Jun 5, 2010

Likeable, shows promise, but Tarutoko who?

When he emerged Thursday to run against Naoto Kan for the Democratic Party of Japan presidency and hence the prime ministership, many probably asked who is Shinji Tarutoko? Although Tarutoko, 50, was not well-known and hasn’t held a Cabinet post or an executive position ...

| Jun 2, 2010

Holdout singles stalling birthrate

Japan’s low birthrate has accelerated the graying population. According to the Internal Affairs and Communications Ministry, the past 29 years have seen a continuous decline in the number of people under age 15. There were just 17 million of them as of April, down ...

Fukushima has fought for women, foreigners

Sep 17, 2009

Fukushima has fought for women, foreigners

Mizuho Fukushima, leader of the Social Democratic Party, has long been active in dealing with humanitarian and women’s issues, ranging from sexual harassment to domestic violence to foreigners’ rights. Born in Miyazaki Prefecture in 1955, she graduated from the University of Tokyo’s law department, ...

Traumas of Showa Era have shaped a man's life

Aug 18, 2009

Traumas of Showa Era have shaped a man's life

A man’s life alone cannot represent the Showa Era in its entirety, but Susumu Iida’s serves to underscore many of its harsh legacies. Iida, 86, lived through the hell of the Pacific War, saw his fellow soldiers starve in New Guinea and spent almost ...

Lean, mean business machines

| Jul 8, 2009

Lean, mean business machines

In the 1990s, few Japanese associated the term “coaching” with instructing and directing people toward achieving their goals in business. But the concept has quickly gained ground in the past decade, becoming a tool for human resources development in many companies. Yoshiyuki Suzuki, president ...

The all-powerful voice of corporate Japan

| Jun 16, 2009

The all-powerful voice of corporate Japan

Since its founding, the Japan Business Federation (Nippon Keidanren) has been the nation’s most powerful business lobby and its head is often called “the prime minister of the business world.” For most of the postwar period, the organization has represented the voice of big ...

Opening the door to foreigners

Apr 30, 2009

Opening the door to foreigners

Massive layoffs from the current economic crisis are falling heavily on foreign workers, many of whom are opting to leave the country to seek work back home. But for those who stay, there remain the difficulties of adapting to Japanese society, limited educational opportunities ...

Long-shot meeting, longtime love

| Feb 7, 2009

Long-shot meeting, longtime love

After training under a dyer for six months in Takamatsu, Kagawa Prefecture, art student Satoko Yamagishi decided she needed a break. In October 1998 she went to Montreal, where she met Philippe Lavoie, a Canadian computer chip designer studying Japanese. One day in March ...

NPO chief helping out other charities

Dec 20, 2008

NPO chief helping out other charities

Daigo Sato, the man who founded the NPO that set up Japan’s first political internship program, Dot-JP, 10 years ago, has embarked on a new mission this year to help the nonprofit organizations themselves. In May, Sato established Charity Platform, the first NPO in ...

Obama offers new Asia tack: Vogel

Nov 25, 2008

Obama offers new Asia tack: Vogel

Japan will continue to be a friend of the United States, but incoming President Barack Obama may try to approach China more to solve international issues because Beijing can more quickly effect policy, according to a noted American expert on Japan and China. “It’ll ...