Japan's most wanted; tribute to Kohei Tsuka; CM of the week: Suica

Last April, the government abolished the statute of limitations for murder, which was 25 years for killings punishable by death and 15 years for others. The new law will not affect cases that had already lapsed before it went into effect. Its purpose, according to the Tokyo Metropolitan Police Department, is “to arrest as many perpetrators as possible.”

Consequently, the police will need some assistance. “Terebi Kokai Sosa: Shimei Tehai 2” (“TV Open Investigation: The Most Wanted 2”; TV Tokyo, Mon., 8 p.m.) solicits help from viewers in locating and capturing criminal suspects. There are 1,200 names on the police’s Most Wanted list. More than half have been on the list for at least three years.

Among the fugitives described on the show is Toshikazu Koike, who is wanted in connection with the murder of two men in Tokushima in 2001. There is also Katsuyuki Obara, who is suspected of killing a 17-year-old girl in Iwate.

This summer, playwright and theater director Kohei Tsuka died at the age of 62. Tsuka was one of Japan’s most influential theater figures, a director who launched the careers of many celebrated actors. Two of his hit plays, “Kamata Kyoshinkyoku” and “The Atami Muder Case,” are now considered classics.

NHK will profile Tsuka this week on its “Human Documentary” series (NHK-G, Fri., 10 p.m.). Actress Yasuko Tomita, who appeared in several of his plays, will narrate his life story. Tsuka was a second-generation Korean-Japanese, and the minority experience informed his life and writing. In fact, his pen name is a contraction of the term ” itsuka kohei ,” which means “equal someday.” He was a famously emotional taskmaster, and often rewrote his scripts in the middle of rehearsals. His Tokyo-based angura (short for “underground”) theater opened in 1994 and was the first theatrical company in Japan to receive government support.

CM of the week

Suica: Actress Mimula, playing an office lady, brings her purchase to the cashier in a convenience store and says she will pay in change. As she searches through her purse for the correct amount, the line of customers behind her grows longer and she becomes more flustered, while the chipper jingle on the soundtrack insists, “If you use Suica, there’s no problem.”

She eventually takes out a ¥1,000 bill, but before she can hand it over we see a Suica prepaid card pass over a sensor device. It belongs to a kimono-clad woman who has just instantly paid for her own purchase before Mimula and everyone else in line has had a chance to pay for theirs. She gives the young woman a smug, self-satisfied look and walks away. The message? Suica is a license to be rude.