Mother of 2 leads the way

| Feb 24, 2008

Mother of 2 leads the way

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Izumi Washitani is not only a professor of conservation ecology at the top-flight University of Tokyo, she’s also a committed activist who applies her studies to restoring threatened biodiversity. One of the threatened species she has researched is the so-called floating-heart plant (Nymphoides peltata) ...

Eyewitness: Burma from the inside

Feb 10, 2008

Eyewitness: Burma from the inside

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Burma’s Bloody September came home to people in Japan with the slaying of veteran freelance photojournalist Kenji Nagai on Sept. 27, 2007 in Yangon during a mass demonstration. The video clip showing him being gunned down by a Burmese soldier at point-blank range was ...

Stricken land of soldiers and slaves

Feb 10, 2008

Stricken land of soldiers and slaves

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The Saffron Revolution is Burma’s 9/11; much will never be the same again after the killing, arrest and torture of monks by the government. During August-September 2007, the government jailed dissidents who led the initial rallies and quashed subsequent mass demonstrations that swept through ...

Film focuses on 'the other Burma'

Feb 10, 2008

Film focuses on 'the other Burma'

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Here, in Irene Marty’s film titled “In the Shadow of the Pagodas — The Other Burma,” we encounter the wretched of the Earth. This haunting documentary gives a voice to Burma’s traumatized ethnic nationalities, taking us to the war-ravaged border regions where internally displaced ...

Jan 27, 2008

Citizens routinely denied legal rights

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The contrasts between constitutional provisions for crime suspects in Japan and their actual treatment are stark, say critics of the system. “The Constitution provides strong protections, including the right to remain silent,” says Omiya Law School Professor Lawrence Repeta. “But in fact, some of ...

Jan 13, 2008

Fighting the flab and shaping up can also be a lot of fun

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New Year’s resolution? “Doing more exercise,” you may say. Keeping in good shape or going on a diet are invariably popular new-year ambitions for thousands faced with rather too many inches to pinch after all those Christmas binges and huge o-shogatsu feasts in the ...

A drama of our own making

| Dec 16, 2007

A drama of our own making

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One recent sunny afternoon, I set off for a performance of “Tokyo/Olympic” by the city’s Port B theater company. Normally, I rush to a theater, deal with the ticket stuff and finally relax when I sink into an overstuffed red velour seat. But that ...