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:

Smoke signals: Can Tokyo ever go smoke-free?

Jan 24, 2015

Smoke signals: Can Tokyo ever go smoke-free?

Japan has long held a reputation of being something of a paradise for smokers. Tobacco is, at least by Western standards, relatively cheap and people can still light up in many of the country’s restaurants and bars. In fact, before the turn of the ...

Home away from home: the plight of refugees in Japan

Jan 17, 2015

Home away from home: the plight of refugees in Japan

On a cold winter’s day in December, an African man sits in a meeting room at the Japan Association for Refugees, a nonprofit organization in Tokyo. The man, whose name and country of origin have been withheld to protect his identity from those who ...

Learning to love robots

Dec 27, 2014

Learning to love robots

With half the decade complete, we examine an industry that has significantly changed the way we think about ourselves.

Tokyo Station at 100: all change

Dec 13, 2014

Tokyo Station at 100: all change

More than 500,000 people on average use Tokyo Station every day. Handling express trains to Narita International Airport, bullet trains to destinations around Honshu and myriad regional commuter lines, it is one of the busiest stations in the country based on the number of ...

Bilingirl has plenty to teach you

Dec 5, 2014

Bilingirl has plenty to teach you

Chika Yoshida, aka Bilingirl, wears many hats. She teaches English, sings, dances and makes costumes. She could be dressed up as Malificent with horns sticking out of her head, have her face painted white and talk in a squeaky voice like comedian duo Nippon ...

Seizing the initiative for women at work

Nov 22, 2014

Seizing the initiative for women at work

Faced with a domestic economy that is sputtering, Prime Minister Shinzo Abe has in recent months attempted to promote a sector that has long been underutilized in Japan — women. Speaking before the U.N. General Assembly in New York last year, Abe pledged “to ...