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Fat men frolic, Jews to be treated equally, U.S. ambassador stabbed, new sales tax a headache

by Edan Corkill

Staff Writer

100 YEARS AGO
Wednesday, March 1, 1914

Fat men feast and frolic in bid to be ‘invincible’

Twenty-five fat members of the House of Representatives with two Government delegates and two journalists, each of whom weighs more than 165 pounds (75 kg), sat at a dinner at the Fukuiro, Yanokura, Ryogoku, on Monday evening. The most weighty attendants were Mr. Toichi Saiga (Chusei-kai), 260 pounds; and Mr. Utaro Noda (Seiyu-kai), 250 pounds.

The dinner was opened with a humorous speech by Mr. Noda: “We have an old Japanese saying, ‘Too fat to be wise,’ but the fact is the contrary. We must show the world the success of the fat. On the pattern of foreign governments, was the Constitutionalism of Japan organized. It is a derivative from the countries of bigger people than the Japanese. Though fat men are as a rule despised by rickshaw drivers and girls, this is not right. We must not be discouraged. I hope that one day all of Japan’s people will be as big as we are. If so, Japanese will be invincible.”

The motion for the organization of a society of the fat was then introduced by Mr. Tomiyasu of the Seiyu-kai and it was accepted by all present. The name of the society will be the Tairyo-kai (Great Weight Society).


75 YEARS AGO
Wednesday, March 1, 1939

Jews treated equally: foreign minister

No discrimination will be made against Jewish residents or immigrants in Japan, it was declared by Foreign Minister Hachiro Arita at the House of Peers on Monday.

Katsuji Debuchi, a member of the Dowakai party of the Upper House, drew attention to the recent increase in the number of Jews in Shanghai as a result of the anti-semitism campaign in Germany and pointed out that great concern has been manifested by some sections of the Japanese public.

Reviewing the Japanese attitude toward foreigners, Mr. Debuchi said extreme tolerance has invariably marked the Japanese attitude toward aliens at present as well as in the past. Mr. Debuchi further said no trouble based on racial prejudice occurred in Japan’s history as demonstrated by Japan’s colonial administration in Taiwan (and) Chosen, the natives of which are treated the same way as Japanese nationals. Mr. Debuchi asked Foreign Minister Arita to give a clear-cut enunciation of the Government’s policy towards Jews.

Endorsing the interpellator’s view, Foreign Minister Arita said Japan has never made any discrimination against alien people either through legislation or as a matter of fact. The Government has decided on a definite policy aiming at no discrimination against Jews. Jewish residents of Japan shall be treated just like other foreign residents.


50 YEARS AGO
Wednesday, March 25, 1964

U.S. envoy stabbed by youth at embassy door

U.S. Ambassador Edwin O. Reischauer remained in good condition at Toranomon Hospital on Tuesday night after treatment of a stab wound in his right thigh inflicted by a 19-year-old youth Tuesday.

A 9:15 p.m. medical bulletin said the ambassador was in “very good” condition.

Reischauer was stabbed at 12:07 p.m. Tuesday as he was leaving the U.S. Embassy chancery to attend a luncheon.

The American diplomat’s assailant was identified by Akasaka police as Norikazu Shioya, 19, of Numazu, Shizuoka Prefecture. Shioya is an unemployed electrician and a former mental patient.

The Metropolitan Police Department said late Tuesday night that Shioya freely admitted the stabbing and said he did it to attract attention to “his feelings about the decline of morality among women and give publicity to his method of preventing nearsightedness.”

Shioya is nearsighted.

The department said Shioya used a homemade 15-cm-long knife in the attack.

The ambassador was rushed to the Toranomon Hospital, about a block away from the chancery, where he underwent an emergency operation.

U.S. Minister John K. Emmerson said in an announcement at 5 p.m. that the ambassador was “out of danger.”

“On behalf of the ambassador and Mrs. Reischauer, I wish to express sincere gratitude for the many expressions of regret he has received from the Japanese people.”

The Metropolitan Police Department said Shioya entered the embassy grounds by scaling a wall facing the Hotel Okura.

The Police Agency said Shioya suffered from a serious case of nervous breakdown apparently growing out of myopia.


25 YEARS AGO
Friday, March 31, 1989

Incoming sales tax a headache for kiosks

Kiosks, the tiny variety shops found at train stations, can turn into battlefields during the morning and evening rush hours. Between 5:30 and 7:30 p.m. a kiosk clerk at JR’s Ueno Station has to handle a customer every two seconds. Alternating hands, she gives a pack of cigarettes to a businessman, receives money and gives back change.

She has piles of 500, 100, 50 and 10 yen coins on a counter in front of her to facilitate serving customers rushing for trains.

Under such circumstances, it is impossible for the clerk to deal with 1 yen coins, explained Yoshio Fujikura, chief of the purchasing division of East Japan Kiosk Co. The company has a policy of not using 1 yen coins at its 1,750 shops, and it intends to keep that policy, even after the new sales tax of 3% is implemented on April 1. Fujikura said snacks and other items costing less than 140 yen will remain priced as they are, while prices of other items will be raised in units of 10 yen.

The policy will mean that some goods will be priced differently at the kiosks to how they are elsewhere. For example, gum costing 60 yen at kiosks will cost 62 yen at supermarkets and other stores.

On April 1, 1989, Japan implemented a sales tax — of 3% — for the first time.

In this feature, which appears on the first 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. 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.