BIFF 2014 plays down unavoidable controversies

Oct 17, 2014

BIFF 2014 plays down unavoidable controversies

The biggest event of the year for South Korea’s film industry is the opening night of the Busan International Film Festival (BIFF), which marked its 19th year Oct. 2 to 11. Whether or not they have films screening at the festival, almost all the ...

In-debt idols send wrong message to girls

| Oct 11, 2014

In-debt idols send wrong message to girls

Two weeks ago a female pop group called The Margarines debuted via a Tokyo news conference. Since Japanese show business has no shortage of young women who want to sing and dance in order to “fulfill their dreams,” the new ensemble needed a gimmick. ...

Tourists may not warm to Japan's welcome

| Oct 4, 2014

Tourists may not warm to Japan's welcome

A former colleague of mine always made it a point to tell people coming to Japan for a visit to bring lots of handkerchiefs because the public restrooms didn’t have towel dispensers. I always took a more positive view and emphasized that public restrooms ...

Abe's female Cabinet picks warrant a closer look

| Sep 20, 2014

Abe's female Cabinet picks warrant a closer look

In a Sept. 5 Twitter post, university instructor Akiko Orita pointed out that four of the five women appointed by Prime Minister Shinzo Abe to his new Cabinet do not use their legal names. Internal Affairs and Communications Minister Sanae Takaichi, state minister in ...

Social media aids rehashing of historical hate

| Sep 13, 2014

Social media aids rehashing of historical hate

After rain caused deadly mudslides in Hiroshima Prefecture last month, rumors spread over the Internet about burglaries of evacuated homes by “foreigners,” including Zainichi (ethnic Korean residents of Japan). Such rumors tend to accompany disasters, so Tokyo Shimbun talked directly to police in the ...

Push for casinos runs into headwinds

| Sep 6, 2014

Push for casinos runs into headwinds

Until a few months ago, it seemed a sure thing that casinos would be open in Tokyo by the time the Olympics rolled around in 2020. For years now, a group of lawmakers have been working to legalize gambling resorts in Japan, and Tokyo ...

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 ...