Can Japan level its problem with vacant buildings?

| Sep 5, 2014

Can Japan level its problem with vacant buildings?

On July 29, the Ministry of Internal Affairs and Communications released the results of its latest survey on Japanese housing, which it completed last fall and conducts every five years. The statistic that caught the media’s attention was the one for akiya, or vacant ...

Asahi rivals pile on over sex slaves retraction

| Aug 30, 2014

Asahi rivals pile on over sex slaves retraction

It has been almost a month since the Asahi Shimbun printed a long, two-part retraction of its reporting in the 1980s and ’90s on the “forced mobilization” of so-called comfort women during World War II based on the published confessions of a man named ...

Criminal notoriety for the sake of fame

| Aug 23, 2014

Criminal notoriety for the sake of fame

Hirofumi Watanabe, the man convicted Thursday of threatening publishers, stores, universities and basically anyone or anything that had something to do with the popular manga “Kuroko no Basuke (Kuroko’s Basketball),” has enjoyed a peculiar sort of celebrity since he was arrested in December. Prior ...

Home is where the hard work is

| Aug 16, 2014

Home is where the hard work is

Earlier this year, house builder Asahi Kasei Homes produced a video “white paper” based on a survey of 1,371 “double-income families” with children. Seventy percent of the husbands surveyed said they had been subjected to kaji-hara, or “housework harassment,” by their wives. AKH defined ...

Critics get frank when it comes to Godzilla

| Aug 9, 2014

Critics get frank when it comes to Godzilla

Because Japanese media are incestuous in their inter-corporate dealings, those writers referred to as hyōronka (critics) tend to be less critical about popular culture than their counterparts in North America and Europe. They are more likely to engage in punditry or public relations, because ...

Is the next stop 'brokesville' for the maglev?

| Aug 2, 2014

Is the next stop 'brokesville' for the maglev?

Robert Moses, the civil servant who built the great park-expressway-bridge network in New York state during the middle of the last century, succeeded by gaming the system. Understanding how politics would make it difficult for him to fulfill his vision, he often started a ...

Ticking the right tax boxes

| Aug 1, 2014

Ticking the right tax boxes

In most places in the world, property taxes, which are levied on buildings and land, are administered and collected by local governments for the benefit of local governments. This is also true in Japan, but it's useful to keep in mind that property tax ...

Art vs. morals debate plays out in the press

| Jul 26, 2014

Art vs. morals debate plays out in the press

In her semiautobiographical feature film “Who’s Afraid of Vagina Wolf?,” Anna Margarita Albelo plays a struggling film director who makes ends meet by screening her movies in art galleries where she shows up dressed as a vagina. Though the story is mainly about relationships, ...

Health care system needs a new diagnosis

| Jul 12, 2014

Health care system needs a new diagnosis

In March 2007, the city of Yubari in Hokkaido became the first Japanese municipality to declare bankruptcy, letting loose a flood of media coverage characterized by expressions of sympathy for residents. Yubari’s debt had reached ¥63 billion, the result, according to national press reports, ...