Every Sunday we gather the week’s weird and interesting Japanese news and present it to you in our Sunday News column. It might not always be hard-hitting news, but we hope that it still informs and entertains you. Enjoy!



Japan zoo says missing squirrel numbers no mystery: After a typhoon damaged a squirrel enclosure in a Tokyo zoo and the animals escaped, zoo keepers were concerned about getting all of the animals home safe and sound. Fortunately, that hasn’t proven a problem; more squirrels have returned to the zoo than zoo officials thought were lost in the first place. Let’s just say that rabbits aren’t the only ones who are good at multiplying.[via News On Japan][/twocol_one] [twocol_one_last]Tokyo, Osaka ‘could share urban functions’: Controversial Tokyo governor Shintaro Ishihara is notorious for placing his foot squarely in his mouth, and this week the Honorable Ishihara declared that Tokyo and Osaka, two of Japan’s biggest cities, should just, y’know, merge together. I’m sure it’s an easy, practical thing to do. [via Reddit]




Giant panda Shin Shin gives birth at Ueno Zoo; first cub born in 24 years: Sometime’s I think that it’s a miracle that pandas haven’t gone extinct yet. Not that I have anything against pandas (who could hate pandas), but they just seem like the most ill-equipped animals for survival ever. They have few natural defenses, a sweet disposition, and just don’t really like reproducing. How did they make it this long? [via Reddit][/twocol_one] [twocol_one_last]Photos: Thousands Protest Nuclear Restart: Although Japan had a few weeks of being completely nuclear-free, on Sunday Japan restarted the Oi nuclear reactor in Fukui. It didn’t happen quietly though — thousands of protestors gathered outside of the Prime Minister’s house to say that they didn’t want any more nuclear power in Japan. It’s a battle that should continue to play out in the months and years to come.



Header photo by tomosuke214

  • FoxiBiri

    Best Japanese anti-nuke reggae song ever!

  • 古戸ヱリカ

    That seems… like a really specific category…

  • ジョサイア

    Really funny!…I should use this for Japanese practice…xD lol

    I just learned the Japanese word for nuclear power.

  • Mescale

    I don’t really understand anti-nuclear sentiment. I wonder how many of those protesters went home and used electricity…

    You can’t have your cake /and/ eat it.

  • Guest

    Hydroelectric, geothermal, solar, wind, etc… 

  • Mescale

    I’m not sure what your point was I’m assuming there wasn’t one, Japan didn’t turn nuclear power back on because they like radiation or nuking themselves or hated nature or idiot protestors, its because the country would suffer brown outs / black outs without it.

    Hydro electric generated electricity has its own pitfalls, creating a dam takes time, the dam will render a very large area of land upstream unusable which itself is bad for the environment, Japan really doesn’t have the space for hydro electric energy.

    Geo thermal energy, again it takes time to actually build a geothermal power plant, and as far as I’m aware the use of Geothermal is generally only useful in specific areas depending on the geology. pumping water into the ground can be hazardous, if the water decides to some other way then it can lead to earthquakes, I can’t see that potential problem garnering too many fans in Japan. 

    Solar Energy, sure everyone thinks its all unicorns and rainbows, but actually its not, lets split solar into two types. PV or photo voltaic solar power, and other. Most people think of photo voltaic solar power when they think of solar power. This type of solar power is pretty awful. to manufacture a solar panel is takes a lot of energy, only recently have solar panels actually started being manufactured that will produce more energy than it took to build them. and thats theoretically. The materials used to create pv solar panels is really nasty, it takes a lot of rare earth metals, nasty carcinogens, etc. etc. Also PV solar energy requires a lot of room, this is something Japan doesn’t have. Also it takes time to build a solar power plant.
    Alternative solar energy such as a solar farm heating salts to molten levels then using that to heat water to steam to generate energy. Well thats ok but again it takes time years of time to build such a plant and space which there isn’t in Japan.

    Wind power, wind turbines are only rated for a specific speed of wind, too fast and they rip themselves apart too slow and they can’t generate electricity, to generate the same amount of electricity as a nuclear power station you need a lot of them, and that takes space. also they need to be maintained, and they take time to build and connect to infrastructure. Plus no one wants them in their back yards.

    So all of your suggestions require space which is not available easily in Japan, they will take 5 – 10 years to be built and commissioned, cost a lot of money.

    So nones of your suggestions are feasible for a country that needs power now, and has a bunch of moth balled nuclear power stations which can be turned back on within a short while.

    The whole world faces an energy crisis, our energy consumption rises and no feasible solutions exist to meet it, whilst at the same time people work against the solutions we have in place, turn off the coal and gas power stations, because they pollute, turn off the nuclear power stations because we are scared of them… suddenly we have only 15% of the energy we need. Oops.

    Meanwhile anti-nuke demonstrators no doubt have their smart phones, their computers and air conditioners on whilst they work hard to stop nuclear power.

    I can’t abide the hypocrisy of the liberal. Who will rail against something for 5 minutes then go back to enjoying all the benefits of whatever they just denigrated.

  • 古戸ヱリカ

    None of them. Every single one of them went home and did their best to conserve electricity.

  • HokkaidoKuma

    Someone opened the “flood gates”.

  • a0145

    U mad bro?

  • Darn Liberals

    How dare those people do something to prevent future nuclear disasters in their country. 

  • Susie

    Well said! Japan, as well as every other developed country, desperately needs to invest in other forms of energy, but it’s not going to happen overnight and nuclear is essential in the meantime (and probably forever although I think it’s importance will lessen).

    I like your last comment too. It’s so true, in so many situations :)

  • NoNuke

    I am glad to see the people of Japan protesting nuclear power. It’s sad to look back on the BP oil spill in the Gulf because their only solution was to build more oil rigs. I hope Japan fares better than the US.

  • 古戸ヱリカ

     We were fools to try to harness Internet rants for power… This is the price humanity pays!

  • ジョサイア

    Bicycle power is the way of the future. O0O 

  • 古戸ヱリカ

     But then the whole country would experience black outs every time they go up a hill.

  • Kimura

    There is not enough internet in the world to contain the amount of ellipses required to describe that clown’s face.

  • 古戸ヱリカ

     That tiny bib means he means business.

  • koichi

    Seemed like a very level well thought out comment to me…

  • ジョサイア

    Then I guess they should avoid hills!

    Although, That would drive anyone insane…Blackout’s every five minutes.

  • ジョサイア

    I agree 74.5423%.

  • ジョサイア

    Yeah, I’m sure they went home to use there bicycle powered Toaster to cook some yummy bread.(That’s where the bib comes into play)

  • Heather Stewart

    They couldn’t have babies even if it wanted to. Panda’s are ill-equipped.

  • ドリュー

    As far as nuclear power is concerned, there are alternatives even within the nuclear energy spectrum. For example thorium produces energy more efficiently than uranium, it’s cheaper, and the process used is self containing. Of course convincing any government to switch will take more than a handful of people to make it happen, you can’t build bombs with thorium, which is why they use uranium in the first place. 

    While everyone these days seems to be all about going green, thorium would produce more power with fewer plants than what is in place. And the reactors use a process that regulates the reactor, meaning no explosive meltdowns. The more out of control it gets, the more it regulates itself. 

    Some Japanese electric companies have already begun looking into it: 

    And if you don’t believe me about how thorium is a good alternative let me have Hank Green of the vlogbrothers of youtube tell you himself:

    These reactors also help solve space issues in countries like Japan due to their high efficiency. And because they are cheaper to maintain and build the population (should) enjoy cheaper prices on their electric bills. Thorium reactors are just better all around than current reactors in use.

  • drayomi

    I was reading a Japanese news article last month and unfortunately Shin Shin’s baby died. T-T