100 YEARS AGO
Friday, Aug. 13, 1915
Steamer races German submarine near France
On the morning of July 1, the N.Y.K.S. Kitano Maru, having passed the Straits of Gibraltar, was steaming across the Bay of Biscay toward the English Channel. The vessel was making 11.5 knots, and was about to enter the channel when a German submarine appeared at a distance of some five miles to the north. The submarine was seen approaching the Japanese steamer at full speed. The steamer at once took a southeasterly course, making for the French coast. Lifebelts were distributed among the passengers and crew. Just then the bell rang for breakfast and most of the passengers sat down with their life belts on. In order to avoid confusion in case of disaster, all the boats were allotted among the passengers and crew, and were ready to be launched at any time, each of them being loaded with provisions. The German submarine gave close chase for some hours, but the difference of speed saved the ship. She was doing 16.5 knots, while the top speed of the submarine was 13 knots. At noon the ship met a French gunboat and the details were reported by wireless to the British Admiralty. The Kitano Maru will bring back a detailed account of this adventure to Yokohama on Sept. 20.
75 YEARS AGO
Thursday, Aug. 1, 1940
Police arrest foreign residents for spying
Foreigners suspected of espionage in Korea and at Kurume and Shimonoseki were arrested by the military police July 27 as part of the extensive drive to eliminate foreign spies, it was by government officials.
The Kurume Gendarmerie announced that it had been keenly watching the espionage activities of foreigners since the start of the China Affair and that on Monday it carried out a “clean-up of suspected persons, who are now under examination at Kurume and Shimonoseki.”
Gendarmes in Korea also conducted a wholesale arrest of suspected foreign spies the same day, according to an announcement of the Korea Army.
War Minister Lt.-Gen. Hideki Tojo, made a detailed report on the arrests to the Cabinet.
He emphasized that the pro-British element in the nation constituted hotbeds for furnishing the British spy system with information. He also declared that the army will not hesitate to take rigid measures against Japanese who benefit foreign spies.
As a result of the roundup, the Education Ministry is now confronted with the need of re-examination of the problems of foreign language teachers and foreign language teaching, according to reports.
Foreign teachers are generally degenerating in quality, while foreign language teaching in Japan has reached a stage at which foreigners are almost unnecessary for teaching conversation and composition, according to the Nichi Nichi Shimbun.
Though all foreign teachers are not suspected of spy work, school managements will be urged to be more keenly conscious of the emergency at hand when dealing with teachers.
The Metropolitan Police Board will also watch more closely on foreign residents in Japan, who number approximately 3,400 (350 Britons, 1,000 Americans, 150 French, 630 Germans and 100 Italians).
50 YEARS AGO
Wednesday, Aug. 4, 1965
Indoor angling curbs urged by Tokyo police
The Metropolitan Police Department has taken its first step to regulate indoor angling, a sport that has become popular in Tokyo and other major cities.
There are 368 establishments in Tokyo that feature indoor fishing, according to the MPD. Unfortunately, most of them operate until about 4 a.m. and 1 out of every 5 customers is a minor, police say.
Even more regrettable, police say, is the fact that some operators buy back the caught fish or change them for other goods in the manner of a pachinko parlor. In an instruction issued Monday to these indoor fishing facilities, the MPD urged them to stop giving “prizes” or buying the fish back, to close down at midnight and refuse admission of those under the age of 18 after 11 p.m.
Also, at least three owners of indoor angling shops are connected with gangs, according to the MPD. Indoor fishing centers were first opened sometime last year but they did not gain wide attention until about three months ago when their number suddenly increased.
25 YEARS AGO
Friday, Aug. 3, 1990
Government regrets Iraq invasion of Kuwait
The government characterized Iraq’s recent invasion of Kuwait as deeply regrettable and called Thursday for immediate withdrawal of Iraqi troops.
“Japan is deeply concerned about the deteriorating situation,” Chief Cabinet Secretary Misoji Sakamoto told reporters.
Japan imports 170,000 barrels of oil per day from Kuwait, which was the sixth-largest oil exporter to Japan in the first half of 1990. The clash between Iraq and Kuwait will not have an immediate effect on the country’s economy because Japan has a 142-day reserve supply of oil and can expect increased supplies from other OPEC nations, Sakamoto said.
Meanwhile, Vice Foreign Minister Takakazu Kuriyama conveyed Japan’s concern to Iraqi Ambassador Rashid M.S. Al-Rifai, officials said. Al-Rifai was quoted as saying the military action was not an invasion but an act performed at the request of Kuwait’s new revolutionary government. Kuriyama reportedly told Al-Rifai that Japan does not believe the ambassador’s account of the situation.
There are 392 Japanese registered as living in Kuwait. About one-third are believed to now be out of the country for summer holidays and business trips.
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 month’s edition was compiled with the assistance of Eric Lee Brittingham. The Japan Times’ entire archive is now available to purchase in digital format. For more details, see jtimes.jp/de.
IN FIVE EASY PIECES WITH TAKE 5