Following his tear-drenched press conference and constant ear cupping, disgraced assemblyman Ryutaro Nonomura finally gets his day in court—and shocks the public yet again with a new trademark move.
Suit tossed out of Tokyo district court in rare win for idols’ romantic freedom.
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.”
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.
In a lot of major cities around the world, people are hesitant to get involved when they see an injured person. After all, if movies have taught us one thing, it’s that the people who go to check on the fallen hero are often the first to get picked off by a terminator or Mike Myers in hot pursuit.
At best stopping to assist someone with a wound will likely set you off on a journey that Peter Travers of Rolling Stone calls “an rip-roaring, edge-of-your-seat adventure” and seriously, who has time for all that?
That might be why Good Samaritans are hard to come by in big cities everywhere, and in Beijing the government is looking to change that by offering protections in what is casually being referred to as the Good Person Protection Ordinance. However, rather than killbots and monsters, this measure will protect helpful souls from a much more real threat.
A few months ago, it was reported that the Trans-Pacific Partnership (TPP) Agreement may contain changes to copyright laws that many are calling “excessive.” In response to this, a growing number of lawyers, journalists, writers, and others involved in Japanese culture have signed a petition to convince the Japanese government to refuse such conditions.
If the agreement is reached, the minimum limit of copyrights could be extended by 20 years, and even non-copyright holders such as police and prosecutors may be given the ability to go after people for “infringements”. Those opposed feel that these changes could seriously damage the artistic freedom of Japan.
A huge victory in the metrosexual rights movement was made last week when the Japanese Ministry of Health, Labor, and Welfare decided to abolish a guideline which stated that “men should not be able to get haircuts at beauty salons.”
On 23 June the Japan Tourism Agency (JTA) announced that it would be conducting a first-of-its-kind study into public bathing facilities such as onsen (hot springs) and sento (bath houses), and their rules regarding tattoos.
Visitors to Japan are often warned that if they want to visit one of Japan’s hundreds of natural springs or meticulously designed baths they can’t be inked up. But how widespread is this rule in Japan really, and is it doing more harm than good in this day and age? These are the things the JTA hopes to learn more about in the weeks to come.
Earlier this week, what is being hailed as Japan’s “trial of the century” by many (in our office) has come to an abrupt end. The Osaka District Court handed down some rough justice in the case of a company president who sued the building he was renting office space from to the tune of 840,000 yen (US$6,800).
The president’s claim that the building’s urinals had caused excessive splash-back of pee were dismissed due to several reasons including the president’s own “pee experiments” being deemed inadmissible by the courts.
Was the president a quack who didn’t know how to urinate correctly? Or was he a victim of greedy cost cutting landlords and toilet moguls? This is their story based on court documents.
Okay, Rocketeers, time for a pop quiz: what is Japanese sake? Turns out the question is actually a little more complicated than it looks on the surface.
A few days ago, we brought you a list of 14 things never to do on a bicycle in Japan in light of new cycling traffic laws that went into effect on June 1. Of course, the new, stricter laws are intended to promote bicycle safety and reduce accidents, but they mean a lot of cyclists in Japan are going to have to give up on some of their old bad habits, like riding while listening to music.
There’s a little speculation that riding with headphones in but no music on, and riding with just one earpiece in (although that sounds to us like a recipe for disaster when the other dangling earbud inevitably gets caught in your spokes) are probably not going to get you jail time or anything, but we like to play it safe here at RocketNews24, at least until happy hour rolls around.
So, when one of our Japanese writers – a noted music lover – was pondering other ways to get his music fix while commuting by bike, he stumbled on what seemed like an easy solution: If the law says you can’t ride with earbuds in your ears, well, just shove those suckers right up your schnoz. It’s so simple it just has to work!
As you probably know, bicycles are an incredibly common method of transportation in Japan. They’ve also been a source of many accidents in the country, and police have taken an increasingly strict approach to dealing with law-breaking cyclists. New rules have recently been implemented to keep the country’s streets from turning into a crazy, Mad Max-esque bicycle dystopia, and one that’s really got people’s attention is a prohibition on earphones/headphones while cycling.
The exact rule and punishment seems to vary from location to location, but wearing earphones in both ears is sure to get you at least a warning, and in some places, Tokyo included, even just one ear is now against the law. But, one of our intrepid RocketNews24 Japan writers thought, what about earphones on your nipples?
You have to hand it to one-party systems. Despite their many flaws, one positive point is that they can get things done quickly. Over the past decade or so, Japan has been gradually reducing the number of public places where smoking is permitted, and raising the price of tobacco in baby steps in an effort to curb the once rampant smoking culture in the country.
In Beijing, meanwhile, from 1 June the entire city has been put on lockdown for smokers. From now on, anyone caught smoking inside any enclosed place of business will be fined. Just like that.
Pedestrian crosswalk laws are all over the place no matter where you go. What’s considered jaywalking varies by country, and in the U.S. each state has its own laws for exactly how far the pedestrian needs to have crossed on the crosswalk before you have to stop.
In Japan, typically vehicles are expected to yield to anyone in a crosswalk at all times. That’s why the judge’s decision in a recent landmark case is taking the country by storm right now: a cyclist was killed by a car in a crosswalk, and the motorist was found to be in no way at fault.
On 3 April Guangzhou City in Guangdong Province, China, announced some changes to their organ donation laws. These changes will allow people beyond the immediate family to give permission to harvest a deceased person’s organs.
This is expected to be bad news for Guangzhou’s paranoid population, who must now expand their sphere of people likely to murder them in their sleep well beyond their wife and kids to include co-workers and other members of their community.
Earlier this week the Supreme Court of Japan set a ruling date of 9 April in the long-running case of a soccer mishap which resulted in a man’s death. The incident occurred when the deceased was riding a motor bike and fell trying to avoid a soccer ball that rolled out from a school yard.
In the decade since the incident occurred, the family of the man has been trying to hold the parents of the boy who kicked the ball financially responsible and so far has succeeded in two previous rulings. If the Supreme Court agrees with the previous two decisions then the boys’ mother and father will possibly have to pay 15 million yen (US$125,000) to the family.
Imagine you’re relaxing at home one day when there’s a sudden knock at the door. Before you know it you’re sitting in a police interrogation room with people trying to get a confession out of you for a crime you know nothing about. Soon after, you are sentenced to prison for three years for a crime you never committed, only to be released and regarded by society as a convicted sex offender for the rest of your days.
That nightmare scenario played out for Hiroshi Yanagihara, a man who, well after serving his full prison sentence, was found innocent of all charges. Following that, an understandably upset Yanagihara went after the people who initially arrested and convicted him, demanding compensation and criminal charges.
As a result, on 9 March Toyama District Court awarded Hiroshi Yanagihara 19.7 million yen (US$161,000) – apparently the value of five years of his life.
The Trans-Pacific Partnership has proven a source of extreme contention on both sides of the ocean. For example, the EFF has been openly critical of the potential agreement, describing it on their website as “a secretive, multinational trade agreement that threatens to extend restrictive intellectual property (IP) laws across the globe and rewrite international rules on its enforcement.” Japanese farmers don’t seem to fond of it either, though for entirely different reasons.
And now the TPP is drawing the ire of (with a few smatterings of approval from) Japan’s manga and anime fans. Some are even saying the agreement has the potential to utterly destroy otaku culture. Is this hyperbole or is the sky really falling?
In today’s globalized economy, it’s perfectly normal to be wearing shoes made in Malaysia, listening to an American pop star on a Korean smartphone while driving a German car fitted with Japanese tires. But how many times have you taken a good look to find out where those new jeans or those headphones you got for Christmas were really made?
Recently Japanese consumers have been discovering that some of their products are from “P.R.C.,” a country they had never heard of, and would like some answers on what appears to be a legal gray zone in product labeling regulations.