Police respond to explosion, suspected bombing at Yasukuni Shrine in central Tokyo

Bomb disposal unit finds remnants of suspected incendiary device at shrine for Japanese war dead in Chiyoda Ward.

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Police in Japan arrest five men connected with illegal upload of One Piece manga and translation

Pirate manga pirates promptly pinched by prefectural police.

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Osaka police on the lookout for elementary students who stole equivalent to $1,000 in six thefts

Tsurumi Ward in Osaka has been the scene of a crime wave since November 3 in which two young boys believed to be in the fifth or sixth grade have stolen cash and property from six separate homes so far. The suspects are still at large, unless class is in session.

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10 factors that make Japan a safe country

We’ve all heard about how safe Japan is. But unless you live here, you may not understand why Japan is considered so safe. The uninitiated may presume that safety is enforced through a rigid society that doesn’t allow freedom of expression, that Japanese people are too worried about losing face to commit a crime, or that the government comes down unnecessarily hard on people who step out of line. In reality, none of these rings true.

But we can’t deny that there’s one thing that Japan does better than anyone else. Join us after the jump for some insights and our own observations.

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Aomori volunteer firefighter arrested for starting fires so he could fight them

In the small town of Inakadate, Shota Kawasaki was both employed at a straw-crafts workshop and a member of his local volunteer fire department. However, this village of 8,000 people was far more famous for its rice paddy art than fires breaking out, and while making straw art is charming in its own way, it can get to be a drag day in and day out.

That’s why Aomori prefectural police are suspecting Kawasaki of starting a series of fires over the past six months; so that he could allegedly feel the rush of putting them out.

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Japanese company offers insurance plan to protect against false train groping accusations

For those times when the train is too crowded to keep your hands where everyone can see them.

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Maybe 13 percent of Japanese schoolgirls aren’t really selling their services as escorts

The Japanese government has asked the UN to retract its recent statement that claims 13 percent of girls in Japan are involved in compensated dating.

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“I want to be the street” — Man arrested AGAIN for hiding in drain to take upskirt photos

 A 28-year-old man has been arrested in Kobe after allegedly hiding in a drain to take up-skirt photos of women. This is his second arrest for the same crime.

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Japanese schoolgirl seeking crowdfunding, art submissions to produce anti-train groper pins

Japan’s public transportation network gets high marks for its punctuality and cleanliness. Not every ride on the rails is a pleasant one, though, because some lowlifes called chikan use the crowded conditions on commuter trains as cover to grope unsuspecting women.

Now, one high schooler and her mother have had enough, so they’ve started a crowdfunding campaign to design and distribute what ae essentially “Don’t touch!” signs for women to wear while taking the train.

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Motorist with overloaded truck decides to dump excess cargo…on top of traffic inspector 【Video】

Some drivers are committed to hauling as much cargo as they can in a single run, but the law usually draws the line of how much is OK to carry somewhere below the absolute limit of what’s physically possible. So when this trucker in China was warned that his container of gravel was over the limit, he had no choice but to dump some of his load…which he chose to do right on the inspector.

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Anime voice actress arrested for suspected cocaine possession, has name scrubbed from series cast

When it comes to celebrities and drug-use, Japan doesn’t have the same forgiving attitude that many other societies do. Last year, for example, when pop singer Aska was arrested on drug charges, the Studio Ghibli-animated video for the vocalist’s song “On Your Mark” was removed from an upcoming boxed set of Hayao Miyazaki animation.

Now there’s been another intersection of anime, music, and illegal narcotics, as idol singer and voice actress Ai Takabe has been arrested for drug possession, and the anime she most recently performed in has been pulled from online streaming as producers scrub her name from the cast.

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UN urges Japan to ban sexual images of children in manga, Japanese netizens tell UN to shut up

On 26 October, Maud de Boer-Buquicchio, the UN Special Rapporteur on the Sale of Children, Child Prostitution and Child Pornography, wrapped up a week-long visit to Japan with a press conference at the Japan National Press Club.

During her hour-long speech, De Boer-Buquicchio implored the Japanese government to tighten its relatively lax restrictions on child pornography in which photographs of sexually dressed children and illustrations of children in sexual contexts are still considered legal.

Many other countries would take “legal child porn” to be a serious gap in their law books and promptly get right to work on tougher child porn restrictions. But online comments in Japan have taken the less popular route and rebutted that “the UN should shut-up and mind its own business.”

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Chinese teen escapes kidnapper with techniques learned in movies

Last month a 13-year-old boy was walking to school when he was suddenly abducted and taken to an abandoned house in the outskirts of Deyang city in Sichuan province. Luckily, the boy was well versed in mobster movies and learned two valuable lessons from them.

Kidnappings usually don’t end well How to escape

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Taiwanese man gets his hair washed while driving a scooter, breaks the law【Video】

When we’ve got a lot on our plate and not a lot of time to do it in, many of us turn to multitasking. The amount of time you save by multitasking—if you save any at all—depends on the person and the tasks at hand, but some things like driving deserve 100 percent of our attention.

Over the years more and more countries are enacting laws against things like talking on the phone or texting while driving, but I’m sure many of us still catch the occasional person running an electric razor over their chin or doing their make-up in the car.

That’s nothing, though, compared to this young man in Taiwan, who made headlines last week for getting his hair shampooed while driving a scooter.

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Totoro made me do it! Man says he was inspired to shoplift by Studio Ghibli anime classic

As popular as Japanese animation is, some critics argue that it can have negative psychological effects on audiences. After watching anime martial artists solve their problems with their fists, will fans try to resolve their own conflicts in similarly violent ways? Isn’t is possible that witnessing lewd acts in animated form will cause impressionable viewers to become more sexually aggressive in real life?

We don’t know about those scenarios, but one recently arrested man was led down the path of crime by his love of anime, and the unlikely corrupter was Studio Ghibli’s Totoro.

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Korean criminals take a page from Metal Gear with cardboard box burglaries 【Video】

After a vague yet indiscreet falling out with video game publisher Konami, it seems likely that Hideo Kojima, creator of the Metal Gear franchise, won’t be working at the company for much longer. As one of the most famous and respected names in the industry, though, we’re sure Kojima will be able to find employment at one of Konami’s many rivals who are licking their lips in anticipation of landing such a prized free agent.

However, we’re not so sure about the future financial well-being of the characters Kojima has created. This video seems to suggest that Metal Gear protagonist Snake has resorted to a life of crime, as multiple burglaries have taken place in Korea with the culprit using Snake’s trademark infiltration technique of disguising himself with a cardboard box.

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Roll cake-headed town mascot character attacked by group of men, woman inside injured

Upon arriving in Japan, one of the first things you’ll probably notice is the large army of characters being used to sell anything from services to stationary to automobiles, or giving tips on being a good citizen like when it comes to separating your trash or picking up your dog’s poop after it finishes doing its duty. Most of them are cute, but some are downright scary.

In recent years, yurukyara, literally “weaker mascot characters”, have slowly been taking over the country, with more and more cities and businesses allocating funds to coming up with the prefect representative character costume each year. Aside from being hot and stuffy inside, being a yurukyara seems like a pretty awesome job. Kids are happy to see you, people are clamoring to get a picture of you, and generally everyone loves you…

Or at least that’s the impression we got until news of a mascot character in a small Ehime Prefecture town getting attacked.

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Newlyweds on honeymoon in Japan beat up convenience store clerk, get arrested

Although my wife and I have taken several trips together since getting married, we still haven’t gone on an official honeymoon. My old job required me to work weekends and I couldn’t take any time off around the date of our wedding ceremony, so I was back in the office two days after saying “I do.”

As such, my wife and I didn’t get to do the typical newlywed travel activities. You know, things like toasting each other with champagne every night for a week, lounging on the beach and giggling as we call each other Mr. and Mrs. Baseel, or beating the hell out of a convenience store clerk, like the Chinese newlyweds who are not only just married, but were also just arrested in Japan.

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Idol ordered to pay management company 650,000 yen after going to hotel with male fan

Idol singers exist in an extremely specialized, and often contradictory, corner of the already specialized Japanese pop music industry. Successful idols are expected to walk the fine line between having a polished, attractive appearance and an approachable, unassuming aura. Even more ironic is that while their songs’ lyrics are often focused on love and devotion, it’s practically unheard of for an active idol to openly be in a romantic relationship.

Every now and again, though, word gets out that an idol secretly has a boyfriend, or had an illicit liaison with a guy. The revelation is usually followed by a solemn apology to fans, and often the offending member being removed from the group. But this time the story of an idol’s amorous activities coming to light has something we’ve never heard about before: a court-ordered fine equivalent to several thousand dollars for breach of contract.

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How honest is Japanese society? So honest this train station is fine with a non-closable “gate”

A while back, we talked about how it’s common in Japan for people to place dropped property in a place where it’ll be easy to spot when the owner retraces his steps looking for it. There’s hardly any fear that anyone else will take it, whether the item in question is as cheap as a mitten or something much more valuable.

But such admirable conduct isn’t limited to private citizens’ interactions with one another. A recently tweeted snapshot of a train station ticket gate has been getting laughs in Japan for its unusual design, and while it is kind of funny-looking, it also shows the extremely honest character of Japanese society.

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