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 ...

Fukushima No. 1's scary shadow

Mar 31, 2011

Fukushima No. 1's scary shadow

FUKUSHIMA — Tetsuo Sakuma has loaded his small pickup with all it can carry. There’s not much of value: a television, some books, boxes of clothes, snatched in haste from a home he may never sleep in again. “We hope to come back, but ...

Mar 25, 2011

Despair engulfs Pakistani asylum seekers

In a ramshackle Yokohama house smelling of damp and rotting wood, Nasir Qadri and his family await their fate. The Pakistani national, his wife, Shaheena, and their five children are asylum seekers who arrived in Japan on Aug. 25, 2009. But although they have ...

Waiting for the WikiLeak dam to break

| Jan 25, 2011

Waiting for the WikiLeak dam to break

Like a giant dose of salts to a bloated and constipated patient, “Cablegate” has scoured its way through the post-9/11 United States empire, exposing its internal workings to merciless scrutiny: In Iraq, U.S. forces and their Iraqi subordinates kill civilians and journalists while their ...

Muslims in shock over police 'terror' leak

| Nov 9, 2010

Muslims in shock over police 'terror' leak

This time last month, Mourad Bendjaballah says he was just another anonymous foreigner living and working in Japan. Today he fears his life here may be over, and receives phone calls from reporters asking him if he is an al-Qaida “terrorist.” “I’ve no idea ...

Sakurai: a very dapper demagogue

| May 18, 2010

Sakurai: a very dapper demagogue

Makoto Sakurai brings to mind that old joke about the man in a pub who says “I’m not racist, but . . . “ He is not against foreigners; he just doesn’t want many of them to come to Japan. The ones who are ...

Feb 24, 2010

Shinjuku gay enclave in decline but not on the surface

Nothing outside Tokyo’s 24-Kaikan hotel hints at what goes on behind its gray concrete walls. Tucked in a back street in Shinjuku 2-chome, the seven-story building could be an apartment block for retired civil servants. Only in the lobby, cheerily adorned with scenes from ...

Jan 28, 2010

Victim of Akihabara rampage reaches out to defendant

Until June 8, 2008, Hiroshi Yuasa led an ordinary life, one of thousands of taxi drivers who work Tokyo’s streets. But just after noon on that rainy Sunday, as shoppers thronged the streets of Akihabara, he witnessed an event that changed everything. Sitting in ...