National Topics

Jul 11, 2014

Japanese firms near crisis point as labor shortage deepens

Japan’s labour shortage is nearing crisis in some key industries as it spreads from construction to services, curbing companies’ operations, pushing up wages and potentially crimping a tentative recovery in the world’s third-largest economy. Airlines, retailers, truckers and restaurant chains are being forced to ...

Whaling town preserves tradition

Jul 1, 2014

Whaling town preserves tradition

by Minami Funakoshi

The whaling season opened with a public carve-up and barbecue in the coastal town of Minamiboso, Chiba Prefecture, where workers last Thursday sliced a whale before a crowd of elementary school students and residents. Onlookers later received pieces of fried whale meat. The annual ...

Jun 29, 2014

Pensioners to get less as they get older

The nation’s economic and demographic woes are likely to force pension payout ratios to sink below the required 50 percent minimum, according to a new Health, Labor and Welfare Ministry estimate. Based on the pension reforms of 2004, the law stipulates that pensioners must ...

Monk offers a taste of religion to young minds

Jun 27, 2014

Monk offers a taste of religion to young minds

by Takeshi Nishide

Gashin Tomomitsu, a 30-year-old Buddhist monk, has organized unique spiritual and cultural events over the past four years, attracting young people who would otherwise have little religious interaction in their daily lives. Offering a chance to experience chanting, flower arrangement, sutra copying and other ...

Jun 27, 2014

Priests crossing boundaries of faith

Inter-faith groups formed by religious leaders have been taking off since the Great East Japan Earthquake of 2011. An untold number of small councils have been established, but at the prefectural and city levels there are some 50 groups across Japan. In Ota Ward, ...

Disabled artists carving out niche in Japan

Jun 25, 2014

Disabled artists carving out niche in Japan

by Makoto Sekiya

A growing number of people with disabilities are winning recognition artistically and commercially as their works of art and design find their way into more galleries and shops. Last November, the Hikarie shopping mall in Shibuya held an exhibition and sale of artworks produced ...