Mar 10, 2004

How much to bury a chicken?

About $23, it seems.

600 million yen is needed to cover "costs related to" destroying 240,000 chickens, according to this article from the Japan Times, and Kyoto is asking the national government to foot part of the bill because, "We are very much cash-strapped among the big reductions in central government subsidies..."

The Environment Ministry, meanwhile, is probing South Korea to trace the avian flu vector. Apparently researchers know that 11 types of migratory birds fly from Japan to Korea, but aren't certain how the birds return. A national study of wild birds will also be "enhanced." One Environment Ministry official was quoted as saying, "Our ministry has started a study of wild birds through such means as collecting crow droppings."

Gee... I can't wait to see how they enhance this.

------- News Flash -------
Kobe Schoolboy Killer Freed

Remember this guy? As a 14-year-old, he cut off a fellow student's head and displayed it on the school gate. Today, just a little over six years later, he is a free man, known only as "Youth A." The article really should be read in its entirety, for the bad translations of vague official statements, if nothing else. But here's a snippet:

Sources close to the board said Youth A has matured and calmed down, fitting into a life shared with others.

Tendencies toward sexual sadism that he displayed shortly after his killings have weakened and he is not suffering from any mental illnesses many feared he would succumb to.

... Youth A has promised never to fall into the same state.

Youth A has progressed well in occupational therapy, apparently promising never to forget the victims of his slaughter and promising to work hard to get money to compensate their bereaved families.

I don't know how US law treats privacy of juvenile convicts once they've come of age, but I'm not convinced that's the only consideration in concealing Youth A's identity. Not that any alternatives come to mind, but I remember reading Japanese news reports in which adult criminal suspects were left unidentified "for legal reasons."

And I'm not sure this is entirely bad, either. It certainly seems to be in the spirit of "innocent until proven guilty."

But if he is only known as "Youth A," how does it follow that "It would have been harmful to the man's rehabilitation had his release not been publicized and society's anxiety maintained"?


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