National / History | JAPAN TIMES GONE BY

Japan Times 1944: Potatoes to be grown on Diet Building lawn

by Elliott Samuels

100 YEARS AGO
Saturday, May 24 1919

Mad dog bites seven children in Tokyo

A dog kept by Tomoki Hayashi, of Dobocho, Kanda ward, suddenly went mad and bit seven children on the street yesterday morning. The dog was killed by police at once. The master was also bitten by the dog.


75 YEARS AGO
Thursday, May 4, 1944

Potatoes to be grown on Diet Building lawn

THE JAPAN TIMES

Neat squares of Irish potatoes, sweet potatoes and corn will dot the spacious lawn of the Diet Building grounds in a movement not to leave any cultivable land idle. The work on the first plot in the Diet grounds was tackled by 45 attendants of the Diet Building on Wednesday. Another plot of 100 tsubo will be dug up and planted by the end of May.

The first crop of early potatoes, expected in June and other products of the garden will be offered for use of the restaurant in the Diet Building and served first of all to Prime Minister Gen. Hideki Tojo.

The amateur farmers are looking forward eagerly to the time when the Prime Minister will taste the results of their efforts in gardening.

Idle grounds in the three famous parks of Japan, the Kanazawa Kenroku-en, Okayama Koraku-en and the Mito Kairaku-en will also be tilled by the neighborhood and school children groups. Thus the parks will become not mere spots of pleasure but a real unit of “fighting Japan.”


50 YEARS AGO
Sunday, May 18, 1969

Graduate files lawsuit over job offer loss

THE JAPAN TIMES

A 22-year-old university graduate Saturday filed with the Otsu District Court a suit against Dai Nippon Printing Co. of Tokyo demanding ¥2 million in solatium for the firm’s unexplained cancellation of a tentative decision to hire him.

This is the first time a person has filed a suit over the cancellation of an informal decision to employ him by his prospective employer. The outcome of the suit will have far-reaching significance as not a small number of graduates or prospective graduates this year have had their tentative employment cancelled on the ground that they had engaged in militant political activities.

The plaintiff in the suit is Munetada Takemoto, 22, who graduated from the faculty of economics of Shiga University last March. He took an employment exam for Dai Nippon, the nation’s leading printing company, on July 2 last year, and was notified by the company on July 12 that the company had tentatively decided to employ him.

It is customary for Japanese business organizations to notify prospective employees of their tentative decision to employ them immediately after approving their employment, and then to officially employ them at a later date, typically in April.

The plaintiff argued that his receipt of the tentative employment notice constituted the conclusion of a labor contract with the company.

The printing company, the plaintiff said, notified him on Feb. 12 that it had cancelled his employment, without showing any reason for the cancellation.

The unilateral action caused him to lose a chance to apply for positions in other leading organizations, he argued, Dai Nippon Printing Co. should pay him the April salary of ¥29,500 paid to other newly employed personnel and ¥2 million in solatium, the plaintiff argued.

A lawyer for the plaintiff said that it was apparent that the company canceled his employment because of his ideological inclination. Discriminative employment based on one’s thought violated the Constitution, he said.

Orie Kitajima, president of Dai Nippon Printing Co., said that as far as the company was concerned tentative employment did not constitute formal employment but only an act of reservation. He would not give any reason why the company canceled Takemoto’s employment. He said the company would like to settle the issue out of court.


25 YEARS AGO
Tuesday, May 10, 1994

Harm to birds leaves bridge in the dark

THE JAPAN TIMES

Use of lights on Sato Ohashi Bridge, a major local tourist attraction, will be curbed due to a complaint from the Environmental Agency that the illumination may be harmful to birds, officials have said.

Citing the possibility that the lights disturb the birds’ sense of direction, the agency complained to the Honshu Shikoku Bridge Authority and the authority agreed to cut the number of days the bridge will be illuminated this year from 80 to 53.

Under a regulation to protect natural scenery, the bridge authority must negotiate with the agency before determining the number of days the bridge can be illuminated each year.

“It is not desirable to light up the bridge for a long period because, as things stand now, we cannot rule out its effect on birds,” said a spokesman for the Seto-naikai National Park Office, a department of the agency.

According to the Wild Bird Society of Japan, no incidents of illumination having an effect on wild birds have been reported. There have been reports, however, that some migratory birds were blinded by a lighthouse and died when they flew into it, society officials said. Migratory birds often travel at night.

Both Okayama and Kagawa prefectural governments regret the decision.

“We naturally assumed that the bridge authority installed the light system in a way that would not affect wild birds,” a local official said. “We wanted to have the lights on for as long as possible.”

Officials in the prefectures, which the giant bridge links across the Seto Inland Sea, said they were surprised by the cut. They had counted on the lights drawing tourists to the area.

The lights have been shining for about 30 days a year since 1989 on occasions such as the New Year’s holidays, the Bon festival and other festivals.

In this feature, we delve into The Japan Times’ 122-year archive to present a selection of stories from the past. This month’s edition was compiled by Elliott Samuels 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.