Serious island negotiations long overdue

| Aug 19, 2012

Serious island negotiations long overdue

As the adage goes, possession is nine-tenths of the law, though to my knowledge there is no law anywhere that codifies such an equation. The point is, if you actually hold something then it’s going to be that much harder for someone else to ...

The size of your dog could depend on your landlord

| Aug 7, 2012

The size of your dog could depend on your landlord

A 53-year-old woman was recently arrested after she moved out of a 50-sq.-meter rental apartment in Funabashi, Chiba Prefecture, leaving behind 26 dogs. She hadn’t paid her rent for some time and went missing in early June. By the time someone entered her apartment ...

| Aug 5, 2012

Strong work ethic is no path to better standard of living

Last week I spoke to a non-Japanese economics researcher employed by a Japanese university. He said he was working on a study that compared Spain’s current fiscal crisis to Japan’s economic situation as a means of determining if the former would suffer the same ...

When being first class only gets you  a seat in economy

| Jul 29, 2012

When being first class only gets you a seat in economy

Thanks to international media coverage, everybody in the world is now convinced that the Japan Olympic Committee is sexist. When two of Japan’s national soccer teams recently flew to Europe prior to participating in the Olympics, the women’s squad was placed in the premium ...

Strength in numbers for protesters, but just how many are there?

| Jul 22, 2012

Strength in numbers for protesters, but just how many are there?

Ever since last summer, when antinuclear demonstrations materialized in response to the Fukushima nuclear reactor meltdown, there’s been an ongoing argument about just how many people show up for these protests. Conventional wisdom says the organizers exaggerate the numbers while the major media underestimate ...

What nobody is saying about Noda's new consumption tax bill

| Jul 8, 2012

What nobody is saying about Noda's new consumption tax bill

Two weeks ago, the Lower House passed a law to increase the consumption tax to 10 percent by 2015, something Prime Minister Yoshihiko Noda has been pushing with blinkered, self-sacrificial dedication. Eventual final passage seems inevitable at this point, and so the only aspect ...

Dip into the history of the Japanese 'system bath'

| Jul 3, 2012

Dip into the history of the Japanese 'system bath'

Japanese people love their evening bath, but tubs in private residences are a relatively recent development. By 1963, only 60 percent of Japanese homes had them. The small amount of living space necessitated by economic reality, not to mention the paucity of indoor plumbing, ...