Noda apologizes for gov't response to Fukushima Prime Minister Yoshihiko Noda apologized Sept. 8 for the national government's inadequate response to the Fukushima Daiichi nuclear crisis. Noda bowed deeply in apology before a meeting with Fukushima Gov. Yuhei Sato, telling him that a visit to the radiation-spewing plant earlier in the day had showed him the enormity of the national government's responsibility. Sato remained motionless as the prime minister sworn in one week earlier expressed his regret.
9 Sep Prior to her nine-pic retrospective at next month's 24th Tokyo International Film Festival, legendary actress Kyoko Kagawa earlier this week looked back at filmmaking from six decades ago and compared it to the modern era. At a press conference at The Foreign Correspondents' Club of Japan on Tuesday, the 79-year-old actress said the biggest difference is the lack of big studios making films today. "The studios supported the filmmakers with much money and time so that they could make masterpieces," said Kagawa, who started her career at now defunct studio Shin Toho in 1949. "But today it seems that everyone is an independent filmmaker and there is more freedom, for better or for worse. When I worked with the masters, it was intimidating, but now it is more casual." (Tokyo Reporter)
9 Sep After the waters unleashed by Japan's March 11 tsunami receded, Sakae Kushida toured the big mobile phone makers that buy his electronic components, pleading with them not to dump his firm as a supplier. He assured them his company Hirose Electric was preparing to shift some of its high-tech production to South Korea, after the tsunami wiped out the factories of a manufacturing partner in Kamaishi, an old steel town in the northeast, disrupting its supply chain. "I told them, along with my apologies, that the impact of the March earthquake had largely been resolved, that we would establish dual production sites, so please don't abandon Hirose," said Kushida, Hirose Electric's senior executive vice president. Hirose and companies like it may end up abandoning Kamaishi and other greying towns in Japan's manufacturing heartland, after the events of March 11 exposed the vulnerability of their intricate supply networks -- and the impact on the global supply chain, which seized up after the disaster. (Reuters)
8 Sep "Alibi-ya" is a uniquely Japanese service that skirts the boundaries of legality. Its typical function is to assist women in concealing their participation in the world's oldest profession by providing them, for a set fee, with a respectable identity. The alternate identity is mainly used to conceal knowledge of the women’s employment from their families. The alibi-ya, upon request, will provide women with spurious tax payment certificates and other documentation needed to lease apartments or secure loans. In recent years the service has also been alleged to create false identities for foreigners lacking legal status in Japan. Nikkan Gendai (Sep. 8) reports the first known incident of an alibi-ya being busted. (Tokyo Reporter)
8 Sep Nearly six months after the March 11 disaster, Fukushima prefectural police launched Wednesday a search operation for missing people in areas near the troubled Fukushima No. 1 nuclear power plant. A total of 220 local police officers and firefighters were mobilized for the two-day operation, which is scheduled to run through Thursday. They will cover areas within the 20-kilometer no-entry zone surrounding the nuclear plant and also some coastal areas outside the no-entry zone. (Yomiuri)
7 Sep With television entertainer Shinsuke Shimada revealing last month that he had ties to organized crime, Zakzak (Sep. 6) speculates that gravure idols (pin-up models often appearing in magazines and on variety shows) will soon find difficulties as police work to eradicate the underworld from the entertainment industry. Starting in October, new anti-gang legislation will prohibit ordinary citizens from doing business transactions with gangsters. Years ago, it was not unusual for organized crime groups, or boryokudan, to associate in public with enka and kabuki performers, but today that is no longer allowable. Nowadays the relations exist through offices that employ models. (Tokyo Reporter)