Since last year 2channel, Japan’s largest internet forum, has been subject to pressure from Tokyo police. According to a January 2012 post by Avery (2channel Fights Police Pressure, So-Called “Viral Marketers”), the whole police investigation began after Fuji TV aired a sensational news report about drug dealers making posts on the site. The news report was aired only a few days after 2channel users helped organize street protests condemning Fuji TV’s alleged anti-Japanese bias.
Their evidence for the drug trade was a single post from 2010 that used code words to refer to MDMA, marijuana, and cocaine….investigators are calling 2ch a “hotbed of crime” because moderators did not delete the single post from 2010. (Over 1,800,000 posts are made on 2channel every day.)
Police have announced today that they will be filing charges against Hiroyuki Nishimura, the founder and former owner of 2channel. Although he supposedly no longer has official ties to 2channel anymore, he is being blamed for 2channel moderators’ failure to delete the post:
Nishimura will be charged with abetting drug dealing. However, some twitter users have pointed out that the statute of limitations for the drug law in question is 3 years, and Nishimura sold 2channel more than 3 years ago.
[hat tip to Avery]
News of a bizarre crime in Kanagawa prefecture:
Yesterday morning at 6:00AM, a group of men smashed a window broke into an AU mobile phone shop in Sagamihara city. They stole 36 smartphones, including iPhone 4’s and other models offered by AU. The store was also stocked with several new iPhone 5 smartphones, but the thieves took none. Apparently they were not seeking the newest iPhones, or failed to notice the shelf containing them.
About a month ago, a group of criminals pulled off a similar crime on the other side of Honshu, stealing nearly $100,000 worth of smart phones from Western Osaka. However, those thefts were specifically targeted at the iPhone 5. The thieves out in Kansai apparently know the difference between an iPhone 4s and an iPhone 5….
Crowdfunding site raises over $200,000 in donations for stem cell research after Japanese scientist wins Nobel Prize
Shinya Yamanaka of Kyoto University, who conducted groundbreaking research on iPS cells, was co-awarded this year’s Nobel Prize for medicine. In the days after the Nobel Prize committee’s announcement, Japanese people have been using JustGiving.jp to gather donations for further iPS cell research. Here is a TV report about it:
As of the time of this blog post, they had raised 16,742,900 yen ($213,00), far surpassing their original goal of 10 million yen. Over 1,480 people donated, some giving a few thousand yen, while others gave tens of thousands of yen.
A year and a half has passed since a massive earthquake and tsunami hit the Tohoku region of Japan. Here is a TV news report about recovering photo albums from the tsunami debris:
At a tent in Miyagi prefecture, tsunami survivors come to examine thousands of photos that were found in the area. Many of them are still living in temporary housing, having lost their homes in the tsunami.
Manually flipping through the photo albums would take a lot of time. Luckily, technology has come to the rescue. Visitors to the tent have their photo taken, and facial recognition software is used to search for matches from a database of 57,000 recovered photographs.
They show 78-year-old Ume Suzuki, who is delighted to discover that a photo of herself and her family standing in front of their former home. She takes them to the location of the home, which is now an empty field. That photo now serves as an important record, a memory of place that is now gone. It is very sad to think about the loss of her home, but her family survived and they are looking forward to living together happily in the future.