G-7 venue preparation shouldn't deter Mie tourists

| May 14, 2016

G-7 venue preparation shouldn't deter Mie tourists

With world leaders gathering at the G-7 Ise-Shima summit on May 26 and 27, the international spotlight will briefly focus on picturesque Mie Prefecture and its considerable charms. For residents of the prefecture, however, this moment in the spotlight apparently won’t be brief enough; ...

Diabetes emerges as Japan's hidden scourge

| May 7, 2016

Diabetes emerges as Japan's hidden scourge

Reading a review of British writer Bee Wilson’s “First Bite: How We Learn to Eat” in the London Review of Books, I stumbled on an astonishing figure: 4 million people in the U.K. have diabetes. An unhealthy diet and increasingly sedentary lifestyle have taken ...

Japan's meek media kowtows to the government

| Apr 30, 2016

Japan's meek media kowtows to the government

Last week I compared the Catholic Church in Boston and Japan’s “nuclear village” of atomic-power advocates — two powerful institutions that stifled embarrassing revelations for some time. The Oscar-winning film “Spotlight” depicts the comeuppance of the church hierarchy after investigative reporters from The Boston ...

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 ...