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Japan's security bills are tactical approach to battle

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Lawmakers are due to continue debating two contentious security bills until mid-September, comprising some of the most controversial government-sponsored legislation to reach the Diet in recent years. But the bills are considered difficult to understand, and media polls indicate a majority of voters feel lawmakers in the ruling coalition have ...

Law gets serious about cycling safety

| Jun 29, 2015

Law gets serious about cycling safety

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Bicycle use is growing along with greater public awareness of health and environmental issues, with cities around the country beginning to rent them out to visitors who are eager to tour Japan on the cheap. But this has triggered a rise in fatal accidents ...

Sincere climate pledge or 'sleight of hand'?

| Jun 8, 2015

Sincere climate pledge or 'sleight of hand'?

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Last week, Prime Minister Shinzo Abe’s Cabinet announced Japan would reduce its greenhouse gas emissions by 26 percent by 2030, based on 2013 levels. The plan will be presented to delegates at a United Nations conference on climate change in Paris this December. The ...

E-textbooks to open digital can of worms

| Jun 1, 2015

E-textbooks to open digital can of worms

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As the world goes digital, many schools are trying to introduce digital materials into the classroom to encourage studying and meet the needs of students’ increasingly diverse needs. In May, the education ministry formed a panel to discuss the use of digital textbooks and ...

Change trays

| May 23, 2015

Change trays

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Dear Alice, I am very curious about those small trays that are used in Japan when settling daily cash transactions. Instead of handing your payment to the clerk, or setting it on the counter by the cash register, here you are generally expected to ...

Tokyo ramps up 'English village' plan as 2020 approaches

| May 11, 2015

Tokyo ramps up 'English village' plan as 2020 approaches

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As Tokyo gears up to host the 2020 Olympic Games, demands for action are growing to overcome Japan’s notorious English-speaking phobia. To achieve that, discussions are underway for the capital to establish “English villages” — language education facilities aimed at improving students’ communication ability ...

18 looms as new age of majority

| May 4, 2015

18 looms as new age of majority

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Japan’s youth will finally get a chance to have their voices heard in politics. Revisions to the Public Offices Election Law that would lower the minimum voting age to 18 from 20 are being deliberated in the Diet and are widely expected to be ...