100 YEARS AGO
Saturday, Oct. 5 1918
Cabinet ministers to give up bodyguards
The open-door policy is now to be realized by all government offices since the Hara Ministry came to existence. Formerly, especially in times of bureaucratic government, the offices of ministers, vice-ministers and other high officials were closed to almost every outsider, but now it is announced by the authority that these offices are to be opened to all persons, except those who interfere with business.
In a recent issue of the Advertiser, reference was made to the desire said to have been expressed by Mr. Noda, minister of communications, as to the dispensing of the services of ministerial personal guards though the practice has been in vogue for many years. It now appears that the discontinuance of ministerial guards is to be adopted in respect of all the members of the new Cabinet and the police authorities have been notified of the decision.
Another departure by the Hara Ministry is the abolition of the policy of secrecy and reticence, which has been so zealously adhered to by preceding governments, and what may be termed an open-door policy will be followed as far as possible. It may be added that the practice of attaching a personal guard to Cabinet ministers in this country originated in those turbulent days in the early years of Meiji when assassinations and attempts thereto were very frequent.
Among the ministers of state who were assassinated may be mentioned Okubo Toshimichi, who was waylaid and slashed by a band of hot-headed young men near Kioizaka, Kojimachi. Close by the spot where he was murdered, a park has been built and on the grounds stands a monument erected in his memory.
While statesmen in all countries are not immune from attacks at the hands of misguided or disgruntled men, the practice of attaching a bodyguard must be regarded as essentially an institution of a bygone age.
The abolition of the practice by Mr. Hara and other members of his Cabinet will no doubt be hailed with satisfaction by the public at large. Then again, if the guards are abolished hereafter, the Metropolitan Police can save at least 60 policemen who can be utilized for more useful service.
75 YEARS AGO
Friday, Oct. 1, 1943
New substitute for soy sauce discovered
A delicious sauce, comparable to shōyu, made by a process of properly mixed coconut milk sugar and salt has been discovered by a Japanese school teacher in Davao, Philippines.
Yoshiaki Yoshida, the discoverer, succeeded in concocting this palatable sauce in which coconut milk is left to ferment for about three or four days and, at the right stage, coconut shell and charcoal are thrown in.
The mixture is then boiled and the undesirable odor removed. The liquid is later strained to remove all solid matters, and, after melted sugar and salt have been added, the sauce is complete.
The ratio of ingredients — 1 liter of fermented coconut milk, 200 grams of sugar paste and 500 grams of salt — makes an excellent shoyu substitute, which even the most exacting epicure described with a tasty smack of the lips: “Not bad at all.”
50 YEARS AGO
Saturday, Oct. 5, 1968
Afflicted Nagoya man climbs Tokyo Tower
A 20-year-old Nagoya man, who said he wanted to publicize his hardships, climbed Tokyo Tower to a precarious perch on a steel frame 130 meters above ground, repeatedly threatened to jump and then came down after six hours.
The man used an elevator to reach the fifth story of the hall inside the tower at about 1:40 p.m. He then started scaling the steel frame, braving strong rain and winds. He reached a height of 130 meters or 20 meters below the first observation platform and perched there.
The man, wearing rubber sandals, walked nimbly about on 7-cm-wide steel girders and threatened to jump as about 40 police officers tried to persuade him to come down. At about 3 p.m., the man grudgingly accepted a safety belt from a tower employee and fastened himself to a girder. He finally descended at 8:05 p.m.
The youth, identified as Iwataro Kazui of Yajie-cho, Minami Ward, Nagoya, told police that he had almost given up hope for his future because of hardships he suffered after his father lost his job as a coal mine worker in Kyushu. He said he had got a job at an iron works factory in Nagoya but that his life had been as hard as ever.
25 YEARS AGO
Friday, Oct. 8, 1993
Whiskey-and-water drinks a mixed success
Neither consumers nor beverage makers are convinced that whiskey-and-water drinks will become the industry’s new hit product. Suntory Ltd. reports a good start since it launched Japan’s first ready-made whiskey-and-water drinks in April along with Nikka Whisky Distilling Co.
The launch followed a change in liquor taxation that month which reduced taxes for products with alcoholic content of 4 percent to 6.5 percent. The whiskey industry had pressed hard for the tax change in hopes of coming up with new product lines that could compete with popular low-alcohol drinks such as beer.
Sales of domestic whiskey have been on the decline since 1989, according to the Japan Spirits and Liquor Makers Association. In 1992, whiskey sales were down roughly 40 percent from 1988.
Whiskey-and-water drinks have the potential to usher in a new era for Japan’s whiskey industry, says Suntory Managing Director Shigeru Inuoe. Suntory shipped a cumulative 1.6 million cases by the end of July. A company spokeswoman says the results were within the range of expectations. One case consists of 24 cans.
Nikka is not so hasty. Its cumulative shipments of 530,000 cases as of the end of August were below target, a company spokeswoman says.
In this feature, we delve into The Japan Times’ 121-year archive to present a selection of stories from the past. This month’s edition was collated with the assistance of George Thomas. The Japan Times’ entire archive is now available to purchase in digital format. For more details, see jtimes.jp/de.