Typhoon No. 12 heavy rains damage World Heritage Site The Cultural Affairs Agency has decided to conduct a full-scale investigation into the damage caused by Typhoon No. 12 to a UNESCO World Heritage Site that spreads across Wakayama, Nara and Mie prefectures. Agency staff were to be sent on Wednesday to investigate the harm done to the heritage site known as "Sacred Sites and Pilgrimage Routes in the Kii Mountain Range." Huge landslides occurred within the site on ancient roads known as Kumano Kodo, and there was also damage to the Kumano Sanzan shrines. It may take several years to restore the areas to their original state.
14 Sep Japan's Supreme Court said Tuesday it has turned down an appeal from a former Japanese Red Army member who was sentenced to life imprisonment by lower courts for his involvement in the 1977 hijacking of a Japan Airlines plane and the 1974 seizure of the French Embassy in The Hague. The defendant, Jun Nishikawa, 61, can still file an objection with the top court against the decision but it is limited to technicalities such as errors in wording. Tuesday's decision is expected to become final and binding as the court rarely accepts such objections. Lower court rulings show that Nishikawa conspired with other Japanese Red Army members to seize the French Embassy in The Hague in September 1974, held hostages for up to about 100 hours, and fired at policemen, wounding two of them. (Mainichi)
14 Sep "My boyfriend was so busy, he repeatedly cancelled our dates, and we finally wound up on a 'date' at his house, watching DVDs together. We were slouching on the sofa and he had his hands around my waist. It felt so good! Having gone so long without any lovin', my expectations were soaring." Thus begins an inspired amateur account of lusty romance from the June edition of ladies' magazine Renai Tengoku, as introduced in Shukan Bunshun (Sept. 8). "Then suddenly - you're never gonna believe this - his cell phone rang and he got summoned to an urgent job. He dashed into the other room to change his clothes, and there I sat, wallowing in shock and disappointment." (Tokyo Reporter)
14 Sep Nothing stirs in the empty heart of Tomioka, a community of 16,000 now reduced to the eerie status of a ghost town after the nuclear disaster at Fukushima. The shops of the main street are deserted, motorbikes and cars are abandoned, weeds push through gaps in the concrete. Vending machines selling drinks and snacks - always popular in Japan - stand unlit and silent. Tomioka lies just inside the 20km exclusion zone that was hurriedly enforced last March when a radioactive cloud escaped from the stricken power plant. In the rush to flee, doors were left wide open. Windows and roofs shattered by the earthquake and tsunami are still not repaired. A bicycle leans against a lamp-post. (BBC)
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)