'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 ...

Jan 4, 2009

Japan's 'Mr. Television'

Picture the world’s busiest television presenter, and imagine yourself squinting through the glare of high-wattage celebrity, struggling to breathe in air perfumed with pampered showbiz egos. But fresh from hosting Japan’s most popular afternoon talk-show, Monta Mino arrives in a reception lounge at the ...

Japan's 'Mr. Television'

| Jan 4, 2009

Japan's 'Mr. Television'

Picture the world’s busiest television presenter, and imagine yourself squinting through the glare of high-wattage celebrity, struggling to breathe in air perfumed with pampered showbiz egos. But fresh from hosting Japan’s most popular afternoon talk-show, Monta Mino arrives in a reception lounge at the ...

Singing the bluefin tuna blues

Dec 19, 2008

Singing the bluefin tuna blues

IKI, Nagasaki Pref. — On a gloomy day pregnant with rain and the weight of past expectations, Minoru Nakamura is welcomed back to port like a conquering hero. Three family generations, including Nakamura’s father, Toshiaki, and newborn child, Misaki, wait ashore, smiles wide as ...

'Tokyo Two' fight to clear names

| Dec 9, 2008

'Tokyo Two' fight to clear names

Six months ago Junichi Sato and Toru Suzuki were ordinary men looking after young families. But in June they were arrested by a large group of uniformed police, taken to a detention center in Aomori Prefecture, northern Japan, and held for 26 days. They ...

Oct 11, 2008

1,500 fed-up Kyushu citizens sue to evict yakuza HQ

KURUME, Fukuoka Pref. — The yakuza’s reputation for unpredictability and violence keeps journalists away, but a deadly turf war between two rival gangs in Kyushu has made the mob reluctant media fodder. The two-year war has resulted in seven deaths and more than 20 ...

Keeper of the tales of a nuclear hell

| Aug 17, 2008

Keeper of the tales of a nuclear hell

Has George W. Bush ever heard of Akihito Ito? Dismayed at Pentagon plans to develop a new generation of “tactical” nuclear weapons — so-called mini-nukes — Ito sent Bush a gift: a box of CDs carrying the recorded voices of 284 atomic-bomb survivors from ...