Literary awards run spectrum

| Feb 14, 2012

Literary awards run spectrum

When writer Shinya Tanaka won the prestigious Akutagawa Prize last month, he said, “I deserve this,” paraphrasing U.S. actress Shirley MacLaine at the Academy Awards ceremony in 1984. His cynicism about selection committee members and Tokyo Gov. Shintaro Ishihara also drew attention from the ...

Will shrinking the Diet solve anything?

Feb 10, 2012

Will shrinking the Diet solve anything?

A company saddled with a hefty debt load might try to get back on a healthy track by laying off employees or reducing pay. The same holds true for a nation trying to tackle a dire fiscal situation. Japan, bedeviled by snowballing social security ...

Opposition digs in against Noda

Jan 27, 2012

Opposition digs in against Noda

Opposition lawmakers grilled Prime Minister Yoshihiko Noda on Thursday over planned social security and tax reforms and his “inability” to keep his party’s campaign pledges, and pressed again for him to call a Lower House election. Just two days into the current 150-day ordinary ...

Noda team faces rocky Diet session

Jan 25, 2012

Noda team faces rocky Diet session

Prime Minister Yoshihiko Noda says his partially reshuffled Cabinet is the best lineup ever, but it will need to be to face the turbulence expected in the Diet session that started Tuesday. Noda’s most challenging task will be the push by his Democratic Party ...

LDP chief pursues snap election at party rally

Jan 23, 2012

LDP chief pursues snap election at party rally

Liberal Democratic Party President Sadakazu Tanigaki pledged Sunday to force the ruling Democratic Party of Japan to dissolve the Lower House as early as possible so a snap election can be held to return the conservative party to power. “It’ll be a final political ...

Jan 17, 2012

Noda to DPJ: Focus Diet on reforms

Prime Minister Yoshihiko Noda called for support from his Democratic Party of Japan colleagues Monday to back his planned reform of the social security and tax systems and urged unity to weather what looks to be a stormy Diet session starting in a week. ...

Jan 14, 2012

Picks mirror more pragmatic tack, bid to exert leadership

With a minor but crucial reshuffle Friday, Prime Minister Yoshihiko Noda prepared to tackle his most important and difficult task — raising taxes. Noda has high hopes for Katsuya Okada as deputy prime minister, because he is expected to have what it takes to ...

New year could prove daunting for Noda

Jan 3, 2012

New year could prove daunting for Noda

In the four months since winning the Democratic Party of Japan presidential election, Prime Minister Yoshihiko Noda has survived by taking a cautious approach to governing, managing to compile the 2012 budget and several bills to finance restoration of the disaster-hit Tohoku region. But ...

Fukushima rice in cesium limbo

| Dec 13, 2011

Fukushima rice in cesium limbo

Autumn is high season for freshly harvested “shinmai,” the new rice marketed as a seasonal favorite in Fukushima Prefecture. But the farmers there fear their fare will go unsold because harvests around three cities have turned up excessive levels of radioactive cesium, prompting shipment ...