Niigata Prefecture heightens bear alert after woman dies from attack
Japan Today -- Oct 13
The prefectural government of Niigata issued a special warning about wild bear encounters on Monday, a day after a woman died from injuries sustained in an attack when she was working on a farm earlier in the month.

Takako Saito, a 73-year-old resident of Sekikawa village, some 250 kilometers north of Tokyo, died Sunday -- the first death resulting from a bear attack in the prefecture since October 2001 -- after being found by a neighbor lying unconscious and bleeding heavily from her head and face on her property on Oct 1.

Local officials and police will increase patrols while urging residents to be extra vigilant by handing out fliers with recommendations about bear safety.

As of Sunday, Saito was among nine people attacked since April in Niigata Prefecture on the Sea of Japan coast, according to prefectural government officials.

The prefecture is home to a population of Asian black bears and has received more than 700 reports from locals who spotted the animals or traces of their presence between April and September, officials added, a record number.

Worse than normal availability of wild tree nuts, particularly beech nuts, that make up a large part of the bears' diet in the mountains is believed to be why they are venturing closer to areas inhabited by humans in search of food ahead of their winter hibernation, experts say.

Also behind the recent trend of increased encounters with bears is that villages in or near bear habitats are becoming increasingly depopulated due to the aging of the communities, said bear authority Hideo Miguchi, a Niigata University professor.

Niigata Prefecture also notes that more and more people are encroaching into bear habitat when hiking or mushroom picking, increasing the number of interactions and sightings in the spring to fall seasons.

山形県で畑で作業をしていた70代の女性が熊に襲われてけがをしました。  11日午前9時50分ごろ、山形県川西町の無職・佐藤房子さん(72)が自宅北側の畑で1人でサツマイモの収穫をしていたところ、背後から近付いてきた体長約1.5メートルの熊に気付きました。佐藤さんは驚いて尻もちをつき、熊を足で追い払おうとした際に右足を引っかかれました。命に別状はないということです。山形県内で人が熊に襲われる被害は今年に入ってこれで4件目になります。また、新潟県南魚沼市でも女性2人が相次いで熊に襲われて、けがをする被害が起きています。
News sources: Japan Today, ANNnewsCH
Oct 19
Ten members of the Shiki Theatre Company have contracted the novel coronavirus, according to the famed Japanese theatrical company. (Japan Times)
Oct 18
A black bear attacked four people ranging in age from their 50s to 90s and damaged a police car Friday in central Japan before being shot to death, police and other local authorities said. (Japan Today)
Oct 16
Tokyo Metropolitan Police are planning to accuse a deceased man of fatally stabbing his former girlfriend in Nakano Ward earlier this year, reports TBS News (Oct. 14). (tokyoreporter.com)
Oct 16
Saitama Prefectural Police have arrested a 27-year-old man for allegedly kidnapping a girl he met online and holding her for five months, reports Kyodo News (Oct. 15). (tokyoreporter.com)
Oct 16
A man found in a pool of blood on a sidewalk in Chiba City on Wednesday later died, police said, reports Jiji Press (Oct. 15). (tokyoreporter.com)
Oct 15
A 24-year-old woman who was found murdered in her apartment in Kyoto City’s Shimogyo Ward earlier this week died two days before the discovery of her body, police have revealed, reports the Yomiuri Shimbun (Oct. 12). (tokyoreporter.com)
Oct 15
The National Ainu Museum and Park in Shiraoi Town in Hokkaido has observed a traditional ceremony to pay tribute to the ancestors of the indigenous Ainu people. (NHK)
Oct 14
Japan's top court has dismissed a claim by a non-regular worker that her employer should pay her bonuses. (NHK)
Oct 14
Tokyo Metropolitan Police have arrested a 36-year-old man over the alleged attempted robbery of a woman in Higashimurayama City earlier this year, reports Fuji News Network (Oct. 13). (tokyoreporter.com)
Oct 14
Miki Nishino, a former member of idol group AKB48, has tested positive for the novel coronavirus, her agency revealed on Monday. (tokyoreporter.com)
Oct 14
A patient whose arrival at a hospital was delayed by 16 minutes after the ambulance he was in made a wrong turn on a Tokyo expressway later died, the Tokyo Fire Department said Monday. (Japan Today)
Oct 13
The prefectural government of Niigata issued a special warning about wild bear encounters on Monday, a day after a woman died from injuries sustained in an attack when she was working on a farm earlier in the month. (Japan Today)
Oct 13
It started with a gun and ended with a bang. At just past 7:00 a.m., an officer working off a tip approached a parked vehicle in Seto City. (tokyoreporter.com)
Oct 13
A 24-year-old woman was found stabbed to death in her Kyoto apartment on Sunday, police said Monday. (Japan Today)
Oct 13
Kyohei Tsutsumi, a veteran composer of popular Japanese songs that impacted the country’s music scene in the 1970s and 1980s, has died of aspiration pneumonia, sources close to the matter said Monday. He was 80. (Japan Times)
Oct 12
A main event of a long-running festival usually held in western Japan has been cancelled due to the coronavirus pandemic. (NHK)
Oct 12
The Imperial Household Agency is considering excavating Daisen Kofun in Osaka Prefecture, the country’s largest ancient burial mound, in a conservation project that could begin around next fall, sources close to the plan said Saturday. (Japan Times)
Oct 10
From the outside, Yuko Takeuchi seemed to have a golden life. She had won Japan’s top acting award three times and had recently given birth to her second child. A graceful beauty, she appeared in a box-office favorite last year and advertisements for a top ramen brand. (Japan Times)
Oct 09
Arashi, a popular Japanese boy band who will suspend their activities next year, will stream a postponed concert on Nov. 3 online, their agency Jonny and Associates Inc. said Thursday. (Kyodo)
Oct 08
A 36-year-old man who fled police during a search of his residence in Date City on Tuesday was captured later that day, police said, reports Nippon News Network (Oct. 6). (tokyoreporter.com)