Wednesday, May 12, 1920

Street cars collide at Akasaka-Mitsuke


One of the newer street cars of the long bogie type got out of control while coming down the steep hill at Akasaka-Mitsuke this afternoon at 5 o’clock, and crashed into another bogie car in front of it on the same track just at the crossing at the bottom of the hill.

The colliding car was packed with people and, although the front of the car was smashed up and thrown off the track, no one was killed or even seriously hurt. Fortunately the forward car was empty and was being taken back to the Aoyama car barn for some reason or other.

If it had been crowded with passengers, as it usually is at that time of the day, with the people overflowing from the back platform even onto the ledge outside behind the conductor, as is frequently the case, the casualties might have been very serious.

The cause of the colliding car getting out of control was probably due to the brakes not holding, as it has frequently been noticed on the newer bogie cars, it is necessary to use both brakes — forward and rear — and sometimes the electric backing brake.

Friday, May 25, 1945

Tokyo hit by second major WWII air raid


After a lapse of more than one month, B-29 bombers from a southern base again raided Tokyo during the small hours of Thursday, the Imperial Headquarters announced in a communique.

Flying at an altitude of 3,000 to 3,500 meters, the main strength of the enemy planes, numbering about 210, singly or in small formations, indiscriminately bombed the city areas of the metropolis for about 2½ hours from 1:30 a.m. Simultaneously, some of the enemy raiders, about 40 in number, raided Shizuoka and Hamamatsu.

In the counterattacking battle, Japanese Anti-Air Raid Forces shot down 27 bombers and damaged about 30.

As was revealed by the Imperial Headquarters, a teahouse in the gardens of the Imperial Palace and a building in the compounds of the Akasaka Detached Palace used for storing firefighting apparatus were reduced to ashes.

The indiscriminate bombing attack resulted in the outbreak of fires at various places in the capital, as well as in the cities of Kawasaki, Yokohama, Shizuoka and Hamamatsu besides the southern part of Saitama Prefecture. However, all the fires were put under control by 7 a.m.

In close cooperation, the official and civilian defense corps promptly went into action to fight the fires, thus succeeding in minimizing the damage.

No digital records of Nippon Times, as The Japan Times was called at the time, exist in the company’s archives from May 26 to 31, with a short notice appearing at the foot of the front page of its June 1 issue stating that a “dislocation of various facilities” had necessitated the publication of a “reduced-size paper.”

Thursday, May 14, 1970

Ferry hijacker dies after being shot by policeman


A 20-year-old man who hijacked a 177-ton ferryboat with 44 passengers and crew members Tuesday was fatally shot on Wednesday morning by a police sharpshooter at Hiroshima Port.

Nobuhisa Kawafuji collapsed on the bridge of the ferryboat Prince when the first shot was fired about 40 meters away at 9:45 a.m.

The ferryboat had just started moving from the pier at the demand of the hijacker when the shot was fired.

Kawafuji was rushed to a hospital with a bullet in his chest. He reclaimed conscious until 10:45 a.m. and complained of a pain in the back. He underwent an operation at about 11:15 a.m. but was pronounced dead 10 minutes later.

The Hiroshima District Prosecutor’s Office seized two rifles, one shotgun, a revolver and a large amount of ammunition during its investigation on board the Prince later in the afternoon.

The investigation was conducted to see if the police action could be considered justifiable self-defense.

Hirotada Sudo, superintendent general of the Hiroshima Prefectural Police, said he had ordered the police to shoot Kawafuji because he thought further efforts to persuade the gunman to surrender were futile.

Sudo said the gunman had a large amount of ammunition and had failed to respond to pleas by his father and sister to surrender. Kawafuji told the skipper he was ready to “shoot it out” with the police, Sudo said.

Earlier, Kawafuji let 33 passengers, including three children, leave the ferryboat at Matsuyama Port on condition that the vessel be refueled. The boat left the port with the gunman keeping skipped Fumito Nakamuko, 44, and six other crew members hostage.

Thursday, May 4, 1995

Tomiichi Murayama offers remorse for aggression in China


Prime Minister Tomiichi Murayama, meeting Chinese leaders 50 years after the end of World War II, reiterated on Wednesday his remorse over Japan’s victimization of China and other Asian countries before and during the war.

In a symbolic gesture to China, Murayama also visited the Marco Polo Bridge, the site of the 1937 clash that triggered the war between Japan and China. He is the first Japanese prime minister to visit the site, located just outside Beijing.

In a meeting with Premier Li Peng, Murayama said, “ I recognize anew that Japan’s actions, including aggression and colonial rule, at one time in our history caused unbearable suffering and sorrow for many people in your country and other Asian neighbors.”

Hiroyuki Sonoda, Japan’s deputy chief Cabinet secretary, quoted Murayama as saying, “I intend to make every effort to build world peace.”

Compiled by Elliott Samuels. In this feature, we delve into The Japan Times’ 124-year archive to present a selection of stories from the past. The Japan Times’ archive is now available in digital format. For more details, see jtimes.jp/de.