National Topics

Concern for Japan's democratic process

| Dec 27, 2014

Concern for Japan's democratic process

by Michael Hoffman

Elections are the lifeblood of democracy. They represent an awesome empowerment — the right of citizens to peacefully overthrow their government and choose another. The prime minister called an election. He submitted his government to the judgment of the people. The election was held. ...

Fight or flight: Narita's history of conflict

| Dec 13, 2014

Fight or flight: Narita's history of conflict

by Philip Brasor

The recent increase in international flights in and out of Haneda Airport has clearly pleased Tokyo residents, who, since the late 1970s, have had to trek out to Narita International Airport in Chiba Prefecture when they wanted to go overseas. This inconvenience is exacerbated ...

Cultural differences shade reactions to robots

| Dec 6, 2014

Cultural differences shade reactions to robots

by Philip Brasor

It was only right that Disney’s new animated feature, “Big Hero 6,” opened this year’s Tokyo International Film Festival, and that Disney animation head John Lasseter was on hand to introduce it. Lasseter has often said that his career has been greatly influenced by ...

Debating milk, names and workplace blues

| Nov 29, 2014

Debating milk, names and workplace blues

by Michael Hoffman

Milk — liquid innocence. If milk lets you down, what won’t? It looks healthy, tastes healthy — surely it is healthy? Appearances, we know, are deceiving; still, this particular illusion dies hard. Whose earliest childhood memories do not include a parent admonishing, “Drink your ...

Newspapers take sides on 'Abenomics'

| Nov 29, 2014

Newspapers take sides on 'Abenomics'

by Philip Brasor

Prime Minister Shinzo Abe’s dissolution of the Diet has become another point of contention between right- and left-leaning entities in Japan. One of the more revealing responses involved a website set up by a member of a nonprofit organization called Bokura no Ippo ga ...