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Elevation signs

| Oct 21, 2013

Elevation signs

by Alice Gordenker

Dear Alice, Over the summer, a new sign appeared on the wall of the elementary school closest to where I live. The sign includes the English words “above sea level,” along with some kanji and numerals, so I assume its informing us of the ...

Mercury still threat, Abe assurances or not

| Oct 21, 2013

Mercury still threat, Abe assurances or not

by Eric Johnston

Earlier this month, delegates from over 130 nations gathered in Kumamoto to launch the Minamata Convention on Mercury. The U.N.-brokered treaty aims to limit mercury use and emissions. It comes at a time when the U.N. Environmental Program warns half of all global anthropogenic ...

Tax-free account seeks to spur investment

| Oct 15, 2013

Tax-free account seeks to spur investment

by Tomoko Otake

Starting in January, individuals who invest in stocks and investment trusts in a Nippon Individual Savings Account will be eligible for tax exemptions of up to five years on their financial gains. The new instrument is aimed at getting people used to accumulating financial ...

Deliveries boost convenience stores' cachet

| Oct 7, 2013

Deliveries boost convenience stores' cachet

by Mami Maruko

The nation’s convenience stores have been in a constant state of evolution, starting by offering small snacks and drinks and basic daily goods like newspapers, magazines and toiletries. Today, customers at the “conbini,” as convenience stores are called in Japan, can pay various household ...

TEAP stresses pragmatic approach

| Sep 16, 2013

TEAP stresses pragmatic approach

by Tomohiro Osaki

As Prime Minister Shinzo Abe’s Liberal Democratic Party forges ahead with its strategy of nurturing “internationally minded” talent to aid economic growth, the prospect that students’ scores on the Test of English as a Foreign Language (TOEFL) will be used as criteria for entering ...

Reactor makers look abroad as home market fizzles

| Sep 9, 2013

Reactor makers look abroad as home market fizzles

by Kazuaki Nagata

The Fukushima meltdowns and the continuing radiation crisis may have turned the public off of atomic energy at home, but it’s full steam ahead for Prime Minister Shinzo Abe and Japan’s heavy industries when it comes to exporting that technology to power-hungry economies abroad. ...

Data show twisters form over Kanto in September

| Sep 5, 2013

Data show twisters form over Kanto in September

by Jun Hongo

Damage to people and property by tornadoes made headlines over the past week, with the latest in Tochigi Prefecture injuring three people while destroying houses and other buildings. Here are some questions and answers regarding twisters: Are twisters common in Japan? About 17 were ...