| Apr 26, 2011

Create 'GI Bill' to empower quake, tsunami victims

Dear Minister of Education, Culture, Sports, Science and Technology Yoshiaki Takaki, You’ve been busy these past few weeks, I’m sure, working with Prime Minister Naoto Kan to deal with the earthquake, tsunami and nuclear reactor crises that have devastated the northern part of the ...

| Apr 19, 2011

Who pays for nuclear nightmare?

Dear Prime Minister Naoto Kan, At a time when the situation at Japan’s damaged nuclear power plants remains grave, the question of who is going to pay for the costs associated with this unprecedented tragedy may appear premature. Yet, in a recent news conference ...

| Mar 8, 2011

A worrying period for all ALTs

Dear Education Minister Yoshiaki Takaki: “How tall are you?” “How much do you weigh?” “Ooh, your eyes look like sunflowers.” I guess if I got ¥100 every time a Japanese junior high school student asked me one of those questions, I wouldn’t be writing ...

| 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 ...