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What is the most serious issue facing Japan?

by Thomasina Larkin

Katy Abud
Teacher, 44
Teachers in elementary schools and junior high schools don’t teach children life values. They only teach what’s outlined in the curriculum and don’t know how to answer children who ask “Why is something like this or that?”

Yoshihisa Nishimoto
Student, 23
A large percentage of the population is aging and it’s going to be a huge problem in the future. Younger people will have to pay extremely high taxes to pay other people’s pensions. The government has to rethink the system.

Anna-Leena Saarela
Translator, 28
I’ve only been here a few days, but all I’ve heard about is how sexy Koizumi’s hair is, and how controversial he is for visiting Yasukuni Shrine, and about the princess having a baby. Are these important topics? I don’t think so.

Chiharu Kataishi
Voiceover artist, 43
The most pressing issue is that Koizumi will retire soon. Who will take his place after that? I live abroad, so I can see the situation from a different perspective. The government also needs to consider how others see Japan.

Yuka Niwata
Office worker, 27
There aren’t enough children in Japan. And there are too many old people. The government should make healthcare free for mothers. I also think child-care and safety are issues, since criminals are targeting more kids these days.

Takashi Nakashima
Hair stylist, 23
It’s very expensive to have children in Japan. I think the government should lower taxes for parents, make insurance cheaper, pay more money in the form of allowances to parents with small children and bring down tuition costs.