Over 40 percent of the undergraduates at Ritsumeikan Asia
Pacific University in Beppu are from abroad, mostly from China
and Korea, as the low Japanese birthrate is failing to provide
a sufficient pool of applicants.
It turns out that many Japanese universities have set up offices
in China to recruit students. (Oxford and Cambridge find themselves
in a similar situation, because they lose money on every British
undergraduate, whom the government graciously supports, while
overseas students must pick up the whole tab themselves.)
Three hundred foreign business schools attended something
called a World MBA Tour Fair in Tokyo with an
eye to attracting Japanese applicants. (About 500 Japanese
get an MBA degree every year, while over 100,000 upward-strivers
do so annually in the US and UK.)
The Justice Ministry was said to be reworking its immigration
policy in order to encourage foreigners to come to Japan and
take jobs which Japanese are not willing to take on, such
as in agriculture or forestry.
The Land, Infrastructure, Transport, and Ping-pong Ministry
is pushing a plan to require places where tourists are likely
to congregate to put up signs in foreign languages.
It was reported that local English-language schools have identified
a new market for daycare centers where Japanese and foreign-born
children can play together using English as their common language.
(Monthly tuition: ¥100,000...) Just to keep things in
perspective, it should be noted that a good third of California
is now Spanish-speaking, and The New York Times reports that
only one in four of the residents of New York City is truly
comfortable speaking English.
Three guards at Nagoya Prison assigned to keep an eye on a
hospitalized prisoner caught hell when it was found they had
been allowing each other to go out in turn for a drink and
a little pachinko.
The police are trying to find out who left an awl pointing
up under the seat of the treasurer in the committee meeting
room of Miharacho Town in Osaka.
A Tokyo man sent letters using the stationery of a company
that provides tips on horse races to four prestigious girls
primary schools in Tokyo, demanding money and some girls
gym uniforms, before the cops moved in.
A police inspector attached to Ibaraki Prefectural Police
Headquarters was arrested for throwing a bicycle at an unemployed
man who had brushed up against him on the sidewalk. The inspector
admitted he had been drunk at the time.
The kabuki actor Nakamura Shichinosuke was arrested for punching
out a cop after the officer interceded in a dispute Nakamura
was having with a taxi driver, who claimed the actor had neglected
to pay his fare of several thousand yen. Nakamura admitted
he had been drinking.
The Minato Fire Station in Osaka was taken to task for paying
three firefighters the overtime wages of a non-existent officer
and keeping a fake log in case anybody asked questions.
JFE Steel Corp. was found to have been discharging up to 76
times the legal limit of cyanide and alkaline compounds into
Tokyo Bay over the past four years and, what is perhaps worse,
to have submitted 1,009 false statements about its discharges
during this period.
Yamaguchi-gumi, Japans largest criminal gangor,
as we say, crime syndicatewas reported to
have 39,200 members, the most since the
Antigang Law took effect back in 1992.
A better world
A 13-year-old Saitama lad chasing a foul ball came across
¥17 million yen in soggy ¥10,000 notes floating in
an irrigation ditch. A day later, a 72-year-old woman found
another ¥2 million yen in ¥10,000 notes jammed into
an old washing machine downstream in the ditch. What happened
was a young woman and two jobless male friends broke into
the apartment of the womans ex-boyfriend and stole ¥60
million in cash. But the woman went into shock when she realized
the amount of money involved and simply threw her portion
away. Police rounded up all concerned.
The Daily Yomiuri asked its readers for ideas on how to improve
Japanese childrens academic abilities and was told that
the kids cell phones should be taken away and no more
A high school student got on the wrong Tohoku shinkansen train
to take his university entrance exam in Sendai, but after
he explained his plight to the conductor, the train made a
special stop so he could get to his exam on time.
The New York Times reported that Brazil is experiencing something
of a sumo boom, with most of those involved not being of Japanese
ancestry. (It should be noted, however, that Brazil has the
largest Japanese population outside Japan1.5 million.)
Sixty-two residents of Miyakejima Island, who had been ordered
to evacuate four and a half years ago when the its volcano
erupted, were allowed to return to the island if they agreed
to carry gas masks with them at all times.
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