Natsuko Fukue

For Natsuko Fukue's latest contributions to The Japan Times, see below:

Budget finally passed

Apr 6, 2012

Budget finally passed

The fiscal 2012 budget, at more than ¥90 trillion the biggest in history, was finally enacted by the Diet on Thursday as an earlier vote in the Lower House took priority after the opposition-controlled Upper House shot it down earlier in the day. The ...

| Mar 31, 2012

Passage hinges on Ozawa, opposition

Despite the Cabinet’s approval Friday of a sales tax hike bill that sparked months of dissent and resistance from the ruling party’s ranks, Prime Minister Yoshihiko Noda may find that in the deadlocked Diet, the more things change, the more they stay the same. ...

Liquefaction driving away Chiba residents

Mar 30, 2012

Liquefaction driving away Chiba residents

Chiba’s population is declining for the first time in 66 years as residents in bedroom communities damaged by last March’s liquefaction decide to abandon the prefecture, fed up with authorities’ failure to repair their homes and fearful of radioactive fallout. Many of the prefecture’s ...

Tanaka ratchets up SDF missile shield standby

Mar 28, 2012

Tanaka ratchets up SDF missile shield standby

Defense Minister Naoki Tanaka on Tuesday ordered the Self-Defense Forces to prepare missile shield elements to intercept a rocket North Korea plans to launch next month. The preparation order will enable the SDF to begin examining locations to deploy ground-based Patriot Advanced Capability-3 missile ...

Mar 23, 2012

Foes to sales tax hike in DPJ impede bill

The administration and the Democratic Party of Japan failed again Thursday to form a consensus among party members on the contentious consumption tax hike, postponing until next week a planned Cabinet meeting to formalize the bill. The administration originally planned to formalize the unpopular ...

Ozawa portrait hung at Diet with other old-timers

Mar 13, 2012

Ozawa portrait hung at Diet with other old-timers

A portrait of former Democratic Party of Japan leader Ichiro Ozawa, who is on trial for allegedly breaking the political funds law, was displayed in the Diet on Monday. According to the Lower House, lawmakers who have been in office for over 25 years ...

Mar 6, 2012

DPJ leaders propose slashing lawmaker salaries by 14%

The ruling Democratic Party of Japan’s executive members decided Monday to slash legislators’ salaries by about 14 percent — nearly double the 7.8 percent pay cut for civil servants approved by the Diet last week. DPJ Secretary General Azuma Koshiishi proposed cutting ¥3 million ...

Mar 1, 2012

In rare case of bipartisanship, Diet cuts bureaucrats' pay

A bill to slash national civil servant salaries by an average of 7.8 percent for two years was enacted Wednesday after clearing the opposition-controlled Upper House. The bill will save about ¥580 billion in the two years from April 1. The savings will be ...