National Topics

Arrest of Tokyo vagina artist sparks free-speech protest

Jul 15, 2014

Arrest of Tokyo vagina artist sparks free-speech protest

The arrest of a Tokyo artist on obscenity charges for distributing data that allowed recipients to make 3-D prints of her vagina has sparked protests over what supporters say is an attack on free expression. Megumi Igarashi, 42, who calls herself Rokudenashi-ko (“a no-good ...

Jul 14, 2014

Outside investors eye heirless small Japanese firms

Takeshi Kaneko searched for nine years to find someone to take over the dried-food store his parents opened after they fled the rubble of Japan-occupied China at the end of World War II. “I started thinking about it when I turned 60, since my ...

Rola altering DNA of pop culture

Jul 13, 2014

Rola altering DNA of pop culture

In celebrity-obsessed Japan with its conveyor belt of 15-minute stars, fashion icon Rola is blazing a meteoric trail at the forefront of a galaxy of mixed-race stars, changing the DNA of Japanese pop culture. Turn on the TV and there’s no escaping the bubbly ...

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 ...