U.S. to help with No. 1 shutdown

Nov 2, 2013

U.S. to help with No. 1 shutdown

Tokyo Electric Power Co. will work with the U.S. Department of Energy in decommissioning the Fukushima No. 1 nuclear plant and the relentless on-site accumulation of radioactive water, President Naomi Hirose said. Hirose said he agreed to accept the offer of help during talks ...

End to crisis is years, fortune away

Apr 11, 2011

End to crisis is years, fortune away

Once Japan’s leaky nuclear complex stops spewing radiation and its reactors cool down, making the site safe and removing the ruined equipment is going to be a messy ordeal that could take decades and cost hundreds of millions of dollars. Radiation has covered the ...

Prisons trying to cope with swelling elderly population

Dec 9, 2010

Prisons trying to cope with swelling elderly population

ONOMICHI, Hiroshima Pref. — Handrails run down the middle of the hallway to help prisoners make their way from one end to the other. Adult diapers are neatly stacked in a corner. When an inmate chokes on his rice and coughs, a supervisor rushes ...

Jul 15, 2010

Progressive agenda stuck in the mud

Happily for Yoko Sakamoto, she didn’t have to argue with her husband — also a Sakamoto — about whose last name they’d use when they married. Not that the 47-year-old civil rights activist would have had much of an option: The law allows only ...

Is Japan-bashing behind Toyota's U.S. woes?

Feb 9, 2010

Is Japan-bashing behind Toyota's U.S. woes?

Despite the criticism leveled against Toyota over car safety, Japanese still largely view the world’s largest automaker with pride — so much so that some wonder whether pressure on Toyota in the U.S. is a ploy to boost American automakers and undermine Japan Inc. ...

Oct 10, 2009

Divorced fathers fight for right to see children

On Christmas Eve two years ago, Masahiro Yoshida returned to his home to find it empty. His wife had fled with their 2-year-old daughter and was seeking a divorce. Since then, he’s rarely seen his child because law grants custody to only one parent ...

First lady grabs spotlight with spiritual quirks

Sep 4, 2009

First lady grabs spotlight with spiritual quirks

The next prime minister is known for being bland in his speeches. His wife, however, is anything but. Miyuki Hatoyama, a former actress and wife of Yukio Hatoyama — who is expected to be sworn in as prime minister on Sept. 16 — promises ...

Futenma shift puts Hatoyama, U.S. ties to test

Sep 4, 2009

Futenma shift puts Hatoyama, U.S. ties to test

The next prime minister faces a possible showdown with Washington over a plan to relocate a U.S. air base in Okinawa and in the process move thousands of U.S. Marines from the prefecture to Guam, as he tries to remake his country’s relationship with ...

Aso's kanji conundrums spur self-reflection, textbook sales

Mar 7, 2009

Aso's kanji conundrums spur self-reflection, textbook sales

Reading Japanese isn’t easy — even for Japanese. Take Prime Minister Taro Aso. He’s made so many public blunders that an opposition lawmaker tried to give him a reading test during a televised session of the Diet. The leader bungled the word for “frequent,” ...

Company housing custom swells homeless ranks

Feb 18, 2009

Company housing custom swells homeless ranks

In corporate Japan, losing your job can mean losing your home as well. As major companies cut their workforces in the economic downturn, many workers are finding themselves out on the street because they have to move out of company-run dormitories. Sadanori Suzuki was ...