

The judge said Shimizu “put her own sense of values before the maintenance of civil servant discipline.”

Shimizu immediately appealed to a higher court, Jiji said.

Critics say the song, a paean to the emperor, amounts to a call to self-sacrifice on his behalf and celebrates past militarism in which soldiers went to war in their ruler’s name.

Numerous teachers have clashed with school administrators in recent years over the issue, and current nationalist Prime Minister Shinzo Abe is accused of trying to play down Japan’s World War II history.

Court decisions have been divided.

In 2012, the supreme court ruled that penalising teachers for not standing to sing the anthem was constitutional, but it warned administrators to exercise care in going beyond a reprimand.

But last year, the Tokyo District Court awarded millions of dollars in compensation to a group of teachers who were punished for refusing to sing the song.

Abe told parliament last year that raising the national flag and standing to sing the anthem at school ceremonies should be done not only in elementary and secondary institutions, but also public universities.

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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.

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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?...

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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”.
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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
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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.
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