Demographic crisis leaves universities in financial bind

Dec 18, 2009

Demographic crisis leaves universities in financial bind

The first day of the semester should be one of the year’s busiest, but it is immediately clear at St. Thomas University that something is badly wrong. Apart from a sprinkling of students chatting near the entrance, the grounds are eerily quiet — the ...

Speaking out about domestic violence

Nov 7, 2009

Speaking out about domestic violence

Just a year into her marriage, Emi Yoshida realized she might not survive it. Her violent, drug-addict husband had tried to strangle her, then beat her unconscious outside their Tokyo home. When she came to, he was threatening her with a knife. Police offered ...

Ibaraki turns matchmaker to curb population decline

Oct 29, 2009

Ibaraki turns matchmaker to curb population decline

NAMEGATA, Ibaraki Pref. — With fat black clouds hanging ominously overhead, a sludgy field of sweet potatoes in rural Japan might not seem the best place for a date with the woman of your dreams. Still, bachelor Naoki Nakai, 33, hopes luck will strike ...

Party offers a third way: happiness

| Aug 4, 2009

Party offers a third way: happiness

As a historic general election looms on Aug. 30, Japan’s long-suffering electorate faces a clear choice: vote for the conservative party that has virtually monopolized power since 1955, or opt for its more liberal but untested rival, which promises long-awaited reform. For those with ...

Lifer freed by a single smuggled hair strand

Jul 22, 2009

Lifer freed by a single smuggled hair strand

In the end, Toshikazu Sugaya may owe his freedom to a single strand of hair. As he languished in prison on a life sentence for a murder he did not commit, his lawyer told him there was only one way out: disprove the false ...

Rumpus on campus

| Jun 9, 2009

Rumpus on campus

Illegal arrests, forced expulsions, “kidnappings” by security police and beatings by hired thugs. No, it’s not another dispatch from a violent banana republic. Those accusations come from the leafy back-streets of Ichigaya, Tokyo, home to a branch campus of the prestigious Hosei University. Hosei ...

Mean streets feared under Tokyo's new safety law

| May 5, 2009

Mean streets feared under Tokyo's new safety law

Last month a group of activists called Dystopia Tokyo called a protest against what they described as a “Draconian” new city ordinance by conservative Gov. Shintaro Ishihara. Ishihara was revising an existing public safety law to allow “Orwellian” city-center crackdowns on street demos, public ...

'A battle for Japan's future'

| Apr 14, 2009

'A battle for Japan's future'

Despite being Japan’s most densely populated area, Warabi rarely causes a blip on the national media radar. Set in a rusting corner of Saitama Prefecture, the city has two minor recent claims to fame: a communist mayor and the 13-year-old daughter of illegal Filipino ...

A young life in legal limbo

| Feb 10, 2009

A young life in legal limbo

For years, Arlan and Sarah Calderon fretted over when to tell their daughter, Noriko, that she was different. Dark-haired and olive-skinned, she looked indistinguishable from the children she walked to school with every day in Warabi, an everyman suburb of Saitama Prefecture. But unknown ...