100 YEARS AGO
Friday, March 21 1919
Tokyo buildings damaged by rare gale
Eight persons suffered burns when toy balloons exploded during a public demonstration for fire prevention co-sponsored by the Yokohama Fire Station.
The sudden gale that visited Tokyo on Wednesday evening for over an hour was a rare phenomenon at this season of the year, according to Dr. Okada of the Central Meteorological Observatory.
It was caused by the sudden appearance of a small depression about noon that day on the Saku Plain, Nagano Prefecture, which proceeded east at a velocity of 30 miles an hour and passed out to the Pacific, crossing Ibaraki and Tochigi prefectures. Tokyo was out of the center of the zone, luckily, and the damage here was limited. Owing to the remarkably rapid progress of the low pressure, the Central Meteorological Observatory had no time to issue a special warning.
In Tochigi Prefecture, the violent storm was accompanied by hail and thunder. A newly built primary school in course of construction was blown down by the storm and a bridge over the Tone River at Menuma was badly damaged, stopping traffic. In Kumagae, the storm fanned the sparks from the engine of a passing freight train and set an uncovered freight car on fire, destroying it and the cargo, causing a loss of ¥900.
In Mito, the storm caused the failure of the electricity supply for nearly four hours, plunging the whole city into darkness.
In Yokohama, a severe hail storm lasted for nearly an hour.
75 YEARS AGO
Wednesday, March 8, 1944
Aluminum coins to be replaced by tin
The 10 sen, 5 sen, and 1 sen aluminum coins now in circulation will, beginning the end of this month, be replaced by those made of tin to economize on the consumption of aluminum which is an important war material.
The tin coins of all three denominations will be slightly smaller than the respective aluminum ones, the diameters of the new 10 sen, 5 sen, and 1 sen coins being respectively 19 millimeters, 17 millimeters and 15 millimeters as against the 22 millimeters, 19 millimeters and 16 millimeters of the aluminum coins of the same face value.
Therefore, the 10 sen tin coin will be of the same size as the 5 sen aluminum coin, while all the tin coins will be 2½ times as heavy as the aluminum coins of the same value. The 10 sen and 5 sen tin coins have holes of five and four millimeters in the center, and look like the nickel coins of old days.
There is no change in the design of the 10 sen and 5 sen tin coins, each bearing the Imperial Crest of the Chrysanthemum at the top and the Imperial Crest of the Paulownia and auspicious clouds below the hole.
The new 1 sen coin, however, has the Imperial Crest in the center with an arabesque design of the chrysanthemum on both sides of the Imperial Crest. The new coins are silvery grey in color.
The 10 sen and 1 sen coins will make their appearance toward the end of this month, while the 5 sen coin will appear a little later, about the middle of April. The aluminum coins will be left in circulation as at present for some time to come.
50 YEARS AGO
Sunday, March 2, 1969
Exploding balloons injure eight people
Eight persons suffered burns when toy balloons exploded Saturday afternoon during a public demonstration for fire prevention cosponsored by the Yokohama Fire Station.
The explosions occurred at about 1 p.m. when an official for the demonstration was distributing publicity balloons to spectators at a plaza in front of the JNR Yokohama Station. Altogether, 10 balloons held by the campaigner exploded one after another. The balloons, each 30 centimeters long and 15 centimeters in diameter, contained hydrogen.
The injured persons, including Miyuki Natori, a 9-year-old girl, were taken to a nearby hospital. Police suspected a smoker’s carelessness may have caused the explosion.
25 YEARS AGO
Sunday, March 13, 1994
Food Agency issues reminder to mix rice
The Food Agency has issued a notice to local governments and concerned sectors that they should make sure rice sellers in their areas are mixing domestic and at least 20 percent of Thai rice for sales to consumers.
The agency’s notice also banned sales of sets of domestic rice and imported rice in separate bags. It noted the policy is intended to maintain stable supplies and prevent hoarding of domestic rice.
If only domestic grain is purchased, the supply will be completely consumed before rice grown this year comes onto the market, the notice said. Blended rice will likely be put on the market as early as next week despite much opposition from consumers and sellers.
Consumers say they want freedom of choice and if domestic and imported rice have to be sold in a certain proportion, then they want to have the rice in separate bags so they can cook it in different ways according to the type. Rice sellers likewise say they want to sell the different types separately. Some wholesalers also want to sell sets of foreign and domestic rice instead of blended rice.
Japan has imported 721,100 tons of rice since last November, according to the Food Agency. The figure is broken down into 521,000 tons for direct consumption and 200,000 tons for processing. The agency plans to import a total of 1.37 million tons of table rice from March through June.
Of the 721,000 tons, Thai rice accounted for 61.9 percent, or 446,400 tons, including all of the 200,000 tons for processing. Imports totaled 148,300 tons from China, 99,400 tons from the United States and 27,000 tons from Australia.
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. This month’s edition was collated with the assistance of Christopher Kunody. The Japan Times’ entire archive is now available to purchase in digital format. For more details, see jtimes.jp/de.
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