Nov 16, 2010

Japan's narrowing lead

For quite some time now the mass media has been reporting pessimistic views of Japan’s future. March 1991 marked the end of an economic bubble and the start of economic stagnation. From then until 2009, Japan’s economy grew by an average 0.8 percent per ...

Oct 18, 2010

Japan's stingy approach to schools has not paid off

According to the World University Rankings 2010-2011, published by the Times Higher Education on Sept. 16, the number of Japanese universities ranking among the world’s top 200 dwindled to five from 11 the previous year. As a result, Japan relinquished its top position in ...

Sep 14, 2010

Higher education is worse since policy switch in 1991

For the past two decades, the education ministry has worked hard to reform Japan’s university system. In fiscal 1991, the ministry adopted the policy of giving priority to postgraduate programs, leading a number of national universities to change gakubu — traditional undergraduate-level entities such ...

Aug 16, 2010

Anti-global warming push also best for the economy

Until just recently the view prevailed that there was a tradeoff relationship between achieving respectable economic growth and reducing the emission of greenhouse gases, most of which consist of carbon dioxide. This led to a wide debate on how to achieve both goals. A ...

Jul 19, 2010

Getting on the same page for 'third way' to recovery

“The third way” to economic recovery, as advocated by Prime Minister Naoto Kan, appears to have been misinterpreted by a columnist who wrote for the July 3 issue of Nihon Keizai Shimbun, a leading Japanese economic journal. In the article titled “What is the ...

Jun 9, 2010

Universities' risky business

Effective April 1 — the start of the new academic year — I became president of Shiga University, a “national university corporation” near Lake Biwa in Japan’s Kansai region. It is a relatively small institute consisting only of the Faculty of Education and the ...

May 10, 2010

Let 'elderly' get new start as firms force retirement

Japan’s population is forecast to dwindle to less than 90 million by 2055 and the percentage of elderly (people at least 65 years old) will rise to 40.5 percent, according to median forecasts by the National Institute of Population and Social Security Research. The ...

Apr 13, 2010

Could environmentalism really be communism in disguise?

KYOTO — Vaclav Klaus, president of the Czech Republic, has published a book bitterly critical of environmentalists that has been translated into several languages. The original title of the book in Czech is “Modra, Nikoli Zelena Planeta,” which literally translates as “blue planet, not ...

Mar 8, 2010

New device apt to kindle greater interest in reading

The first thing that catches your eye when you open the yousho (imported books) section of Amazon Japan’s home page is an advertisement for the Kindle DX Wireless Reading Device. The Kindle DX ad, which first appeared last summer, claims that a reader can ...

Feb 9, 2010

Japan's economy will grow on eco-consumption, immigration

Between fiscal 1991 — when the economic bubble burst — and fiscal 2008, Japan’s gross domestic product all but stopped growing, rising a mere 1 percent per year on average. Negative growth was avoided simply because of deflation, as the nominal growth rate averaged ...