| Jan 25, 2011

So you want Japan to be a true Asian business hub?

Dear Economy, Trade and Industry Minister Banri Kaieda: Last month your ministry published “Current Policies to Make Japan Asia’s Center for Business.” In the PowerPoint presentation available on your website, you note that from 2007 to 2009 Japan slipped badly as an Asian business ...

| Jan 4, 2011

Hooked on U.S., Japan risks going down with it

Dear Foreign Minister Seiji Maehara: I begin this letter by asking if you saw the 1990 American film “Awakenings”? This film told the true story of a British doctor who, in 1969, administered an experimental drug to patients in a U.S. mental hospital, miraculously ...

| Dec 14, 2010

Color politics reign on campuses

Dear Minister of Education Yoshiaki Takaki: Over the past decade, some school boards have been reprimanded for only hiring “blond-haired, blue-eyed teachers.” A top-ranking executive of a now-defunct English conversation school chain also admitted in an interview that the company would routinely turn away ...

Plans for public space need the public's input

| Oct 26, 2010

Plans for public space need the public's input

Dear Prime Minister Naoto Kan, The heated debates over the construction of a massive aquarium in Kyoto’s Umekoji Park, the plans to level parts of Shimokitazawa in Tokyo for a questionable road project, and the infamous quasi-privatization of Shibuya’s Miyashita Park suggest that public ...

| Aug 31, 2010

Discipline in schools is not a bad thing

Dear minister of education Tatsuo Kawabata, I have been working as an assistant language teacher (ALT) in your public school system for five months now. Although it might be considered a bit premature to pen a word to you after such a short time, ...