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Wednesday, November 09, 2005

Asian Beauty:Kumiko.M | 14 cars damaged in scaffolding collapse

Scaffolding at a condominium block in Tachikawa, Tokyo, came crashing down early Monday morning, damaging 14 cars in a neighboring parking lot, police said.
No injuries were reported.
The 9-meter-tall, 47-meter-wide aluminum and steel scaffolding had been set up next to Leo Palace Gold Residence Conifer Garden for renovation of the building's rain drainage system.
The gantry fell over at about 4:15 a.m. onto the nearby parking lot, denting car hoods and breaking car windows.
The workers responsible for the framework claim they properly connected the scaffolding to the building's balconies using special hooks, but the police were investigating the possibility the scaffolding had not been properly fastened.

Asian Beauty:Haruna.M | Man served new warrant for helping 2 enter Japan

An additional arrest warrant was served on an Indian man for helping two compatriots enter Japan illegally in 2000, investigators said.
Satpal Singh, 43, of Kaminokawamachi, Tochigi Prefecture, is suspected of exploiting the immigration law, which allows travelers without visas who arrive at Narita Airport to stay in limited areas, including Chiba and Tokyo, for up to 72 hours.
In June 2000, he told the two Indian men arriving at Narita from Bangkok to falsely claim in their immigration forms that they would stay in Japan for only one day, the investigators said.
They said the men entered Japan in violation of the Immigration Control and Refugee Recognition Law.
Singh was arrested in September on suspicion of helping 30 people pass through immigration by fraudulent means.

Asian Beauty:Natsuko.S | Nago mayor to discuss air base plan with govt

The mayor of Nago, Okinawa Prefecture, said Wednesday he would discuss with the central government plans to relocate a U.S. military installation to waters off his city before the plans are made official to decide whether the plan is acceptable.
Nago Mayor Tateo Kishimoto said after talks with Defense Agency Director General Fukushiro Nukaga earlier the same day that he intends to discuss the relocation of U.S. Marine Corps Futenma Air Station to coastal areas near Camp Schwab in and near Nago, Okinawa Prefecture, over information in the interim report agreed between the Japanese and U.S. governments.
"Before the final report is compiled, I need to thoroughly investigate whether the city can accept the relocation plan," Kishimoto told reporters.
During talks with Nukaga, Kishimoto reportedly said: "We can't accept the plan as it is now, but it doesn't mean we would reject the plan. We don't categorically oppose the plan. We want the central government to explain it well."
In particular, Kishimoto pointed out the following problems:
-- There is the possibility of noise increasing because a runway would be built close to residential areas and the flight route would be above those areas.
-- The size of the new installation would increase in length from 1,500 meters to 1,800 meters.
-- There is the possibility that another base could be built on the future air base's apron.
In response, Nukaga said, "Including technical matters, I would like the central government to explain as soon as possible."
"I'd like to dispel concerns of [Nago] residents," he added.

Asian Beauty:Ryo.S | Huge jellyfish torment fishermen

Huge Echizen jellyfish, which can weigh up to 200 kilograms and have an umbrella measuring two meters across, have been causing serious damage to the fishing industry off Japan's east coast.
Echizen jellyfish are the largest variety found in the Japan Sea, and their population has skyrocketed recently in the East China Sea. Also known as Nomura's jellyfish, they have poisonous tentacles.
Thousands of the jellyfish have damaged fixed fishing nets while also degrading the freshness of fish by flicking them with their tentacles. Fishermen who were gleefully awaiting the high season of winter fishing for fish such as yellowtails and salmon, are scratching their heads over how to deal with the problem.
Off the coast of Kurohime in Sado, Niigata Prefecture, a dozen fishermen recently pulled in their fixed shore nets to find their catch consisted mainly of Echizen jellyfish. Only a few yellowtails had been caught.
The fishermen kept the yellowtails and slashed the jellyfish with knives before throwing them back into the sea. They spent almost 2-1/2 hours disposing of the bothersome jellyfish.
Inakujira set-net fishery association in Sado saw its profits for October plunge to 2 million yen to 3 million yen, about half the average. In addition, it had to spend 4 million yen to repair fishing nets damaged or destroyed by the jellyfish.
Off Togawan in Oga, Akita Prefecture, which is famous for its sandfish, about 5,000 Echizen jellyfish were spotted in late October. According to a branch office of the prefectural fishery association, some fishing boat operators saw their profits fall below 1 million yen for the month, less than one-fifth of an average year.
The jellyfish drifted across the Tsugaru Strait and into the Pacific Ocean. Fishermen of the Fudaimura fishery association in Iwate Prefecture found holes in some fishing nets caused by the jellyfish on Oct. 24. Although the salmon season was entering its peak, the fishermen had to suspend operations for a week at a loss of 4 million yen compared with the same period last year.
Fishery associations in the prefecture decided to attempt to remove the jellyfish from the nets before pulling in their catches. In 2003, when a similar upsurge of jellyfish troubled the area, many salmon were crushed to death under the weight of the giant jellyfish as the nets were being pulled in.
According to the Fisheries Agency, the large-sized jellyfish were seen off 33 prefectures this year. Hundreds have been snared in fishing nets off the coasts of Aomori, Hokkaido, Iwate and Shimane prefectures.
As of Oct. 11, 396 complaints had been received by the agency, including reports of damaged fishing equipment, injured fish, and poor fish catches.

Asian Beauty:Aya.K | Boy, 16, pleads guilty to parricide

A 16-year-old boy accused of murdering his parents and then trying to conceal the crime pleaded guilty at the opening of his trial at the Tokyo District Court on Wednesday.
The trial proceeded in total anonymity, with neither the names of the parents nor the boy being disclosed, as per the defense's request to protect the child's privacy.
The boy was sent to prosecutors by the Tokyo Family Court for the June 20 murder of his parents. Following the murder, the first-year high school student allegedly filled the family's dormitory room with gas, which he ignited using a timer attached to a hot plate.
The boy was indicted on suspicion of murder and using explosives.
At the hearing, he admitted to all the charges and said he had done a very foolish thing to his parents, repaying good with evil, and he was very sorry.
The defense council requested he be sent back to the family court, saying it had been a mistake to send him to prosecutors and he should have been placed in protective custody.
In its opening statement, the prosecution explained the motive for, and circumstances of, the boy's crime.
Since primary school, the boy had been assisting his father with various jobs, including cleaning rooms at the construction company dormitories that his father managed. With an increase in his father's workload, the youth started to ponder patricide in September 2004.
The night before he killed his father, his father told him, "I'm smarter than you. I've been working hard since I was a kid." He then grabbed the boy and shook his head. The boy felt he could no longer deal with his father, and decided to end his father's life.
As to the murder of his mother, the boy reportedly felt she would be lonely following the death of her husband, so he decided to kill her too.
He attempted to cover up the murder with a gas explosion that was meant to burn the bodies and divert attention to the fire.
According to the indictment, the boy bludgeoned his father to death with a dumbbell in the caretaker's room at the dormitory in the morning.
He then stabbed his mother to death with a kitchen knife. Later, he filled the caretaker's room with gas and set it alight.
The boy was 15 years old at the time of the murders. Though the general rule is for family courts to send juveniles aged 16 and up to prosecutors for serious crimes, the Tokyo Family Court decided the boy should be tried at a criminal court so he would receive a punishment commensurate with the seriousness of his crimes.
At the hearing, the boy took the stand prior to the gallery being admitted to the courtroom. Wearing a black jacket and jeans, he never faced those in attendance, hiding his expression.
At the beginning of most trials, the defendant is required to state her or his name and address. But in keeping with the request for anonymity, presiding Judge Tsutomu Tochigi simply asked him if there was any mistake on the indictment placed before him.
The boy stood up and answered, "I was a high school student at that time, but now I'm unemployed. There are no other mistakes." He did not give his name or address.
According to the court, it is rare for criminal trials to be conducted in this manner, even when the defendant is a juvenile.
Throughout the reading of the indictment and the prosecution's opening statement, the boy was referred to as "the defendant," and his parents were called "the parents," with no names given.
Their address, which was the site of the crime, was given only as "Itabashi Ward."
After pleading guilty, the boy expressed regret in a calm voice and apologized for setting off the explosion, saying, "I'm very sorry I caused anxiety and inconvenienced people that had nothing to do with this."
During the prosecutors' opening statement, he sat facing the court with his head hanging down.

Asian Beauty:Hiromi.o | Amateur astronomer builds dream telescope

An amateur astronomer's dream will finally come true this month, when a domed reflector telescope is completed on a hillside near his parents' home in Takahashi, Okayama Prefecture.
The telescope, believed to be the largest ever made by an individual in Japan, can be used to view galaxies billions of light-years away, said Fumihiro Sano, 56, who has spent five years on its construction.
He christened the telescope Momotaro (Peach Boy), after the legendary character born out of a peach who grew up to be a strong yet compassionate man who beat demons into submission.
Sano, a paint dealer, plans to invite local children to view the stars through the 121-centimeter-diamenter telescope.
It is housed in a domed facility dubbed the Takahashi Observatory, which is 7.2 meters in diameter and 6 meters high.
Sano started building the observatory in the spring of 2000 on a plot of land he purchased on the hillside dotted by terraced paddy fields. The project cost him 20 million yen.
From his earliest days he used to watch the starlit sky every night in Takahashi. He founded an astronomy club at his high school, where he and his friends made a telescope 20 centimeters in diameter.
Over the past 38 years, he has made more than 20 telescopes, with the help of expert advice he obtained in academic documents.
The most difficult task of his latest project was polishing the reflector, which was made of special glass weighing 150 kilograms. The reflector serves as a mirror that gathers and focuses light arriving from outer space.
To polish the reflector, Sano rotated it on a turntable while he smoothed the surface. This process took two years, but it was important to make sure that the angles of reflection were satisfactory.
In summer, he was sometimes on the verge of collapse as the temperature in the the dome climbed to more than 50 C. He also had to stay overnight in the dome in winter, when heavy snow blanketed the area.
Friends and family often tried to dissuade him to give up what they considered an unrealistic project, but he never relented.
"Each time I was overwhelmed by the scale of my project, I looked up to the starlit sky and my spirits lifted," he said.
His telescope and observatory have drawn the attention of experts.
"That telescope will be able to detect the flame of a candle from a distance of about 100 kilometers,"Junichi Watanabe at the National Astronomical Observatory of Japan said.
"It is probably Japan's biggest telescope assembled by an individual," said the assistant professor at the observatory in Mitaka, Tokyo. "Polishing a reflector of this size requires skills that are beyond the ability of most amateur craftsmen."
Japan's largest telescope, 2 meters in diameter, is housed in the Nishi-Harima Astronomical Observatory, a prefectural facility in Sayocho, Hyogo Prefecture.

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