Obama has unfinished business in Hiroshima

| Apr 16, 2016

Obama has unfinished business in Hiroshima

Barack Obama will attend the G-7 Ise-Shima summit of leading industrial nations in Mie Prefecture next month, sparking speculation that the U.S. President might venture to Hiroshima to pay respects at the Peace Memorial Park. Obama is the 2009 Nobel Peace Prize laureate because ...

Japan's inescapable 'comfort women' problem

| Apr 2, 2016

Japan's inescapable 'comfort women' problem

Tokyo and Seoul may believe they have resolved the “comfort women” problem after signing a joint agreement in December, but it’s wishful thinking and confronts mounting evidence that this diplomatic deceit is already unraveling and falls short of the grand gesture needed to restore ...

Tepco executives get a taste of citizens' wrath

| Mar 26, 2016

Tepco executives get a taste of citizens' wrath

Three Tokyo Electric Power Co. executives are now facing criminal prosecution for negligence in failing to anticipate a monster tsunami that cut off electricity and inundated back-up emergency generators, causing a cessation of cooling in the Fukushima No. 1 nuclear plant reactors that precipitated ...

| Mar 19, 2016

The pretext of counterterrorism covers many sins

The Japanese government’s track record on respecting civil liberties and the rule of law is suspect, as I detailed in last week’s Counterpoint. In 2002, the former Defense Agency, which is now a full-fledged ministry, spied on people who filed information disclosure requests, while ...

Counterterrorism and liberties on collision course

| Mar 12, 2016

Counterterrorism and liberties on collision course

The continuing standoff between Apple and the FBI over data stored on an iPhone that belonged to the alleged perpetrators of the San Bernadino terrorist attacks highlights the frictions between protecting civil liberties and maintaining security. The USA Patriot Act has drawn widespread condemnation ...

Japan's counterterrorism efforts falling short

| Mar 5, 2016

Japan's counterterrorism efforts falling short

The Foreign Ministry invited ridicule toward the end of 2015 after it advertised job openings for part-time counterterrorism analysts. While the expansion of the exploited precariat of non-regular workers to nearly 40 percent of the workforce is lamentable in itself, who would have thought ...

Does Tohoku's disaster tourism exploit or educate?

| Feb 27, 2016

Does Tohoku's disaster tourism exploit or educate?

Disaster tourism can be an unsettling descent into voyeurism as visitors ghoulishly gawk at, and photograph, those caught up in catastrophe as if they’re at a petting zoo. The concept has prompted widespread condemnation of insensitive tourists and travel companies exploiting disasters as marketing ...

Onagawa is on the rebound from devastation

| Feb 13, 2016

Onagawa is on the rebound from devastation

On March 11, 2011, the magnitude-9 Great East Japan Earthquake propelled a powerful tsunami through the port of Onagawa, Miyagi Prefecture, claiming 827 lives — nearly 10 percent of the town’s population — and destroying 70 percent of all of its buildings. It was ...