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Pulmonary pest ravages; study of racial hygienics urged; Japan mourns Gen. MacArthur; Takeshita resigns over Recruit scandal

by Edan Corkill

Staff Writer

100 YEARS AGO
Tuesday, April 21, 1914

Chiba ravaged by pulmonary pest

The dreadful pulmonary pest (pneumonic plague) has plunged districts of Omikawa and Moriyama-mura, Chiba, into consternation. The physicians and police officials, who are working to check the spread of the disease, facing imminent danger almost every minute, are greatly hampered in their efforts by a scarcity of workmen, even when offered tempting wages, and the unwillingness of local physicians and nurses to assist them.

All physicians and police officers engaged in quarantine work are dreaded by the local people as the pest itself. They are shunned on the road and refused lodging.

The sixth death from the plague in the district occurred Saturday. At present two adults and a child are lying near death, suspected of the disease, in a temporary shed. The crude asylum has been prepared in an isolated spot and enclosed with a fence of tin sheets.

Police-Inspector Mano and other officers, refused lodging in Omikawa and Moriyama, are obliged to lodge in Sawara.

Only a few workmen agreed to help build the isolation asylum. A cask of sake was always placed in the workshop to spur on the men, who drew the liquor freely from it during their work to inspire them with courage.

Since the initial outbreak of the plague in Tokyo’s Fukagawa district, 72 fatal cases have been reported. At present, 1,315 patients are in hospitals. The quarantine director, Mr. Kunizawa, says that there is no positive way of putting an end to the plague, but it will die out of itself when more regular weather sets in.


75 YEARS AGO
Wednesday, April 12, 1939

Racial hygienic course at universities urged

Supporting a suggestion by Dr. Koichi Miyake, Professor of Tokyo Imperial University’s Medical College, the Gakujitsu Shinko-kai (Academic Promotion Society) is planning to propose to the Education Ministry the opening of a course on racial hygienics at various medical colleges.

The proposed course would offer study on inter-racial blood mixture, heredity, mental and hygienic problems between races. Should it be brought to existence, the course will be the first of its kind in this country. Dr. Miyake has been studying various problems pertaining to blood mixture among the Oriental races, particularly among Japanese, Chinese, Manchous (people from the then-extant state of Manchukuo) and Chosenese (Koreans). He is an ardent advocate of inter-racial marriage for the solution of the problems of the East.


50 YEARS AGO
Tuesday, April 7, 1964

U.S. Gen. MacArthur mourned by Japan

A cable conveying the condolence of Emperor Hirohito and Empress Nagako on the death of Gen. Douglas MacArthur was sent to Mrs. MacArthur, widow of the deceased five-star general, Monday.

MacArthur died of acute kidney and liver failure at Walter Reed Medical Center, Maryland, early Monday morning Japan time. He was 84.

Japanese political leaders were also quick to send messages.

In a message to U.S. President Lyndon B. Johnson, Prime Minister Hayato Ikeda said: “I wish to express to the American people my deepest sympathies over the passing of Gen. MacArthur. The general, as a courageous patriot and a loyal citizen, served his country brilliantly throughout his life. The Japanese people remember him with affection not only a great soldier but also a friend of this country.

“Gen. MacArthur, representing the victors, dedicated himself with sympathy and farsightedness to the reconstruction of Japan after World War II. I wish to express my grief on the occasion of his death.”

Foreign Minister Masayoshi Ohira, in a cable to Mrs. MacArthur, said: “The passing of your beloved husband is a source of painful sorrow for us in Japan. Now that he has performed his duties in this world, we pray that he will rest in peace.”


25 YEARS AGO
Wednesday, April 26, 1989

Takeshita says he will resign over scandal

Noboru Takeshita announced Tuesday he will step down as prime minister after the Diet passes the nation’s 1989 budget.

In a nationally televised news conference, Takeshita, 65, expressed “profound apologies” to the nation for the loss of faith caused by the Recruit influence-buying scandal. The prime minister declined to disclose whom he had in mind as his successor. He said he did not want to influence the ruling party’s selection of a new president — a position that carries with it the prime ministership because of the LDP’s majority in the Diet.

At the start of his 30-minute news conference, Takeshita read a message addressed to the nation. “The widespread public distrust of politics triggered by the Recruit case has created a very serious crisis for parliamentary democracy in our country,” he said.

Takeshita has been under intensive criticism because large amounts of funds were provided to him by Hiromasa Ezoe, former chairman of Recruit Co. Ezoe is now under indictment on charges of bribing government officials.

Takeshita admitted in the Diet earlier that he and his associates had accepted ¥151 million in political donations, fundraiser ticket sales and share-sale profits from the Recruit group.

Last week it came to light that he borrowed ¥50 million more from Ezoe in 1987 in the name of an aide, Ihei Aoki. Takeshita and his rivals were then vying for the LDP presidency before the term of former Prime Minister Yasuhiro Nakasone ended in November.

Takeshita’s planned resignation comes as public approval for his Cabinet has hit a historic low. Analysts tie the reaction not only to the Recruit case but to the controversial 3 percent sales tax that was implemented April 1.

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.