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100 YEARS AGO
Saturday, Dec. 17, 2021

Safety first and the city morgue will not get you

For the want of a little safety: One thousand and sixty-one houses were destroyed in five hundred and thirty-five fires in Tokyo last year, resulting in a money loss of ¥1,360,381.

One hundred and one persons were killed, and six thousand hurt in eight thousand and three accidents on the streets.

Twenty-one thousand, eight hundred and fifty-five persons were robbed, and twenty-one houses ransacked during the absence of the owners.

Four hundred and twenty-two persons died from four thousand, six hundred and fifty seven cases of infectious diseases.

Four hundred and forty-two persons fell off from bridges or houses and were drowned, and two thousand one hundred and ninety-six persons were hurt.

Today, therefore, is “Safety First” day, and Safety Day enthusiasts are reminding everyone of it by distributing “Safety First” badges to all pupils in the primary schools and campaigning with the general public to wear the badges. For the next three days the campaign will continue.

Everything today is on a Safety First basis; from stepping down stairs, slamming doors, eating fish bones, cooking rice, lighting cigarettes, keeping unnecessary articles in your pockets, and walking on side-walk-less sidewalks, “Watch your step!” “Look Out!” “Take no Chances!” are the slogans the enthusiasts are trying to pound into the heads of the public.

1921 | THE JAPAN TIMES
1921 | THE JAPAN TIMES

75 YEARS AGO
Saturday, Dec. 28, 2021

Will Tokyo’s kindhearted police crack down on jaywalkers?

Whether Tokyo’s jaywalking pedestrians who nonchalantly cross the streets wherever and whenever they please and who stroll unconcernedly in the middle of the street, well, whether Tokyo’s jaywalkers are to be compelled to abide by traffic regulations, depends largely on what those who drive cars want done.

Tokyo’s traffic police are rather kindhearted in this respect, at least to the jaywalkers. They can arrest and detain for no more than 29 days or fine not more than ¥20 or do both to any jaywalker, but this law is not being enforced because the aforementioned kindhearted police feel they should not crack down too severely on the poor pedestrian. They are using persuasion but apparently this has little if any effect.

If those who drive cars will write in to the Nippon Times, and if there are enough such persons, it is likely the police will take more drastic action. This, at least, is the impression a Nippon Times reporter obtained in interviewing Ichiro Yamashita, Traffic Section Inspector of the Metropolitan Police Ward.

Mr. Yamashita said it is no longer an excuse for pedestrians to continue the habit of walking in the middle of the road as air-raid shelters and large water pails (wartime fire extinguishers) have disappeared and sidewalks now restored.

Reviewing casualties suffered from street accidents, Mr. Yamashita said that from January to the end of September this year in Tokyo alone there were 2,418 casualties of whom 510 were killed 681 seriously injured, and 1,227 slightly injured.

1946 | THE JAPAN TIMES
1946 | THE JAPAN TIMES

50 YEARS AGO
Sunday, Dec. 4 1971

Tighter surveillance of teachers ordered

The Education Ministry Friday directed prefectural boards of education to tighten up their surveillance of teachers engaging in radical political activities.

The ministry issued the directive in connection with the arrest of a woman teacher who had allegedly set fire to a restaurant in Hibiya Park, Tokyo, while rioting on Nov. 19.

Miss Fujie Ichiba, 26, of Shibukawa, Gunma Prefecture, a teacher at Gunma Prefectural Naganohara Senior High School, was found among the radicals arrested after a riot Nov. 19, in which the restaurant Matsumotoro was destroyed by fire.

Miss Ichiba, who has been a member of the radical Chukakuha (Middle Core Faction) since her university days, took a day off on Nov. 19 to participate in a militant rally.

Eitaro Iwama, the chief of the ministry’s Elementary and Secondary Education Bureau, said that it was greatly to be regretted that a municipal school teacher had caused trouble to citizens by participating in a violent antiwar demonstration.

Iwama told boards of education of all prefectures in his directive to watch the daily conduct of activist teachers and “prevent them from running wild.” He also told them to punish teachers severely if they violated rules.

The ministry learned that Miss Ichiba had been arrested before for rioting in a Shinjuku street in October 1969, but she continued to be a teacher without receiving any administrative punishment.

According to the ministry, 56 teachers arrested for engaging in antiwar street activities in 1969 were punished. Of them, 33 were forced to discontinue to be teachers, and 23 others were suspended or admonished.

Five teachers were arrested in 1970, and 10 others have so far been arrested this year in connection with violent antiwar activities, the ministry said.

1971 | THE JAPAN TIMES
1971 | THE JAPAN TIMES

25 YEARS AGO
Thursday, Dec. 19, 1996

Japan envoy’s residence seized

More than 20 armed guerillas stormed the home of the Japanese ambassador to Peru on Tuesday night, taking hundreds of people hostage, including diplomats and government officials attending a party.

The attackers, identifying themselves as members of the pro-Cuban Tupac Amaru movement, threatened to kill the hostages unless 450 of their imprisoned colleagues are freed. The hostages had been attending a party to celebrate the 63rd birthday of Japan’s Emperor next Monday.

The standoff continued overnight with little sign of progress, and Japan decided to dispatch Foreign Minister Yukihiko Ikeda to Peru today to help deal with the situation.

The guerrillas on Wednesday demanded direct negotiations with Peruvian President Alberto Fujimori and gave an ultimatum to the government.

“Up to now, there is no harm but within an hour they (the hostages) could suffer harm. We only give him (Fujimori) one hour more,” a guerilla spokesperson told a local television station from inside the building. “If within an hour the president does not communicate with us, he will see the results.”

Fujimori declined to publicly comment on the attack.

Countries with ambassadors in the building have urged Fujimori to do all he can to protect the hostages and not use force to flush out the rebels.

“If they do not release our prisoners, we will all die in here,” a spokesperson for the attackers told a local radio station shortly after taking the hostages.

A guerilla who identified himself as Commandante Mejia Huerta was quoted by Associated Press as saying, “What we are asking is the liberation of all of our comrades who are being mistreated and tortured in the dungeons of the various prisons.”

1996 | THE JAPAN TIMES
1996 | THE JAPAN TIMES

Compiled by Tadasu Takahashi. In this feature, we delve into The Japan Times’ 125-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.

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