The debate over government notes

| Feb 6, 2009

The debate over government notes

by Takahiro Fukada

Scholars and Liberal Democratic Party members have been urging the government to print its own money to counter the once-in-a-century crisis buffeting Japan. While advocates claim the measure should at least be considered as an option, senior government and central bank officials are adamantly ...

Postal hotel 'fire sale' draws flak

| Feb 4, 2009

Postal hotel 'fire sale' draws flak

by Kanako Takahara

Orix Corp.’s purchase of 70 Kampo no Yado hotels from Japan Post Holdings Co. for the fire sale price of ¥10.9 billion has been making headlines for the past month and drawing the scorn of internal affairs minister Kunio Hatoyama. The incident seems to ...

| Dec 25, 2008

Temps a threatened species as job cuts bite

by Natsuko Fukue

Last of two parts Temporary workers are bearing the brunt of cost-cutting measures taken by businesses, especially in the manufacturing sector, to weather the recession. In November, the Health, Labor and Welfare Ministry announced that since October, 30,067 temps have either been let go ...

New U.S. entry requirement

| Dec 18, 2008

New U.S. entry requirement

by Mariko Kato

The United States will launch a new immigration system starting Jan. 12 to try to prevent terrorists entering the country. This will require foreign short-stay visitors from 34 countries participating in the Visa Waiver Program, including Japan, to apply for travel authorization at a ...

Import food: Do inspections allay fears?

| Nov 26, 2008

Import food: Do inspections allay fears?

by Natsuko Fukue

Public concern over imported food is on the rise, especially produce from China. Even if consumers want to avoid imported food, they have few options: Japan’s food self-sufficiency rate is only 40 percent, according to a 2006 study by the Health, Labor and Welfare ...

Tamogami — history again retold

| Nov 11, 2008

Tamogami — history again retold

by Reiji Yoshida and Jun Hongo

Ousted Air Self-Defense Force Chief of Staff Gen. Toshio Tamogami’s war essay justifying Japan’s aggression in China and colonial rule of the Korean Peninsula has stirred controversy both at home and abroad. More is in store as he is set to give unsworn testimony ...

| Oct 25, 2008

Lowdown on bank-aid bill

by Kanako Takahara

The credit crunch brought about by the collapse of the U.S. housing market is spreading throughout the world and has begun choking off funding to small and midsize Japanese companies. Fearing the squeeze will accelerate bankruptcies of smaller firms, especially in rural regions, the ...

Aso's team digging for 'buried funds'

| Oct 23, 2008

Aso's team digging for 'buried funds'

by Kanako Takahara

With Prime Minister Taro Aso’s government and ruling coalition lawmakers busy compiling a second economic stimulus package by the end of this month, the latest political catchphrase has become “Kasumigaseki maizokin,” or buried funds in the Kasumigaseki district, the seat of the central government. ...

| Jul 17, 2008

Isle row with Seoul a longtime affair

by Takahiro Fukada

Japan announced this week that a new supplementary education guideline will describe South Korea-controlled islets in the Sea of Japan, which Seoul calls the East Sea, as part of Japanese territory. The move enraged South Korea, which recalled its ambassador to Japan. Following are ...

Steady now: quick tips on quake preparation

| Jul 12, 2008

Steady now: quick tips on quake preparation

by Minoru Matsutani

Earthquakes are a fact of life in Japan. Only one month ago, a 7.2-magnitude temblor and a number of aftershocks struck the Tohoku region, killing 13 in Fukushima, Miyagi and Iwate prefectures and leaving 10 still listed as missing in Miyagi and Akita prefectures. ...

| Apr 8, 2008

Japan must put TICAD ball in play

by Kaho Shimizu

Japan held the first Tokyo International Conference on African Development in 1993 to get the international community to reengage with poverty-stricken Africa. Since then, Japan has hosted the TICAD meetings every five years. The fourth will be held in Yokohama in late May amid ...