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A red rainbow bridge signals the Tokyo alert as the recently re-opened Tokyo Tower lights up the background.

Corona Numbers are on the Rise Again as Tokyo goes on Alert

This week saw Odaiba’s rainbow bridge turn red this Tuesday as Tokyo went on alert. Since coming off of the state of emergency, the number of infections has slowly begun to increase, with cases over ten people for consecutive days in a row.  As established by Governor Koike, a rise in cases will trigger an alert, informing citizens of increased risk. The day the “Tokyo Alert” was announced, 34 new cases were confirmed. While the alert itself is merely a warning, many people worry that this could be an ominous precursor to another lockdown. In particular, large numbers of outbreaks are being traced back to places like hostess and host clubs, which depend on nightlife and customers to stay open.

The Blue Impulse jets seen flying over Tokyo with their signature white and blue colors.

Blue Impulse Fly Over Tokyo to Thank Medical Staff

Last Friday, Japan’s Air Self-Defense Force’s acrobatics team, aptly named Blue Impulse for their blue and white jets, held a flyover around Tokyo to honor medical staff for their efforts during the Corona pandemic.  The six jets flew in formation over downtown areas and hospitals treating Corona patients for around 20 minutes, leaving a trail of white smoke behind them. This will be the first time that Blue Impulse has held a flyover in Tokyo since May of 2014.  It was later revealed that the Japanese Minister of Defense, Taro Kono, is the one who organized the event, despite facing criticism from peers. Kono responded to criticism on his blog, saying that, “I think that what’s important is that we did it, not the process behind it.” Fortunately for Kono, the event was very well received, and many citizens are encouraging him to organize another flyover.

One of the four Ufotable cafes. The evaded tax money came from the income profits from these cafes.

Ufotable Tax Evasion Scandal

This week Ufotable Inc. animation studio, most recently known for the smash hit Kimestu no Yaiba, has been accused of tax evasion for nearly 140 million yen. The official criminal complaint was filed by the Tokyo Regional Taxation Bureau and claims that the company and its president, 50-year-old Hikaru Kondo, are responsible for avoiding 110 million yen (about 1 million USD) in corporate taxes and another 29 million yen in consumption taxes. On top of this, the company is believed to have hidden over 445 million yen in income. The scandal revolves around the four cafes that Ufotable owns and operates in Tokyo and Osaka. The profits from these cafes are said to have been taken and stored in a vault at Hikaru`s home. President Hikaru allegedly told his wife to keep around 1 to 2 hundred million yen off the books every year. When the tax bureau searched Hikaru`s home in March of last year, approximately 300 million yen in cash was discovered in a safe, supporting the allegations. Ufotable has since issued a statement apologizing to fans and reassuring them that they will be compliant with all laws and that they want to work to make Ufotable a place where better and more sustainable works can be created.

The new design for Erin Yaeger’s titan form looms over a destroyed city in the final season of Attack on Titan.

A First Look at the Final Season of Attack on Titan

The trailer for the final season of Attack on Titan, or Shingeki no Kyojin, was revealed earlier this week. The manga series became an international hit with the release of its first anime season back in 2013. Since then, three seasons have been produced by Wit Studio. The announcement of the 4th and final anime season was paired with the news that the animation studio would be changing over to studio MAPPA. Of course, a change in the animation studio could spell disaster for a series, especially when occurring in the last season. That being said, many concerned fans quickly had their doubts vanish upon seeing the action-packed trailer, which depicted an all-out war of both titans and humans. Studio MAPPA has a solid resume, including shows such as Yuri on Ice, Banana Fish, and Dororo, which also helps to put fans at ease. There is some speculation as to how the anime series will conclude since the manga is still ongoing. One popular theory is that the manga itself will conclude, or be very close to finishing, by the time the anime premiers. The Attack on Titan manga has been steadily progressing to what seems to be its climax for some time, and the anime may tie in with the ending of the manga. Other possibilities include an original ending unique to the anime.

Participants happily pose while holding the lgbt flag during a parade.

“No Outing” Ordinance Implemented for the LGBT Community 

Mie Prefecture is moving to pass an ordinance that will protect people of the LGBT community from being “outed.” Outing, or アウティング in Japanese, is when a person’s sexual orientation or gender is revealed to those around them without their consent.  For example, an action such as a friend telling your family or coworkers that you are gay would be considered outing. One famous case that sparked this movement occurred in 2015 at Hitotsubashi University’s School of Law, when a student jumped to his death on campus after a classmate revealed he was gay.  With the new ordinance in place, the outing would become illegal. The ordinance would also make it illegal to force someone to reveal their sexual orientation or gender.  If it were to pass, this ordinance would be the first of its kind ever in Japan as well as a positive step in the right direction to protect the privacy of citizens and the LGBT community.

Hosts of Ryu Tokyo Podcast

Julian Domanski

Born in England, Julian is a writer, videographer & musician living in Tokyo. When he’s not drinking copious amounts of English Tea, he can be found studying Japanese or trying to master the surprisingly complex basics of the Jiuta Shamisen.

Yasuharu Matsuno

Founder of Ryu Tokyo. Japanese-born entrepreneur. Yasu spent his life around the globe – Japan, Singapore, Switzerland, Australia, and the U.S. He hopes he had more time to play Japanese RPGs. MBA from Columbia University in the City of New York.