| 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, ...

| Jul 20, 2010

A decade of harassment by Tokyo police

Dear Minister of Justice Keiko Chiba, I’m a 45-year-old African-American expat living and working in Tokyo. I’ve been the victim of police harassment for over 10 years. I’m continuously being stopped while riding my bike for ID checks. I’m living in Tokyo in the ...

| Jun 8, 2010

Farewell haiku for Hatoyama

Dear Yukio Hatoyama, Leaving your office, your staff gave you a taxpayer-funded bouquet of flowers. Your pregnant term did not even last nine months. I’d like to give you something more personal from my heart, to show my love for my country of choice, ...

| May 11, 2010

University EFL hiring: garbage in, garbage out

Dear minister of education Tatsuo Kawabata, I wish to draw your attention to practices in university English departments in Japan that are by their very nature counterproductive and often harmful to the acquisition of English as a foreign language. I have been a university ...

| Apr 27, 2010

Hatoyama, credibility of Japan is at stake

Dear Prime Minister Hatoyama, “Some are born great, some achieve greatness and some have greatness thrust upon them.” These are some of the famous words of Shakespeare. I am not quite sure which category he would have put you in, but I personally think ...

| Apr 20, 2010

DVD should be seen by all in divorce process

Dear Prime Minister Hatoyama, Around 1 in 4 children in Japan is affected by divorce. When parents go through a divorce or separation, it is sometimes necessary for courts to step in and protect our most innocent, valuable resource: our children. It has come ...

| Apr 13, 2010

Opening up to foreign doctors positive move

Dear Administrative Reform Minister Yoshito Sengoku, In a country that dares to be a democracy, your courageous ideas are certain to attract controversy and debate. Please let me offer tentative support for your proposal to allow qualified international doctors to practice medicine without taking ...

| Mar 30, 2010

A little girl lost in Japan

Dear Prime Minister Yukio Hatoyama, I am a grandmother. When I walk through my family room I see all the smiling faces of my dear family members. One little girl smiles back at me from her many photos on the shelf above the fireplace. ...

| Mar 9, 2010

Belt up — protect our children

To the ministry of education, My son will begin kindergarten in April of this year and I am very much concerned for his safety. My wife and I have been inundated with demands about the things we must buy, and the things we need ...

| Dec 29, 2009

Reconciliatory value of a visit to Nanjing

Dear Prime Minister Yukio Hatoyama, You have repeatedly emphasized the need for the creation of an East Asian community. You wrote in the New York Times in August: “The East Asian region, which is showing increasing vitality, must be recognized as Japan’s basic sphere ...