Sex slaves struggle to keep plight in focus

May 16, 2008

Sex slaves struggle to keep plight in focus

SEOUL — They’re the dwindling survivors of a war crime who have fought 17 years for justice. Now amid a gathering revisionist movement in Japan, they live out their final days in the South Korean countryside with the worst fear of all: that the ...

Method in the madness?

| Apr 15, 2008

Method in the madness?

In November, Japan became only the second country in the world (after the United States) to introduce mandatory fingerprinting and photo-taking at all international entry points, as part of beefed-up “antiterrorism” measures by the Ministry of Justice. The move was greeted by howls of ...

Dancing with the devil over 'Yasukuni'

| Apr 8, 2008

Dancing with the devil over 'Yasukuni'

One of the great mysteries of life in Japan is the presence of the ultra-right. Loud, threatening and occasionally lethal, the shaven-headed patriots seem immune to police powers. “Why doesn’t someone do something about those guys,” is a fairly common response by the first-time ...

Jan 27, 2008

Citizens routinely denied legal rights

The contrasts between constitutional provisions for crime suspects in Japan and their actual treatment are stark, say critics of the system. “The Constitution provides strong protections, including the right to remain silent,” says Omiya Law School Professor Lawrence Repeta. “But in fact, some of ...

Justice Minister talks in death-penalty riddles

Jan 27, 2008

Justice Minister talks in death-penalty riddles

What does Japan’s justice minister, Kunio Hatoyama think of the looming introduction of citizens’ juries, also known as the lay-judge system — which is potentially the most revolutionary change set to affect Japan’s trial system since World War II? Not much, if comments made ...

'What is Hollywood anyway?'

Dec 13, 2007

'What is Hollywood anyway?'

Ken Watanabe’s latest film opens with an image of a polar bear resurfacing into the brilliant spring sunlight after months living underground. It’s tempting to see the scene as a metaphor for a career that has alternated between stretches of intense, highly acclaimed work ...

Look back in anger

Dec 6, 2007

Look back in anger

One way to learn what happened in one of history’s most noxious but disputed episodes is to ask Satoru Mizushima. After what he calls “exhaustive research” on the seizure of the then Chinese capital Nanjing by Japanese troops in 1937, estimated to have cost ...

Wild orangutans 'facing extinction within 15 years'

Oct 3, 2007

Wild orangutans 'facing extinction within 15 years'

PANGKALAN BUN, Borneo — Homeless, semiparalyzed and blind in one eye, Montana faces an uncertain future. Even if his human friends find somewhere for him to live, the 15-year-old has been weakened by years in assisted care. The lethal dangers of readjustment to life ...

Eight-year ordeal nears end for Kurdish family

| Jul 3, 2007

Eight-year ordeal nears end for Kurdish family

Visitors to the Tokyo Regional Immigration Bureau can’t miss a giant banner strung over the main hall of Shinagawa JR Station. Sponsored by the bureau, the sign implores those who pass under it to obey the rules as Japan globalizes. In the household of ...

| Jun 12, 2007

Media scream 'yellow peril'

Days after the broken body of British teacher Lindsay Hawker was discovered in a fourth-floor flat in Ichikawa, Chiba Prefecture, when the media feeding frenzy was at its most intense, a newspaper editor called me from London. “Are there any new developments in the ...