Tsunami debris creates Pacific shipping hazard Researchers say tonnes of debris resulting from the tsunami that struck Japan in March are drifting thousands of kilometres into the Pacific. There are fears the debris could present a hazard to both marine life and shipping vessels. A 600-kilometre stretch of Japan's scenic north-east coast was devastated by the disaster, with 20,00 people left dead or missing. Nikolai Maximenko from the University of Hawaii's Pacific Research Centre says the debris is believed to be a few hundred kilometres east of the Midway islands. The islands are more than 4,000 kilometres east of Tokyo.
13 Sep Tsuyoshi Kawana, former leader of a large bosozoku gang, was arrested yesterday in the Azabu Juban district of Tokyo's Minato Ward for an assault that took place four months ago, reports Sports Hochi (Sept. 13). Kawana was taken into custody by members of the Azabu division of the Tokyo Metropolitan Police for inflicting injuries requiring two to three weeks to heal to the head of an acquaintance inside a nightclub in the Roppongi entertainment district at around 3 a.m. on May 8. The 40-year-old Kawana was previously involved in the drunken rampage of Mongolian-born former sumo yokozuna Asashoryu that occurred in January of last year, just before the grand champion's retirement from the sport. (Tokyo Reporter)
12 Sep Across from a noodle shop in a Yokohama suburb, Hisayoshi Teramura's inn looks much like any other small lodging that dots the port city. Occasionally, it's even mistaken for a love hotel by couples hankering for some time beneath the sheets. But Teramura's place is neither a love nest nor a pit stop for tired travelers. The white and grey tiled building is a corpse hotel, its 18 deceased guests tucked up in refrigerated coffins. "We tell them we only have cold rooms," Teramura quips when asked how his staff respond to unwary lovers looking for a room. The daily rate at Lastel, as it is known, is 12,000 yen ($157). For that fee, bereaved families can check in their dead while they wait their turn in the queue for one of the city's overworked crematoriums. (Reuters)
12 Sep Two Japanese teenagers, Shota Sometani and Fumi Nikaido, won the Marcello Mastroianni Award for best young actor and actress at the 68th Venice International Film Festival on Saturday for their performance in the Japanese film "Himizu" directed by Sion Sono. Sometani, 19, and Nikaido, 16, became the first Japanese actor and actress to take home the prize, which was created in 1998. At press conference in Tokyo on Sunday, the actors expressed their joy at receiving the award. (Japan Times)
12 Sep Former Morning Musume member Ai Kago was found in her Tokyo apartment yesterday after an apparent suicide attempt, reports daily tabloid Sports Hochi (Sept. 12). Tokyo Metropolitan Police reported that medical personnel were alerted to Kago's apartment, located in the Roppongi area of Minato Ward, just before noon on Monday after members of the 23-year-old's management agency discovered her on the floor with her wrists cut. She was transferred to a local hospital, where she is now recovering. The one-time member of the popular idol group also seemed to be suffering from an overdose of tranquilizers, police said. (Tokyo Reporter)
12 Sep Even before the March 11 earthquake and tsunami struck knocking out the Fukushima nuclear plant, Aya's life was a struggle. She had divorced her abusive husband and was left on her own to care and provide for her two daughters. Now, six months after she fled her home just 9 km (6 miles) away from the radiation-spewing plant, the 26-year old single mother is barely surviving. She has no job, languishes in hiding from her violent ex-husband in temporary housing and will probably never see her home again. (Reuters)