There was lots of important stories this week on the Japan Daily Press, and if you missed some of it, you’ll find everything here that you’ll want to catch up on. This weekend recap covers the news from Monday, June 4th, to Friday, June 8th. Let’s dive in, shall we?
- The most important ongoing story from the last week has been about one of the last fugitives from the Aum Shinrikyo cult being arrested after 17 years on the run. The Aum Shinrikyo was a religious group that committed an attack on the Tokyo subway system in 1995 using toxic sarin nerve gas, killing 13 people and putting another 6,000 in the hospital. Naoko Kikuchi, who was arrested on Sunday night, opened up to police about her life over the last 17 years, and even shared information about the very last remaining fugitive, Katsuya Takahashi. Police have tracked him to the city of Kawasaki, and are now only hours behind him.
- On Friday evening, Prime Minister Yoshihiko Noda addressed Japan in a live broadcast and asked the nation for its understanding in his decision to restart two reactors at the nuclear facility in Oi, Fukui Prefecture.
- Our contributing columnist Cynthia Ruble has a well-written, and interesting editorial about abortion and adoption choices in Japan.
- The South Korean photographer, Ahn Se-hong, whose exhibit on the Japanese Imperial Army’s use of ‘comfort women’ during WWII was cancelled by Nikon, is now facing protests and harassment from conservatives.
- On Wednesday, at 3:35 pm, Prince Tomohito of Mikasa passed away in a Tokyo hospital after a multiple organ failure related to many years of struggle with cancer and alcoholism.
- In order to meet conditions set by the opposing Liberal Democratic Party (LDP) to have talks of cooperation on the Prime Minister’s bill to increase tax, Noda announced a reshuffling of his cabinet, replacing five ministers. The president of the LDP stated that he was pleased with Noda’s actions, but there seems to be more conditions to be met before the LDP and Noda will actually sit down and discuss the bill that will drastically affect Japan’s future.
- James Blackston, one of the young Americans in custody of the Tokyo police for a possible involvement in the death of Irish student Nicola Furlong, was revealed to have been a backup dancer, not for U.S. pop star Nicki Minaj, but for Japanese pop star AI (Ai Carina Uemura), who was touring Japan during the weeks before the incident. In addition, Furlong’s father has come to Tokyo to speak with police investigating the death of his daughter.
- You definitely want to check out Ashely Thompson’s Exploring Japan column this week, otherwise you’ll never know how you can practice your archery skills from inside a volcano!
- There was a somewhat amusing story of the anger of a wife being compared to nuclear radiation by a Japanese energy agency’s information campaign. The amusing part? The offensive cartoon that depicted the message was made by six women who lived near the site of a 1999 nuclear accident.
- A Tokyo hotel near the Gundam Front Tokyo complex is opening a special suite for one-night stays that is completely Gundam-themed!
- The AKB48 yearly elections were held on Wednesday night, with the votes being tallied up and the winner announced live on television. Who is the new queen of Japan’s most popular idol group? Yuko Oshima of course!