Japanese news with attitude

Rohit Khare (khare@w3.org)
Thu, 19 Dec 1996 12:16:15 -0500

[Shocking -- MSN pointed me at this link!
http://www.so-net.or.jp/tokyoq/injapan.html ]

Last week in Japan
What really happened

A former member of the Lower House was convicted for accepting a bribe from
the Federation of Yarn Twisters Cooperative Associations for putting
questions to the Diet in the interest of that Association. The president of
a Tokyo toy company paid 6 millon yen for a Teddy Bear which had made a
name for itself on a BBC television program for children. Police collared
an Osaka man for selling gold bars to sailors from South Korea, where gold
is ten percent more expensive than in Japan. The Prime Minister said he
regretted accepting 2 million yen as a political donation from a company
currently involved in a scandal concerning the Ministry of Health and
Welfare. As Burmese universities were closed down by the increasingly
threatened Burmese government, JAL opened a new hotel in Rangoon and ANA
inaugurated new flights to that city.

The former Vice Minister of Health and Welfare, currently under arrest for
having accepted 60 million yen in bribes, is to be paid a 3.2 million yen
bonus and possibly severance pay. The Prime Minister said he was outraged.
The Finance Ministry, citing an overabundance of doctors, decided to
eliminate subsidies to medical schools. A CD on which the text of the
Japanese Constitution is sung as rock and roll was put on the market. On
reports of a meager harvest, the price of oranges soared 50 percent. The
Tokyo High Courst held that employees have a right to a rest break during a
24-hour shift, but that during the break they could be paid at a reduced
rate. The Judo Federation agreed to let Japanese judoists compete in Europe
wearing uniforms other than white, as a trial. A junior high school teacher
was reprimanded for slapping 33 boys in the face when no one owned up to
breaking the doors in the gym toilet. Subsequently, four other (unslapped)
students said they were responsible.

Princess Masako talked to the press for the first time in over three years
and asked them not to be so anxious about her. A Nara man was arrested for
tattooing roses on six 14-year-old girls. It was revealed that as many as a
quarter of elementary school children do not know how to peel a banana or
tie their shoes, their mothers having always done these things for them. An
Asahi Shimbun editorial noted a divide in Asia between Japan and other
Asian nations because at a recent international conference in Manila, the
Japanese delegation, selected to attend as representatives of official
organizations, hardly mingled because they were not confident of their
English, while people from other Asian countries, who tended to be
entrepreneurs, socialized joyfully, speaking English as a matter of course.