Thursday, Sept. 11, 1913

Free rent to those with no fear of cats

Anyone who is not afraid of cats or knows how to drive away a great plague of feline roughs and toughs is offered the use of a house in Shibuya for a year free of rent. In so doing the landlord is losing ¥300, as the house is good for a monthly rent of 25.

Suzuki, of 25 Banchi, Shibuya, owns a number of rentable houses. One was occupied by a French family who left a few years ago. Since then the house has been taken up by different families, but soon all left, all because of fear of cats.

It seems the Frenchman had a great hobby of keeping cats. He had two pairs of his pets, and left them in the house when he moved away. The cats have been very happy, even without their master, and kept increasing rapidly. They were, moreover, very sociable creatures and went around the neighborhood, inviting all cats and kittens to visit them.

The landlord’s efforts to keep away the free lodgers have been without success. Any human intruder is threatened by every kind of injury that cats are capable of inflicting.

The landlord announced widely that he was willing to let anyone take the house free of charge for a year on the condition he drives away all the cats, but not kill them, as the landlord was not particularly willing to be visited by nine ghosts for every cat that was killed.

This term was accepted by three young husky students only recently. On the night they moved in, they went through a grueling muscular exertion with clubs, fighting like mad. But the feline assailants held their ground. After five days the students gave up and moved away. The house remains vacant now.

Friday, Sept. 9, 1938

Yangtze towns fall, Hankow route clear

Hankow (or Hankou, which now forms part of the city of Wuhan in the Hubei Province) was much disappointed over the fall of Kwangtsi and Mahuiling, key points on the northern and southern banks of the Yangtze River, respectively, according to information received here from the city.

Late last night the Hankow military authorities announced that Chinese troops were forced to abandon Kwangtsi and that Mahuiling had also been captured.

Still, the Chinese in the area put up the strongest resistance ever experienced by the attacking forces. The Chinese military authorities attached particular importance to the two points because the fall of Kwangtsi would make easy the Japanese advance to the Wuhan district and the fall of Mahuiling would open the highway to Hunan Province.

The Chinese populace in the Wuhan area also showed unusual interest in the progress of the situation there. Minute-to-minute progress of the warfare had been communicated to the Hankow authorities and published for the information of the Chinese citizens.

[Hankow ultimately fell to the Japanese in late October.]

Wednesday, Sept. 11, 1963

JFK reaffirms support for South Vietnam

President John F. Kennedy said in a TV interview Monday that the United States does not intend to reduce its aid to South Vietnam.

The comments come amid accusations that South Vietnamese president Ngo Dinh Diem has been harshly repressing Buddhists and students.

“I don’t think we think that it would be helpful at this time, Kennedy said. “If you reduce your aid, it is possible you could have some effect upon the government structure there. You might have a situation that could bring about a collapse.

“Strongly in our mind is what happened at the end of World War II, where China was lost, a weak government became increasingly unable to control events.

“We are faced with the problem of wanting to protect the area against Communists. On the other hand, we have to deal with the Government there.”

Kennedy said he believed in the domino theory, which holds that if South Vietnam falls the rest of Southeast Asia will also fall to communism.

Thursday, Sept. 8, 1988

Union stumps for nuclear power

The Federation of Electric Workers’ Unions of Japan announced Wednesday its most important task in the coming year will be to improve citizens’ understanding of nuclear power generation so there is a national consensus in favor of it.

The 130,000-member labor union adopted the resolution during its regular convention held in Sapporo. In its plan, the federation emphasizes the necessity of arousing public awareness of the safety of nuclear power plants, because they are a stable source of power and currently generate 29 percent of all electricity.

It also criticized antinuclear advocates, saying, “They think our plants are the same as the one in Chernobyl and publicize that there will be disasters at any time.”

Secretary-General Yuji Fukuda of the federation said at the convention, “We put the greatest importance on safety of nuclear power plants. People should not emotionally feel nuclear power is evil.”

The federation decided to train spokesmen with necessary knowledge and set up a committee to head the campaign, focusing on areas where there are plans for construction of new power plants.

Baku Nishio, an antinuclear activist in Tokyo, commented that he thinks the campaign is actually aimed at union members who have lost confidence in the safety of nuclear power generation due to the Chernobyl accident.

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. 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.

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