Masami Ito

Masami Ito is a staff writer who has been covering national politics since 2006. She joined The Japan Times in 2001, and she also keeps an eye on issues related to the death penalty, asylum-seekers and international parental kidnapping.

For Masami Ito's latest contributions to The Japan Times, see below:

'No child ever deserves to be abused like this'

Sep 13, 2014

'No child ever deserves to be abused like this'

Images of Koyuki Higashi’s childhood came back to her in flashes. She was almost always in the bathroom; sometimes she caught a glimpse of the stool she used to sit on while taking a shower, other times she saw her father and her, bathing ...

Kodomo no Ie: home away from home

Sep 13, 2014

Kodomo no Ie: home away from home

The sound of giggling fills a room at Kodomo no Ie, a children’s institution in northern Tokyo, as a group of half a dozen girls work on their homework while waiting for dinner to be served. It’s the same situation that is typically played ...

Waking up to child abuse

Sep 13, 2014

Waking up to child abuse

With reported cases of child abuse topping 70,000 per annum for the first time in August, Masami Ito examines the nation's changing attitudes toward violence at home.

Dealing with addiction: Japan's drinking problem

Aug 30, 2014

Dealing with addiction: Japan's drinking problem

We admit we are powerless over alcohol and we need help to break the habit. We will participate in meetings and speak frankly about ourselves. We will reflect on our mistakes and accept the damage that alcohol has caused. We will strive to change ...

'I blacked out from drinking. ... I wasn't a good parent'

Aug 30, 2014

'I blacked out from drinking. ... I wasn't a good parent'

Yumiko Miyata started drinking when she was 15. She was an inherently shy girl and found that alcohol helped her make friends. When people discovered she could hold her liquor, she then became the center of attention. At first she thought it was harmless ...

Dealing with addiction: Japan's drug problem

Aug 23, 2014

Dealing with addiction: Japan's drug problem

Some kid shot up a dose again tonight Pushed back by his other self Even if you were to buy your dream You need self-control No one talks about hopes and dreams All that’s there is something better, something new, a better way The ...

Former drug addict relieved to be alive

Aug 23, 2014

Former drug addict relieved to be alive

You won’t find an air conditioner in any inmate wings at Fuchu Prison, no matter how hot it is outside. And on this sweltering, cloudless day in August, it is certainly hot. Two members from Drug Addiction Rehabilitation Center (DARC) are preparing to hold ...

Art from the margins of society

Aug 13, 2014

Art from the margins of society

A show of brilliant color combinations, unusual shapes and a creative use of materials, “Art as a Haven of Happiness” at the Tokyo Metropolitan Art Museum showcases the work of artists with Down syndrome and other disabilities. Free of any fixed ideas or concepts ...

Lighting the way for Obon

Aug 13, 2014

Lighting the way for Obon

Toro nagashi is a long-held Japanese tradition where candle-lit lanterns are released into rivers to guide the spirits of ancestors back to the other world during the Obon season. On Aug. 16, the Asakusa Toro Nagashi will see 2,500 lanterns set afloat on the ...