| Mar 1, 2007

Ministry takes charge of bankrupt city

by Kanako Takahara

This month, the Internal Affairs and Communications Ministry is expected to designate Yubari, Hokkaido, as a “municipality under rehabilitation.” Following are questions and answers outlining what that means for the city: Why did Yubari’s financial condition deteriorate? Yubari, a city of 13,000 residents in ...

| Feb 22, 2007

Rate hike means both pain and gain

by Kanako Takahara

The Bank of Japan’s Policy Board on Wednesday raised the key short-term interest rate by a quarter point to 0.5 percent. Following are some explanations on how the interest rate hike will impact the Japanese economy: How are interest rates controlled? The key interest ...

| Jan 24, 2007

Election puts overtime-pay exclusion on hold

by Kaho Shimizu

Wary of an upcoming election, the ruling bloc is backing off on a highly contentious bill that would exclude certain white-collar workers from overtime pay. But debate over the issue, which unions fiercely oppose, will resurface because the government’s retreat is widely believed a ...

| Jan 20, 2007

How safe is our food? -- Some answers

by Akemi Nakamura

With the revelations last week that Fujiya Co. had been using expired ingredients in its products, concerns about food safety are growing. Below are answers to some questions about sanitation rules and the Fujiya scandal. What are the government’s rules on expiration dates for ...

| Apr 15, 2005

Row boils down to gas vein and a line in the sea

by Mayumi Negishi

Tensions over gas fields under the East China Sea are straining relations between Japan and China, arguably the two most interdependent economies in Asia. From an economic perspective, the dispute underlines Tokyo’s growing distrust of Beijing in the wake of China’s economic rise and ...

| Sep 9, 2004

Why is Japan Post going to be privatized?

by Hiroko Nakata

After months of government debate, the Cabinet on Friday will formally approve a plan to privatize the government-run Japan Post. Below are questions and answers regarding the privatization. Q. Why does the government want to privatize the postal system? A. The government believes the ...

| Jul 5, 2003

Interest-rate hikes: good news or bad?

by Hiroko Nakata

Long-term interest rates surged this week. Is it good news or bad? Here are some questions and answers: Q. What are long-term interest rates? A. Long-term interest rates Japan usually mean yields on 10-year government bonds, which are the most heavily issued and traded ...