Nine die, dozens injured while engaging in summer leisure activities on Bon holiday

The Japan Times

Nine people died and around 30 sustained injuries while engaging in leisure activities at sea, on mountains or at other spots Sunday, when people were taking advantage of the Bon holiday season, according to a tally compiled by Kyodo News. Of the nine, seven died at sea off or near beaches in Hokkaido and Niigata, Kyoto, Tottori, Shimane and Kagoshima prefectures, while the remaining two died in rivers, including a 7-year-old boy from Aichi Prefecture who was found in a river in Ogaki, Gifu Prefecture. Many people across the country engaged in some kind of outdoor recreation on the last day of the nation's three-day weekend. Among the victims of fatal accidents were Masaki Ogiyama, 29, from Sapporo, who was visiting a beach in the town of Yoichi, and Hideaki Aomatsu, 71, from Yokohama who drowned while collecting shells off Sado Island in Niigata. In Tottori, Nobuhiko Yamada, 69, from Kobe, went missing at a beach in Aoya, and a rescue helicopter found his body.


14 prefectures get boosted bluefin tuna catch quota

The Japan Times

The Fisheries Agency has given 14 prefectures an additional quota of 122.2 tons for small Pacific bluefin tuna catches in total, though the nation's overall catches this season exceeded the limit under an international accord. Japan's total catches of small Pacific bluefin tuna, defined as those weighing less than 30 kg, late last month topped the ceiling of 4,007 tons set for the season ending in June. Fisherman in areas where catches of tuna in the category have not reached regional annual limits are now allowed to continue operations within the additional quota. In return for the boosted quota, the 14 prefectures will see their catch limits lowered in the next season that starts in July. The 14 prefectures are Hokkaido, Aomori, Miyagi, Tokyo, Niigata, Toyama, Ishikawa, Fukui, Kyoto, Hyogo, Tottori, Shimane, Saga and Nagasaki.


Okinawa village has nation's longest life expectancy for third straight time, survey finds

The Japan Times

For the third consecutive time, the life expectancy average for women in 2015 was highest in the village of Kitanakagusuku, in Okinawa Prefecture, hitting 89.0 years, a health ministry survey released Tuesday showed. The village of Nakagusuku and the city of Nago, both also in Okinawa, came in Nos. 2 and 3 at 88.8 years, according to the survey conducted every five year. The two municipalities were followed by Kawasaki's Asao Ward and Nonoichi, Ishikawa Prefecture, with both at 88.6 years. For men, the average life expectancy was highest in Yokohama's Aoba Ward at 83.3 years. Asao came in second, at 83.1 years, followed by Tokyo's Setagaya Ward, at 82.8 years, Tsuzuki Ward in Yokohama, at 82.7 years and Kusatsu, Shiga Prefecture, at 82.6 years.


Two people dead, nearly 2,000 suffered from heat exhaustion as heat wave continues across nation

The Japan Times

Two people died and more than 2,000 people suffered heatstroke or exhaustion Sunday as a heat wave continued to scorch Japan over the three-day weekend, a Kyodo News tally showed. Temperatures rose above 35 C in many parts of western and eastern Japan with the highest for the day at 38.8 C recorded in Fukuchiyama, Kyoto Prefecture, and in the town of Ibigawa, Gifu Prefecture. The tally showed that two people died in Shiga and Saga prefectures while 2,061 people across the nation were taken to hospital due to heatstroke or exhaustion on Sunday. The extreme heat made it harder to carry out relief operations in the regions ravaged by the recent flooding and landslides. In the hardest-hit prefectures of Okayama, Hiroshima and Ehime, a total of 145 people, including volunteers for removing and cleaning up debris, were taken to hospitals, as the mercury reached 36 C in some areas in the prefectures.


Cultural agency adds 13 historical legacies to nation's heritage list

The Japan Times

The Cultural Affairs Agency added 13 historical legacies to its Japan Heritage list on Thursday, with legacies in Yamanashi, Shizuoka and Miyazaki prefectures recognized for the first time. The list now contains 67 groups of tangible and intangible cultural assets that have been preserved, along with narratives, in 43 of the country's 47 prefectures. Among the new additions is the combination of the nation's oldest obsidian mine and surrounding Jomon archeological sites in Nagano and Yamanashi prefectures, which collectively retell the culture of the Jomon Period focused on obsidian -- which ancient Japanese people considered to be star fragments, and used to make stone tools and art works such as dōgu clay dolls, according to the agency. Kinojo Castle, an ancient mountain castle, and other sites in Okayama Prefecture that are featured in the popular folklore tale of ogre buster Momotaro were adopted for the list. The group of applicants -- four cities in the western prefecture -- were able to successfully connect the hero legend to the region's history, the agency said.