Tuesday, February 14, 2006

New York Times criticizes Aso's recent remarks on history

NEW YORK — The New York Times in its editorial published Monday criticized Japanese Foreign Minister Taro Aso for his recent remarks on Japan's prewar and wartime activities, saying 'Mr Aso's sense of diplomacy is as odd as his sense of history.'

In the editorial titled 'Japan's Offensive Foreign Minister,' the Times said, 'People everywhere wish they could be proud of every bit of their countries' histories. But honest people understand that's impossible, and wise people appreciate the positive value of acknowledging and learning from painful truths about past misdeeds. Then there is Japan's new foreign minister, Taro Aso, who has been neither honest nor wise in the inflammatory statements he has been making about Japan's disastrous era of militarism, colonialism and war crimes that culminated in the Second World War,' the paper said."

Tuesday, February 07, 2006

Security guard crushed to death by falling ticket vending machine at Nagatacho subway station

A 70-year-old subway security guard was crushed to death at Nagatacho station on Tuesday morning when a ticket vending machine that he and four other station staff were carrying tipped over and fell down the stairs near the exit.

The 400-kg vending machine pinned the security guard, killing him. Two other men sustained injuries. The five workers were in the process of replacing the old machine with a new one when the accident occurred."

Monday, February 06, 2006

Man buried dad in yard to avoid cost of a funeral

Man buried dad in yard to avoid cost of a funeral

TAKAMATSU, Kagawa Pref. (Kyodo) A 59-year-old man and his 85-year-old mother were arrested Sunday on suspicion of abandoning the body of his father by burying it in the yard of his home in Takamatsu, Kagawa Prefecture.

A skeletonized body was dug up from the yard Saturday. The suspects were identified as Fumio Makizuka, a part-time shop attendant, and his mother, Fumiko. Investigators suspect the body is that of Buntaro Makizuka, 93.

The son was quoted by police as saying he hid the body because he could not afford a funeral and did not want his father's pension benefits to stop coming.

Investigators found the body after a relative reported to police that the elder Makizuka had gone missing.

According to investigators, the pair did not notify authorities of the man's death when he passed away in the house in September.

The son told police his father died of old age."

Annual snow festival begins in Sapporo

Annual snow festival begins in Sapporo: "Annual snow festival begins in Sapporo

Monday, February 6, 2006 at 13:10 EST
[A snow sculpture of the Golden Pavilion of Horyuji temple stands at Odori Park.]
A snow sculpture of the Golden Pavilion of Horyuji temple stands

SAPPORO — A seven-day snow festival began Monday in the Hokkaido capital of Sapporo featuring some 300 snow and ice sculptures in three locations, including one that replaces a previous Ground Self-Defense Force site.

For the 57th Sapporo Snow Festival, the new Satoland site replaces the previous festival site in the GSDF's Makomanai garrison, with troops offering technical support for the building of statues and a giant snow slope, which had been a popular attraction for children at the previous site. The other two sites are the festival's main Odori Park site and a site in Susukino."

Toyoko Inn found to have violated building codes at 60 renovated hotels

Toyoko Inn found to have violated building codes at 60 renovated hotels

Monday, February 6, 2006 at 19:12 EST
TOKYO — Budget hotel chain operator Toyoko Inn Co made modifications to 77 of its 122 hotels across Japan after they had passed government inspections confirming they complied with building regulations, with violations detected in 60 of them, the Ministry of Land, Infrastructure and Transport said Monday.

The ministry said it has agreed with local authorities to consider filing a criminal complaint against the Tokyo-based company if the operator fails to obey orders to rectify violations — totaling 79 cases — at the 60 establishments. (Kyodo News)"

3 Kyoto Univ students admit to gang rape

3 Kyoto Univ students admit to gang rape: "3 Kyoto Univ students admit to gang rape

Monday, February 6, 2006 at 16:07 EST

KYOTO — Three Kyoto University students have admitted to allegations that they gang raped two female university students in December, reversing their earlier denial, police sources said Monday.

Jumpei Shirai, 22, Ryo Ikeguchi, 23, and Masahiro Kido, 22 — all seniors and former members of the university's American Gangsters football club — told the police that they 'did something that may be billed as rape,' according to the sources.

The three had denied the gang rape allegations earlier. Shirai and Ikeguchi asserted the sex was consensual as the women were conscious and able to talk, while Kido said he did not have sex.

But the suspects called their deeds 'inexcusable' and showed intention of apologizing to the victims after the police told them that the women were so drunk they only had vague memories, the sources said.

Police suspect the three made the victims drink 'shochu,' a distilled liquor, and straight vodka as they played drinking games at Kido's apartment in Kyoto on the night of Dec 22 before the crime allegedly took place early in the morning the following day."