Community news

By on October 31, 2012
NHK viewing fee drops
Effective last month, NHK has slashed monthly subscription fees for regular terrestrial broadcasts on NHK G and NHK E by ¥120.  The new monthly subscription fee is ¥1,225.  Japan’s switch from analog television broadcast to digital last year  has enabled NHK to monitor  households watching its programs on NHK and BS channels.  In 2011, NHK reported ¥672 billion in sales, ¥4.5 billion higher than its 2010 revenue.   This was attributed to more satellite subscribers paying their share.Groundbreaking discovery
Japanese stem cell researcher from Osaka, Shinya Yamanaka, together with British co-researcher John B. Gurdon were awarded the Nobel Prize last month for their pioneering contribution in the fields of physiology and medicine.  Their scientific experiments led to the discovery that reprogramming mature skin cells extracted from a patient’s body has the capacity to develop in one of several ways, and possibly treat diseases.Shine On Charity Walk 2012
Shine On Kids (formerly Tyler Shine On), a non-profit organization based in Japan supporting children with cancer and other serious illnesses, is holding a five-kilometer charity walk to raise funds on November 10, 2012 (Saturday).  There will be two starting times: 10:30 am and 12:30 pm at Kodomo no Kuni located in Aoba-ku, Yokohama city.

Entrance fee is 600 yen for adults and 100 yen for children.   Donation is 5,000 yen per family  and 3,000 yen for individuals.  For details,

A taste of Napa in Tokyo
After the success in September of Carnival Extravaganza held at the Roppongi Hyatt hotel where more than 25 million yen for Shine On Kids’ charity projects was raised, comes another fun fund-raising evening.  Shine On Kids invites the public on November 6 to “Taste Napa Valley Tokyo 2012”, a three-and-a-half-hour auction event from 6:30 pm at the Tokyo American Club.  Guests will be treated to over 40 kinds of wine, tapas pairings, a chance to bid on special collections and meet 21 Napa Valley vintners all in one night.  ¥15,000/per person to join.  Contact

The tsunami aftermath
Almost one year and a half have passed after the great Hanshin earthquake yet the work to help survivors in Otsuchi and Kamaishi towns of Iwate prefecture remains far from over. “ A number of people are still grieving for the loss of loved ones, their homes and properties.  The overall future outlook in life of the towns people is bleak.  Although Japan’s disaster response is efficient, the amount of work required to get  people back on their feet is enormous,” according to international NGO  Medecins du Monde (Doctors of the World).  The ongoing relief operations in Tohoku include the rebuilding of medical facilities at two hospitals in Iwate, dispatch of medical practitioners  to the mental care unit in Fukushima, and the Nicocoro project,  a medical intervention on survivors with coping issues, under Iwate health authorities’ supervision.  The NGO reported that mental health intervention is regarded by the majority of Japanese people particularly in the countryside as shameful which makes the  NGO’s  task of looking after their welfare even more challenging.

Legal assistance for foreigners
On October 15 the Tokyo Public Law Office (TPLO) opened  a new branch office in Minato ku to serve neighboring residents.  The Foreigners and International Service Section (FISS) made up of a team of  six lawyers is now available for legal consultation in multiple languages such as English, Spanish, Korean and Chinese.   The move was created to assist a  number of foreigners on legal issues concerning labor, visas and family. The cost of a 30-minute consultation is 5,250 yen with an option to extend for another 30 at an additional 5,250 yen.  A government subsidy is available for those who meet certain income and asset criteria.

Call for appointment.  Tel  03-6809-6200.

Tokyo Public Law Office, Mita Branch Foreigners and International Service Section (FISS). Address: Honshiba Bldg. 2F, 4-3-11 Shiba, Minatoku, Tokyo 108-0014

By train: 6 min. walk from Tamachi Station of JR Line
2 min. walk from Mita Station of Toei Mita Line

Medecins du Monde collaborates with the Otsuchi Social Welfare Council in offering workshops like “Nemuri no kotsu” (tips for better night sleep) to the elderly suffering from insomnia. Included in their routine is a door-to-door visit with local support groups counseling people on alcohol abuse, stress and exhaustion,  and overall wellbeing. Medecins du Monde is actively seeking donors to help fund their humanitarian cause.  To get involved, visit

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