SOCIETY – 2

Jan 23
A fire at an oil refinery that forced nearby residents to evacuate Sunday in Wakayama Prefecture subsided early Monday. (Japan Times)

Jan 22
A 113-meter crane toppled over two buildings at Kansai Electric Power Co.’s Takahama plant in Fukui Prefecture, western Japan, Friday night, the operator said Saturday. (Jiji)

Jan 21
The Environment Ministry said Friday that it has punished a 71-year-old part-time worker at Shinjuku Gyoen National Park in central Tokyo for neglecting to collect entry fees from some non-Japanese speakers. (Jiji)

Jan 21
Workers at a maker of fermented kanzuri seasoning scatter red peppers on snow-covered rice paddies in Myoko, Niigata Prefecture, on Friday. (the-japan-news.com)

Jan 20
The number of people who committed suicide in Japan in 2016 fell 9.4 pct from the previous year, its fastest decline on record, the health ministry said in a preliminary report Friday. (Jiji)

Jan 20
A female fortuneteller was ordered by a judge on Wednesday to pay nearly 100 million yen in damages to a woman for controlling her mind and coercing her to work as a prostitute. (tokyoreporter.com)

Jan 20
Seven Cambodian women have been rescued from a restaurant in Japan where they were allegedly forced into sex work after a victim made a desperate Facebook plea for help, an official said on Wednesday. (scmp.com)

Jan 19
The annual number of criminal offences in Japan has dropped below 1 million for the first time on record. (NHK)

Jan 19
The president of the Japan Shogi Association has officially announced his resignation after a top player of the chess-like game was cleared of allegations of software-assisted cheating. (NHK)

Jan 18
A male guest at a business hotel in Hakata Ward leaped from a room window after taking a female employee hostage on Wednesday morning, police said. The man is currently in critical condition, reports Nippon News Network (tokyoreporter.com)