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 ...

Discrimination claims die hard in Japan

Jan 25, 2009

Discrimination claims die hard in Japan

As the United States welcomes its first African-American president, Japan is still struggling with prejudices that are preventing it from breaking ancient taboos and installing a minority as its leader, some say. Nearly a decade ago, seasoned politician Hiromu Nonaka was on the verge ...

Japan scores first commercial satellite order

Jan 14, 2009

Japan scores first commercial satellite order

Mitsubishi Heavy Industries has won its first commercial order to launch a satellite on an H-IIA rocket, a deal that officials hope will grow into a business that could support Japan’s cash-strapped space program. The agreement with a South Korean entity to launch sometime ...

Jun 17, 2008

Akihabara attack threat lost in message deluge

To most of Japan, the deadly stabbings in Tokyo on June 8 were an incomprehensible act of sudden and indiscriminate violence. But to readers of an obscure Web site called Extreme Exchange, Revised, the attack in the popular Akihabara shopping district that left seven ...