Japan Times: How do you find a missing spouse in Japan?

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How do you find a missing spouse in Japan?

BY 

CONTRIBUTING WRITER

A reader writes: “I live in Japan with my son. His father left us nine years ago. After a couple of months, he contacted me, though he has never contacted us since then. I have never heard any news from him. I tried also to send a letter to his parents with a picture of my son attached, but I received no reply from them. I’m so desperate to know what happened to him and even whether he is still alive or not.”

There are several ways for the reader to find her husband if she consults with a lawyer. The usual way of tracing someone’s address is to ask a lawyer to obtain their family registry (koseki-tohon) or certificate of residence (juuminhyō) from their local municipal office. Attorneys are allowed to obtain someone’s koseki-tohon or juuminhyō without the permission of that person, as long as it is deemed necessary for a case.

If the reader knows the address of where she and her husband used to live or his parents live, a lawyer can trace her husband’s present address by obtaining his koseki-tohon and juuminhyō. However, it is essential that the reader knows the kanji of her husband’s or husband’s parents’ names in order to obtain those documents. Sometimes, the fact that non-Japanese spouses do not know the kanji of their spouse’s name can stop a case moving forward.

To avoid this kind of situation, non-Japanese spouses are advised to copy the koseki-tohon or take a picture of it when they marry a Japanese national.

Once the lawyer has traced her husband’s address, the lawyer can contact and negotiate with him over the terms of the divorce, presuming that is what she wants. If he does not reply to the lawyer, she can sue him for divorce on the grounds of abandonment. If he is not living in Japan, she can still sue him at Japanese family court for divorce on the same grounds.

However, even if the husband’s address can be traced, it may be that the husband no longer lives in that place and neglected to change his address on his juuminhyō, for whatever reason.

In this kind of case, due to the possibility that he might be missing or has passed away, the wife can seek a different remedy through the courts: She can file a petition called an Adjudication of Disappearance arguing that her husband has been missing for more than seven years. If the petition is granted, her husband would be regarded as being deceased from the point seven years after the last communication with her.

Again, it’s important to stress that although the family registry and certificate of residency come in very useful when you want to trace a Japanese person’s address, a foreign spouse must know the exact kanji of their partner’s name.

Otherwise, the case risks being stuck in limbo.

Seiji Yamaura is an attorney with the Foreign nationals and International Service Section at Tokyo Public Law Office, which handles a wide range of cases involving non-Japanese in the Tokyo area (03-5979-2880; www.t-pblo.jp/fiss) FISS lawyers address readers’ queries once a month. Your questions and other comments: lifelines@japantimes.co.jp

 

Source:  “How do you find a missing spouse in Japan?”, The Japan Times, 3 December 2017

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Japan’s mega-sinkhole is repaired in just a WEEK

Japan’s mega-sinkhole is repaired in just a WEEK (remember that next time you’re caught up in roadworks or hit another pot hole)

  • Constructions teams worked around the clock to fix the damage in the city of Fukuoka
  • The gaping chasm measured around 30 metres wide and 15 metres deep
  • Social media users have voiced their amazement after it opened so fast
  • The city’s mayor, Soichiro Takashima, apologized for the inconvenience 

While motorists around the world endure the misery of pothole damage, authorities in Japan have given a lesson in efficiency – by fixing a huge sinkhole in just one week.

The gaping chasm measured around 30 metres wide and 15 metres deep, yet now the road is completely reopened.

Many people have expressed their amazement at the fast repair work.

The busy road pictured last week (left) and today (right) after crews worked around the clock to ensure it opened again seven days after collapsing

The busy road pictured last week (left) and today (right) after crews worked around the clock to ensure it opened again seven days after collapsing

Workers dumped huge amounts of wet cement and sand into the huge hole and fixing electricity, gas and water lines, as shown in this picture taken on Thursday last week

Workers dumped huge amounts of wet cement and sand into the huge hole and fixing electricity, gas and water lines, as shown in this picture taken on Thursday last week

What a difference a week makes: The five-land stretch of road today (left) and in the aftermath of the collapse

What a difference a week makes: The five-land stretch of road today (left) and in the aftermath of the collapse

Huge damage: The gaping chasm measured around 30 metres wide and 15 metres deep

Huge damage: The gaping chasm measured around 30 metres wide and 15 metres deep

Construction teams in Fukuoka, in the southwest of the country, worked around the clock, dumping huge amounts of wet cement and sand into the huge hole and fixing electricity, gas and water lines.

It is thought the road collapsed because subway construction exposed support columns of nearby buildings.

The city’s mayor, Soichiro Takashima, said in a statement: ‘We’re very sorry for causing great trouble.’

Burst water mains spewed a torrent of muddy water into the giant hole, which caused chaos in the city's business district

Burst water mains spewed a torrent of muddy water into the giant hole, which caused chaos in the city’s business district

Massive problem: Nearby buildings had to be evacuated as a result of the road collapse

Massive problem: Nearby buildings had to be evacuated as a result of the road collapse

Miraculously, no one was hurt when the road collapsed in Fukuoka, which is the biggest city on the southernmost main island of Kyushu.

Many on social media expressed amazement at the quick recovery.

‘I’m surprised the road reopened in a week!’ one Twitter user said.

The road reopened in just a week after a huge repair operation which saw teams operating around the clock

The road reopened in just a week after a huge repair operation which saw teams operating around the clock

Construction teams worked around the clock to repair the damage to the road following the sudden collapse

Construction teams worked around the clock to repair the damage to the road following the sudden collapse

‘Impressive. That was fast,’ said another.

The street reopened at 5am on Tuesday.

The massive cave-in appeared in the city’s bustling Hakata district, a major business and entertainment centre, with muddy underground water flowing into the hole.

Scale of the problem: An aerial photo of the city's business district shows the size of the gaping sinkhole which opened up

Scale of the problem: An aerial photo of the city’s business district shows the size of the gaping sinkhole which opened up

It happened in the business district of the city of Fukuoka

It happened in the business district of the city of Fukuoka

‘I saw a stop light fall. It was really scary,’ one man told Fuji TV after it happened.

The sinkhole is believed to be about 40 feet wide and 25-30 feet deep.

Read more: http://www.dailymail.co.uk/news/article-3936796/Japan-street-swallowed-giant-hole-reopens.html#ixzz4Q5BoafBY
Follow us: @MailOnline on Twitter | DailyMail on Facebook

Source:  “Japan’s mega-sinkhole is repaired in just a week”, Mail Online, 15 November 2016 

Further reading (updated 29 November 2016):  “Panic in Japan as giant sinkhole which was repaired in just a week begins to sink again, forcing road to close (so did they carry out the repairs too quickly?)”, Mail Online, 28 November 2016 

National Cat Day – Japan

BBC

These are the amazing things you can do in Japan on Cat Day

  • 5 hours ago
  • From the section Asia
Cats crowd the harbour on Aoshima Island in the Ehime prefecture in southern Japan February 25, 2015Image copyright Reuters

Are you a cat person? If so, Japan is the place to be on 22 February because this is when Cat Day is celebrated.

Now in its 30th year, Cat Day has lit up Japanese social media with endless portraits of …cats as well as cat-themed doughnuts, cat-shaped biscuits, cat manga, cats staring soulfully out of windows, kittens mewing expectantly and so on. On this day it is Japan’s hugest trend on social media.

What happens on Cat Day?

Known as “Neko no Hi”, it was chosen because the date’s numerals, 2/22 (ni ni ni), are pronounced fairly closely to the sound a cat makes in Japan (nyan nyan nyan).

You can play tricks on your cat

Picture of Twitter user RitzChan's catImage copyright Twitter / @RitzChan_
Image caption This Twitter user pranked a sleeping pet cat which woke up to find itself buried under an avalanche of toy mice
Tweet by @HirokiAsai_0201 of his catImage copyright Twitter / @HirokiAsai_0201
Image caption Another user felt the need to get close to his pet on Cat Day

You can dress up as a cat

Tweet by @yancoromarch on Cat DayImage copyright Twitter / @yancoromarch
Image caption One famous cosplayer who donned cat ears was Yancoromarch

Enthusiasts of cosplay, the art of dressing up like animated characters, posted pictures of themselves dressed as cats, or wearing “nekomimi” (cat’s ears).

You can make food look like cats

Tweet by @_HO_TA_TE_ on cat-shaped onigiri ballsImage copyright Twitter / @_HO_TA_TE_
Image caption Some have celebrated by making cat-shaped food, like rice balls

You can monetise cats

Over the years the day has become a commercial success, with shops and businesses releasing cat-themed items.

Tweet by @ikumi_mama on special donuts for Cat DayImage copyright Twitter / @ikumi_mama
Image caption Ikumi Mama, a bakery known for producing animal-shaped pastries, released a special set of cat doughnuts
Tweet by @nekokeizai on Kaldi Coffee FarmImage copyright Twitter / @nekokeizai
Image caption Kaldi Coffee Farm, which sells coffee and imported foods, released a special cat-themed bag for the day, including tea, biscuits and a calendar

Disney in Japan declared the day to be “Marie Day,” after the young female character from the Aristocats, while newspaper Asahi Shimbun marked the occasion with a special report from one of Japan’s cat cafes, where you can sit for an hour or two in the company of numerous pampered and purring moggies.

Tweet by @bonjour_licca on Cat DayImage copyright Twitter/ @bonjour_licca
Image caption Japan’s answer to Barbie, Licca-chan, added her take on the day with a catty outfit

How did it start?

The event began in 1987 after an Executive Cat Day Committee polled cat-lovers across Japan and decided that February 22 should be Cat Day.

Other countries also have days to celebrate cats, but few marked with as much enthusiasm as Japan’s.

Some of Japan’s celebrity cats

A cat called Tama made headlines after becoming honorary stationmaster of a train station in Wakayama prefecture. Wearing a special cat-sized stationmaster’s hat, she was a popular tourist attraction until her death in June 2015.

Tama was duly inducted into a hall of fame for the station’s train line in February 2016.

A woman tries to take a photo of 'Tama', a nine-year-old female tortoiseshell cat wearing a formal stationmaster's cap of the Wakayama Electric Railway, as the feline sits on a ticket gate at Kishi station on the Kishigawa line in the city of Kinokawa, in Wakayama prefecture on 22 May 2008.Image copyright AFP/Getty Images
Image caption Tama pulled in fans and tourists till her death last year

Meanwhile, a cat called Maru became an internet sensation with a series of YouTube videos. The videos have had huge viewing figures since 2008, with one early film gaining 21.7 million views.

And then there’s Nyancat – the internet meme which features a flying cartoon cat, creating an infinite rainbow through space, set to the sound of Hatsune Miku, a “vocaloid” human-sounding synthesiser.

The original video has been viewed 131 million times.

This is probably the day to clear up a common misconception about the global phenomenon that is Hello Kitty – the white cat without a mouth first unveiled by Japanese company Sanrio in the 1970s. Not a cat, but a girl and actually British to boot.

In this 24 July 2014 file photo, a model dressing as Japanese character Hello Kitty, right, along with Hong Kong actresses Priscilla Wong, left, and Celine Yeung, second from left, pose with a new figure of Hello Kitty unveiled at the Madame Tussauds in Hong Kong, to mark the 40th anniversary of the birth of the popular Sanrio character.Image copyright AP
Image caption Hello Kitty now has her own Madame Tussauds wax figurine in Hong Kong

But what if you’re not a cat person?

Fret not. This day, 22 February, is also Ninja Day in Japan (another play on ‘two’ being pronounced as ‘ni’).

Koka city in Shiga prefecture is one of the better known places to celebrate this occasion, with town hall staff dressing as elusive assassins for the day.

Governors and mayors from Mie, Shiga, Kanagawa prefecture and former tourism agency chief Hiroshi Mizohata (first row, R) pose in ninja costumes for photos as they hold a press conference in Tokyo on 8 March 2015.Image copyright AFP/Getty Images
Image caption Officials in Shiga dressed up in ninja costumes last year to promote ninja tourism

Reporting by Jordan Allen, a freelance journalist in Tokyo.

Source:  “These are the amazing things that you can do in Japan on Cat Day”, BBC News, 22 February 2016

The Scottish mother of Japanese whisky

BBC

The Scottish mother of Japanese whisky

Rita Taketsuru

Scotch enthusiasts found it hard to swallow recently when a Japanese single malt was named the world’s best whisky.  But the fact that a Scot played a key role in establishing the hard stuff in Japan may make that news more palatable for some.

Jessie Roberta Cowan, from Kirkintilloch, had little idea how much her life was going to change when a young Japanese man took up lodgings at her family home in 1918.

Masataka Taketsuru had come to Scotland to study the art of whisky-making, taking up chemistry at Glasgow University before becoming an apprentice at Longmorn Distillery in Speyside and later at Hazelburn Distillery in Campbeltown.

Masataka and Jessie – who was known as Rita – soon formed a strong bond and on 8 January 1920 they married in a Glasgow registry office.

It was the beginning of a long journey that was to end with Rita becoming known as the mother of Japanese whisky.

Masataka Taketsuru
Masataka Taketsuru came to Scotland to learn the art of whisky-making

Shortly after their marriage, Rita followed her husband back to Japan as he pursued his dream of building his own distillery.

By 1923 he was in Kyoto, working for Kotobukiya – later to become Japanese drinks giant Suntory – tasked with building Japan’s first genuine whisky plant at Yamazaki.

A decade later, he prepared to start up his own distillery at Yoichi, marking the beginnings of what was to become major Japanese drinks business Nikka.

Rita’s role in helping Masataka produce his first whisky in 1940 cannot be underestimated, according to Nikka Whisky international sales manager Emiko Kaji.

“Rita played a very important role in Masataka’s life work,” she said.

“She provided not only moral support but also financial support when they had a difficult time.

“She made every effort to adopt herself to the Japanese culture and stay with him all the time, even during the world war.”

Mr Kaji added: “It is said that she was good at Japanese cooking and served traditional Japanese dishes.

“Her income from teaching English and piano sometimes helped the household.

“Rita’s network through the job also connected Masataka with other investors to establish his own company.

“Masataka could not have overcome a lot of difficulties without loyal support by Rita.”

Nikka Whisky Distillery at Yoichi
The Nikka distillery is still operating in Yoichi

Yoichi was a world away from the bustling city of Kyoto. Based on the northernmost main island of Japan, Hokkaido, it offered a much more isolated way of life.

But Masataka saw it as the perfect place to build a distillery.

Colin Ross, from the Nikka-owned Ben Nevis distillery at Fort William, said: “He chose Yoichi because it looked a lot like Scotland, felt like Scotland and the temperature was much the same as here.”

Rita launched herself into Japanese culture, speaking only Japanese and following local traditions, but her life was to change during World War Two.

Her great-nephew Harry Hogan, from Newton Mearns in East Renfrewshire, said: “I think during the second world war it was very difficult because a lot of the Japanese turned against them – against her particularly.

Masataka and Rita Taketsuru
Masataka and Rita married in Scotland in 1920

“The story goes that even her own (adopted Japanese) daughter turned against her slightly because of the fact that she was British.”

According to Urs Matthias Zachmann, head of Asian Studies at the University of Edinburgh, the Japanese authorities also made life difficult for her.

He said: “Their house was searched because they had an antenna on the rooftop and the special police thought that she might be a spy, contacting British or Russian forces, whatever.

“It has been said that the company workers tried to speak on her behalf and defend her.”

But Rita stayed put and the Yoichi distillery soon prospered as the Japanese appetite for genuine whisky grew in the face of a wartime import ban.

Rita died at the age of 63 in 1961, but her legacy lives on in Yoichi, whose main street is named Rita Road.

She is also far from forgotten in her adopted nation as a whole.

The story of her relationship with the man who became known as the father of Japanese whisky has just hit the small screen in Japan.

TV drama Massan is a fictionalised account of Rita’s travels to Japan and Masataka’s attempts to begin the Nikka Whisky distilling company, which is now owned by drinks group Asahi.

The show has quite literally lifted spirits at the business.

Nikka Whisky International Sales Manager Emiko Kaji said: “We have been experiencing a kind of ‘Nikka boom’ or ‘whisky boom’ since the NHK drama Massan started at the end of September.

“Our domestic sales are growing by almost 20% and the number of the visitors to Yoichi distillery in 2014 increased by 50% compared with the previous year.”

Masataka died in August 1979 at the age of 85 and was laid to rest beside his wife in Yoichi.

Rita’s life may have ended in 1961 – but for many Japanese, her spirit lives on.

Source:  “The Scottish mother of Japanese whisky”, BBC News, 11 January 2015

Further Reading:

Nikka Whisky (English)

Ben Nevis Distillery

“Humiliation for Scotland as Japan’s whisky is named ‘best in world’ (and even the English do better than the Scots)”, Daily Mail, 2 November 2014

“‘Best whisky in the world’ prize won by Japanese single malt for first time as Scottish distilleries lose out”, The Independent, 3 November 2014 (cited in BBC News article above)

“Scotland loses out as Japanese whisky named best in the world”, The Telegraph, 3 November 2014

“Suntory time: Japanese whisky named world’s best in sour dram for Scotland”, The Guardian, 4 November 2014