| Dec 22, 2013

Kyoto aims to be Muslim-friendly city

Kyoto, a city known worldwide as a major center for Buddhism and as the home of some of the country’s most famous Shinto shrines, is stepping up efforts to better welcome one particular group of foreign visitors: Muslims. With the number of Muslim tourists ...

Ishin loses control of Osaka Prefectural Assembly

Dec 17, 2013

Ishin loses control of Osaka Prefectural Assembly

Osaka Ishin no Kai (One Osaka), a local political group that is part of Nippon Ishin no Kai (Japan Restoration Party), has lost its majority in the Osaka Prefectural Assembly after four members were expelled Monday for voting against the group’s proposal to privatize ...

| Dec 14, 2013

State secrets bill shows Abe's tin ear for local politics

Former U.S. Speaker of the House Thomas “Tip” O’Neill, one of America’s most influential politicians of the late 20th century, had some sage advice for those who thought about national or international politics. “All politics,” O’Neill warned, “is local.” It’s a lesson Tokyo’s political ...

Nakaima maintains government aid not tied to Futenma relocation

Dec 9, 2013

Nakaima maintains government aid not tied to Futenma relocation

Relocating the Futenma military base was not on the agenda in talks on central government budget assistance for Okinawa, its governor and Tokyo’s top official for the prefecture insisted Sunday. By law, Okinawa receives money every year from the central government for various public ...

Dec 6, 2013

Pro-base candidates stay in Nago race

Okinawa Gov. Hirokazu Nakaima continues to call for U.S. Marine Corps Air Station Futenma, in central Okinawa, to be relocated outside the prefecture despite growing pressure to OK a project to fill in coastal areas in the Henoko district of Nago to accommodate the ...

Aussie LNG an energy lifeline — for now

Nov 29, 2013

Aussie LNG an energy lifeline — for now

With its nuclear power plants mostly idled since the March 2011 Great East Japan Earthquake, Japan continues its quest to increase imports of liquefied natural gas, especially from Australia. By volume, Australia was Japan’s largest LNG supplier in fiscal 2012, exporting 17.06 million tons, ...

Nov 28, 2013

Flip-flop: LDP Okinawa branch backs Nago base

Reversing a campaign pledge, the Okinawa chapter of the Liberal Democratic Party now supports replacing the Futenma base in Ginowan with a new airstrip in Nago, bowing to intensifying pressure from Tokyo, Okinawa-based LDP members and local businesses seeking to profit from constructing the ...

Bullet trains on a pro-nuclear curve

| Nov 24, 2013

Bullet trains on a pro-nuclear curve

In the debate over the future of nuclear power, which provided about a third of Japan’s electricity needs before the Fukushima disaster began in 2011, commentators for and against resuming its use have argued their case. Experts on both sides often rely on arguments ...