| Aug 19, 2009

Ultimately, it all comes down to numbers

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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

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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

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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?

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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

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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

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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?

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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?

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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 ...

The debate over government notes

| Feb 6, 2009

The debate over government notes

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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

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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

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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 ...