Masako Tsubuku

For Masako Tsubuku's latest contributions to The Japan Times, see below:

Will we ever see no obstacles in our way?

| Mar 4, 2017

Will we ever see no obstacles in our way?

Infrastructure in Japan is up to world standards in most areas, and in terms of public transportation it often surpasses those standards — but there’s one field it falls way behind: utility poles and overhead cables that carry electrical power and telecommunications.In London, Paris ...

Popularity of card loans add to financial woes

| Feb 25, 2017

Popularity of card loans add to financial woes

Supreme Court records show that there were 64,637 filings for personal bankruptcy in 2016, an increase of 781 cases over 2015, thus marking the first increase in 13 years.The number of personal bankruptcies peaked in 2003 at almost 250,000 nationwide. The reason for the ...

Resorting to adoption to avoid inheritance tax

| Feb 11, 2017

Resorting to adoption to avoid inheritance tax

Revisions to the inheritance tax went into effect in 2015, and related statistics for that year were recently made public by the National Tax Agency.The main change had to do with the basic deduction. Before 2015 the deduction equaled ¥50 million plus ¥10 million ...

New housing options get smaller in the city

| Feb 4, 2017

New housing options get smaller in the city

Last month this column discussed how lack of city planning in the suburbs had led to an over-supply of new housing that exacerbated the well-publicized vacant-home problem. It should be noted, however, that populations in suburbs throughout Japan are declining — some slowly, others ...

Getting too cozy to the next-door neighbors

| Dec 31, 2016

Getting too cozy to the next-door neighbors

In its Dec. 20 issue, Asahi Shimbun reported on a couple in their 60s living in Saitama City. Two years ago their neighbor installed an Eco Cute system that uses heat pump technology to heat water more efficiently and, thus, reduce electricity costs. But ...

Industry divided on government's casino gamble

| Dec 24, 2016

Industry divided on government's casino gamble

In its zeal to ramrod some bills into law before the New Years holiday, the ruling Liberal Democratic Party finally legalized casino gambling, a matter that has been in legislative limbo for a number of years. However, the problems that always prevented the bills ...