Sticky bonds of the media and government

/ | Jun 24, 2017

Sticky bonds of the media and government

Last month, the United Nations Human Rights Council released a report critical of the Japanese government. The author, David Kaye, expressed concern over the way the media is pressured by the authorities to support their policies. The government objected to the report, saying it ...

Does Japan really need more veterinarians?

/ | Jun 17, 2017

Does Japan really need more veterinarians?

The ongoing scandal involving the private educational corporation Kake Gakuen hinges on whether or not Prime Minister Shinzo Abe indirectly pushed the Cabinet to approve a new veterinary department for Okayama University of Science, a school run by Kake, whose chairman, Kotaro Kake, is ...

The Imperial family and public vs. LDP

/ | Jun 10, 2017

The Imperial family and public vs. LDP

NHK has become the go-to media outlet for scoops on the Imperial family. In July, the public broadcaster was the first to break the news that the Emperor wanted to step down and, last month, it was the first to report Princess Mako’s intention ...

Parking the car can drive you crazy

| Jun 4, 2017

Parking the car can drive you crazy

In the 1990s when we rented an old house in Saitama Prefecture, we needed a parking space since we had a car at the time. There was none on the property and so we talked the landlord into tearing down a decrepit prefabricated storage ...

The arrested development of female prisons

/ | Jun 3, 2017

The arrested development of female prisons

Though the prison population in Japan is remarkably small compared to other countries, there have been increases in recent years among certain demographics. The media is particularly sensitive to elderly inmates. Less remarked upon are female prisoners. A Ministry of Justice study released last ...

Discrimination in day care is a vexed issue

/ | May 27, 2017

Discrimination in day care is a vexed issue

Last January, the mayor of Chiba, Toshihito Kumagai, raised eyebrows when he called for increasing the number of male staff in the city’s public day care program. Tending to children is still considered a woman’s job in Japan, which is why pay remains criminally ...

Will there be a price to free education?

/ | May 20, 2017

Will there be a price to free education?

During a Lower House budget committee debate on May 8, Akira Nagatsuma of the main opposition Democratic Party (DP) asked Prime Minister Shinzo Abe to clarify remarks he had recently made about revising the Constitution. On May 3, which happened to be Constitution Day, ...

Japan's fisheries still swimming upstream

/ | May 13, 2017

Japan's fisheries still swimming upstream

In March, the internet news site Videonews.com posted a conversation between environmental journalist Tetsuji Ida and Waseda University researcher Yasuhiro Sanada, who writes about fisheries. During the talk, Sanada said that whaling is a “dead industry,” and seemed to think that the ongoing controversy ...

Japan waking up to the problems of sleeping cash

| May 12, 2017

Japan waking up to the problems of sleeping cash

In recent weeks there have been two well-reported robberies of people carrying large amounts of cash on the street. Thieves got away with ¥384 million after attacking a merchant in a Fukuoka parking lot. In Tokyo’s Ginza district, a mugger managed to take ¥40 ...