(Mainichi Japan) September 8, 2008
Sumo Association Chairman Kitanoumi to quit over drug scandal; 2 Russian wrestlers sacked

Japan Sumo Association Chairman Kitanoumi is set to resign over a marijuana scandal involving Russian wrestlers, sources close to the association said Monday.

Kitanoumi told a board meeting of the association on Monday that he will step down to take responsibility for the drug scandal. He will be replaced by board member Musashigawa, former Yokozuna Mienoumi.
The board also voted to dismiss Russian wrestler Roho and his brother Hakurozan who tested positive for marijuana in two screenings. However, they denied that they smoked the illegal drug.

A meeting of the association's committee on measures to prevent a recurrence was also held on Monday, attended by eight members from the association and four outside experts.

At the meeting, it was explained that Roho and Hakurozan tested positive for marijuana in a surprise test conducted on Tuesday last week on 69 wrestlers and in another detailed test conducted by an expert institute authorized by the World Anti-Doping Agency. Roho and Hakurozan who were waiting in another room were separately summoned by the committee.
Members of the committee on measures to prevent a recurrence said the two wrestlers denied smoking marijuana.


"I asked what they were doing over the few days before the urine test, but they said they didn't remember because they were confused. They denied smoking the drug," said committee member Hiroshi Yamamoto, who is a commentator for public broadcaster NHK.

"They denied the allegations but the figures in the test by the expert institute are fairly high," said Takeo Tono, vice president of the Japan Sumo Federation, an amateur sumo organization.

Kitanoumi, a former yokozuna, won 24 tournaments before retiring in 1985. He was elected to his first term as a member of the Japan Sumo Association board in 1996. He assumed the post of Japan Sumo Association chairman in 2002, and was re-elected to his fourth term in February this year.

However, the association has come under fire for a series of scandals including the fatal assault on a wrestler by senior wrestlers and his stablemaster. In August, wrestler Wakanoho, a Russian national, was arrested for possessing marijuana and was dismissed from the association.

毎日新聞 2008年9月8日 13時12分(最終更新 9月8日 19時35分)

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(Mainichi Japan) September 7, 2008
Honda bringing back Insight nameplate in planned gas-electric hybrid being shown in Paris

TOKYO (AP) -- Honda is bringing back the defunct Insight nameplate for a hybrid-only vehicle planned for the Japanese, European and North American markets early next year, as the automaker strives to play catch-up with rival Toyota in hybrids.

Toyota Motor Corp. has been wildly successful by promoting the Prius as a hybrid-only model -- a move often praised as effective in highlighting its commitment to ecological technology.

But the industry view is still divided on devoting a model to a hybrid.

Nissan Motor Co. of Japan, which now buys its hybrid system from Toyota but is developing its own gas-electric technology, is less bullish about hybrid-only models. It has said it will instead likely offer a hybrid version of one of its standard gasoline engine vehicles.

Honda Motor Co. executives have repeatedly expressed their determination to come out with more hybrids.

Honda's original Insight hybrid was introduced in 1999 but it was discontinued in 2006 after sluggish sales totaling a cumulative 17,000 worldwide.

Toyota, by contrast, has sold more than a million Prius cars over the past decade.

The reasons for the Insight's failure to catch on are unclear, but relatively high pricing, its unusual styling and other reasons may be to blame.

Tokyo-based Honda, Japan's No. 2 automaker, will show a "concept model" of the Insight at the Paris Motor Show next month, Honda said in a statement Thursday.

It will be a five-door hatchback compact, whose design is based on the sleek FCX Clarity, Honda's fuel cell vehicle, according to Honda.

"The name Insight was chosen to denote Honda's 'insight' into a new era in which hybrid vehicles come within reach of most car buyers," the company said.

Honda did not give pricing. But Honda President Takeo Fukui has promised to keep the price difference between Honda's planned hybrid and a comparable gas engine model to within 200,000 yen (US$1,900).
本田はまだ新しく販売されるハイブリッド車の価格を設定していない。 新型車の価格について本田自動車の社長であるふくいたけお氏はこのように約束する。 今回新しく販売される新型車とが本田独自のガスエンジン車との価格差を200,000円以内に抑える。

All the world's automakers are rushing to make their models more fuel efficient amid soaring gas prices.

U.S. automaker General Motors Corp. largely has focused on hybrids in its larger vehicles and on the Chevrolet Volt, a plug-in electric car it hopes to bring to market in 2010. Ford Motor Co. has mid-size hybrids due out next year, while Chrysler is developing efficient smaller diesels and has hybrids in some large SUVs.
フォード社は来年ハイブリッドの中型車を発表する見込み。 クライスラー社は燃費のすぐれた小型のディーゼルエンジン車と大型のハイブリッド車(SUV)を販売開始する予定である。
(Translated into Japanese by srachai from khonkaen, thailand)
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(Mainichi Japan) September 7, 2008
LPGA rescinds controversial penalty plan for non-English speakers
米女子ゴルフ:英語能力不十分でもOK 出場停止罰則撤回
The Ladies Professional Golf Association (LPGA) in the United States has announced that it has withdrawn its decision to introduce a plan that could penalize non-English speaking players, after the move was criticized as discrimination against Asian players.
(withdraw=取り下げる、撤回する) (penalize=罰する) (criticize=非難する) (discrimination=差別=bias)

The association initially planned to require players who were not proficient English speakers to undergo an oral English test -- even though some have been LPGA Tour members for two years or more -- and to suspend players who could not pass the test.
(当初は、はじめは) (proficient=優れた、上達した、熟練した)

The controversial penalty system was scheduled to start from next year, however, after meeting opposition from California Democrats, the LPGA decided to withdraw the proposal.

LPGA Commissioner Carolyn Bivens denied any intention to discriminate against players from specific countries or regions.
(discriminate=差別する) (specific countries or regions=特定の国や地域)I

Among the current LPGA members are 121 international players from 26 countries and regions, including 45 South Koreans -- two of whom won two of this year's four major tournaments.

米女子ゴルフ:英語能力不十分でもOK 出場停止罰則撤回


毎日新聞 2008年9月6日 10時34分(最終更新 9月6日 10時53分)

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(Mainichi Japan) September 4, 2008
Tokyo's Sanya district takes on new face as cheap hotels accept new guests
東京見聞録:山谷地区 変わる簡易宿泊所 外国人、女性…客層幅広く /東京

In the years of high economic growth after World War II, the Sanya district straddling Tokyo's Arakawa and Taito wards was a haven for day laborers. But now the area is starting to take on a new face, as aging laborers move on and foreigners, women and a wide range of other visitors take advantage of the cheap accommodation.

On a recent visit to the area, a foreign couple carrying a convenience store bag arrived in front of the Economy Hotel Hoteiya in Taito-ku at about 9:30 p.m., pushing their young son along in a stroller. They said they came to Japan from Nepal.

Recently the number of foreign people with families visiting the area has been increasing. Japanese family visitors are also common.
"In the summer there are also lots of Japanese families looking to visit Tokyo Disneyland," said 57-year-old hotel head Tetsuo Kiyama. "There are people who don't know that the Japanese characters for this area are read 'Sanya' and they come asking, 'Is this Yamatani?' (another reading of the characters)."

From the 1970s to the "bubble" era of Japan's economy, the streets of Sanya prospered along with the daily lives of the laborers, and some simple lodging facilities including Hoteiya rebuilt their wooden lodgings into reinforced concrete structures resembling business hotels.

After a long economic slump beginning from the 1990s, the cheap lodgings of the Sanya district attracted attention, and the number of foreign visitors increased. Recently, besides foreign guests, there has been an increasing number of traveling businessmen, women, students looking for work, and families who have come to Tokyo for the summer holidays.

Major events in Tokyo, such as the Comic Market that was held in the metropolitan area in late August, have also attracted guests, with anime fans from around Japan staying in the area.

Most of the rooms in Hoteiya are only the size of three tatami mats, sleeping two people. Some rooms actually have tatami mats, while others are laid out in a western style. The prices range between around 2,600 yen and 3,700 yen for a room each night.

In a visit at the end of August, the hotel, which has about 70 rooms, was fully booked. Hardly any of the day laborers that used to fill the facility are there now. Eighty percent of the guests are reportedly temporary workers or contract employees, while 20 percent are visitors. The length of their stays varies greatly -- from one night to "a few decades."

Visitors appeared to find the hotel easy to use. One pair of tourists from France, aged 20 and 21, had already been staying there for a week. They said a French friend who had been to Japan told them about the hotel.

The rooms in the hotel are small, they said, but easy to use in spite of the low price. They added that the hotel was conveniently close to the heart of the capital.
The pair were able to reel off the names of several Japanese anime works such as "My Neighbor Totoro," "Princess Mononoke" and "Great Teacher Onizuka." They said they were fans of anime director Hayao Miyazaki's works.

Another guest at the hotel was a 26-year-old woman who had been staying there for over two weeks. She had come to Tokyo from Saga Prefecture as a seasonal worker. She reportedly had been staying at the hotel since mid-August as she underwent auditions for talent agencies with her sights set on becoming an actress.
"When staying at my friend's place I would pay extra care as a guest," she said. "After I stayed here one night while checking out the rooms, it was comfortable so I decided to stay," she added with a laugh.

The Web site of an association representing simple accommodation facilities in the Sanya district reportedly has many female visitors.
"Men can stay at capsule hotels and sauna-equipped lodging facilities, but there are few places where women can stay cheaply," Kiyama explains.

Now the operators of simple lodgings are growing old, and the time of their replacement is coming.
"Lodgings in the Sanya district after the war started by accepting entertainers and families whose homes had been burned down. That turned into a town of laborers," Kiyama said. "Now various people such as those with families and young people are being accepted here. We may have gone back to old times."


毎日新聞 2008年9月4日 地方版

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(Mainichi Japan) September 05, 2008 from column namely yoroku.
Sumo association stung by surprise drug test results

"We're going to have a surprise test next week on a day you can't anticipate," said a teacher one day.
a surprise test=抜き打ち試験 anticipate=予想する、予知する

A student stood up and objected: "That's logically impossible."
object=反論する logically=理論的に

"And why is that?" the teacher asked.

"If the test is to be held on Friday, there will be no tests till Thursday, and then we'll know for sure that the test will be held on the last day of the week so it won't be a surprise," the student explained. "If the test is secretly scheduled on the next last possible day, that's Thursday, and there is not a test till Wednesday, we'll know when the test will be, so that's not a surprise either, and so it goes on till Monday. In any case, you can't give such thing as a surprise test."

This is the "surprise test paradox," an example presented in any logic primer which illustrates how tricky surprise tests are.

The Japan Sumo Association (JSA) set up a surprise drug screening last Friday, and conducted it this Tuesday. The results were more surprising that the test: Two sumo wrestlers screened positive for marijuana use, namely Roho and his brother, Hakurozan, who are both Russian, as is Wakanoho, who was arrested previously for possessing marijuana. The police, after being notified by the association, searched the sumo stables to which the two wrestlers belong, the Otake stable and the Kitanoumi stable.

Both wrestlers deny using marijuana, and the positive test may or may not be the result of inhaling marijuana smoke indirectly. The truth will be revealed by the investigation in time. But it must have been the Sumo Association itself, leading the charge against drug use, who was most surprised by the results indicating that marijuana had been used within a few days of the test.

How will JSA chairman Kitanoumi, who has been busy warding off criticism over a string of recent scandals, cope with allegations of marijuana use in his own stable? This case will serve as a surprise test to the leadership of the sumo world. ("Yoroku," a front-page column in the Mainichi Shimbun)
ward off=危険、非難などを避ける


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(Mainichi Japan) August 27, 2008
Kirin unveils 'Strong Seven' beer with higher alcohol content

Kirin Breweries on Tuesday unveiled a new type of beer with 7 percent alcohol content -- higher than most beers -- in a bid to gain a bigger share of the market.
The company announced that it will begin selling its "Strong Seven" third-category beer on Oct. 22. Over the past few years demand has been increasing for light-tasting beer with low alcohol content, but Kirin decided to develop a new genre targeting male beer drinkers aged from their 30s to 50s.
The price of the new beverage will be set around 141 yen for a 350ml can, and 197 yen for a 500ml can.
The regular alcohol content for beer is 5 percent, but over the past few years, beer manufacturers have been selling third-category beer and low-malt beer with an alcohol content of 3 to 4 percent to attract young people and women as customers. However, this year Kirin and Suntory had hits with high alcohol-content shochu liquor-based drinks, and Kirin decided to boost its share with low-priced, high-alcohol third-category beer.

Words and Phreases:
unveiled a new type of beer with 7 percent alcohol content=アルコール度数7%の新しいタイプのビールを発表した
in a bid to=〜するために
demand has been increasing for light-tasting beer with low alcohol content=低いアルコール度数の軽いタイプのビールの需要が高まっていた
new genre=新しいジャンル、種類
targeting male beer drinkers aged from their 30s to 50s=30〜50代の男性ビール愛好家をターゲットとして
The regular alcohol content for beer is 5 percent=ふつうのビールのアルコール度数は5度である。
third-category beer=第三のビール
low-malt beer with an alcohol content of 3 to 4 percent=アルコール度数3〜4パーセントの低いアルコール度数の低モルトビール
to attract young people and women as customers=若者や女性をターゲットとして
hits with high alcohol-content shochu liquor-based drinks=アルコール度の高いチューハイが好調である


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(Mainichi Japan) August 23, 2008
Self-service checkouts spreading across supermarkets in Japan
セルフレジ:導入のスーパー増 コンビニなどに拡大も

The number of self-service supermarket checkouts, allowing customers scan and pay for goods themselves, is increasing across Japan, with convenience stores and other retailers also looking to introduce them.
The checkouts work by using bar code information to get product weight as well as price. Customers scan the items and place them in a shopping bag mounted on a set of scales, which checks that the total weight of the bag matches that of the scanned goods. And should there be any problems with the process, common store policy requires one staff member to attend four self-service checkouts.
Aeon introduced self checkouts at 82 stores by the end of fiscal 2007, which expanded to 149 stores by Aug. 20, and the company plans to introduce them at another 50 or so stores by the end of fiscal 2008.
Okuwa, a supermarket operating in the Kansai area, plans to have 44 stores, or about one-third of all its stores fitted with self-service checkouts by the financial year. Other businesses that have started using them this year include Uny Co., Life Corp. and Tokyu Store Corp.
The new checkouts reduce waiting times for those in a hurry, or only needing to purchase a few items, and stores benefit from reduced labor costs.
"They're easy to use, so many elderly people use them, and the ratio of use of self checkouts is good," said a spokesperson for supermarket chain Aeon.
However, the cost of a set of four self-service checkouts is between about 10 million and 15 million yen, roughly two to three times the price of regular checkouts.
"We need to assess whether they are cost-effective," an official at supermarket chain Ito-Yokado said.
Convenience store chains such as Lawson and ampm are set to introduce them on a trial basis, and they look likely to become more widespread in the future.

Words and Phrases:
looking to introduce them=それらのシステムを導入しようとしている
should there be any problems with the process=実行の過程で問題がある場合には(仮定を表す倒置構文)
by the end of fiscal 2008=2008年度までには
reduce waiting times for those in a hurry=急いでいる人たちにとっては時間が節約できる
roughly two to three times the price of regular checkouts=概ね普通のレジのセットにくらべると2倍から3倍の値段がする
are set to introduce them on a trial basis=試験的に採用してみる、つかってみる、システムを導入してみる
look likely to become more widespread in the future=将来はこの無人のシステムが大きく広がっていくであろうと思われる

毎日新聞 2008年8月22日 19時03分(最終更新 8月23日 0時10分)

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