100 YEARS AGO
Friday, Jan. 14, 1916
Count Okuma survives assassination attempt
Count Okuma, prime minister of Japan, had a sensational experience Wednesday night, when the veteran statesman narrowly escaped being the victim of a diabolical outrage.
The count had attended a state banquet given by His Majesty the Emperor at the Imperial Palace in honor of H.I.H. the Grand Duke George Mikhailovich, and left the palace about 11 o’clock.
The prime minister entered his motor car and started in the direction of his private residence at Waseda, the other occupants of the car being the Chief of Police Umai and the premier’s assistant, Mr. Kumatsu.
Passing along one of the dark streets near Waseda University the driver of the car saw a man in the darkness make motions as if in the act of throwing something in the direction of the automobile and immediately put on top speed.
The next moment the front of the car was hit hard by a missile, which made a heavy dent.
Fortunately, however, the bomb did not explode. A second bomb, which missed the car, exploded on the road without causing any significant damage.
No arrests have been made.
The premier did not appear to have been shaken by the thrilling experience, and he made light of the affair, referring to his experience of 32 years ago when, as the result of a bomb outrage outside the Foreign Office, he lost his leg.
The unexploded bomb was taken to the military arsenal and is currently being examined.
75 YEARS AGO
Friday, Jan. 24, 1941
League seeks to instill Bushido spirit in Diet
Exemplification of the spirit of Bushido, with an emphasis on martial arts and feats of physical skill, is noted in the present session of the Diet, in which 27 members, all experts in their respective fields, pledged themselves yesterday to bringing about more discipline, better manners and the upholding of righteous causes.
This new organization, with members in both houses, was named the Martial Arts League of Diet Members. Among the promoters of the league were Mr. Yasutaro Fujiu, sixth grade in jujitsu; Shosuke Yoshiuye, fourth grade in Japanese fencing; and Sai-ichiro Dohke, fourth grade in jujitsu.
In a written pledge, the new members stated: “We hereby pledge ourselves to help introduce Diet sessions fitted to the needs of the times. It shall be our duty to bring more discipline among ourselves and also among other members of the Diet to make sure that all members use careful speech and show well-regulated behavior and, thus, achieve that chivalrous Bushido spirit, which is the basis of our martial arts.”
50 YEARS AGO
Thursday, Jan. 6, 1966
Plans for ‘new town’ in Tama announced
The world’s largest “new town,” accommodating 300,000 people, will be built in eight years on the Tama hills in Tokyo’s western suburbs, with construction work beginning this year.
The builder, the government-financed Japan Housing Corp., says the housing project spanning cities and towns of Hachioji, Machida, Tama and Inagi, will spread over an area of 3,200 hectares.
At present, the British new town of Basildon in Essex in London’s suburbs is the world’s largest, with a population of 106,000 and an area of 3,100 hectares.
Plans call for the construction of three new universities in the town, and a high-speed railway system that will connect the town with downtown Tokyo in half an hour.
Cost for the housing project, which will accommodate 80,000 households is expected to cost ¥200 billion.
A plot three times as large as Tokyo’s Ueno Park will be reserved for a park of 290 hectares in the area.
The new town, eventually dubbed Tama New Town, accepted its first residents in 1971.
25 YEARS AGO
Friday, Jan. 18, 1991
Kaifu pledges support as Allies bomb Iraq
Prime Minister Toshiki Kaifu on Thursday condemned Iraq’s failure to leave Kuwait and pledged the “maximum support possible” for the newly commenced U.S.-led military action against the nation.
Kaifu issued the statement in the morning following emergency Security Council and Cabinet sessions held shortly after air attacks were launched on targets in Iraq and Kuwait on Thursday.
Later Japan was expected to announce new financial aid for the forces, and to dispatch medical teams and aircraft to help evacuate refugees and Japanese nationals. Details were to be decided quickly by a government-wide task force created Thursday and headed by the prime minister.
According to government sources, Japan is considering an additional $4 billion to help defray the allies’ military costs.
Kaifu said the government will consider, if necessary, sending Self-Defense Force planes to help airlift refugees and Japanese citizens from the gulf.
“Japan pledges its first support to the use of force by the countries concerned carried out in accordance with U.N. Security Council Resolution 687 as the last resort to terminate the invasion and restore peace.”
The resolution set the Tuesday deadline for Iraq to get out of Kuwait.
Kaifu brushed aside criticism from some opposition parties that Japan’s financial support for the multinational force violates the Constitution.
Japan will never participate directly in the use of force and financial contributions are constitutional, the prime minister stressed.
In this feature, which appears on the first Sunday of each month, we delve into The Japan Times’ 118-year archive to present a selection of stories from the past. This month’s edition was collated with the assistance of Midori Nishida. The Japan Times’ entire archive is now available to purchase in digital format. For more details, see jtimes.jp/de.