Visitors to the ocean this summer should think twice before handling the colorful and cuddly octopuses they come across or find on the end of their fishing lines.
Highly toxic blue-ringed octopuses that can kill a human with a single bite have been spotted recently in Kanagawa and Chiba prefectures, even though the small creatures normally inhabit waters near Kyushu and farther south.
Researchers believe that increases in ocean temperatures have led to a spread of the octopuses farther north than their usual habitat.
According to officials of the Research Institute of Marine Invertebrates in Tokyo's Chuo Ward, the blue-ringed octopuses grow to about 15 centimeters long. While the animals are normally brownish in color and docile, they turn a brilliant yellow when attacked, and their bodies become covered with fluorescent blue spots. The octopus produces venom containing tetrodotoxin, the same toxin found in deadly fugu or blowfish. One or two milligrams of the venom can kill a human.
The octopuses normally inhabit reefs in subtropical regions stretching from Japan to Australia. However, the animals have been increasingly spotted in the Kanto region in recent years.
The number of people in Tokyo who were transported to hospital by ambulance in comas or other conditions after inhaling "dangerous drugs" came to 1,129 over the past 5½ years, including two fatalities, it was learned on Friday. (The Japan News)
The National Police Agency reported Thursday that police gave correctional guidance nationwide to a total of 220 minors younger than 18 who tried to provide sex for money or sell their used underwear online from January to June this year. (The Japan News)
A man suspected of groping a woman on the JR Yamanote line escaped by jumping onto the tracks at JR Ebisu station in Tokyo on Thursday night. His actions delayed trains along the Yamanote line for about 30 minutes, TBS reported Friday. (Japan Today)
The Imperial Household Agency has announced that Princess Noriko, 26, a daughter of Emperor Akihito's late cousin Prince Takamado, will marry Kunimaro Senge, 40, a son of the chief priest of the Izumo Taisha (Grand Shrine) in Shimane Prefecture, on Oct 5.
The Tokyo District Court on Thursday sentenced a man to 4 1/2 years in prison for sending threatening letters to convenience store chains and other establishments linked to Tadatoshi Fujimaki's "Kuroko's Basketball" manga series. (Japan Today)
Tokyo Metropolitan Police suspect organized crime members participated in a shooting incident that took place on Thursday inside a coffee shop in the Nishikoiwa district of Edogawa Ward, reports public broadcaster NHK. (Tokyo Reporter)
Police in Kawagoe, Saitama Prefecture, said Thursday they have arrested an unemployed 28-year-old man on a charge of attempted murder after he stabbed his 23-year-old female friend in the back with a large kitchen knife. (Japan Today)
Justin Timberlake recently called Madonna a "mother chucking ninja". Some people in the US were upset, saying the word had racist connotations. In Japan, some folks were baffled by this controversy. (Kotaku)
Thousands of rescuers combed through the wreckage of homes engulfed by landslides in western Japan on Thursday in the slim hope of finding survivors, a day after a wall of mud claimed at least 39 lives. (AFP)
The body of a 7-year-old boy who went missing on Monday was found Wednesday on train tracks in Matsumoto, Nagano Prefecture. Police said the boy appeared to have been run over by a train. (Japan Today)
Tokyo Metropolitan Police on Thursday announced the arrest two suspects, including one organized crime member, for the alleged sale of drugs to troubled singer Aska, reports public broadcaster NHK (Aug. 21). (Tokyo Reporter)