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.
As if accommodating Chinese visitors on their usual shopping sprees weren't enough, major Japanese retailers are now actively working to lure this demographic to their storefronts for the Lunar New Year. (Nikkei)
Sharp Corp. and Hon Hai Precison Industry Co. on Friday signed a contract granting the Taiwan electronics giant preferential rights to negotiate over a bailout plan for the struggling Japanese company. (the-japan-news.com)
Japan and Iran signed a bilateral investment pact Friday in a move aimed at helping Japanese firms do business in the resource-rich country amid intensifying foreign competition for its market access. (Kyodo)
Police referred a 16-year-old high school student to prosecutors on Friday on suspicion of using software on other people's computers to obtain the online account details of several hundred people, including records of their online shopping. (Japan Times)
Author Victor Hugo once said, "Virtue has a veil, vice a mask," but what if Japanese, contemporary, and fetish masks are your vice? You'll want to check out Tokyo Mask Festival Vol. 2! (rocketnews24.com)
Wakayama Prefectural Police have arrest of two members of the Takumi-gumi organized crime group for the robbery of a jewelry store in Wakayama City two years ago, reports Wakayama Broadcasting System (Feb. 4). (Tokyo Reporter)