100 YEARS AGO
Friday, Dec. 27 1918
Snow snarls Tokyo on Christmas night
Tokyo and surrounding neighborhoods were visited by another snowfall on Christmas evening. The snow set in at about 5:30 p.m. and continued throughout the night.
The snowfall was about 5 inches deep, but with the fine weather yesterday, the snow fast melted, turning the streets into the usual horrible mess.
This was the third snowfall of the season, and was comparatively heavy.
Extensive damage was done by the storm to telephone and telegraphic communications in Tokyo. Over 3,300 telephone wires were damaged in Tokyo alone and 72 lines between Tokyo and other points.
Many telegraph wires were damaged in and outside of Tokyo and communications much interrupted. The direct cause of the interruption was the cutting of electric light wires, which broke under the load of the snow and crossed the telegraph and telephone wires. The central telegraph and telephone offices called out all workmen off duty yesterday and are busily engaged in repairs.
The street car system, as usual, suffered the worst from the storm. Over 300 cars were affected and came to a standstill on various sections to the great inconvenience of passengers. The city electric bureau sent snow cars to remove the snow from the tracks.
Owing to the increased absence of drivers and conductors, the street car service was greatly dislocated yesterday morning, the number of cars being less than usual.
The storm was not general throughout the country.
75 YEARS AGO
Friday, Dec. 31, 1943
Rail commuters forget over 1 million items
An amazing total of 1.2 million forgotten articles have been gathered at the various rail bureaus throughout the country for the year 1943. The Tokyo Railway Bureau occupies first place, claiming as its share of the lost goods one-third of the total, with Osaka, Nagoya, Moji, Hiroshima, Niigata and Sendai following in consecutive order.
Let us take a glance at Tokyo, Ueno and Ryogoku stations, with their total of 80 percent of the entire lost articles handled by the Tokyo Railway Bureau. At Tokyo Station, the main entrance to the Imperial capital, the number of lost articles totaled 45,950 from January to November. Out of this number, 2,867 cases concerned monetary losses in cash, amounting to ¥118,396. The number of individual cases reported at Ueno Station was 35,514, with 2,205 cases of cash losses amounting to a total of ¥62,433. Ryogoku Station had only 6,417 cases with 503 cash losses totaling ¥10,590.
There has been a gradual increase in the number of lost articles since 1936, recording 404,118 cases for 1942.
Another astounding fact is that only 37 percent of the articles are claimed by owners. Cataloging these articles, hats occupy first place, with 20 percent of the total number. Umbrellas follow next on the list. Watches and cameras also come up to a considerable number.
It is interesting to note that money for the most part, approximately 70 percent, is found within the station precincts, accounted for by the fact that bills and coins probably slipped out of purses when opened by their owners.
50 YEARS AGO
Wednesday, Dec. 11, 1968
¥294 million stolen in daylight robbery
A young man posing as a motorcycle policeman robbed a bank car of ¥294 million in cash in a daring broad daylight robbery on a highway in Fuchu in western Tokyo on Tuesday.
The Metropolitan Police Department immediately began a massive hunt for the robber, setting up check points on all major highways and roads in Tokyo and its vicinity. But as of early this morning, the culprit was still at large and police had no substantial clues as to his identity.
Police believe the crime had been carefully planned by someone who had an intimate knowledge of the Nippon Trust and Banking Co., whose car was attacked, or of the Fuchu plant of Tokyo Shibaura Electric Co. (Toshiba), where the money was being transferred.
The burglary was executed according to a plan that apparently had been laid out exact to the second to ensure success, police said.
The money was to have been paid as bonuses to about 4,500 of a total of 6,200 employees at the Toshiba plant.
25 YEARS AGO
Friday, Dec. 17, 1993
Tanaka, shogun of money politics, dies
Former Prime Minister Kakuei Tanaka, a rags-to-riches politician who restored ties with China 21 years ago and was later convicted of bribery, died Thursday of pneumonia at a Tokyo hospital at the age of 75.
Tanaka’s daughter, Makiko, and her husband, Naoki, both Lower House members of the Liberal Democratic Party, were at his bedside when he died at 2:04 p.m., sources said. His body was then taken to his home in Mejiro in Tokyo’s Bunkyo Ward.
Chief Cabinet Secretary Masayoshi Takemura, upon hearing of Tanaka’s death, called him one of Japan’s most “colorful” postwar politicians and praised him for restoring diplomatic ties with Beijing in September 1972.
Tanaka became prime minister in July 1972. But he was forced to resign in December 1974 because of money scandals that allegedly involved his methods of building wealth and power. He was arrested in July 1976 in connection with the Lockheed payoff scandal, which rocked the nation.
Tanaka, who had been paralyzed following a 1985 stroke, was hospitalized in early September for diabetes and was later moved to Keio University Hospital, where he died of pneumonia caused by hyperthyroidism, which he had suffered since his time as a young politician.
Compiled by Elliott Samuels. In this feature, we delve into The Japan Times’ 121-year archive to present a selection of stories from the past. The Japan Times’ entire archive is now available to purchase in digital format. For more details, see jtimes.jp/de.