Custody laws force parents to extremes

| Oct 10, 2009

Custody laws force parents to extremes

by Minoru Matsutani

The high-profile case of Christopher Savoie, a Tennessee man who was arrested in Fukuoka Prefecture for snatching his two children from his Japanese former wife and now faces kidnapping charges, illustrates the extremes a partner in a broken international marriage will resort to for ...

| Oct 3, 2009

Devil's in the details on debt relief

by Takahiro Fukada

To rescue cash-strapped small firms and households, financial services minister Shizuka Kamei is preparing to submit a bill at the extraordinary Diet session this month that will pressure financial institutions to ease loan conditions for borrowers. The proposed debt moratorium program has sparked opposition ...

Details on how Japan's dolphin catches work

| Sep 23, 2009

Details on how Japan's dolphin catches work

by Minoru Matsutani

Dolphin slaughters in Taiji, Wakayama Prefecture, have drawn strong protests from animal rights groups, their supporters and foreign media over what they call the brutality of the traditional hunt. In addition, animal activists are warning of the potentially dangerously high levels of methyl mercury ...

| Aug 19, 2009

Ultimately, it all comes down to numbers

by Alex Martin

All signs seem to indicate Prime Minister Taro Aso and his Liberal Democratic Party-New Komeito ruling coalition face a tough battle in trying to hold onto their Lower House majority in the Aug. 30 election. If the Democratic Party of Japan-led opposition camp wins ...

List of goods qualified for Eco-points now out

| Jun 20, 2009

List of goods qualified for Eco-points now out

by Kazuaki Nagata

The government revealed a list of products and services Friday that can be exchanged for Eco-points, a type of currency to stimulate consumption and promote use of energy-efficient goods. The campaign is boosting replacement demand at electronics retailers as consumers flock to accumulate Eco-points ...

| May 12, 2009

Historic change puts justice in public hands

by Alex Martin

With the “saibanin” lay judge system set to take effect May 21, Japan is gearing up for an important transition in its judicial system, in which citizens begin serving as de facto jurors in district court trials involving serious crimes. Under the new system, ...

| Apr 10, 2009

What did Japan's response to the North's rocket prove?

by Jun Hongo

When North Korea sent what it claims was a rocket carrying a satellite over the Tohoku region Sunday, the Self-Defense Forces units deployed to possibly intercept it held their fire because the craft apparently posed no threat to Japan’s territory. This leaves unanswered the ...

Road-toll cuts take effect Saturday

| Mar 27, 2009

Road-toll cuts take effect Saturday

by Takahiro Fukada

Motorists across the nation this Saturday, if they have an Electronic Toll Collection device, will start feeling the effects of Prime Minister Taro Aso’s economic stimulus measures. The maximum fee on regional expressways will be cut to ¥1,000 for an unlimited distance on weekends ...

| Mar 20, 2009

Hand-wringing over fund scandal

by Masami Ito

The political fund scandal involving Nishimatsu Construction Co. has brought to light once again the unhealthy relationship between politics and money. This time, prosecutors went straight to the top by arresting the chief secretary of Ichiro Ozawa, president of the Democratic Party of Japan. ...

Cultural monument or replaceable relic?

| Mar 7, 2009

Cultural monument or replaceable relic?

by Minoru Matsutani

Debate is heating up between Japan Post Holdings and the internal affairs ministry over whether to raze or preserve a landmark building in front of JR Tokyo Station. The building is the five-story Tokyo Central Post Office, a 78-year-old structure Japan Post wants to ...

| Mar 5, 2009

Who gets the cash handouts, and how?

by Masami Ito

The Liberal Democratic Party-New Komeito ruling bloc rammed legislation related to the fiscal 2008 second extra budget through the Diet Wednesday amid strong protests from the opposition parties. With the passage of the bills, Prime Minister Taro Aso will finally be able to issue ...