Yasukuni: It's open to interpretation

| Feb 3, 2014

Yasukuni: It's open to interpretation

by Ayako Mie

Prime Minister Shinzo Abe’s visit to Yasukuni Shrine in December stirred outrage at home and abroad because he was perceived as promoting his revisionist views on wartime history and violating the constitutional separation of state and religion.

War redress reversal in South Korea

| Jan 27, 2014

War redress reversal in South Korea

by Mizuho Aoki

Recent South Korean court rulings ordering Japanese firms to compensate Koreans who were forced to perform labor for them during the war have cast a shadow on already strained bilateral ties. In July, the Seoul High Court ordered Nippon Steel & Sumitomo Metal Corp. ...

Novartis drug's data-tampering reflects unchecked collusion

| Jan 13, 2014

Novartis drug's data-tampering reflects unchecked collusion

by Tomoko Otake

Last week, the Health, Labor and Welfare Ministry filed a criminal complaint with prosecutors against Novartis Pharma K.K., the Japanese subsidiary of Swiss pharmaceutical giant Novartis, alleging the firm made exaggerated advertising claims for its blockbuster blood pressure drug Diovan. The ministry alleges the ...

Simple tests fill health-check gaps

| Dec 30, 2013

Simple tests fill health-check gaps

by Mami Maruko

Although health checkups are often mandatory for corporate or institutional employees, some segments of society, including housewives and the self-employed, may not have this option. In a country where cancer is rife but screening rates are hovering between 20 and 30 percent, according to ...

Automated driving tech comes to the fore

| Dec 23, 2013

Automated driving tech comes to the fore

by Atsushi Kodera

In November, a prospective customer was at the wheel of Mazda Motor Corp.’s new sport utility vehicle during a demonstration in Fukaya, Saitama Prefecture. With a sales rep in the passenger seat, the 38-year-old man drove the car toward a urethane mat hanging 7 ...

Radioactive waste: a now and forever threat?

| Dec 16, 2013

Radioactive waste: a now and forever threat?

by Reiji Yoshida

In recent months, former Prime Minister Junichiro Koizumi has rekindled the public debate on atomic power, drawing attention to perhaps the most critical question about its future: Is there a safe place and way to dispose of high-level radioactive waste? Koizumi lashed out at ...

Entrance exams get failing grade

| Dec 2, 2013

Entrance exams get failing grade

by Tomohiro Osaki

National university exams are notorious for their emphasis on book learning. Once a year, examinees throng test sites, doing their best to regurgitate heaps of facts in the hopes of getting into the university of their choice. Once done, however, the pressure to study ...

National Stadium plan hit as too grandiose

| Nov 25, 2013

National Stadium plan hit as too grandiose

by Masaaki Kameda

The new National Stadium planned for the Tokyo 2020 Olympics has come under the spotlight due to its huge size and massive costs, and for a design critics say doesn’t fit in with its surroundings. Following are questions and answers regarding construction of the ...

Diet reform paralyzed by hypocritical habits

| Nov 4, 2013

Diet reform paralyzed by hypocritical habits

by Ayako Mie

Indecision is a much-criticized feature of Japanese politics. Diet sessions are rife with unproductive wrangling as the ruling and opposition camps dispute the timing of the submission of bills while avoiding constructive discussions on them. Making matters worse, because the Constitution stipulates that Cabinet ...