A new blood donation facility called Akiba:F has opened in Tokyo’s Akihabara district, with otaku-friendly free wifi, figure display cases, shelves of manga, and video screens that will show movies:
Check out DannyChoo dot com for more photos and info!
Note: Some blood donation centers in Japan reject donations from people who have lived in certain “high risk” countries. If you want to give blood, check with donation center staff about such restrictions before you waste time filling out forms.
An interesting graph from the Economist:
[hat tip to Adamu]
The Science Council of Japan has recommended that the government raise taxes on cigarettes:
The council submitted a suggestion to the Ministry of Health, Labor and Welfare on Tuesday to introduce tightened regulations in seven areas, including a major increase in tobacco tax. The council had been considering measures since June 2006.
Under tobacco regulation criteria produced by scientists in Europe, Japan was found to score only 25.5 points in its smoking countermeasures, placing the nation last when compared to 30 other countries in Europe. Ireland had the strongest measures against smoking, scoring 71 points.
The science council’s proposal to the ministry includes banning cigarette vending machines, setting numerical targets to reduce smoking rates, and doubling tobacco tax, which currently stands at 189 yen per packet. Under the suggestions, yearly consumption — now standing at about 27 billion cigarettes — would fall by one quarter and at least 2 million people would stop smoking, calculations showed. Tax proceeds would increase by about 1.2 trillion yen from the current 2.3 trillion yen under the measures.
Council members have pointed out that smoking is responsible for ailments including cancer, and well as for fires and environmental pollution. The economic damage, say scientists, stands at about 7.3 trillion yen, outweighing revenue from tax on cigarettes.
A World Health Organization comparison on smoking in 2002 showed that the smoking rate among males in Japan was 47 percent, compared with only 27 percent in the United Kingdom and 24 percent in the United States.
Could Japan’s days of cheap cigarettes be coming to an end?
Shinzo Abe would like the world to know that he did not resign last year because of failed policies or election losses. The real reason reason for his resignation was crippling diarrhea that forced him to go to the toilet 30 times a day:
Abe said he has been struck by ulcerative colitis, a bowel illness caused by ulcers, at least once a year since he was 17.
Abe, whose grandfather was also prime minister, was groomed for politics from childhood. He said he would never forget the shock when the illness first hit him as a young man.
“To mention an indelicate matter, I rushed to the lavatory after having keen abdominal pains and saw the basin all red with tremendous bleeding,” he said.
“Bleeding causes slight anaemia. More than anything else, though, you feel depressed as you see fresh blood every time you go to the toilet,” he said in an article contributed to the major conservative monthly Bungei Shunju.
Abe said the illness usually made him “feel the need to relieve my bowels every 30 minutes.”
“You can never get a good night’s sleep as you shuttle between the bed and toilet,” he said.
“The need to go to the toilet many times a day hampers election and other political activities very much,” he said, adding his wife, Akie, once made a tearful plea to him to quit his political career.
Abe said his health deteriorated in late August, when his stomach was upset by local food during his tour of India, Malaysia and Indonesia.
He said the final straw came in September, when he was so sick he skipped lines of his policy speech in parliament.
“Once ulcerative colitis worsens, I would need to go to the lavatory 30 times a day. It would be absolutely impossible to perform the heavy duties of prime minister,” he said.