Japanese News: March week 3

Usually, I study a news article every Friday. But last week, I decided to change my routine and try to keep an eye on the NHK News website every day. I hope I managed to extract the news of importance, but I certainly missed a lot of information. Anyway, this is an attempt at giving an overview of the week in Japan (internal affairs only).

Moritomo Gakuen

The Moritomo Gakuen scandal is still in the headlines. On Monday, an NHK article said that popular protest still spread before the Diet building: “森友問題 国会前では抗議活動続く“.

  • 抗議・こうぎ: protest, protestation

The people assembled in the protest were yelling in chorus: 「文書の改ざん徹底糾弾」, asking for a thorough investigation to find who gave the order to falsify the documents.

  • 改ざん・かいざん, as I learned last week, means “falsification”.
  • 徹底・てってい: thoroughness
  • 糾弾・きゅうだん: censure, denunciation, condemnation.

On Tuesday, the ruling party finally accepted the request of the opposition: Sagawa will testify in the Diet on March 27th. Sagawa was a high official in the Ministry of Finance at the time of the sale. One article’s title on the subject is “佐川氏の証人喚問 来週27日に衆・参両院の予算委で“.

  • 佐川・さがわ: Sagawa.
  • 証人喚問・しょうにんかんもん: a summons to a witness
  • 衆・参両院 This seemingly difficult word simply refers to the two Houses of the Diet:
    • 議院・しゅうぎいん: the House of Representatives
    • 議院・さんぎいん: the House of Councillors
  • 予算委・よさんい: the budget committee.

Also, chief secretary of the Finance Ministry said on Thursday that no intermediate report would be made during the investigation:「森友」書き換え問題 財務省「調査の中間報告しない」. The article cites the chief secretary of Finance Ministry: 「これまでの調査で理財局の一部の職員によって書き換えが行われたことがわかっているが、さらに掘り下げて、どの職員がどの程度、なぜ関与したのか、調査をし尽くす必要がある。ただ、確たる終わりの時期を申し上げることはできかねる」

  • The department of the Finance Ministry involved in the falsification is the “Financial Bureau”, or in Japanese 理財局・りざいきょく
  • 掘り下げる・ほりさげる: investigate, dig deeply
  • ます形+尽くす・つくす: do something completely
  • 確たる・かくたる: certain, definite, sure. It looks like a verb but acts like an adjective (?)

Some obscure problem with pension data

Meanwhile, another scandal is very present in the media but also quite tricky to understand. I had to read English sources to understand it… A Japanese firm who processes the data relative to pensions entrusted a part of the job to a Chinese firm: “500万人分の個人情報が中国業者に 年金情報入力を再委託“.

  • 委託・いたく: trust, charge, commission.

An extract of the article is enough to summarise the problem. Though I know every word in it, I didn’t understand what it was about until I read on the subject in English. 😕 Frustrating.


  • The Tokyo firm who had been commissioned by the organism of Japanese pension to process their data,
  • in violation of their contract, handed around 5 millions of personal data to a Chinese firm.
  • The fact that the (Japanese firm) entrusted the processing operation (to the Chinese firm) has come to light through the research of the Ministry of Health, Labour and Welfare and others. (I am not sure of my translation of this part).

I find this affair very complex and I don’t have much interest in it, so I don’t feel motivated to read more on the subject… 🙄

Snow on the first day of Spring

spring at lastWednesday was the first day of Spring, but some parts of the country were covered with snow: “関東甲信の山沿いと東北 あすにかけ大雪のおそれ“.

I have been telling myself for a long time that I should learn Japan’s geography. At least the name of the regions, some prefectures and main cities. I am not very motivated to do it though…

甲信・こうしん is the name of a region, situated near the Kanto region. If I understood correctly, the Koshin region is only a part of the bigger Chubu region. It covers both Yamanashi prefecture (山梨県・やまなしけん) and Nagano prefecture (長野県・ながのけん). I found that the couple 関東甲信 is often used in a meteorologic context. No wonder, then, that we should find it in our title.

The title says that there is a risk of heavy snow in the North-East and mountainous parts of the Kanto-Koushin regions.

The snow fell so heavily that a group of 13 hikers were caught in the mountains and could not descend due to the snow. They had to be evacuated by helicopter and transferred to hospital: “東京・奥多摩 登山者13人全員を病院に搬送“.

  • 奥多摩・おくたま, near Tokyo, Okutama offers a wide range of outdoor activities and has several hiking spots.

The lives of the 13 rescued are not threatened: 命に別状はない. This is an expression that means “one’s life is not threatened”.

  • 別状・べつじょう: something wrong. This word seems to be mainly used in the negative form “別状ない”, to say that something is safe, not threatened, not in danger or not damaged.

Virtual currencies, a new target

Finally, let’s have a look at this article: 仮想通貨狙った新サイバー犯罪 被害は1年で6億円超. It says that a new form of cybercrime aims at cryptocurrencies. Last year, the equivalent of more than 600 million Yen (or less than 6 million Dollars) have been stolen. But in January of this year, the Japanese cryptocurrency exchange Coincheck has been hacked, resulting in the loss of around 58 billion Yen or around 550 million Dollars in NEM crypto-currency.  😲

  • 仮想通貨・かそうつうか: virtual money
  • 狙う・ねらう: aim at (a target).

How can there be such a gap between the total amount of stolen money last year and the loss of Coincheck in January? Maybe I made a mistake while calculating? I’m not at ease with numbers: