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.
An independent judicial panel of citizens said Thursday it has decided that three former executives of Tokyo Electric Power Co. merit indictment over the 2011 nuclear disaster at the Fukushima Daiichi power plant. (Kyodo)
Osaka police said Wednesday they failed to report roughly 81,000 criminal cases to the National Police Agency between 2008 and 2012, or nearly 10 percent of the total reported by the prefectural police force during the five-year period. (Kyodo)
This week the annual charity event known as the Sumo Run took place in London's Battersea Park. To raise money for education in sub-Saharan Africa, participants don inflatable sumo suits and run the 5km course around the park, no doubt delighting passersby in the country that gave us Monty Python. (rocketnews24.com)
On July 16, Kanagawa Prefectural Police arrested Koichi Yokoyama, a former Liberal Democratic Party member of the Kanagawa Prefectural Assembly, for allegedly possessing stimulant drugs at his apartment in Yokohama last month. (Tokyo Reporter)
Police in Japan say that a 16-year-old girl has admitted to slaying her classmate because she "wanted to kill someone" and "dissect" the body, according to Japanese news agency Kyodo News. (huffingtonpost.com)
Golden-gai, a warren of tiny bars near Shinjuku's Kabukicho entertainment district, has long been a refuge for writers, musicians, filmmakers and other artistic types, who congregate at drinking establishments with like-minded patrons. (Japan Times)
On July 7, Tokyo Metropolitan Police arrested 30-year-old Ikki Jin for allegedly slipping a sleeping powder into an alcoholic drink consumed by a 23-year-old male and robbing him of a total of 350,000 yen in cash and valuables in February. (Tokyo Reporter)