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Japan, Taiwan and Hong Kong lift COVID-19 restrictions on inbound travelers after more than 2 years

goodbye covid
  • On Thursday, Japan’s government announced that the country would be reopening its borders to all individual tourists starting on Oct. 11.
  • Taiwan also announced its plan to remove inbound quarantine for international arrivals by Oct. 13.
  • Similarly, the Hong Kong government announced on Friday its conclusion of hotel quarantine for inbound travelers starting Sep. 26.
  • As for mainland China, the government maintains its “zero COVID” policy that still requires travelers to quarantine at a hotel for 10 days at their own expense.

After more than two years of strict border restrictions, Japan, Taiwan and Hong Kong have lifted COVID-19 restrictions on inbound travelers.

On Thursday, Japan’s government announced that the country would be resuming visa-free access for certain countries and reopening its borders to all individual tourists starting on Oct. 11. 

Teacher in Japan arrested for mixing bleach into school lunch

lunch
  • Ayana Hanzawa, a 24-year-old teacher in Japan, was arrested on Friday on suspicion of forcible obstruction of business.
  • Hanzawa allegedly poured bleach into a container of curry served to students at the Mizutani Higashi Elementary School in Fujimi City on Sept. 15.
  • A student who was in charge of serving the food noticed the odd odor of the container and reported it to a homeroom teacher.
  • Hanzawa reportedly confessed to the charges made against her during the investigation.

A teacher in Japan has been arrested on suspicion of mixing chlorine bleach into a school lunch at an elementary school.

Ayana Hanzawa, 24, was arrested on Friday by Saitama Prefectural Police’s Higashi Iruma Police Station on suspicion of forcible obstruction of business. 

Studio Ghibli releases new look at highly anticipated Ghibli theme park in Japan

Ghibli Park
  • Studio Ghibli released a short video of Ghibli Park in Japan, which is inspired by the beloved films of Hayao Miyazaki and his animation studio.
  • The video showcases some of the theme park’s attractions, including replicas of the Earth Shop from “Whisper of the Heart” and Satsuki and Mei’s house from “My Neighbor Totoro.”
  • Starting on Nov. 1, fans can take a stroll around the theme park’s first attractions, including the Grand Warehouse, the Hill of Youth and Dondoko Forest.

Studio Ghibli has recently released a short video of Ghibli Park, showcasing some of the theme park’s attractions in Japan’s Aichi prefecture.

Ghibli Park, which is located at Aichi Expo Memorial Park in Nagakute, Aichi, is inspired by the beloved films of Hayao Miyazaki and his animation studio.

New Japanese study reveals the best way to put a crying baby to sleep

  • Researchers from the Riken Research Institute in Japan tested the effects of four different actions on 21 crying infants aged 7 months and younger.
  • Their study, which was published in peer-reviewed journal Current Biology on Tuesday, had the babies’ mothers carry them while walking, sit while holding them, rock them in a stroller and put them to bed.
  • The researchers’ findings suggest that the best way to put crying babies to sleep is by walking with them for at least five minutes with no sudden movements, sitting and holding them for another eight minutes and then placing them gently into bed. 

A study published in the peer-reviewed journal Current Biology on Tuesday has revealed the best way to put a crying baby to sleep.

The study, which was led by researchers from the Riken Research Institute in Japan, analyzed 21 babies aged 7 months or younger.

Kindergarten in Japan teaches preschoolers how to use horn on school buses to prevent hot car deaths

horn
  • The Musashino Junior College-affiliated child care center in Saitama Prefecture, Japan, is holding drills to teach young children how to sound the horn if they are left alone in a vehicle.
  • This drill comes after the death of a 3-year-old girl who died of heatstroke in a school bus.
  • The children were taught how to sound the school bus’ horn by sitting on the steering wheel.
  • Along with their guardians, there were 42 children who participated in the drill on Sept. 12. They are expected to complete the safety class by Sept. 16.

Following the death of a 3-year-old girl who died of heatstroke in a school bus, a child care facility in Japan is holding drills to teach children how to sound the horn if they are left alone in a vehicle.

The Musashino Junior College-affiliated child care center in Sayama, Saitama Prefecture, included the drill in its annual traffic safety class to teach children how to seek help by themselves in case of emergency. 

Asian ship accused of killing 2 Nigerian stowaways, ‘dumping’ 12 others in open sea

  • Two Nigerian stowaways were allegedly killed after an Asian-operated ship abused and dumped them in the open sea just off Liberia with 12 others.
  • The 12 survivors reportedly admitted to illegally boarding the Japan-bound MV Ophelia Panama at Delta Port, Warri, on Sept. 7 in pursuit of greener pastures.
  • Five days into the voyage, the group ran out of food and were ultimately discovered by the ship’s crew, whom they believed to be Chinese or Japanese, according to reports.
  • Of the survivors, six swam their way onto a Liberian shore, four were rescued directly from the ship and two were saved after being tossed overboard.
  • The survivors are now in the custody of the Liberia Immigration Service for further investigation.

Two Nigerian stowaways were killed after an Asian-operated vessel abused and dumped them in the open sea with 12 others, according to African reports.

The cargo ship, known as the MV Ophelia Panama, was headed from Nigeria to Japan. The 12 survivors reportedly confessed to illegally boarding the vessel at Delta Port, Warri, on Sept. 7 in pursuit of greener pastures.

Tokyo station employee tells passengers to use rear train cars if they ‘do not want to be groped’

train announcement
  • A Tokyo train station worker has drawn criticism for an announcement he made telling passengers to take the rear train cars if they do not want to be groped.
  • The employee’s choice of words drew heavy criticism from online users.
  • Gropers, known as “chikan” in Japanese, are more likely to be encountered on crowded cars whereas the rear cars are less crowded.
  • A spokesperson for JR East issued an apology on Thursday.

A Tokyo train station employee is facing backlash for an announcement he made instructing passengers to take the rear train cars if they “do not want to be groped.”

In a video taken on Aug. 30 at Shinjuku Station in downtown Tokyo, a station worker is seen making an announcement via the P.A. system, stating: “We have many security cameras installed, but there are many chikan. Passengers who do not want to be groped, please make  use of the rear carriages.”

Electric spoon and bowl that makes food taste saltier set for release next year

electric bowl and spoon

A new set of bowls and spoons that use electric currents to make food taste saltier is close to commercialization and set to release sometime in 2023.

Developers at Meiji University in Tokyo and Kirin Holdings have created bowls and spoons that can enhance salty flavors in food. The researchers previously developed chopsticks in April that use the same technology for stimulating the taste of salt. 

Sightseeing train in Japan is fueled by used cooking oil, discarded ramen soup lard

Tempura ramen broth biofuel
  • Takachiho Amaterasu Railway, a train company operating in Miyazaki Prefecture, Japan, started using biodiesel fuel created from used tempura cooking oil and discarded lard from ramen soup to power its open-air sightseeing train on Aug. 1.
  • The railway tested the fuel for its open-air sightseeing train in mid-June using a ratio of 9:1 used tempura oil and lard extracted from ramen broth and refined with chemicals.
  • Although the price is similar to that of diesel, the company noted that it has not had problems with black smoke coming from its train or the strong smell of exhaust gas that is commonly present in diesel-run engines.
  • The ramen broth biofuel was first used by Nishida Shoun, a trucking company based in Shingu in Fukuoka City, Fukuoka Prefecture.

A Japanese company started using biodiesel fuel created from used tempura cooking oil and discarded lard from ramen soup to power its open-air sightseeing train last month.

Takachiho Amaterasu Railway Co., a train company operating in Takachiho, a town in Miyazaki Prefecture, Japan started using the fuel developed by transportation company Nishida Shoun on Aug. 1.

Language school in Japan decertified over Vietnamese student being chained for hours

  • The Nishinihon International Education Institute in the southwestern city of Fukuoka, Japan, was decertified after one of its staff chained and padlocked a Vietnamese student for hours last year.
  • The incident reportedly occurred when the student expressed his desire to transfer to another school.
  • The teacher allegedly hooked a chain around his belt and the student’s before padlocking the chain.
  • The school has since admitted to the incident, and the staff member involved has resigned. They described the behavior as “a prank without bad intentions.”
  • The school is currently in the process of appealing the ruling.

A Japanese language school in Japan was decertified after one of its staff chained and padlocked a Vietnamese student for hours last year.

The Nishinihon International Education Institute in the southwestern city of Fukuoka has been removed from the nation’s immigration agency’s list of approved schools, the Immigration Services Agency announced on Wednesday.

4chan founder faces backlash following sexual violence comments

  • Popular YouTuber and founder of the anonymous message board 4chan, Nishimura Hiroyuki, is facing backlash after making controversial comments regarding sexual violence.
  • Hiroyuki stated in a YouTube video on Aug. 27 that hostesses at bars recieve high pay in exchange for enduring sexual violence.
  • Nishimura’s comments came in reference to actor Kagawa Teruyuki’s recent sexual harassement scandal.
  • Many social media users criticized Nishimura for portraying women who work as hostesses in bars as willing targets of sexual violence.

The founder and owner of the anonymous messaging board 4chan has received harsh backlash for posting a YouTube video commenting on actor Kagawa Teruyuki’s recent sexual harassment scandal. 

Kagawa issued an apology on Aug. 26, 2022, after a report was released stating that the actor had groped a hostess’ breasts at a bar in 2019 before taking her bra off and passing it around to colleagues. The woman filed a civil lawsuit against the bar owner for failing to intervene; however, she retracted the case and later settled the situation outside of court with Kagawa. 

‘Maybe he realized how stupid it was halfway in’: Hit-and-run driver in Japan paints his vehicle orange to avoid arrest

  • Tomoyuki Saito, 33, allegedly struck a 54-year-old man in a hit-and-run accident while driving in Tokyo on Aug. 12.
  • Saito had been drinking prior to the incident and did not have a driver’s license, according to reports.
  • By the time police found him, his vehicle had been partially painted to the color orange.
  • Police are investigating the incident with the assumption that Saito tried to avoid detection by repainting his car.
  • News of the incident has gone viral, with many netizens commenting on Saito’s partially painted vehicle.

The drunk driver of a truck involved in a hit-and-run incident in Japan seemingly attempted to elude law enforcement by painting his white truck another color.

Tomoyuki Saito, a 33-year-old car mechanic, was driving down the rainy streets of Tokyo at around 9 p.m. on Aug. 12 when he allegedly hit a 54-year-old man from behind.