Archive for the 'Government' Category

Swastika symbol removed from maps for foreigners

Comparison of nazi swastika to Japanese manji symbol for temples on maps

A traditional symbol that resembles a swastika which is used to indicate Buddhist temples on maps for foreign tourists in Japan will be replaced. The Japanese map symbol is called "manji" and originates from an ancient Sanskrit symbol that has been associated with Japanese Buddhism for centuries. The manji symbol looks very similar to the Nazi swastika symbol that was used by Adolf Hitler to represent the Nazis in Germany from 1920, through WWII and the early 1940s.

 

Swastika symbols used for temples on maps in Japan

 

Swastika icon indicates temple on local map in Japan Swastika symbols is similar to Japanese Manji ideogram denoting temples on pedestrian maps and other maps in Japan

 

Japanese Manji character resembles swastika symbol on maps in Japan

Map icon looks like swastika - indicates temples in Japan

 

In order to avoid confusion about the meaning of the map swastikas, the symbols will be replaced with a three-storied pagoda icon on maps for tourists. The manji icon on Japanese maps will not be changed.

New symbols for Japanese tourist maps replace swastika for olympics 2020

Results of an international study by Japan’s Geospatial Information Authority prompted the agency to revise some symbols on tourist maps in Japan.

news source: Examiner (pdf) photos: Iwate; Koenji; Yokohama; Miyagi

Japan Geospatial Information Authority (Japanese)  (English translation)

Bicycle helmet hat combo appeals to elderly bike riders

Caphor brand bicycle helmet with removable hat for elderly bike riders in Japan Bicycle helmets with removable, stylish hats have been created to entice elderly Japanese to wear a helmet when riding a bike. The hats are designed so they can also be worn without the helmet.

Bicycle helmets are rarely worn by the elderly in Japan. Seniors say they’d like to wear safety helmets, but the helmets are uncomfortable. Elderly cyclists also say they are embarrassed about wearing traditional bike helmets.

A national law requires only bicyclists under the age of 13 to wear a helmet, whether alone or when riding as passengers with a parent on a bicycle. Some municipalities have enacted local laws that require all bicyclists to wear a helmet. In 2013, Ehime Prefecture, with its numerous scenic bike paths, enacted a law requiring cyclists of all ages to wear a helmet.

 

The Japanese government advises adults to wear a helmet when cycling, but it is uncommon to see adult cyclists wearing helmets as they run errands by bicycle on city streets. Although when the activity is recreational riding, along a riverside path for example, bike riders wearing helmets can be seen.

 

Bicycle helmets with detachable hat for elderly cyclists in Japan The Tokyo Foundation for Employment Services, which provides employment opportunities to the elderly, asked Nippon Parade, a manufacturer of caps and costumes for marching bands, to develop a bicycle helmet that would be attractive to the elderly. Nippon Parade, which was looking for new business opportunities, developed a hat-helmet concept. The company had the skills and design equipment which allowed it to create a lightweight helmet and a selection of fashionable hats that are easy to remove from the helmet.

 

 

Bicycle helmet and removable hat for Japanese senior citizen bicycle riders The hat covers the helmet, and a quick-release system frees the hat from the helmet. The hat can be worn by itself.

According to Manabu Ito, president of Nippon Parade, more than 6% of deaths aged 65 and older in in the metropolitan area are caused by bike accidents, and head injury accounts for nearly 7% of the bike accident deaths. Nippon Parade makes helmets that meet strict strict international safety standards, and offers 10 types of fashionable detachable hats.

The helmets, start at JPY 7,580, and are sold by Nippon Parade online, cycling shops, and major electronics retailers.

 

Yellow Card G-men patrol puts penalty cards on dog poop

Patrol looks for dog droppings in Japan Three days a week Izumisano city in Osaka Prefecture sends “Yellow Card G-men” out in city-owned vehicles on missions to put yellow cards on dog droppings.

The “Dog feces government men” patrol will keep an eye on the yellow cards and if the droppings are still there 4 weeks later, they’ll clean up the mess.

Dog owners usually walk their pets along the same route. The city is hoping the dog owners will spot their pet’s previous poop, feel guilty about having left it there, and then finally clean it up, so the patrol won’t have to.

The Yellow Card G-men force is staffed by folks from the city’s Retired Persons Human Resource Center. The average age of the retirees is 75.

 

Citizen patrol puts yellow card next to dog droppings in Japan

 

Citizens were not heeding the Izumisano ordinance requiring dog owners to clean up their pet’s droppings. City parks were becoming especially messy. Izumisano is also across Osaka Bay from Kansai International Airport and the town’s mayor doesn’t want dog droppings to be the first thing tourists see.

The Yellow Card G-men are also on the lookout for excrement-in-progress. A dog’s owner caught not cleaning up the dog’s droppings will be fined JPY 1000. The fine will be raised to JPY 5000 in October 2013.

The patrols hunt poop perpetrators in the morning and evening.

Neighboring cities are also cracking down on unscooped dog droppings. Izumisano has also received a call from officials from Eniwa city, a Sapporo suburb, which also has feces pickup problems.

How to make a yellow card warning for dog droppings in Japan In June the city of Takasago in Hyogo Prefecture began giving free dog dropping collection bags, plastic gloves and waterproof “yellow card” tent cards to citizens upon request.

[ Download instructions for making your own Takasago yellow cards: How to make doggy doo-doo yellow card.doc ]

 

Yellow card warning for placement next to dog feces in Japan park Retirees put yellow card warning sign next to dogshit in Japan park

 

Yellow cards for dog feces collection in Japan Yellow card for dog poop Japanese

 

Yellow card dog droppings picked up in Japan

Train stations: Don’t look at mobile phone while walking

Poster in train station Tokyo do not walk and look at your smartphonePeople are being asked to not use mobile phones while walking in train stations in Tokyo. The transport ministry and railway companies began the effort after a 5th grade elementary school boy who was walking and looking at his smartphone accidentally stepped off the platform and onto the train tracks at Tokyo’s Yotsuya Station on May 27.

The boy fell 1.1 meters onto the tracks at the same time that a train was pulling into the station. The train came to a stop before reaching the boy, who had dived into the open space under the platform. The boy suffered minor injuries from the fall.

East Japan Railway Company (JR) officials say collisions between people walking while looking at their mobile phones has increased steadily the past three years.

On June 10, JR placed "Don’t use your phones or look at game devices while walking" posters in 520 stations in the Tokyo metropolitan area. Station announcements also ask people not to use mobile phones or handheld game players while walking. The mobile phone safety awareness campaign will run until July 31.

 

 

People walking while looking at their smartphone in Shinjuku station in Tokyo People walk and looking at their mobile phones in Shibuya station in Tokyo

 

photos: Shinjuku station, Tokyo Shibuya station, Tokyo

Beach naming rights sold to cookie company

The maker of a popular pigeon-shaped cookie was awarded naming rights to three beaches in Kamakura, Japan. The beaches will be renamed in 2014 by the manufacturer of the Hato Sabure (pigeon sable) butter cookie. Toshimaya company opened the first Hato Sabure confectionary store in Kamakura circa 1897.

The Kamakura city government in Kanagawa Prefecture sold the naming rights to cover the cost of beach maintenance. Ten firms submitted naming rights bids. Hato Sabure will pay 12 miliion yen annually for 10 years. It is the first time beach naming rights have been sold in Japan.

 


Koshigoe, Yuigahama, and Zaimokuza beaches will share a single name. Hato Sabure officials have not chosen a name for the beaches but says it does  not intend to name the areas Hato Sabure Beach.  

Kanagawa prefectural outdoor advertisement regulations limit advertising displays to 2-meters in size.

Recipe: Butter Cookies 

photos
: Zaimokuza beach; Yuigahama beach; Koshigoe beach.

Top 50 radiation-contaminated foods in Japan 2011

Measuring radiation in Japan Japan’s national provisional safety limit for levels of radioactive cesium in food is 500 becquerels per kilogram. Let’s Japan reviewed food-test data issued by Japan’s Ministry of Health, Labour and Welfare covering the period from March 1, 2011 – Dec. 21, 2011.

 

Highest becquerels per kilogram levels

    Becquerels/kg
    Cesium-134 Cesium-137
1. Spinach 20,000 20,000
2. Hatsutake ♦ 8000 11,000
3. Sand lance ◊ 7100 7300
4. Broccoli 7000 6900
5. Shiitake ♦ (dried) 6940 6940
6. Shiitake ♦ (outdoor) 6400 6600
7. Beef 4350 4350
8. Shiitake ♦ (log-grown) 3600 3600
9. Unrefined tea leaf 3000 3000
10. Ayu ◊ 2100 2300
11. Parsley 2100 2110
12. Turnip 2000 2100
13. Komatsuna † 1700 1700
14. Japanese mitten crab 1600 1700
15. Bamboo shoot 1500 1600
16. Maitake ♦ 1300 1500
17. Cabbage 1300 1400
18. Yuzu ‡ 1100 1300
19. Refined tea leaf 959 1170
20. Chestnuts 940 1100
21. Pacific cod 800 800
22. Sea urchin 640 640
23. Wakame seaweed 590 610
24. Hijiki seaweed 510 590
25. Goya † 440 580
26. Kakina † 555 555
27. Stone flounder 480 550
28. Cherry salmon 480 510
29. Mizuna† 450 460
30. Japanese smelt 410 460
31. Hatake-shimeji ♦ 380 440
32. Greenling fish 380 400
33. Ume ‡ 360 400
34. Japanese seabass 300 370
35. Blue mussel 310 340
36. Wheat 310 320
37. Pomegranate 250 310
38. Righteye flounder 240 290
39. Sea cucumber 260 270
40. Naratake ♦ 128 155
41. Nameko ♦ (log-grown) 171 134
42. Oyster 88 120
43. Fugu ◊ 77 95
44. Rice 79 84
45. Buckwheat 71 78
46. Pacific cod 65 77
47. Kiwfruit 48 69
48. Conger 44 63
49. Sweet potato 39 41
50. Horse mackerel 29 38
key ◊ fish    
  ‡ fruit    
  † vegetable    
  ♦ mushroom Japanese mushrooms

Farmers protest radioactive cabbage JapanCheckpoint at Minamisoma-Fukushima near Fukushima Japan March 2011

 

Fukushima relief effort-fundraiser JapanTsunami destruction March 2011 Japan

 

photosradiation measurement; cabbage protesters; checkpoint Minamisoma Fukushima; Fukushima relief effort fundraiser; tsunami destruction; produce-stand
Vegetables on display at produce stand green grocer in Japan

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Real life in Tokyo following Fukushima and the earthquake

Pedestrians in Tokyo, Japan March 25, 2011Shoppers in Tokyo, March 25, 2011

 

We’ve been having some troubles here in Japan.  Maybe you’ve heard. I’ve written some articles about the earthquake and the coverage of the tsunami and the Fukushima nuclear reactors. You can read my reports here:

March 25, 2011
Op-Ed: Tokyo OK, foreign media’s sensational coverage shameful

March 16, 2011
US govt recommends 80 Km Fukushima evac zone; currently 30km

March 15, 2011
US agrees with reactor response ambassador in Tokyo says

March 15, 2011
Higher than normal radiation detected along Japan Pacific coast

March 14, 2011
Shielding possibly damaged by explosion at Fukushima No.2 Tuesday

March 14, 2011
Op-Ed: The earthquake aftermath in Tokyo

March 13, 2011
Rolling Blackouts Begin Monday in Tokyo

March 12, 2011
How I survived the Japanese earthquake

Smoking Rules on the Beaches

People  peace sign finger no cigarette Japan Designated smoking area stand hut Zushi beach Japan

 

A popular beach near Yokohama implemented a smoking policy at the start of this year’s swimming season in June. Zushi beach in Kanagawa Prefecture has banned smoking except at designated areas on its 600-meters of sand. Five smoking huts have been installed on the beach. Four standing ashtrays have also been placed in the span of sand. There is no penalty for violating the smoking rules.
Zushi beach Japan Mayor smoking ban beach signs

Shirahama
city in Wakayama Prefecture implemented smoking rules on its beach in 2008. Banners and a standing signboard notify visitors of the locations of smoking areas. There are several standing ashtrays in the sand. 
Ougigahama beach Tanabe City Japan smoking rules
A smoking policy went into effect on the July 2 season opening of the 300-meter-long Ougigahama beach in Tanabe City, Wakayama. No-smoking signs are posted in three places, and there is a smoking area near the official beach facilities office.

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Boso Peninisula Japan designated smoking area on beach

 

Atami City in Shizuoka prefecture commenced smoking regulations at its beach in 2005. Kanagawa is the only prefecture of Japan’s 47 prefectures to have a smoking policy in effect for a beach.

 

beach clean up fesyival volunteers Okinawa Japan

Train Gropers Grabbed in Week-Long Cop Crusade

High school girls hand out anti-groper information at a train station in JapanSeventy-seven gropers (chikan) were arrested on Tokyo commuter trains during a crackdown by the Japan National Police Agency. During the April 15 - 21 effort, 120 officers from the NPA and the Saitama, Chiba and Kanagawa prefectural police rode train routes known to attract molesters.

Six people were caught on the Keio Line and JR Chuo Line, the highest number of all the train lines. The JR Saikyo Line, notable for frequent reports of groping, installed security cameras on some trains last year. Five people were caught on the Saikyo Line during the April crackdown. All of the perpetrators were caught in cars without security cameras.

 

Security cameras installed on commuter some trains in Tokyo Police hope to stop groping on commuter trains in Japan

 

Twenty-six of the 77 victims were high school students and fourteen people were university students. Forty of the victims were between 15 and 19 years of age. Forty-two of the arrests occurred between 7 a.m and 9 a.m.

JR poster zero tolerance for gropersFifty-eight of those arrested were charged under the "public nuisances" law. Four of the perps were charged with using a hidden camera to take secret photos in the train. Three were arrested on charges of forced obscene acts in the train car, and one man was charged with indecent exposure in the car.

Eleven people were charged with taking indecent photos of passers-by on escalators and on the stairs on station premises.

Twenty-nine of the 77 had previously been caught molesting train passengers. In one incident, while an officer obtained a description of a suspect from one victim, the officer saw the suspect in the first crime grope another victim in the same car. The suspect was arrested.

The NPA will post police officers on trains to crack down on gropers who target particular victims or stalk women after they get off the train. "If you get groped on a train, please tell the nearest police officer," an NPA spokesman said.

 

High school judo team girl catches groper on train in JapanIn one groping arrest in February, a 16-year-old girl who was fondled on the JR Takasaki Line grabbed the suspect’s hand, hauled him off the train at the next station, and handed him over to police. The girl is a member of her high school judo team. The 21-year-old perpetrator was charged with public nuisance.

 

Train Molester Man PC computer game for Window Japanese

 

Chikan Densha Otoko 2 Molester Trainman game (Windows PC)

Recycling Dept. Business Cards on Old Handouts

Setagaya ku recycling dept uses office paper for business cards

 

Setagaya ku trash collection posterThe Tokyo Setagaya-ku Cleaning and Recycling department uses expired departmental flyers for its business cards. The department uses the reverse side of printed material that has been used in the department. The front of the business card contains the usual business card information. On the back of the cards Lets Japan received is a portion of an announcement about the trash collection schedule at the end of the year. The flyer paper is not as heavy as a standard business card, but heavier than a standard piece of paper.

When two employees of the Cleaning and Recycling department presented their business cards to LJ, the employees pointed out the reverse side of their cards.