|The story below is originally published on Mainichi Daily News by Mainichi Shinbun (http://mdn.mainichi.jp).|
|They admitted inventing its kinky features, or rather deliberately mistranslating them from the original gossip magazine.|
|In fact, this is far from the general Japanese' behavior or sense of worth.|
Deadly rat plague riles Tokyo residents 2006,03,09
Shukan Asahi 3/17 By Ryann Connell
A warm glow starts to sweep through a small pub in the Kabukicho entertainment district in Tokyo as patrons get drunker and fill their bellies.
Suddenly, as if from out of nowhere, a whopping rat about 15 centimeters long drops from the ceiling onto a table covered with delicacies and drink.
The rodent idly raises its head and almost leers at the startled restaurant-goers before jumping to the floor and scampering off.
Oh rats! The pleasant atmosphere seeping through the eatery just moments earlier is destroyed.
Vile vermin are infesting the streets of Tokyo -- and, worse than the gross incident at the Kabukicho pub, they can have deadly results, according to Shukan Asahi (3/17).
Late last month, a 73-year-old pensioner was found dead in her bath.
She had been killed by an electric shock caused by a rat that had chewed through the power cables leading to her bathroom.
Rats are responsible for 10 similar incidents a year in the capital alone, while also causing around 40 electrical problems that don't end up in fires.
Aiding the vermin has been Japan's record cold winter, which has driven the rodents to seek warmth indoors or in hollows between buildings, and has sparked an increase in black rats of plague-like proportions.
"Skyscrapers and insulated wooden houses are the ideal homes for black rats," Chikara Tanigawa, president of the Ikari Sterilization Laboratory, tells Shukan Asahi.
"Black rats are originally from warm, southern climes.
In the cold spell that we've been going through, all the rats that had been outside would be doing their darnedest to get indoors."
A restaurant industry worker is also being riled by the rodents.
"Nibbling away at food in the pantry and droppings under cupboards, I can handle," the worker tells Shukan Asahi.
"It's when the rats pop up in front of the customers that really causes trouble.
It drives people away."
The rising rat population is compounded by the strict Pharmaceutical Affairs Law, which bans the use of rat poison, meaning the only way the potentially deadly creatures can be caught is by using such means as traps and adhesive sheets, on which the vermin get stuck and die of starvation.
And recent trends among the pests are doing little to help, either, as black rats become proportionately more common than their sewer rat cousins, who once dominated the Tokyo vermin landscape.
Black rats, which can move vertically and horizontally, are also more in your face than the sewer rats, which travel only along the ground.
"Looking back at the postwar history of rat proliferation in Tokyo, there is a definite trend where the increase in skyscrapers has caused a reduction in the number of sewer rats and rise in the number of black rats," Tanigawa tells Shukan Asahi.
"Black rats are scary because they can cause diseases like Type E pneumonia, and they work together with household dust mites.
The number of household dust mite extermination cases I dealt with in the 10 years from 1996 to 2005 increased about ten-fold.
If mites bite you, it gets all itchy and you'll end up scratching for about a week." (By Ryann Connell)
（Mainichi Japan） March 9, 2006