Japan's new PM picks allies for key Cabinet spots Japan's new prime minister picked close allies Friday for key positions in his Cabinet as he tries to steer his troubled nation through disaster recovery, a nuclear crisis and a lengthy economic slump. Yoshihiko Noda, a surprise choice for prime minister when he took control of the ruling party this week, is bringing along some fresh faces to the Cabinet, including 47-year-old Koichiro Gemba as foreign minister and 49-year-old Jun Azumi as finance minister. Both are relatively young in a Japanese political world normally dominated by elder statesmen, and both are closely allied with Noda.
2 Sep A bar hostess stabbed a host in Tokyo's Kabukicho entertainment district following a dispute early yesterday morning, reports Zakzak (Sep. 2). At around 3:35 a.m. on Sep. 1, a 25-year-old host - that is, a male club entertainer - was stabbed in the chest and back with a stationery knife by a hostess employed at a sex-related club, according to Tokyo Metropolitan Police. The 27-year-old, a resident of Kawasaki City, was arrested for attempted murder. (Tokyo Reporter)
2 Sep A reptile dealer allegedly responsible for letting a snake escape on a Shinkansen train in July said he realized after waking from a nap the snake was on the loose, but did not report it for fear of causing a fuss, police said. Police on Wednesday sent papers on the Yokohama-based dealer to prosecutors on suspicion of negligent management of the animal, in violation of the Minor Offenses Law. According to Yodogawa Police Station of the Osaka prefectural police, the 29-year-old man let a Honduran milk snake, measuring about one meter, escape from a plastic case on a Tokaido Shinkansen that was heading from Osaka to Tokyo on the night of July 2. The snake is considered a possible danger to humans. (Yomiuri)
2 Sep Fishermen in the traditional whaling town of Taiji, Wakayama Prefecture, scrubbed Thursday's kickoff of their annual hunt for dolphins, whales and other cetaceans due to an approaching typhoon off the Pacific coast. "We'd like to head out to sea soon, but you just can't beat a typhoon," Masayuki Miyoshi, deputy head of a local whaling association, said. The town was the focus of the controversial U.S. documentary "The Cove," which critically depicts the dolphin hunt there. (Japan Times)
2 Sep The National Police Agency said Thursday that 24,515 people were victimized by loan sharks in the first half of this year, down 25.8 percent from a year earlier, with total damage suffered down 35.3 percent, to about ¥4.2 billion, amid an enhanced crackdown. Police processed 336 suspects in 199 such cases in the January-June period, while the NPA provided financial institutions with 9,959 items of information, up 123.0 percent, on accounts suspected to have been used in loan shark cases to be frozen, it said. (Japan Times)
1 Sep A new erotic photo book is achieving brisk sales in spite of not revealing any of the faces of the female models nor full nudity, reports weekly tabloid Shukan Asahi Geino (Sep. 8). The magazine says that the book emphasizes the subtle aspects of swimsuits and uniforms: The skirt of a sailor suit gently rises to expose high up a thigh; a sock is visible just before a change into a swimsuit; and an exercise session gently reveals a bare midriff. The book "Natsufuku Joshi (Summer Clothing Girls)," by Million Publishing, is recording tremendous sales, ascending to the top of the photo book section of Amazon.jp at the end if July (and still holding that position now). (Tokyo Reporter)