Fukushima evacuees weigh risks of return Kimie Furuuchi recently received a letter encouraging her to come home. Signed by the mayor, it began, "Dear Minamisoma Evacuee. . . ." "We are trying to create the environment where all evacuees can come back to Minamisoma as soon as possible," the letter stated. Furuuchi thought it seemed premature. Government authorities and radiation experts kept saying that her old city could become safer, but almost nobody said it was safe. The ambiguity meant that Furuuchi, like tens of thousands of others who fled their homes after the Fukushima No. 1 nuclear disaster in March, had to weigh the comfort of a homecoming against a danger she could not quantify.
23 Sep A man found 10 million yen ($131,000) in cash Sept. 22 in a bag thrown away in a garbage dump at the city of Kasai in Hyogo prefecture, police said. The 56-year-old employee of a Kasai Municipal Government-run waste disposal center found the bag while separating garbage for the disposal. Center officials handed the bag into the police and will be entitled to claim the cash if its rightful owner does not emerge within three months. (majirox news)
22 Sep Following the request that the name Tokyo Electric Power Co. appear on a receipt for a sex club in Sapporo's Susukino red-light district earlier this month, the establishment has decided to ban patronage from that firm, reports daily tabloid Yukan Fuji (Sept. 17). On September 14, the fuzoku shop Olive Garden announced on its blog that it would not honor patrons hailing from TEPCO - in fact, it joked that the nuclear meltdown at Fukushima had sapped some of their virility in any case. (Tokyo Reporter)
22 Sep Mika Sato has found that two dolls resembling her 6-year-old daughter, who died in the March 11 tsunami, have helped soothe her emotional scars. "It was like my daughter came back to me," said Sato, 36, recalling the day earlier this month when she received the two dolls from the nonprofit organization Tamezo Club. Omokage bina are dolls that resemble people who have passed on. They are made by craftsmen who work from photographs of the deceased person. Since early August, Tamezo Club, a welfare services NPO based in Iwatsuki Ward, Saitama, has been donating them to people who lost loved ones in the March 11 disaster. (Yomiuri)
22 Sep A 71-year-old Japanese man died in Honolulu after falling off a trolley during a tour. The man, who name was not released, was taken to a hospital after falling Monday afternoon, where he was listed in critical condition and died later that day, police said. The man was standing next to an exit on the trolley and fell onto the road when the vehicle made a left turn out of a shopping center. A police spokeswoman said the accident is under investigation but that drugs and alcohol are not considered to be factors. The trolley was not speeding and traffic was moderate at the time, she said. (Japan Times)
21 Sep To promote forthcoming anti-gang legislation, the superintendent general of Tokyo Metropolitan Police Department, Tateshi Higuchi, threw out the first pitch before the Yakult Swallows faced the Yomiuri Giants at Tokyo Dome last night, reports the Sankei Shimbun (Sept. 21). Beginning on October 1, business transactions between citizens and members of organized crime, such as the paying mikajimeryo (protection money), will be prohibited. The law will be enforced nationwide. (Tokyo Reporter)