National Topics

Health care system needs a new diagnosis

| Jul 12, 2014

Health care system needs a new diagnosis

by Philip Brasor

In March 2007, the city of Yubari in Hokkaido became the first Japanese municipality to declare bankruptcy, letting loose a flood of media coverage characterized by expressions of sympathy for residents. Yubari’s debt had reached ¥63 billion, the result, according to national press reports, ...

Fiery Shinjuku protest goes global without NHK

| Jul 5, 2014

Fiery Shinjuku protest goes global without NHK

by Philip Brasor

Until the Great East Japan Earthquake, social media didn’t have much purchase on Japanese social life. But disasters are transformative, and in a country where the mass media is cautious about its role vis-a-vis the authorities, social media came into its own after the ...

Ongoing Obokata story seeks out scandal

| Jul 5, 2014

Ongoing Obokata story seeks out scandal

by Mark Schreiber

The paper, titled “Stimulus-triggered fate conversion of somatic cells into pluripotency,” was accepted by the British science journal Nature on Dec. 20, 2013, and published online on Jan. 29, 2014. The authors were listed as Haruko Obokata, Teruhiko Wakayama, Yoshiki Sasai, Koji Kojima, Martin ...

A life of lettuce has its benefits

| Jun 28, 2014

A life of lettuce has its benefits

by Michael Hoffman

Lettuce. Let us raise a glass to lettuce. There’s a village in Nagano Prefecture called Kawakami — nothing, nowhere little place, deep in the mountains, far from the main road, population 3,960. Why does Shukan Gendai magazine devote three full pages to profiling it? ...

BBC news to turn Japanese with translated website

Jun 27, 2014

BBC news to turn Japanese with translated website

by Elizabeth Kerr

A recent job posting for a digital editor for BBC World Japan sparked interest online, with local Web-watchers noting that the job description called for a Tokyo-based editor with fluent Japanese to head up a team that will publish content from the main BBC ...

Any publicity is good news for beer firms

| Jun 21, 2014

Any publicity is good news for beer firms

by Philip Brasor

At a Tokyo news conference on June 4, Sapporo Beer President Masaki Oga announced his company would halt sales of its Goku Zero alcoholic beverage after current inventory was shipped. The parent company, Sapporo Holdings, had been contacted by the National Tax Agency in ...

The thrill of the job won't pay the rent

| Jun 14, 2014

The thrill of the job won't pay the rent

by Philip Brasor

“If your work isn’t what you love, then something isn’t right.” — Talking Heads Last January, NHK’s nightly in-depth news series, “Closeup Gendai,” ran a feature about the practice of “poeticizing” (poemu-ka) the harsher aspects of life. It’s not a trend that’s easy to ...