WaiWai column had been violating the copyrights of 32 publishing and newspaper companies

Mainichi issued a statement admitting that WaiWai articles had been violating the copyrights of 32 publishing and newspaper companies .

In the column, articles were used without the consent of their publishers -- including publishing and newspaper companies. Our follow-up investigation has found that we used and translated articles published by 32 publishing and newspaper companies without their permission.

We allowed another publisher to run some of these WaiWai articles in publications it printed, and received fees for the reprint. We are now in the process of repaying these reprint fees.

We are continuing to apologize to the publishers for violating their copyrights.
Mainichi also admitted that the printed edition published before 2001 also used articles of other publications without permission from copyright holders.
The defunct printed edition of the Mainichi Daily News, which was published before the Mainichi Daily News became an online newspaper, also used and translated articles from other publications without permission from their copyright holders between October 1989 and March 2001. We are continuing to offer explanations and apologies to the publishers of these articles.
This is essentially a retraction of a portion of their previous statement issued on July 20th. According to the explanation in the previous statement, publication of problematic articles had started after the task of writing WaiWai articles fell into the hands of just one editor after the print edition of the MDN was suspended at the end of March 2001. The following is the relevant portion in the statement issued on July 20th.
At the time the print edition was suspended, the MDN had a staff of 15 foreign and three Japanese staff writers. Following the shift online, the staff was downsized to five foreign and three Japanese staff writers, with the Japanese staff subsequently being reduced to two. The task of writing articles for the WaiWai column essentially fell into the hands of just one editor.
The column editor assumed that different standards for accuracy applied to news stories and those carried in the WaiWai column. For this reason, both the print and web versions carried the following disclaimer: "WaiWai stories are transcriptions of articles that originally appeared in Japanese language publications. The Mainichi Daily News cannot be held responsible for the content of the original articles, nor does it guarantee their accuracy. Views expressed in the WaiWai column are not necessarily those held by the Mainichi Daily News or the Mainichi Newspapers Co." He did concede this might have been inadequate, though, considering that web readers did not necessarily differentiate between news articles translated from the Mainichi Shimbun and the stories in the WaiWai column.

Moreover, his knowledge and understanding of copyright laws were insufficient. When he first began writing WaiWai stories, he was told by a senior native English-speaking colleague that quoting from Japanese magazine articles was acceptable inasmuch as it was not straight translation but augmented with commentary and explanations. He took this advice at face value without further inquiry and continued to produce large volumes of magazine article translations. There were cases where personal interpretations that were not in the original article crept into the WaiWai story as a means of attracting reader attention.


Real Aso?

According to the profile of Aso Taro posted on Mainichi [japanese], he is called 'a man of 1.5 meter radius (半径 1.5メートルの男)'. The meaning is..., if you get closer than 1.5 meter to him, you'll be fascinated by his magnetism. I don't know whether it's true or not, but the following video of Aso was really fun to watch.

[HT to manchingsakura]


Your Neighbor Guerilla

On September 12th, U.S. naval base in Yokosuka was attacked by rocket bombs. According to Breitbart.com (via JapanProbe),

Two explosions were heard in a residential area in Yokosuka, Kanagawa Prefecture late Friday in what is believed to be a guerrilla attack against the U.S. naval base in the port city, police said.

No one was hurt in the incident, which took place in a hilly area of the city at around 10:30 p.m., the police said.

The police said there were the traces of two rocket bombs being launched. Metal pipes, batteries and lead wires were found on the scene, they added.

The U.S. nuclear-powered aircraft carrier George Washington is scheduled to arrive at its new home port of Yokosuka on Sept. 25, replacing the carrier Kitty Hawk.

Activists opposed to the George Washington's deployment have been campaigning against its impending arrival.
On Sept. 17th, Jiji press [Japanese] reported that a group that called themselves "revolutionary army (革命軍)" sent a letter saying that they attacked the U.S. base. Japanese Police considers the group to be the anti-mainstream faction of Kakurokyo (革労協, 革命的労働者協会 or "Revolutionary Laborer's Association"), since rocket launchers found near the Yokosuka base were similar to those used by the group in the attack against Camp Zama last year as Mainichi reported [Japanese]. The anti-mainstream faction of Kakurokyo that is also called Sekisaisha-ha (赤砦社派, or "Red Fortress Co. Faction") has attacked the U.S. bases several times before. The following is a list of the guerrilla attacks that Sekisaisha-ha involved (from Japanese Wikipedia).
July 3rd, 2000: Sekisaisha-ha attacked the U.S. Yokota base by rocket bomb.

April 12th, 2002: With a time ignite device, Sekisaisha-ha set fire to a train of Keisei Electric Railway.

Nov. 2002: Sekisaisha-ha attacked the U.S. Army Camp Zama by rocket bombs.

Launcher of rocket bombs used by Sekisaisha-ha in the attack against Camp Zama

Feb. 24th, 2003: Sekisuisha-ha attacked the building of the Defense Agency of Japan by rocket bombs.

May 12th, 2003: Sekisaisha-ha attacked the U.S. Yokota base by rocket bombs.

April 3rd, 2003: Sekisaisha-ha attacked the U.S. Atsugi base by rocket bombs.

Feb. 17th, 2004: Sekisuisha-ha attacked the building of the Defense Agency of Japan by rocket bombs.

Nov. 7th, 2004: Sekisuisha-ha attacked the JSDF Asaka base by rocket bombs.

Launchers of rocket bombs used by Sekisaisha-ha in the attack against the JSDF Asaka base

Feb. 12th, 2007: Sekisuisha-ha attacked the U.S. Army Camp Zama by rocket bombs.
So far no one has been injured by the rocket bombs, and in many cases the bombs did not reach targets. However, it needs serious attention since they are launching bombs anyway. It is worth noting that they committed murders many times in the past. I am writing the background of this group below since there is little English-language information on the group on the Web.

According to Japanese Wikipedia, Kakurokyo is an anarcho-syndicalistic group that blasted a dormitory of the Metropolitan Police with two bombs in 1990. The explosion killed one policeman and injured eight policemen. The group split into two factions in 1999; One is the mainstream faction Gendaisha-ha (現代社派) and the other is the anti-mainstream faction Sekisaisha-ha. The two factions waged bloody conflict with each other from 1999 to 2004. The following is a chronicle of the conflict picked up from Japanese Wikipedia.
June 4th, 1999: Members of Gendaisha-ha attacked the leader of Sekisaisha-ha, Shigeki Yamada. Yamada was fatally injured but fortunately saved from death.

June 8th, 1999: Seventeen members of Sekisaisha-ha were arrested on a charge of assembling with offensive weapons. They were keeping weapons in the campus of Meiji University.

June 13th, 1999: Sekisaisha-ha declared 'war' against Gendaisha-ha.

July 2nd, 1999: On the road in Matsudo, Chiba prefecture, Sekisaisha-ha killed a director of Meiji University Coop, Yoshihiko Nagata, by repeatedly hitting his temples with hammers. He was one of the leaders of Gendaisha-ha.

July 21th, 1999: Gendaisha-ha attacked a staff member of Meiji University Coop, Ichiro Aikawa, who was a member of Sekisaisha-ha. He died on the next day.

July 22nd, 1999: Thirty-seven members of Gendaisha-ha were arrested on a charge of assembling with offensive weapons when they gathered in the campus of Meiji University.

Feb. 8th, 2000: Attackers of Gendaisha-ha assaulted the office of Sekisaisha-ha in Fukuoka prefecture. A sekisaisha-ha member Toshikazu Kataoka was killed. On the next day, Sekisaisha-ha assaulted the attackers of Gendaisha-ha in a train car in Kanagawa prefecture. The two attackers were repeatedly stabbed by broad-bladed kitchen knives in public. One was killed on the spot, and the other was fatally injured but saved from death.

Aug. 30th, 2000: Gendaisha-ha killed the chief secretary of the Meiji University Coop Labor Union, Emiko Katayama, by repeatedly stabbing her with knives in the JR Uguisudani Station in the rush hour. She was one of the leaders of Sekisaisha-ha.

Dec. 10th, 2000: Sekisaisha-ha killed a Gendaisha-ha member in Kiyose, Tokyo. He was a committeeman of the general affairs section of Kakurokyo

Feb. 16th, 2001: Four members of Gendaisha-ha were arrested on a charge of assembling with offensive weapons just in front of the house of a Sekisaisha-ha member, when they arrived there for assaulting the Sekisaisha-ha member.

May, 16th, 2001: Sekisaisha-ha members killed a Gendaisha-ha member in Yachimata, Chiba prefecture. He was a committeeman of the general affairs section of Kakurokyo.

June, 2nd, 2004: Three members of Sekisaisha-ha were attacked on the road in Taitoh Ward, Tokyo, by the Gendaisha-ha members armed with broad-bladed kitchen knives and hammers. A student of Chiba University who was the chairman of All-Japan Federation of Students' Self-Governing Associations (AJFSSGA) and a student of Komazawa University who was the former secretary of AJFSSGA were killed there.

After the last incident in 2004, it is believed that the conflict between Gendaisha-ha and Sekisaisha-ha reached a settlement. So, they may start to attack facillities of the U.S. military and JSDF more often than before.


Kamikaze bacteria that sacrifice themselves to help their brethren

Yesterday I saw a bottle of liquor named "Kamikaze" in a supermarket in my neighbor. It seemed to be a vodka made in Switzerland. After returning home, I tried googling information on the liquor, wondering why a Swiss company named one of their products Kamikaze.

Although I couldn't find information on the liquor after all, I came across other Kamikaze that are being investigated in Switzerland. According to a news article in Nature, scientists in Switzerland (and in Canada) are investigating Kamikaze bacteria - suicidal bacteria that sacrifice themselves to help their brethren to get a foothold in the gut. The article was pretty interesting.

Kamikaze bacteria illustrate evolution of co-operation

Bacteria can commit suicide to help their brethren establish more damaging infections — and scientists think that they can explain how this behaviour evolved.

The phenomenon, called self-destructive cooperation, can help bacteria such as Salmonella typhimurium and Clostridium difficile to establish a stronghold in the gut.

By studying mice infected with S. typhimurium, researchers from Switzerland and Canada have now demonstrated how this 'kamikaze' behaviour arose.

The team, led by Martin Ackermann of ETH Zurich in Switzerland, studied how S. typhimurium expresses the Type III secretion systems virulence factors (TTSS-1) that inflame the gut. This eradicates intestinal microflora that would otherwise compete for resources — but also kills most of the S. typhimurium cells in the vicinity. After this assault, the way is clear for remaining S. typhimurium to take advantage and further colonise the gut.

But in the middle of the gut cavity, or lumen, only about 15% of the S. typhimurium population actually expresses TTSS-1. In contrast, in the tissue of the gut wall, almost all bacteria express TTSS-1. As more bacteria invade the tissue, gut inflammation increases and kills off the invaders (especially those within the tissue) - along with the other competing gut flora.

"We thought it was a very strange phenomenon," says team member Wolf-Dietrich Hardt, also at ETH Zurich. "The bacteria in the gut lumen are genetically identical, but some of them are prepared to sacrifice themselves for the greater good. You could compare this act to Kamikaze fighter pilots of the Japanese army."

Kamikaze genes

This self-destructive cooperation relies on the genes controlling this suicidal behaviour not always being expressed. This 'phenotypic noise' means that only a fraction express TTSS-1, allowing the kamikaze genes to persist in the population. If every cell expressed the genes, they would all commit suicide, benefiting none of the population.

The team concluded that acts of self-destructive cooperation can arise, providing that the level of "public good" — in this case, the inflammation of the gut — is high enough. Crucially, cooperative individuals must also benefit from other cooperative acts more often than individuals who are not cooperating, a situation the scientists call 'assortment'.

In the case of gut bacteria, assortment can arise if the minimum number of pathogens required to infect a host is relatively small — as few as 100 cells, in cases such as Escherichia coli.

Change of strategy

The findings, published in Nature, chime well with long-established theories on the evolution of altruism and co-operation.

If a gene for sibling altruism is always expressed, it will tend to disappear, because those members of a clutch or litter who possess it may sacrifice themselves for those who do not. However, if the gene is present but not always expressed, it can persist, because some of its carriers may survive to pass it on to subsequent generations.

The research could also aid the design of more potent strategies against pathogenic bacteria. The Salmonella bacterium causes one of the most common bacterial infections in western countries, and is highly dangerous among the elderly and frail. "There is no doubt that a vaccine for Salmonella in humans is needed," says Hardt. "And many strains infecting livestock are becoming resistant to antibiotics.

"But based on our results, I would suggest that the usual strategy of targeting the vaccine against a virulence factor might not be the best strategy, if only a small fraction of the bacteria express it."
[The Nature article is via RichardDawkins.net. Photo is from this page]

Update: That liquor seems to be a bottled one of a cocktail called Kamikaze.


Spoof of Queen

A spoof of Queen's Bohemian Rhapsody by Gutch Yuzo.

The lyrics are taken from a Japanese kid's song "Puppy Policeman (犬のおまわりさん)" and have nothing to do with the original lyrics of Bohemian Rhapsody.

The clip is from a Japanese kid's show, Hotch Potch Station, that was aired by the NHK Educational TV in the late 1990s. The show achieved the highest audience rating for kid's show in Japan. Perhaps parents were more enthusiastic to watch the show than their children.

The followings are some other clips from the same show.

Kiss: Detroit Rock City
Michael Jackson: Beat It
Rolling Stones: Honkey Tonk Women