Documentary renews debate over renewable energy

/ | Apr 22, 2017

Documentary renews debate over renewable energy

Earlier this month, Kyodo News surveyed 44 companies that started selling electricity to consumers after the energy market was liberalized in April 2016. More than 60 percent of respondents objected to the government’s plan to make them share in costs associated with compensating victims ...

Television has forgotten its golden years

/ | Apr 15, 2017

Television has forgotten its golden years

Japanese commercial television companies have a problem. The bulk of their programming has always been aimed at relatively young people, because that’s what advertisers want. But young people no longer watch TV, or, at least, not in the numbers they used to. Having grown ...

Higher education keeps overreaching

/ | Apr 8, 2017

Higher education keeps overreaching

Since the mid-2000s, the number of Japanese people who turn 18 in a given year has remained constant at about 1.2 million. That will change with the high school graduating class of 2018, which will be smaller than the class of 2017. This eventuality, ...

Temporary disaster housing has an unforeseen permanence

| Apr 2, 2017

Temporary disaster housing has an unforeseen permanence

The 2011 Great East Japan Earthquake left 110,000 people in three prefectures without shelter. Most of these people moved into emergency evacuation centers while the authorities prepared temporary housing for them. About 53,000 prefabricated housing units, called kasetsu, were built in accordance with a ...

What, if anything, makes Japan unique?

/ | Apr 1, 2017

What, if anything, makes Japan unique?

In February, American comedian Atsugiri Jason remarked on a Fuji TV talk show that one of the “demerits” of being a foreign TV personality in Japan is that he can’t publicly say he thinks those aspects of Japanese culture which Japanese people believe are ...

How the word 'terrorism' can help pass a bill

/ | Mar 25, 2017

How the word 'terrorism' can help pass a bill

During the recent Diet grilling over his alleged involvement in the Moritomo Gakuen land purchase scandal, Prime Minister Shinzo Abe accused his opposition party tormentors of resorting to inshō sōsa. The most accurate English translation is probably “image manipulation,” which, in the age of ...

Asking the tough questions on Fukushima

/ | Mar 18, 2017

Asking the tough questions on Fukushima

In January, regional newspaper Fukushima Minpo interviewed Yosuke Takagi, state minister of economy, trade and industry. While talking about reconstruction plans for areas near the crippled Fukushima No. 1 nuclear power plant, Takagi mentioned resurrecting Dash-mura (Dash Village), a farm created from scratch by ...