Hashimoto's relevancy beginning to fade

| Oct 27, 2013

Hashimoto's relevancy beginning to fade

When the candidate backed by Osaka Mayor and Nippon Ishin no Kai (Japan Restoration Party) co-leader Toru Hashimoto was defeated in September by Sakai Mayor Osami Takeyama, a staunch Hashimoto foe, it marked what is widely seen as the beginning of the end of ...

The method behind the brashness

Oct 27, 2013

The method behind the brashness

Osaka While his inflammatory comments have made headlines and his combative, argumentative style has shocked and enraged those who take comfort in the traditional politician’s art of discreet ambiguity, there is method behind Osaka Mayor Toru Hashimoto’s perceived rhetorical madness. Since coming to power ...

Mercury still threat, Abe assurances or not

| Oct 21, 2013

Mercury still threat, Abe assurances or not

Earlier this month, delegates from over 130 nations gathered in Kumamoto to launch the Minamata Convention on Mercury. The U.N.-brokered treaty aims to limit mercury use and emissions. It comes at a time when the U.N. Environmental Program warns half of all global anthropogenic ...

| Oct 19, 2013

Will Olympic glory carry beyond Tokyo?

If Tokyo’s reaction to winning the 2020 Olympics, especially among the cash-strapped TV stations and other media types who rely on bread and circuses-type events to pay the bills, made you feel like Alice in Wonderland or a character in a Samuel Beckett play, ...

Nakaima defies Nago base plan advocates

Oct 9, 2013

Nakaima defies Nago base plan advocates

Okinawa Gov. Hirokazu Nakaima resisted pressure Tuesday by Foreign Minister Fumio Kishida and Defense Minister Itsunori Onodera to allow the Futenma base relocation to move forward. But Nakaima, who must decide whether to approve a central government application to begin the necessary landfill work ...

Minamata mercury treaty finds skeptics

Oct 7, 2013

Minamata mercury treaty finds skeptics

Delegates from about 130 countries will gather Wednesday in the Kumamoto Prefecture cities of Minamata and Kumamoto for a three-day meeting to finalize a new international treaty seeking to ban or greatly limit the use of mercury. But critics say the treaty contains too ...

Defense, diplomacy chiefs sidestep SOFA

Oct 4, 2013

Defense, diplomacy chiefs sidestep SOFA

Thursday’s agreement between the United States and Japan to revise defense cooperation guidelines touched on a number of core issues, such as transferring U.S. Marines to Guam, building a contentious replacement in Okinawa for the Futenma base, and cooperating on ballistic missile defense and ...

Nippon Ishin's future seen riding on Sakai mayor race

Sep 27, 2013

Nippon Ishin's future seen riding on Sakai mayor race

Sunday’s mayoral contest in Sakai, one of Japan’s most independent-minded cities, is expected to decide not only the fate of a plan to merge Osaka prefectural cities into a single administrative entity, but also the fate of national-level efforts to create a new opposition ...

TPP, Hague treaty, Senkakus to top agenda for Kennedy

Sep 24, 2013

TPP, Hague treaty, Senkakus to top agenda for Kennedy

At her Senate hearing last week, Caroline Kennedy, tipped to be the next U.S. ambassador to Japan, faced numerous questions about the Trans-Pacific Partnership pact, tensions over the Senkaku Islands, and what she would do about nearly 400 cases of American children allegedly abducted ...