U.S. sea patrols fuel war of words in print

| Oct 31, 2015

U.S. sea patrols fuel war of words in print

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As this column went to press, the Japanese media had their collective attention focused on a potential hot-spot in the disputed South China Sea, where the destroyer USS Lassen, in a modern-day show of “gunboat diplomacy,” took an in-your-face drive-by (or sail-by if you ...

Media vultures circle over battered SEALDs

| Oct 24, 2015

Media vultures circle over battered SEALDs

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That’s it? It’s over? “Scattered like leaves in the autumn wind,” sighs Shukan Shincho magazine, speaking of the massive nationwide demonstrations that, through the summer, heralded (to some) a new political awakening of the Japanese masses (or something). The protesters’ immediate target was new ...

Councilors get loud on library revamps

| Oct 17, 2015

Councilors get loud on library revamps

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As testimony to their characteristically low profile, Japan’s public libraries seldom make the news, although two recent exceptions come to mind. In 2013, a number of school and public libraries in Shimane and Tottori prefectures attracted coverage when they removed Hiroshima bomb survivor Keiji ...

Yakuza infighting puts nation on edge

| Sep 19, 2015

Yakuza infighting puts nation on edge

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Around the start of this year, the weekly magazines — Shukan Taishu, Asahi Geino and Shukan Jitsuwa in particular — were brimming with articles feting the centennial anniversary of the Yamaguchi-gumi, which had gone from being a small group of tough guys on the ...

Death? War? What's next for the games?

| Sep 5, 2015

Death? War? What's next for the games?

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Two years to the week that Tokyo won its bid over Istanbul and Madrid to host the 2020 Olympic Games, major stumbles in planning and preparation have caused the shining promise to take a nosedive. The upward-creeping costs projected for the National Stadium took ...