100 YEARS AGO
Saturday, Dec. 5 1914
First part of WWI naval operations successful
The Navy Department yesterday published a survey of the operations of the different squadrons and divisions of the Imperial Navy since the outbreak of the world war, and announced that the first part of the operations has come to an end. In the early part of November, the survey noted, Germany’s warships in Kiaochou Bay, Hawaiian waters and the Indian Ocean all came to grief at the hands of the Imperial Navy. The rest of the enemy’s fleet are now known to have fled toward Chilean waters, thus marking the beginning of a new phase in operations.
75 YEARS AGO
Tuesday, Dec. 10, 1939
U.S. architect plans housing for Manchuria
Dwellings for Japanese residents in Manchurian cities should be remodeled, in consideration of the colder climate and their traditional living habits, says Dr. W.M. Vories, a noted American architect who plans to build a model Manchoukuo apartment house in Mukden.
Dr. Vories stated that a better ventilation system for houses in Manchuria is urgently needed as the Japanese people, mostly unused to such severe winter conditions as they find there, are too frequently inclined to shut themselves tightly indoors during the lengthy cold season. As a result, they contract pulmonary ailments, noticeable among the second generation.
The veteran architect has devised an inexpensive system of indirect ventilation that he will install in the projected Mukden apartment building. The architect plans to open a branch office in that city, and believes the prospects for the success of his new Manchurian venture are good.
Having lived and prospered for 35 years in Nippon and being a sincere well-wisher of the Japanese people, he said he would like to build comfortable, healthy buildings suited to this country for the Japanese and Manchou residents.
Referring to his recent trip to America, he was at first amazed and almost dismayed by the intensity of the anti-Japanese sentiment there, he remarked. He found such regrettable feeling very strong among the church folk also. They alleged that the Japanese were trying to wipe out Christianity in East Asia, the same as the Nazis and Soviets have done in their countries. However, Dr. Vories thinks the arrival of Mr. Horinouchi as ambassador to Washington has had a salutary effect upon the American churchgoers, as the envoy is reputed to be a sincere Christian. The saner part of the population are beginning to see the issue of (the ongoing war in) China in a true light, he said.
50 YEARS AGO
Thursday, Dec. 10, 1964
Tokyo’s smog whiter, far more poisonous
For many Tokyoites, the acrid, dishwater-gray smog that often blankets the world’s largest city in winter has become almost a way of life. But year in, year out, the contents of toxic gases in the pallid veil known as smog are on the rise, despite a sharp decrease in smoke and soot particles in it.
And in these days, it is not only the downtown area that suffers; it is seeping deep into suburbia. A survey by the Metropolitan Government’s Public Nuisance Department indicates:
• Tokyo smog is becoming increasingly white. In downtown Tokyo, soot particles in the air have decreased by half since 1959.
• The sulphurous acid gas content in the air has increased more than nine times since 25 years ago. The nitrous acid gas level is now as high as in Los Angeles.
All this means the air looks cleaner but is actually getting dirtier and more toxic.
“Air pollution in Tokyo could soon become as bad as that in London,” Yoshiaki Kawanami of the Public Nuisance Department said.
The Metropolitan Government has been trying for years to get rid of air pollution. It extinguished dump fires, went after more than 12,000 factory smoke stacks and enforced stiff regulations on power plants and steel mills. Still, the progressively worsening smog is believed attributable to ever-increasing automobiles in the nation’s capital. More than 5 million automobiles now run in the city daily.
One solution to the auto intoxication may be to equip all automobiles with “afterburner” devices, which are claimed to help eliminate hydrocarbons from exhaust gas. Still, they would be expensive — costing around $120 per vehicle.
Another factor in the deterioration may be the fact that industrial plants are switching from coal to oil for fuel. It is still technically difficult for oil-burning facilities to prevent generation of gases.
25 YEARS AGO
Tuesday, Dec. 10., 1989
Ebola monkeys in U.S. spur import warning
An emergency advisory urging Japan to restrict importation of monkeys for research reached the National Institute of Health Thursday from the World Health Organization.
It said a deadly virus never before found in animals has been discovered in rhesus monkeys shipped from the Philippines to the United States in November. The virus causes Ebola hemorrhagic fever, whose symptoms are acute headaches and internal bleeding. According to the WHO, Ebola disease was found among rhesus monkeys that died at a private research center for animal testing in Virginia.
According to the National Institute of Health, the virus is easily transmitted to humans, but Japan has no quarantine system to block such diseases from abroad.
Japan imports about 3,000 monkeys annually, mostly for experimental use. The quarantine of experimental monkeys is done voluntarily by dealers. Pet monkeys do not go through any checks.
The monkeys were later discovered to have been infected with what became known as Reston virus, which is related to Ebola.
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. This edition was compiled with the assistance of Catherina DePaz. The Japan Times’ entire archive is now available to purchase in digital format. For more details, see jtimes.jp/de.