Local media are too vague on Fukushima radiation risk

| Nov 11, 2012

Local media are too vague on Fukushima radiation risk

Earlier this year, NHK rebroadcast a documentary it made in the late 1980s about the 1986 Chernobyl nuclear reactor accident. It showed how the Soviet Union and European countries tested people for effects of radiation throughout the region. Appended to the doc was a ...

<em>Danchi</em> housing lets you think outside the usual box

| Nov 6, 2012

Danchi housing lets you think outside the usual box

Japanese housing experts have a list of casual terms to describe the layouts of apartments and condominiums: kamaboko (fish paste), yokan-giri (sliced bean jelly), ta no ji (rice paddy ideograph) and chocolate bars. What these terms have in common is geometrical utility. All are ...

Ishihara resignation a gift for the media

| Nov 4, 2012

Ishihara resignation a gift for the media

When Shintaro Ishihara announced on Oct. 25 that he was resigning as governor of Tokyo so that he could form a new political party before the next general election, some of the dailies printed gōgai (extra editions) to report it, thus indicating it was ...

Hashimoto needs a much thicker skin

| Oct 28, 2012

Hashimoto needs a much thicker skin

There is a breed of political reporter that thrives on misanthropy. These journalists have no use for empathy when trying to understand issues or individuals. They are only stimulated by acrimony, by the need to reveal the darkest impulses of human endeavor. H.L. Mencken, ...

<em>Enka</em> scandal keeps star in the news

| Oct 21, 2012

Enka scandal keeps star in the news

The conflict between Japan and South Korea over Takeshima/Dokdo has spilled over into the entertainment realm. Some Korean actors and K-pop stars have stated publicly that the group of islets belongs to Korea, causing Masayuki Matsumoto, the president of NHK, to express concern. Last ...

Korean film on school bullying rings true in Japan

| Oct 14, 2012

Korean film on school bullying rings true in Japan

Last month, the Organization for Economic Cooperation and Development released statistics for 2009 in which Japan ranked 31 out of 31 developed countries in terms of the portion of GDP spent by the public sector on education. It was the third straight year that ...

Animal Welfare Law left neutered

| Oct 7, 2012

Animal Welfare Law left neutered

The friction between competing political parties no longer fortifies the effectiveness of lawmaking. If anything it confounds the process. The opposition Liberal Democratic Party has openly vowed to be legislatively uncooperative until the ruling Democratic Party of Japan calls an election, so in order ...

Senkaku issue falls hard from the shelf

| Sep 30, 2012

Senkaku issue falls hard from the shelf

Tanaage, which means to put something on the shelf, is a term that pops up often in the coverage of the current imbroglio over the islands that Japan calls the Senkakus. There is disagreement over when China, which calls the islands Diaoyu, started insisting ...