A group of South Korean men has been caught trying to smuggle treasured historical items that disappeared from the Japanese island of Tsushima:
Three of the men are suspected of stealing a bronze standing statue of Tathagata Buddha, designated an important cultural property by the Japanese government, from Kaijinjinja shrine, and a seated statue of the Kanzeon Bodhisattva, designated a tangible cultural property by Nagasaki Prefecture, from Kannonji temple in October.
Both the shrine and the temple are located on Tsushima island, which lies in the straits between the Japanese mainland and the Korean Peninsula.
A couple days after the March 11th 2011 earthquake, the French government told its citizens to flee the Tokyo region. It was a notorious overreaction to the Fukushima Dai-ichi nuclear accident. It was based on fear and/or distrust, not on actual information about a credible or serious threat the people of Tokyo. At the time, many of us in Japan harshly criticized the French embassy’s response. The consensus at the time among nuclear experts was that Tokyo was not in danger, and subsequent investigations of the nuclear accident have found that they were right. It was totally unnecessary for people to leave Tokyo.
Nonetheless, quite a few foreign residents of Tokyo fled. Among them were nine employees of the French section of NHK’s Radio Japan. Eight of those employees later returned to Japan and resumed work at NHK. But one of them, Emmanuelle Bodin, was fired. She is now suing NHK for 22.17 million yen ($250,000) in damages, claiming that they unfairly dismissed her:
“In order to protect my family, I decided to temporarily leave Tokyo. . . . Prior to my departure I followed the required NHK work procedures, which included obtaining permission from my management,” Bodin said in Tokyo at the Foreign Correspondents’ Club of Japan, where she and one of her lawyers, Kazuyuki Azusawa, held a news conference.
NHK claims otherwise. They say that she did not request leave, but instead “unilaterally” informed her managers that she was leaving Japan. Other foreign contractors who temporarily fled had given at least a day’s notice to NHK before leaving. Bodin apparently informed her boss just 3.5 hours before she was scheduled to work on a radio program.
Hi everyone. I don’t how much longer Bill’s preprogrammed entries will continue but I have sad news to report. Bill Sakovich, the author of this blog passed away on December 21 from cancer. He had been having stomach problems for the past two months and thought it was an ulcer. He went in the hospital to have the ulcer taken care of and during surgery they found he had cancer and that it had spread throughout his stomach and intestines. I’m sorry to say that my days are now a little less bright without the opportunity to meet up with Bill for some yakitori and political discussion.
It is truly sad to hear that Bill is gone. I think we can all agree, regardless of our political leanings, that Bill’s blog was a valuable resource for Japan news. His high quality blog entries contained conservative viewpoints and translations of Japanese sources that one could rarely find in mainstream English language news articles.
The 42-year-old Nigerian owner of a bar in Tokyo has been arrested along with 9 other people for stealing money from drunk customers:
The crimes took place at a “snack” bar in Kabukicho called Vegas.
They were running a familiar scam. Hostesses got male customers to buy overpriced drinks, quickly running up a bill that exceeded the amount of cash they were carrying. Before continuing to drink, they would accompany the customers to an ATM, where they would take out more cash (and have their pin numbers noted for later use). The customers would then be made to drink until passing out. When they’d wake up the next morning, they’d discover that somebody had used their ATM cards to take out additional cash.
The bar owner and his hostesses apparently used this method to steal around 1 billion yen over a period of 6 years.
Since 2009, the U.S. Embassy’s homepage has a warning about a similar kind of scam. It mentions Roppongi as an area where scammers are very active. The Japan Times also reported in 2010 that bars and restaurants in Roppongi had used foreign customers’ credit cards to make bogus charges.