FILE PHOTO: A man and his grandchild walk onva street at Tokyo’s Sugamo district, an area popular among the Japanese elderly, Wednesday. | REUTERS
A heavy snow swept across western Japan this week, causing traffic disruptions and trapping many elderlies inside a home.
Shinichi Koike is one of the elderlies. He lives with his wife in Takamatsu village of Niigata Prefecture, where most residents are in their 60s or 70s, as the youngsters have left for big cities to seek fortune.
Every winter, Koike and his wife have to be fully prepared for the heavy snow.
“It often snows near my hometown in winter, so when winter arrives every year, my house will be like this, with a special layer of protection on the outside preventing the effects of the snow,” said Shinichi Koike, a villager.
As fallen trees brought down by the heavy snow have blocked the only way out, power supply and communication were broken off from the village. After the local authority carried out rushed repairs, the power supply was resumed as of Sunday.
In most parts of Japan, elderly residents who live alone have to remove snow by themselves due to expensive snow removal services. Local governments have called on communities to provide help for each other.
There are some elderly people who live alone in my village. They will ask relevant departments for help when it snows frequently, and the staff will bring snowplows. Our village is not big, so everyone can keep on living with the help from each other,” said the villager.
Now, most regions of Niigata Prefecture are still covered with snow. The local government has warned residents to take security measures when removing snow. — Reuters
Japan delegation head apologizes, sends home basketball players for night with women
Yasuhiro Yamashita, Head of Japan’s delegation to the Asian games | REUTERS
Japan has sent home four players from their men’s basketball team at the 18th Asian Games for spending the night in a Jakarta hotel with women, head of the delegation Yasuhiro Yamashita said on Monday (August 20).
The players left the athletes’ village following their game against Qatar on Thursday (August 16) to eat at a restaurant where they met a Japanese-speaking local, who told them about a bar where they could meet women, Yamashita told a news conference. The quartet, who were wearing their team uniforms, spent a couple of hours at the bar before checking into a hotel with four women, staying there until Friday (August 17) morning, he added.
Officials named the players as Takuya Hashimoto, Keita Imamura, Yuya Nagayoshi and Takuma Sato.
Japan, who won basketball bronze at the last Asian Games four years ago, beat Qatar 82-71 in their second game in Jakarta and top qualifying Group C. Their next match is against Hong Kong on Wednesday. — Reuters
Activists urge Japan to apologize for forcing women to work in wartime brothels
A protester wearing a mask representing ‘comfort women’ | Reuters
Over 50 activists wearing white face masks joined a sit-in protest in front of Japan’s de facto embassy in Taipei on Tuesday (August 14), asking for a formal apology and demanding monetary compensation for Taiwanese women who were forced to work in its wartime brothels.
In drizzling rain, women’s rights activists wore black shirts and masks representing the “comfort women” – a euphemism for girls and women forced to work in Japan’s wartime brothels – who have already passed away. They also held reeds to symbolize the tenderness and endurance of comfort women over the years, inspired by the documentary film “Song of the Reed” which pays tribute to the women.
Before the sit-in protest, Taipei Women’s Rescue Foundation Chairperson Huang Shu-ling handed a letter of protest addressed to the Japanese government to a Japanese official. Police hovered nearby and declared the protest a violation of the assembly and parade act, though they allowed it to continue until the event was over.
Like other Asian nations including South Korea and China, Taiwan has an ongoing dispute with Japan over the treatment of women during the war. — Reuters
Japanese Princess Ayako officially gets engaged to a commoner
Japanese Princess Ayako. | REUTERS
Japanese Princess Ayako was officially engaged to commoner Kei Moriya on Sunday (August 12) in an imperial engagement ceremony held at Tokyo’s Imperial House.
Princess Ayako, a daughter of Akihito’s late cousin Prince Takamado, attended the traditional Japanese engagement ceremony with her mother, Princess Hisako, accepting the official marriage proposal and a list of gifts including Japanese sake and clothes that were delivered by a messenger sent by Moriya.
Princess Ayako’s engagement follows Princess Mako’s path to marry a commoner. Last year, Princess Mako, the eldest granddaughter of Japanese Emperor Akihito, announced she would postpone her wedding to Kei Komuro to 2020 until after her grandfather Emperor Akihito abdicates next year.
The couple is planned to hold their wedding on October 29th this year. — Reuters