'The government could still save lives'

Sep 16, 2012

'The government could still save lives'

In the immediate aftermath of last year’s Fukushima triple meltdown, Japan’s government and pronuclear experts scrambled to dampen public concern. Experts waved away fears about radiation, cabinet ministers scoffed at comparisons to Chernobyl, and the word “meltdown” itself was effectively scoured from the media. ...

Fukushima lays bare Japanese media's ties to top

Jan 8, 2012

Fukushima lays bare Japanese media's ties to top

Is the ongoing crisis surrounding the Fukushima No. 1 nuclear power plant being accurately reported in the Japanese media? No, says independent journalist Shigeo Abe, who claims the authorities, and many journalists, have done a poor job of informing people about nuclear power in ...

Stories spiked despite journalism's mission to inform

Jan 8, 2012

Stories spiked despite journalism's mission to inform

Olympus isn’t the only story that has been or is being ignored or squashed by powerful forces in Japan. Here are three more gems from that rich vein. Okinawa-gate In 1971, Takichi Nishiyama reported for the Mainichi Shimbun newspaper that Tokyo had agreed to ...

Stop the presses and hold the front page

Jan 8, 2012

Stop the presses and hold the front page

It was perhaps the biggest financial story of postwar Japan — or it should have been.Yamaichi Securities, one of the nation’s four top brokerages, which was among the world’s six largest in the 1980s, had in 1992 started to illegally bury millions of dollars ...

Dec 11, 2011

Tohoku ¥ for whales?

It was a comparatively minor entry in the annual, ritualized battle between pro- and anti-whalers. Japan’s whaling fleet pulled out of Shimonoseki port near Nagasaki earlier this week on its way to another controversial four-month Antarctic cull. In the fine print of the 2011 ...

Justice stalled in brutal death of deportee

| Nov 1, 2011

Justice stalled in brutal death of deportee

Abubakar Awudu Suraj had been in Japan for over two decades when immigration authorities detained him in May 2009. The Ghanaian was told in Yokohama of his deportation to Ghana at 9:15 a.m. on March 22 last year. Six hours later he was dead, ...

Anti-whalers should just stop ...

| Jun 19, 2011

Anti-whalers should just stop ...

Nearly a quarter of a century since Japan began its controversial “research whaling” cull off Antarctica, there was a major development this year in the annual contest of wills between whalers and conservationists. In mid-February, Japan’s whaling fleet was recalled home, with the government ...

Fukushima village on way to becoming ghost town

May 13, 2011

Fukushima village on way to becoming ghost town

Sleepy, idyllic and dangerously irradiated, the village of Iitate is preparing to evacuate. The junior high school is closed, its children bused every day to nearby towns. Tractors sit idle, and weeds poke through rice and cabbage in the fields. Half-empty shelves greet customers ...