Japan: Annual Births Set to Fall Below One Million for the First Time 


The annual number of births in the country dipped below one million during 2016 for the first time since records became available, an estimate by the Health, Labor, and Welfare Ministry shows.

The number stands at 981,000, the lowest since 1899, according to the demographic statistic estimate released Thursday.

The ministry’s analysis showed the number of women in the age group of those giving birth is decreasing. The government is expected to urgently take further measures to address the declining birthrate.

The annual estimate shows that the number of people who died stands at 1.296 million, which is 6,000 more than last year. The number of deaths is thus expected to exceed that of births for 10 consecutive years. The gap, or the natural decrease in the population, is expected to hit a record high of 315,000.

The number of births has been declining since peaking at more than 2 million during the second baby boom from 1971 to 1974.

When the total fertility rate for 1989 hit a record low of 1.57, the situation was called the “1.57 shock” because the figure was even lower than in 1966 — a year in which giving birth was generally avoided in Japan due to a superstition. After that, measures to address the declining birthrate started being considered as important. Read the rest of this entry »

Niigata Elementary School Teacher Calls Fukushima Evacuee Student ‘Germ’


The boy complained to the teacher in charge of his class that he felt bad because classmates treated him like a germ, according to the board of education. He also reported to the teacher last month that he was bullied.

Jiji Press NIIGATA (Jiji Press) — A teacher at an elementary school in the city of Niigata added “kin,” or “germ” in Japanese, when he called the name of a male pupil evacuated from the prefecture of Fukushima following the country’s worst nuclear accident in March 2011, it was learned Friday.

A woman and child sit on a beach as Tokyo Electric Power Co.'s (Tepco) Kashiwazaki Kariwa nuclear power station stands in the background in Kashiwazaki City, Niigata Prefecture, Japan, on Friday, Sept. 6, 2013. Niigata Governor Hirohiko Izumida痴 approval is critical before Tepco can go ahead with plans for the restart of Kashiwazaki-Kariwa, the world痴 largest nuclear power station by generating capacity. Photographer: Yuriko Nakao/Bloomberg

“The board expressed deep apologies to the pupil and his parents. The boy evacuated to Niigata with his family from Fukushima after the unprecedented triple reactor meltdown accident at Tokyo Electric Power Company Holdings, Inc.’s Fukushima No. 1 nuclear power plant, which was knocked out by the March 2011 earthquake and tsunami.”

Due to the remark by the teacher, in his 40s, the fourth grader became unable to go to the school, according to Niigata’s board of education.

“The boy reportedly said that he cannot go to the school and does not want to see the teacher.”

The board expressed deep apologies to the pupil and his parents. The boy evacuated to Niigata with his family from Fukushima after the unprecedented triple reactor meltdown accident at Tokyo Electric Power Company Holdings, Inc.’s Fukushima No. 1 nuclear power plant, which was knocked out by the March 2011 earthquake and tsunami. Read the rest of this entry »

BREAKING: Tokyo Earthquake Reports: Japan Preliminary Magnitude 7.3 – Off Fukushima


Early reports of a Japan earthquake

Preliminary M7.3 of Fukushima

Tsunami advisory has been issued (for Fukushima Prefecture … also for Aomori, Iwate , Miyagi, Ibaraki, & Chiba Prefectures)


Residents have been urged top leave the Fukushima coast

USGS reporting M7.3

  • 67km northeast of Iwaki (on Honshu)

Read the rest of this entry »

BREAKING: Japan’s Emperor Akihito to Make Rare Public Address

Japan’s Emperor Akihito is set to deliver his second ever televised address to the nation, after reports he wants to step down in coming years.

Japan’s Emperor Akihito is set to deliver his second ever televised address to the public.

Last month, Japanese media reported that the emperor wanted to step down in coming years, which would be unprecedented in modern Japan.

He is not expected to use the word “abdicate” because he is barred from political involvement.

The palace said on Friday he would be speaking about his “feelings regarding his duties as a symbol of the nation”.


Five things about Japan’s emperor

People in Tokyo sum up Japan’s Emperor in one word

  • Has adopted a more modern style, making efforts to draw the imperial family closer to the people.
  • He married a commoner in 1959 – their love story captured the nation and was dubbed the “tennis court romance” as they met over the nets. Together he and Empress Michiko have three children.
  • Has sought to heal the scars of World War Two, saying last year: “Looking back at the past, together with deep remorse over the war, I pray that this tragedy of war will not be repeated and together with the people express my deep condolences for those who fell in battle and in the ravages of war.”
  • Acknowledged his Korean ancestry in the run-up to the 2002 World Cup, which Japan and South Korea jointly hosted. This surprised many in Japan given the country’s bitter colonial legacy on the Korean peninsula.
  • His passion is marine biology and he is an expert on the goby fish.

[Emperor Akihito’s reign in pictures]

There is no legal provision for abdication in Japanese law, which would mean a law change would be required.

[Read the full story here, at BBC News]

Under the constitution the emperor is not allowed to have political powers so a wish to abdicate could be seen as him interfering in politics.


Prime Minister Shinzo Abe is expected to issue a statement after the emperor’s speech.

A pre-recorded message from the 82-year-old emperor, who is revered in Japan, will be made public at 15:00 local time (06:00 GMT).

Public broadcaster NHK reported the emperor, who has had heart surgery and was treated for prostate cancer, would ask Crown Prince Naruhito and his wife to take over many of his public duties. Read the rest of this entry »

Hiroshima: Wrong to Drop the Bomb?

Here we are, 70 years after the nuclear obliteration of Hiroshima and Nagasaki, and I’m wondering if we’ve come even one step closer to a moral reckoning with our status as the world’s only country to use atomic weapons to slaughter human beings. Will an American president ever offer a formal apology? Will our country ever regret the dropping of “Little Boy” and “Fat Man,” those two bombs that burned hotter than the sun? Will it absorb the way they instantly vaporized thousands of victims, incinerated tens of thousands more, and created unimaginably powerful shockwaves and firestorms that ravaged everything for miles beyond ground zero? Will it finally come to grips with the “black rain” that spread radiation and killed even more people — slowly and painfully — leading in the end to a death toll for the two cities conservatively estimated at more than 250,000?

Yet Americans still view the bombings as an act of mercy


First of all, Hiroshima and Nagasaki were legitimate military targets; important industrial and port cities- the heart of Japan’s war machine. And even after Hiroshima, they still were unwilling to surrender.

There’s also the fact that the conventional firebombing of Tokyo by 330 B-29 Superfortresses killed the same number of people as the Hiroshima bomb with plain old firebombs. Is this somehow morally superior to Hiroshima? 100,000 people dying in one bombing s perfectly acceptable as long as uranium and plutonium aren’t bombed, eh, @salon??? How about millions, @salon???

If you can’t tell me which of the below cities is Hiroshima and which one is Tokyo, you really should stop talking.

Look at this. Look at it. We did this without any fucking atom bombs and they still didn’t surrender.

But that’s not important.

Do you have any fucking clue what the alternative was, @salon???

It’s blood chilling.

Put simply, that above is the alternative, but no mere map can drive home the horror that would have been the aptly named Operation Downfall. D-Day would have been PEANUTS in comparison

It would have consisted of two phases: Operation Coronet and Operation Olympic. Olympic was scheduled for November 1st, 1945, with the goal of invading the southernmost Japanese home island of Kyushu. It would have been spearheaded by forty two aircraft carriers, twenty four battleships and over four hundred assorted cruisers, destroyers and destroyer escorts. By comparison, today’s US Navy only has 271 deployable combat ships.

Fourteen Army and Marine Corps divisions would have fought and bled and died on those beaches, with the Fifth, Seventh and Thirteenth Air Forces providing tactical close air support. The Twentieth Air Force would have continued the job of strategic bombing, pummeling Japanese infrastructure in the hopes of slowing down the inevitable Japanese main counterattack. Thirty-five landing beaches would have been concentrated around the cities of Miyazaki, Ariake and Kushikino, most of which were as heavily defended if not more so than Omaha Beach in Normandy. For the record, as can be clearly seen on the maps below, we weren’t even planning on taking the whole island, just the southern third of it because casualty rates would have been that FUCKING high.

Here’s a close-up map of Olympic:

Operation Coronet was scheduled for March 1, 1946- no, that date is not wrong; this would have extended World War II into the fifties- and was supposed to march on Tokyo, the heart and soul of the Japanese empire. Twenty five Army and Marine divisions would have landed that day on two opposing beaches with the plan being to take the city in the largest pincer movement since Operation Barbarossa. For comparison, the entirety of all American, Canadian and British forces landing on D-Day amounted to twelve divisions.

Here’s Coronet:

It wasn’t hard at all for the Japanese to figure out where we’d be landing and they had some plans of their own. Operation Ketsu-Go aim was not to win Japan the war; they knew that was impossible at this point in the game. No, their entire goal was to kill as many Allied troops as possible before going down.

They had five thousand aircraft, just for use as kamikazes. During the Battle of Okinawa just months prior, they had launched fifteen hundred kamikazes, causing more than 10,000 casualties; with more favorable terrain on Kyushu their kill rates would only have risen. They also planned to target troop carriers as they ferried men to the beaches; this alone could have destroyed one third of the invasion force before it even arrived.

They also had a little over a thousand suicide submarines and suicide boats- literally motorboats filled with explosives- to ram Allied shipping. They also planned on using “human mines”- just men in diving gear who would swim out and detonate bombs as the American transports passed overhead.

On the beaches, the Japanese moved one million soldiers to Kyushu. They also forced civilians into the fight, training women, schoolchildren and old men to kill Americans with goddamn muskets, longbows and bamboo spears! Anything they had they were told to kill Americans with. They were strapping explosives to schoolchildren as suicide bombers- eerily similar to what US soldiers are facing right now in places like Afghanistan and Iraq.

But that’s barely scratching the surface. What’s truly chilling is the predicted casualty rates. The very best estimate for Allied forces was in the hundreds of thousands, more likely in the millions; up to that point the US had lost “only” 240,000 men in combat; we would have doubled and then tripled that in the first week of the invasion alone. The Japanese, on the other hand, were facing upwards of nine million to ALL OF THEM. Civilians would be dying left and right from starvation, the bombings, the blockade; even the atrocities their own military would have committed against them. This is the same military that forced parents on Okinawa to kill their children and then themselves, this is the same military that in Nanking raped and killed upwards of three hundred thousand people; this is the same military that did shit that puts your worst nightmares to shame.

Of course, the truest irony of it all is that even if we had gone with Operation Downfall, wasting another fifteen million innocent lives in a war that had already cost us eighty million, is that some plans for Downfall called for the usage of atomic bombs anyway! Numbers vary from seven to twenty; seven is most likely. So even if we had invaded, Hiroshima and Nagasaki would have been destroyed anyway!

We were also planning on nuking the beaches to soften up Japanese defenses too. But think about that. Nobody knew about radiation at the time. We would have been marching our troops through the still glowing impact zone. We were this close to killing EVERYONE in BOTH armies. Compared to the 250,000 dead at Hiroshima and Nagasaki, this seems like a blessing!

However, for me, the most thought-provoking reminder of how many people almost died is the fact that in the leadup to the invasion that ultimately never was, the USA manufactured over 500,000 Purple Hearts. These have been used in Korea, Vietnam, Iraq, Afghanistan and wherever else brave men have been injured or died defending our freedom…. and we still to this day have one hundred thousand of them left.


Source: why-we-cant-have-nice-thing.tumblr.com

[VIDEO] Massive Crab Swarm Discovered Off Panama Coast 

Scientists exploring a Pacific Ocean ecosystem have stumbled upon an undiscovered horde of thousands of little crabs. They say this is the southernmost population of this crab species ever found, extending its known range.



[VIDEO] Japan vs. The Islamic State

The brutal beheadings of Japanese nationals Kenji Goto and Haruna Yukawa by the Islamic State in January have shocked the island nation and lent momentum to an effort to expand the limitations imposed on its constitution and military after its defeat by the United States in World War II.

Leftists in Japan fear that the incident will encourage a departure from the country’s pacifist constitution, whose Article 9 states that “the Japanese people forever renounce… the threat or use of force as a means of settling international disputes.” Right-wingers, meanwhile, see an opportunity to allow Japan to assert itself as a truly sovereign state.

VICE News reports from Japan as its prime minister and right wing are pushing for re-militarization of the pacifist nation, amid protests from the left who staunchly oppose any changes to Article 9 of the constitution.


Japan: 6.8 Earthquake Near Nagano City


TOKYO (AP) — A strong earthquake late Saturday struck a mountainous area of central Japan that hosted the 1998 winter Olympics, knocking down at least 10 homes in a ski resort town and injuring more than 20 people, officials said.

The magnitude-6.8 earthquake struck near Nagano city shortly after 10 p.m. (1300 GMT) at a depth of 10 kilometers (6 miles), the Japan Meteorological Agency said. The U.S. Geological Survey measured the quake’s magnitude at 6.2. Since the quake occurred inland, there was no possibility of a tsunami.

Japan’s Nuclear Regulation Authority said no abnormalities were reported at three nuclear power plants in the affected areas. All of Japan’s nuclear plants are offline following a magnitude-9.0 earthquake and massive tsunami in 2011 that sent three reactors at the Fukushima Dai-ichi plant into meltdown. Fukushima is about 250 kilometers (155 miles) northeast of where Saturday’s earthquake occurred.

At least 22 people were injured, three of them seriously, in Nagano city, the Hakuba ski resort and elsewhere, the National Polilce Agency told Japan’s Kyodo news agency.

“We are trying to assess the situation as quickly as possible, and we’ll do our utmost for the rescue of the injured people,” Japan’s top government spokesman, Yoshihide Suga, told reporters. Read the rest of this entry »

TABOO Violated: Letter Handed to Emperor Causes Protocol Freak-Out in Japan

Japanese Emperor Akihito and Empress Michiko bow during a national memorial service for victims in Tokyo March 11, 2012, to mark the first anniversary of an earthquake and tsunami that killed thousands and set off a nuclear crisis.

Japanese Emperor Akihito and Empress Michiko bow during a national memorial service for victims in Tokyo March 11, 2012, to mark the first anniversary of an earthquake and tsunami that killed thousands and set off a nuclear crisis.

(TOKYO) — A novice Japanese lawmaker who wanted to draw attention to the Fukushima nuclear crisis has caused an uproar by doing something taboo: handing a letter to the emperor.

The ruckus began at an annual autumn Imperial Palace garden party last week. As Emperor Akihito and his wife, Michiko, greeted a line of guests, outspoken actor-turned-lawmaker Taro Yamamoto gave the emperor the letter — a gesture considered both impolite and inappropriate.

Read the rest of this entry »

7.3-Magnitude Quake Rocks Japan

(TOKYO) — An earthquake of magnitude 7.3 struck Saturday morning off Japan’s east coast, the U.S. Geological Survey said. Japan’s emergency agencies declared a tsunami warning for the area.

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