NILS Fukuoka Times

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What’s Happening Now in October 2018 Fukuoka & Japan


Fukuoka senior arrested for stealing a single grape – Fukuoka

The Fukuoka Prefectural Police have arrested a 73-year-old man for the crime of eating a grape from a storefront. The incident occurred at approximately 9:50 a.m. on the morning of Oct 3 outside a greengrocer in Higashi Ward, Fukuoka City. The suspect allegedly walked past the front of the store, pinched off a single grape valued at 55 yen, and ate it. Just then, he was apprehended by the store manager, who had been secretly watching, and turned over to police.

Fifty-five yen for one grape might seem quite expensive depending where you’re from, but it’s not uncommon in Japan. The store manager had been tipped off to the crime because for about half a year leading up to the arrest, discarded grape peels were repeatedly found on the pavement in front of the store.

Police are currently investigating the suspect’s connection to the past incidents of grape peels found on the sidewalk as well. If found guilty, he could be responsible for damages running upwards of 1,000 yen.

Juntendo University medical school suspected of bias against female applicants – Tokyo

Juntendo University is suspected of having discriminated against female applicants to its medical school, sources close to the matter said Monday, as some other Japanese universities have already been criticized for manipulating entrance exams.

The Tokyo-based private university possibly curbed women’s enrolment in the medical school by setting higher passing scores for them, the sources said. The education ministry has called for an explanation from the university. The ministry surveyed 81 universities across the nation in August after similar manipulation was reported at Tokyo Medical University. In the survey, Juntendo University was found with the largest gender gap in its acceptance rate for the past six years. The rate of successful male applicants to such female applicants stood at 1.67 for that period. Applicants for the university take academic exams first and those who pass then write an essay and sit for interviews. In the latest entrance exam this spring, 2,372 male and 1,779 female applicants took the exam for Juntendo University, with 239 men and 93 women passing it, the ministry said.

Following the survey in August, the university set up an independent committee to investigate the matter. An official of the university denied it had discriminated against women or applicants who failed its entrance exams. But the official also said a private university has “discretion” in entrance exams, which it and the ministry interpret differently.

 African swine fever virus detected in luggage at Hokkaido airport – Hokkaido

Highly contagious African swine fever virus has been detected in the luggage of a traveller from China at a Hokkaido airport, Japan’s farm ministry said Monday. Sausages in the passenger’s luggage at New Chitose Airport tested positive for the disease, and it is the first case of the virus being brought to the country from overseas. No domestic case of infections with African swine fever virus has been reported thus far.

African swine fever is regarded as more lethal than conventional swine fever, also known as hog cholera, and there is no effective vaccine to protect swine from the deadly pig disease. The rapid onset of the disease was reported in China earlier this year, and authorities were anxious about the risk of the infectious disease spreading to other Asian countries including Japan. The U.N. Food and Agriculture Organization has called for regional collaboration including stronger monitoring and preparedness measures.

According to the Agriculture, Forestry and Fisheries Ministry, the passenger arriving on Oct. 1 from Beijing was found to have about 1.5 kilograms of sausages which are prohibited from being brought into the country. The passenger was asked to abandon the sausages and they tested positive in the state’s genetic test conducted later. It is unclear whether the heat-processed, vacuum-packed sausages contained any pork produced in China, the ministry said. China is a major pig producer and accounts for about half the global population of swine, according to FAO. It is unlikely that food infected with African swine fever virus will cause an outbreak in Japan unless pigs in the country are fed with infected food. Both African and classical swine fevers pose no direct threat to human health as they are diseases of domesticated pigs and wild boars, but infections can be devastating to the farm industry.


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