| Jun 9, 2009

Silent spring in Tokyo

Dear Environment Minister Tetsuo Saito, In her groundbreaking work “Silent Spring,” American writer Rachel Carson lamented a lack of birds and wildlife in her neighborhood one year. That spring, she thought it strange that no birds were singing or animals chattering. Later, Carson discovered ...

| May 26, 2009

Pre-empting an EMP

Dear Prime Minister Taro Aso, I’m writing to urge you to initiate measures that would protect Japan in the event of an EMP attack. EMP is an acronym for electromagnetic pulse. This phenomenon was first discovered in 1962 when the U.S. detonated a nuclear ...

| May 19, 2009

Tackle gender gap in mathematics, reading

Dear ministry of education, On international assessments of educational achievement, Japan is one of the top performing countries in science and math. The two primary international assessments that examine the performance of students in science and math are the Trends in International Mathematics and ...

| May 12, 2009

Kusanagi romp makes waves as real crimes go unpunished

Dear Tokyo Metropolitan Police, Shoichi Nakagawa was Japan’s finance minister, possibly drunk on taxpayer money at a Group of Eight ministers’ meeting called to address the global financial crisis in Rome. Was that criminal negligence? Democratic Party of Japan leader Ichiro Ozawa was neither ...

| Apr 21, 2009

What U.S. schools can learn from Japan

Dear education ministry, In March, I had the opportunity to visit a Japanese school. Kadena Elementary School is located on Okinawa Island in the town of Kadena, and is not to be confused with the school of the same name operated by the U.S. ...

| Apr 14, 2009

English lessons on the cheap

Dear education minister Ryu Shionoya, I came to Japan six months ago a qualified and experienced primary school teacher full of excitement, and a little concern. Would I be able to connect with the junior high school students I would be teaching in only ...

| Mar 31, 2009

Look overseas to address Japan's lag in English ability

Dear education ministry, The article titled “Shame over poor English level lies with education ministry” by Mikine Dezaki (Hotline to Nagatacho, Jan. 20) succinctly summed up the stark reality of Japanese high school English-language education. Indeed, Japanese study English for six years in high ...