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Importing students
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.


Flim flam
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, Japan’s largest criminal gang—or, as we say, “crime syndicate”—was 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 woman’s 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 junk food.

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 Japan—1.5 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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