Fighting to recover from the ocean's wrath

| Apr 25, 2015

Fighting to recover from the ocean's wrath

by Philip Brasor

On April 11, Wataru Takeshita, the minister for reconstruction of the areas most seriously affected by the Great East Japan Earthquake, met in Kamaishi with local government representatives to discuss the budget for Iwate Prefecture. After the meeting, the mayor of Kamaishi spoke to ...

The Asahi cries foul on school sports

| Apr 18, 2015

The Asahi cries foul on school sports

by Philip Brasor

Baseball fans were disheartened to learn that Texas Rangers pitcher Yu Darvish would be out for the entire 2015 season because of elbow surgery. The right-hander could still have a promising Major League career, but like other Japanese pitchers who have crossed the Pacific, ...

Political obstacles stymie energy autonomy

| Mar 28, 2015

Political obstacles stymie energy autonomy

by Philip Brasor

When German Chancellor Angela Merkel was in Japan earlier this month, local coverage focused on a joint German-Japanese statement about the Ukraine crisis and her comment that Japan should forthrightly address its actions during World War II. She said nothing about how Japan and ...

Failing to rebuild communities in Tohoku

| Mar 14, 2015

Failing to rebuild communities in Tohoku

by Philip Brasor

The NHK travel program “Tsurube no Kazoku ni Kampai” (“Tsurube Toasts Families”) recently aired a two-parter about the town of Watari in Miyagi Prefecture, which was devastated in the March 11, 2011, tsunami. In the series, rakugo storyteller Shofukutei Tsurube and a celebrity guest ...

Okinawa's story told differently in Tokyo

| Mar 7, 2015

Okinawa's story told differently in Tokyo

by Philip Brasor

Last week, at the end of a report on the TBS newsmagazine show “Hodo Tokushu” about protests against the proposed U.S. Marine Corps base at Henoko in Okinawa, the show’s host mentioned that in response to charges from local press that it had violently ...

Shibuya's same-sex move kicks off debate

| Feb 28, 2015

Shibuya's same-sex move kicks off debate

by Philip Brasor

On Feb. 13, Asahi Shimbun’s daily Vox Populi, Vox Dei column mentioned Morizo and Kiccoro, the official mascots of the 2005 World Expo held in Aichi Prefecture. These two “woodland fairies” supposedly hailed from Seto, which issued them the same resident cards (jūminhyō) held ...

Cowed news media has forgotten its role

| Feb 21, 2015

Cowed news media has forgotten its role

by Philip Brasor

In his Tokyo Shimbun column about weekly magazines, Hiroyuki Shinoda recently lauded Shukan Asahi for accusing Prime Minister Shinzo Abe of exploiting the murder of journalist Kenji Goto by the Islamic State group for political purposes. Shinoda points out that the magazine had been ...