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 ...

Jan 24, 2010

Chipping away at constitutional freedoms

Just as for the United States, the cost to Japan of the Iraq adventure has not been limited to the financial. A series of test cases against antiwar activists has dismayed lawyers and human-rights activists, who say the post-9/11 Japanese state is attacking constitutional ...

'The wartime leaders of Japan were heroes'

Jan 24, 2010

'The wartime leaders of Japan were heroes'

General Toshio Tamogami, 61, was the chief of staff of Japan’s Air Self-Defense Force between March 2007 and November 2008 despite having a history of lobbing verbal missiles at “leftists,” China and Japan’s so-called war-renouncing Constitution. In 2008, he pulled these and other themes ...

Secrets and lies

Jan 24, 2010

Secrets and lies

Japan marked the 50th anniversary of the Japan-U.S. Security Treaty on Jan. 19 amid calls for an inquiry into the dispatch of Japanese Self-Defence Forces to Iraq, which critics say was illegal. But in contrast to the fierce debates over the origins and legitimacy ...

Dec 18, 2009

Students give job-hunting system a big F

College students habitually complain about being overloaded with study. Not Shingo Hori though, who demands to be allowed to study more. “It’s ridiculous. We don’t have time to mature as people or as students,” says the 21-year-old philosophy major at prestigious Waseda University in ...

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 ...