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Anti-Alien Bill protested, controlling the Western Pacific, Daibutsu climbers arrested, land prices soar

by Edan Corkill

100 YEARS AGO
Tuesday, April 8, 1913

Japan protests U.S. state’s ‘anti-aliens’ bill

A New York dispatch of April 5 says that, in regard to the bill before the California Legislature prohibiting aliens ineligible for citizenship from owning land and holding a lease, Viscount (Sutemi) Chinda, Japanese ambassador at Washington, presented an unofficial protest to the U.S. Government on Friday, in a two-hour conference with Secretary of State (William) Bryan.

The Baron stated that the passage of the bill would violate the Treaty of Commerce and Navigation between Japan and America. The interview was very friendly and an amicable settlement of the thorny question is hoped for by the State Department.

Meanwhile, a Washington dispatch of April 6 says that, in regard to Japan’s protest, leaders of the popular party in the California Legislature declare that the object of the Bill … does not mean in the least the exclusion of Japanese alone.

[The Bill was passed in mid-May despite protests in Japan, where it was seen as an attempt to discriminate against Japanese and discourage immigration to the United States.]

75 YEARS AGO
Friday, April 8, 1938

Navy ‘must command’ the Western Pacific

The Japanese Navy must have complete command of the Western Pacific, it was inferred today from the statement by Rear-Admiral Kiyoshi Noda, Spokesman of the Navy, at his press conference with foreign journalists.

Asked to define the Western Pacific area he referred to — in particular, whether the 180-degree line divided the Japanese and U.S. spheres of influence — the Admiral replied that it is impossible to delimit it definitely as to longtitude and latitude. He said the idea is to include all the area that is necessary to defend Japan from the standpoint of national security.

Admiral Noda asserted that the Americans formerly seemed to look upon their coasts and Panama as their important points to defend, and built their navy accordingly. But Secretary of State (Cordell) Hull’s recent statements express strong opposition to the establishment of any naval frontier on the contention that it would expose American interests outside of this imaginary “Chinese wall” to attack.

“It seems that America’s defense line in the Pacific is moving further to the West, Admiral Noda declared. Asked if he saw the danger of a collision between the two spheres of influence in the Pacific, he reiterated that Japan’s policy is one of non-menace, and so long as the other countries do not take a menacing position against Japan, there would be no such danger.

50 YEARS AGO
Thursday, April 18, 1963

Palm-dancer among three fingered for climbing on Daibutsu

Three tourists were arrested Tuesday for climbing the giant statute of Buddha in Nara’s Todaiji Temple, which is a designated national treasure.

Yoshiharu Eguchi, a 35-year-old factory worker from Nishininomiya, Hyogo Prefecture, was found dancing on the palm of the giant Buddha and turned over to police.

Eguchi came to the temple with 10 friends and scaled the statue under the influence of alcohol, it was said.

Shortly afterward, police took into custody two men who came out of the temple with their hands and clothes smeared with vermilion paint.

Investigation showed that Masaru Inoue, 25, and Junnosuke Yoshimura, 25, both of Osaka, placed a bet on the size of the statue’s nostrils and climbed to the statue’s knees to find out who won.

The pair apparently stained their clothes when they edged their way up a vermilion railing.

Police were examining the Buddha statue to determine whether it had been damaged.

25 YEARS AGO
Friday, April 1, 1988

Land prices rise by average 21.7 percent

The National Land Agency reported Thursday that land prices nationwide rose by an average of 21.7 percent during last year, far outpacing the previous year’s annual increase of 7.7 percent.

The average increase rate is the highest in the past 10 years and follows the last peak rate of 30 percent set in 1973 and 1974, when land prices spiraled spurred by former Prime Minister Kakuei Tanaka’s “Japanese Archipelago remodeling” plan.

Tokyo Metropolitan area land prices in particular soared steeply, averaging 68.6 percent, or nearly doubling the past record of 35.9 percent recorded in 1973. This jump helped to greatly boost the national average, according to the agency.

Land prices shot up above the national average in the five prefectures of Kanagawa (84.1 percent), Tokyo (60.9), Chiba (60), Saitama (55.8) and Osaka (22.4). In contrast, land prices went down in the three prefectures of Kochi, Aomori and Miyazaki.

By usage, housing land prices showed a national average increase rate of 25 percent, or more than triple the previous year’s figure of 7.6 percent.

Commercial land prices jumped 21.9 percent, also far outpacing the previous year’s rate of 13.4 percent, particularly in Sapporo, Sendai, Hiroshima and Fukuoka, and all key cities in each region. This indicates that spiraling land prices are shifting from big city areas to regional ones, the agency said.

Land in the capital where the Tokyo Chamber of Commerce and Industry (Chiyoda Ward) and Tsukamoto Motoyama building (Ginza) are located was the most expensive in the country, posting per-sq.-meter prices of ¥34 million.

[Japan's real estate and asset-price "bubble" peaked in 1989 before infamously collapsing and ushering in the period of economic stagnation that continues to this day.]

In this feature in Timeout on the third Sunday of each month, we delve into The Japan Times’ 117-year archive to present a selection of stories from the past. Stories may be edited for brevity. This edition was compiled with the assistance of Delilah Romasanta. Readers may be interested to know that The Japan Times’ entire archive is now available on Blu-ray Disc. For more details, see jtimes.jp/de.