Sometimes it pays to look on the bright side

| Jun 4, 2013

Sometimes it pays to look on the bright side

The flyers were provocative: New houses priced at more than ¥35 million, but the builder promised that the mortgage would amount to ¥0 a month. A free house is obviously too good to be true, but we decided to check out the merchandise to ...

Media polls on constitutional change reveal bias

| Jun 2, 2013

Media polls on constitutional change reveal bias

In a democracy, the people’s will is conveyed through representative government. Prime Minister Shinzo Abe wants to rewrite the Constitution, but Article 96 requires the approval of at least two-thirds of the national assembly to do that, so in order to hasten the process ...

The dark side of Japanese fashion made in Bangladesh

| May 26, 2013

The dark side of Japanese fashion made in Bangladesh

While it's not clear if any Japanese firm had interests in factories operating in the building that collapsed in Dhaka last month, it is natural to infer that there are Japanese companies in Bangladesh taking advantage of lower wages and less stringent safety regulations.

Family drama is reimagined for today's Japan

| May 19, 2013

Family drama is reimagined for today's Japan

“Kazoku Game (The Family Game),” directed by the late Yoshimitsu Morita and released in 1983, remains a movie milestone. A cynical black comedy, it presented to the world a distillation of the less edifying social outcomes of Japan’s postwar economic miracle. The Numata family ...

On uneven ground: landfill property pitfalls

| May 14, 2013

On uneven ground: landfill property pitfalls

After the real estate agent unlocked the front door, the musty smell told us that the house had not been aired for some time. He laid out slippers for us and proceeded to raise the shutters and open the windows. Then, upon entering the ...

| May 5, 2013

Media weighs in on LDP's English education plan

The Liberal Democratic Party has a thing for archery. Prime Minister Shinzo Abe’s financial policies comprise “three arrows.” The symbolism is based on the old Japanese saying, “Three arrows are harder to break.” Since “Abenomics” has proven to be a PR success, at least ...

| Apr 28, 2013

Pressure grows for the nation's housewives

Prime Minister Shinzo Abe’s April 19 National Press Club speech about boosting women’s participation in the workforce has been covered extensively in the domestic and foreign media since it signals a sea change in the Liberal Democratic Party’s view of women’s role in society. ...

| Apr 14, 2013

Net TV expresses views the mainstream ignores

Last week’s column mentioned “Pack-in News,” a current-affairs talk show that used to stream on the Internet TV channel Kinkin.tv, which is the personal project of veteran actor-emcee Kinya Aikawa. It was a continuation of “Pack-in Journal,” a show hosted by Aikawa on the ...