This week in Japan, Tokyo lifted its alert status and loosened conditions for businesses. Black Lives Matter supporters gathered in Osaka.
Tokyo Lifts The Alert and BLM Protest Held in Osaka
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Tokyo to Lift the Alert
Despite the recent increase in Corona cases after lifting the state of emergency and moving to “step 2” of reopening, Tokyo has decided to lift the recent alert and move to “step 3” of reopening. The lifting of the alert was triggered by having over four consecutive days of under 20 new Coronavirus cases. However, the streak was broken on Thursday, as 22 new cases were reported. Despite surpassing 20 cases, the Tokyo government is planning to move forward to Step 3. This will allow restaurants to stay open until midnight, as compared to 10 pm in step 2, and will enable a number to or businesses to resume operation. This includes night clubs, live houses, girls bars, snack clubs, karaoke, and more. Citizens are excited to have a large section of daily life return but are also uneasy due to the steady number of cases.
Black Lives Matter Protest in Osaka
This Sunday saw thousands gather in Osaka to march in support of the black lives matter movement. The march was organized by the Black Lives Matter Kansai group, which champions equality and justice for black people in Japan and across the world. The parade consisted of a diverse mix of both Japanese people and foreigners, with numbers reaching around 2000, according to police. Recent protests in America over police brutality and the killing of George Floyd have inspired similar events across the world. While Japan is predominantly Japanese, there is a growing number of Japanese people with a mixed heritage, such as the top tennis player, Naomi Osaka. These people with mixed heritage, sometimes referred to as hafu, are starting to raising their voices more often, both in public and online, to address issues they face. The peaceful protest on Sunday has been polarizing between netizens online in Japan, with some criticizing the lack of social distancing at such a vital time and others downright denying it’s importance with comments like “there is no discrimination in Japan to black people.”
A Large Number of Monkeys Escape from Chiba Zoo
This Wednesday, around 70 Macaque monkeys escaped from the Takagoyama Shizen Zoo in Futtsu City, Chiba Prefecture. A zookeeper discovered a hole in the animal’s caging and quickly phoned police that morning. As of now, none of the monkeys have been seen, but the zoo plans to continue leaving out food and expects a full recovery of the primates. The hole discovered in the cage appears to be a man-made cut using metal clippers. Last September, a strong typhoon managed to blow the caging away, letting the monkeys escape then as well. While the majority were later recaptured, it appears that someone is behind the escape this time. Perhaps some of the ones that got away have come back to free their friends.
Teen Murders Family with a Crossbow
This week tragedy struck a Kobe family when a university student opened fire with a crossbow, killing his mother, brother, and grandmother. The 23-year-old student admitted to authorities that “I wanted to kill all members of my family.” The suspect’s aunt was also shot and is currently receiving medical attention. According to neighbors, the suspect had a history of violent outbursts, and such an incident was “unfortunately a matter of time.” The use of firearms is strictly regulated in Japan, making weapon-based murders a rare. While bows are technically legal in Japan, the types of arrows and bolts are restricted.
Ken Watabe’s Scandal: An Affair Spanning Years
This week it was revealed that Japanese comedian and television personality Ken Watabe has been involved in several ongoing affairs for several years. Ken, the tsukkomi member of the manzai duo Unjashu, admitted to the allegations after they were announced Thursday morning. He has since canceled his tv appearances and issued an apology to the public. This affair is particularly shocking due to his public portrayal as a perfect power couple with his wife, fashion model and actress Sasaki Nozomi. The unlikely couple with a sizable age gap of 15 years garnered positive attention from fans when they went public and just recently welcomed their first child in 2018. Ken has admitted to seeing multiple women while he was dating Sasaki, after their marriage, and during her pregnancy. One alleged mistress has come forward, claiming to often meet with Ken in secret at a public bathroom in Roppongi Hills. Sasaki Nozomi has yet to give a public statement.
Hosts of Ryu Tokyo Podcast
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.
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.