Online threat not funny
Police arrested a 31-year-old man yesterday on suspicion of posting a hoax message on an Internet message board threatening to kill Crown Prince Naruhito, new reports said. Takeshi Yamamoto, an unemployed man in Gifu, was charged with disturbing the work of police after guards boosted security at the crown prince’s residence in light of the apparent threat, Jiji Press and Kyodo News said, quoting police officials. The man allegedly put the message on an Internet message board on Aug. 13, reportedly under the name “Masako,” wife of the crown prince, saying: “I will kill the crown prince.” Yamamoto, who is also suspected of threatening to kill a company president and attack a company with a bomb, admitted the latest charge, saying he was “dissatisfied with society.”
Dumpling report rebutted
The Foreign Ministry denied media reports yesterday that Beijing had admitted that pesticide-laced dumplings had probably been contaminated in China. Media, including NHK television, said China had told Tokyo that a worker at the factory that produced the poisoned dumplings was probably to blame for food poisoning. Poisoned dumplings caused 10 Japanese to become sick in December and January. “The Japanese government has not received such information,” the ministry said in a faxed statement. Foreign Ministry officials could not be reached for comment.
Canadian held after deaths
A Canadian citizen has been detained over the death of five workers after a maintenance platform plunged 50m from a television tower, a report said yesterday. Wesley Ernest Stabner, 57, was declared a suspect over the Thursday incident in Jakarta and has been detained awaiting trial, the local daily Kompas said. Stabner could face negligence charges after allegedly advising the workers that the platform could safely hold five people, police said. The Canadian, who works for US-based Rohn Products, is reportedly in a state of shock.
Heavy rains continue
Rescue workers searched for a missing person yesterday after fierce rains left one woman dead and vast stretches of rural and residential areas inundated. In Okazaki, residents were ordered to evacuate on Friday, but authorities later lifted the order. The storm traveled northeast yesterday, bringing more heavy rains. Two men reported missing in Okazaki on Friday were located. Police said their disappearances were unrelated to the flooding. The storm has flooded 1,300 households.
Police clash with militants
Three policemen were wounded in a gun battle with suspected Islamic militants in the south late on Friday, officials said. The fighting took place in Ja’ar city, southern Abyan Province, where jihadist fighters have a strong presence. Officials said the militants were believed to be members of a group affiliated to al-Qaeda. Ja’ar is 600km south of the capital Sana’a and is close to the Hatat mountains where armed Islamic groups often take shelter. Security sources said 40 militants were arrested in a clampdown in Hatat over the past two weeks.
Iodine leak raises fears
A recent leak of radioactive iodine at a medical laboratory had residents in the southern town of Fleurus on edge on Friday as authorities warned of contamination risks. After authorities at first said early in the week that the leak represented no danger to people or the environment, they have since decided that precautionary measures are needed. But the change of tune has fuelled local residents’ fears that they were warned too late about contamination risks. “We’ve been abandoned,” complained 70-year-old Leopold Gravy, a retired school director in Fleurus, where the leak last weekend caused the most serious nuclear incident ever in the country.